I love Erin's blog hops. I love that the inspiration comes partly from her (travel, literature, music...) and partly from the designer taking part, with the choice of country, piece of writing or music. I also love that Erin offers different levels of choice and control. I could have chosen my own country of inspiration within my continent of choice, but for this challenge, I decided to pick a continent I knew little about - Oceania - and picked the 'Surprise Me!' option for the country.
My surprise was Papua New Guinea, a country I knew next to nothing about, apart from vague ideas of cannibalism in its past....I am somewhat geographically challenged, and so my ignorance didn't surprise me - Wikipedia is my friend, and I spent a bit of time reading about Papua New Guinea, it's cultural heritage - vibrant and very much alive - the old practice of cannibalism in some areas - died out now thankfully! - and searching through the internet's wonderful bank of images.
There are of course many images of Papua New Guineans in full tribal festival garb; birds are an important part of their culture and a lot of their tribal-dress features feathers or feather-like decoration.
Faces are often painted in bright colours and there is a lot of texture and movement throughout their dress. Colour - Birds - Movement - three things that perfectly capture the aesthetic towards which I strive in my jewellery designing and making! Much of Papua New Guinean tribal culture is based in the countryside, so I wanted to add in a natural element too. (This is another image I found and loved, but I believe copyright restricts me from showing it here - so do follow this link.)
Now, I could have gone totally overboard, made a dramatic collar, mimicking the country's own tribal wear. But I really felt this would be too obvious - it could make for some hugely dramatic jewellery, but it wouldn't really have taken the challenge beyond simply copying the country's own beautiful costume and decoration. Along with the four elements I listed above (colour, birds, movement, nature), I was struck by the repeated appearance of red with yellow. Checking out the country's flag
I saw a link there too to this bold colour combination.
So now that I've taken you through my design process, here's what I created.
Possibly not what you were expecting! I really did keep it simple here, and I hope you can really see my thought process behind each element. These are long, and have swing and movement, imitating feathers, and capturing the vibrant colours I was inspired by, and the natural element I was after with those wooden discs. Inspired by, but not copying, which is exactly what I was hoping for. Hopefully I'll get some more shots soon - I'm currently on holiday on Skye, and the weather and light have been rather autumnal for August! Hence this shot here.
Looking forward to hopping round the other participants on my return to Manchester! Thank you so much to Erin for another fascinating and fantastic challenge.