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One delightful memory from my university years was the day I had to go to declare my major. It was a sunny, beautiful Autumn day in Berkeley, California and I was up at Strawberry Pool, just beyond the football stadium where I relaxed before heading down to campus to meet my major professor for the first time. I was a little pressed for time, having run into one Greek God too many at the pool. As such, I did not take the time to change into more proper campus attire. Instead, I dashed down to campus in cut-off shorts, a red top and my running shoes, uncertain of the protocol of my meeting. To my relief, I was warmly welcomed into Professor Renoir's office and we sat and had a relaxed chat which was at times funny, touching and always genuine. He told me to come to him with any problems I might be having both in school or in my private life or if I just needed to talk. We spoke of his 'favorite girl,' and he pointed at her large portrait on his door - CoCo, the gorilla who could communicate using sign language. When he asked me what I wanted to 'be' when I grew up, I told him that I wanted to be an actress. I felt so at ease with the professor that it was with total abandon that I spoke of my desire to pursue the stage and screen. He listened to me and only after I was done, ever so gently told me that he had many family members who had been in film and theatre and they had known frequent sorrow. I took his words to heart, but it was only some weeks after our meeting that I learned that my dear Professor Renoir was the son of the great film director of "La Grande Illusion," Jean Renoir. Professor Renoir was therefore also the grandson of the luminous French painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir. In this past week, as I worked with my palette of glass artisan beads in all their spring colors, blending shades of violet, blue, pink with a splash of orange - that I was reminded of Professor Renoir's grandfather and of that warm, autumn day up at Strawberry pool and afterwards, when I dashed down to campus to declare my English major to such a kind & gentle grandson of a great painter. 'Renoir Afternoon' is an all-artisan crafted, gallery-calibre, double-strand wrap bracelet made entirely of studio & sculptural lampwork glass beads, gemstones, Swarovski crystals and sterling silver. Another LUXE design, this is a complex bracelet design in the 'spirit' genre; a complex design invoking the wild moving, alive energy of a time and place gone by and all that means in terms of life and our call upwards to a God or to Gods & Goddesses to help shepherd us on this journey of life. 'Renoir Afternoon', as with others in my LUXE collection, is awash in top-flight artisan lampwork beads (by 12 different artists located both here and abroad), sterling silver beads & components including beautiful Bali & Thai Hilltribe silver beads and a hand-cast sterling daisy toggle made using the old wax technique. Central to the design, inherent in 'Renoir Afternoon,' is a sumptuous floral focal bead by a local gifted artist. The striking 3-D floral bead shares focus of the bracelet with an amazing long, rectangle lampwork bead by an esteemed German artist. It is as if she paints watercolors in molten glass as she forms her beads in the flame. The painting in this particular bead is of an Iris and Poppy garden in the late afternoon. It is the perfect bead around which to build the rest of the bracelet design both in theme and color. Other glass studio beads include bright sculptural strawberry & blackberry beads, thick violet poppies, whimsical blue encased daisy lentils, elegant disc beads in a variety of colors, a single 'bubble' blue round, looking like so much water in a pond. Among my very favorite lampwork beads in the entire design are organic encased small rounds which have a bumpy texture of rich clear glass and vibrant colors encased in the bead core. I don't know how the artist does it, but her beads always have a wet appearance and make any design just *pop*. A variety of smaller and organic lampwork rounds dangle down around the main strands along with gemstones and sterling. Other beads include glass furnace beads (little 'chubs') by David Christensen in violet & pink; elegant & luminous Baroque pearls, faceted chalcedony, quartz & cubic zirconia briolettes, blue-fire flash moonstone discs, micro-faceted blue flourite, a purple amethyst rondelle, a pink aquarmarine nugget, Sleeping Beauty turquoise chips & most elegant of all, pink sapphire faceted 'tyre' shaped beads which I have stacked together like so many standing-stones. Buried in the design is a very tiny ancient lapis bead from Asia Minor added for that mystical touch, that symbolic 'ties that bind' those of us who are so drawn to beads now and in the long-distant past.Three bright sterling daisy charms pepper 'Renoir's Afternoon' along with Swarovski sterling & clear crystal rondelles, a thick sterling ring and a vast range of Swarovski crystals in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. 'Renoir Afternoon,' measures just a tad under 7.5 inches. A 6 inch wrist ought to fit well without being too tight and with just the right amount of slack to make it comfortable and considering the density (but not a heavy weight) of the bracelet. "Renoir Afternoon" can be re-sized at no additional fee as this is a relatively straightforward task to complete. One resizing upon purchase is included in the price, however should subsequent adjustments be required, an additional fee of $50 to cover postage, time & materials will be charged.
