I had about ten minutes of free time today, and in that ten minutes, I managed to come up with enough new beading project ideas to keep me busy for, oh, the next six months.
These little ceramic faces were made by Diane Briegleb, and they are leftover from a wholesale order of them that I placed years ago when I was part-owner of a bead shop and fine craft gallery. They have been sitting in a little plastic drawer for the last five years, waiting for me to fish one out now and then and use it for something. Well.
Like I said a few weeks ago, I've been reading a ton of books about British history lately. And I'm reading some new books about British history and important figures in British history. Today, I got to thinking about the six wives of King Henry the VIII, and the whole annulled/beheaded pattern that arose from his quest for a male heir. Ironically, his second daughter became one of the most influential leaders in human history, while his sole male heir, King Edward VI, only ruled for about six and a half years.
So while I was thinking about these six women and their lives, and then I started thinking about some of the other great queens in British history - namely, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth I, the aforementioned daughter of Henry VIII - and I thought how I would love to do beaded "portraits" of them using these ceramic faces.
I went and sat down with my little drawer full of ceramic faces, and then I wrote down a list of names on a couple of pieces of paper. I looked up some official portraits of the women online and then went back to my ceramic faces and found the faces that I felt connected with the names and the portraits. (The internet can be a wonderful thing!)
Now my challenge is to actually find the beads and stitch each one of these faces into a beaded portrait of one of the queens of England. I'm giving myself a deadline for each one - I want to complete one beaded portrait per month.
I know who to start with, too - Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII. The woman who was first married to King Henry, who believed she was still his rightful wife until the day she died after a 24-year marriage. She carried six children, but only one lived to adulthood. She was, many believed, unjustly ousted as queen because Henry VIII wanted to marry Anne Boelyn, who had been one of her ladies-in-waiting.
The ceramic face that I thought would be perfect to portray Catherine was one that I had glued to a piece of Stiff Stuff a long time ago with no particular project in mind. She looks almost virginal, and indeed, there are portraits of Catherine depicting her as the Virgin Mary as well as Mary Magdalene.
What's going to drive me nuts now is that I will have absolutely no time to start on her until maybe Sunday at the farmers' market. Monday at the latest. I've already got the Delica beads picked out to start stitching a bezel around her...