Do you ever draw, write, or create while listening to music? I never do, which is why I joined Erin Prais-Hintz's annual Challenge of Music. I thought it was time to try something different! This time the challenge was to make something inspired by a piece of instrumental music. You can read the details of the challenge on her blog.
The music I chose was ragtime. When I played piano in high school, this was my favorite type of music. There was just something appealing about its jagged, happy rhythm that I loved.
I did a bit of research and discovered that ragtime has roots in the African-American community, particularly in St. Louis and New Orleans. It's peak of popularity was between 1897 and 1918. It fell out of favor once jazz came on the scene. The Performing Arts Encyclopedia (from the Library of Congress) has a short entry with some clips.
The most well-known ragtime pieces are by Scott Joplin. Titles you might recognize include "The Maple Leaf Rag" and "The Entertainer." Instead of picking a title I knew, I found a list of titles online (click on "Ragtime Sue") and picked one at random. The tune I picked was titled "Troublesome Ivories" by Eubie Blake.
My Card Design
When I signed up for this challenge, I assumed I'd create a piece of jewelry. But when the time came for me to create my project, I still felt a little stuck. To "unstick" myself, I followed some of Erin's good advice to doodle and write words while you are listening to the music.
Since ragtime music is usually played on piano, I started with something very literal: piano keys. I created an embossed set of piano keys on an ivory-colored card. (You can see the embossing better on the naked card before I decorated it.) I didn't worry too much about the piano keys being perfectly shaped. The uneven, wonky look seemed a better match to the music. (If I had chosen something by Mozart instead, you better believe I would have stressed out over making very precise shapes!)
I layered antique gold Gilder's Paste and several colors of alcohol ink on the keys. (The photo doesn't capture the metallic shimmer of the piano keys.) I hadn't tried Gilder's Paste on paper before, so it was fun to see how well it worked. I outlined each key in black ink and doodled on them as I listened to the music several times.
I also wrote some words as I listened to the music. I've always loved fancy writing, so this gave me a chance to try out some different styles.
My Earring Design
I thought when I finished this card, I was finished with the challenge. I was wrong! Making the card seemed to set my imagination in motion. I started thinking about jewelry and with just a day before the deadline, created these bright earrings.
These earrings feature brass teardrops that I hand painted, along with teal pearl coins, hot pink sari ribbon, gunmetal daisy spacers, gold-plated ear wires, and wirewrapped Swarovski crystals in tanzanite and amethyst. I definitely used some inspiration from my card with the rich, metallic colors and the words such "raindrops" (the teardrop shape) and "swirl" (a pattern on one earring).
I'm especially happy with how the brass teardrops came out. They have a lovely, crackled texture with just a hint of gold sparkle.
I'll let you in on a little secret: I made some bridesmaid earrings last year for a customer and these teardrop shapes were part of an early version that didn't work out. They'd been sitting on my workbench for quite awhile with just a coat of plain teal paint, so I was very happy that they got a second chance at a new life.
Thanks, Erin, for encouraging me to try something new!
More Music Designs
See all the other designs inspired by the second annual Challenge of Music:
Evie and Beth McCord
Malin de Koning
Mary K McGraw