This weekend as I was designing 'Of Fables & Folklore,' I was engrossed watching the BBC's series on the Tudor period of history. I looked at several of the documentaries and was particularly entranced with a documentary on the 'Tudor Christmas Feast,' in all of its pagentry, ornate detail and laborious processes. Actual Tudor historians and archeologists completed the feast as a team over the course of several days, using no modern power or gadgets of any sort, but relying only on the tools and techniques of the Tudor era. The Tudor documentaries took us to some of the famous Halls and Palaces still standing in England including the famous Hampton Court Palace. The extraordinary tapestries Henry VIII purchased included real gold fibers and were, in their day, shimmering displays of colorful gradeur, adding an almost third dimension to the walls upon which they hung. It was both the grand Christmas feast with its peacock centerpiece (flaming beak and all) and the golden tapestries of Hampton Court Palace which became my muse for 'Of Fables & Folklore.'
'Of Fables & Folklore' is an all-artisan crafted, gallery-calibre single strand wrap bracelet made entirely of studio & sculptural lampwork glass beads, gemstones, Swarovski crystals and sterling silver. Another LUXE design, this is a complex bracelet design in the 'spirit' genre; a complex design invoking the wild moving, alive energy of a time and place gone by and all that means in terms of life and our call upwards to a God or to Gods & Goddesses to help shepherd us on this journey of life.
'Of Fables & Folklore', as with others in my LUXE collection, is awash in top-flight artisan lampwork beads (by 9 different artists located both here and abroad), sterling silver beads & components including beautiful Bali & Thai Hilltribe silver beads and an ornate Victorian styled Bali sterling silver toggle clasp. Central to the design, inherent in 'Of Fables & Folklore,' is a sumptuous floral focal bead by a gifted artist from abroad. It reminds me of the embroidery in the pretty ribbons of the Tudor age and of all the ribboned ornate costumes of the day. The sculptural companion beads include bright handcrafted strawberries, detailed leaves in two shades of green, two delicate lavender blossoms; lovely large lampwork rounds done in a tartan pattern in the colors of red, orange, peach and purple. Two enchanting, smaller rounds done in clear with an encased core of orange add wonderful depth and texture with their surface gently scrolled in lavender and dots of bright red. A variety of smaller and organic lampwork rounds dangle down around the main strand. Other beads include glass furnace beads in violet; elegant & luminous Baroque pearls, chalcedony briolettes and Swarovski crystal butterflies in a lovely shade of teal. Two sterling silver Bali beads are capped in silver bead caps making them look like small nuts. A sterling silver berry-shaped bead finishes the strand at the large toggle end along with a substantial handwrought sterling ring. Large faceted nuggets of pink aquamarine work well as backdrop for the colorful ensemble of lampwork beads. Other sterling silver include two small hand-cast shields that rest under organic encased purple beads. 'Of Fables and Folklore,' measures just a tad over 9 inches. A 7.5 - 7.75 inch wrist fits this 9.25 inch bracelet ought to fit well without being too tight and with just the right amount of slack to make it comfortable. "Of Fables & Folklore" can be re-sized at no additional fees as this is a relatively straightforward task to complete. One resizing upon purchase is included in the auction price, however should subsequent adjustments be required, an additional fee of $50 to cover postage, time & materials will be charged.