You know how I'm participating in the 2011 Bead Journal Project? The rules are that you make one piece per month, sticking to the same shape and size (5" square for me this year), and in theory you are in some way journalling your feelings about the month, though I think many of us just go for whatever colours and patterns we're drawn to at the time. I'm currently waiting for supplies to turn up to make my March piece. Anyway, I woke up with the idea of making the 2012 BJP an interpretation of Bartok's opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle. Go and read about it here, and if you're so inclined, prowl about on Amazon.com and listen to extracts, say this recording. I absolutely adored this opera throughout my adolescence, it's the most amazingly evocative work, dark and beautiful and bright and cruel.
There are seven rooms, each with a different meaning and assigned a different colour of light. Then there are the three previous wives, defined as representing morning, noon and evening. After that, Bluebeard turns to Judith and starts singing about, "The last one I found at night," with some really helpful imagery as far as beading is concerned (though of course it's creepy as all hell). So the seven rooms, the three wives, Judith and Bluebeard adds up to twelve. That said, the seventh room is the one for the wives, so that's repetitious as I'd be making individual pieces for each of them, but I'd work something out, maybe a piece for the castle as a whole. I could make my set shape a gothic arched doorway, and perhaps border each one with the light colour for that room. I have fond memories of a film version from about twenty years ago, where instead of the spare approach of the coloured light streaming onto the stage from each door, they had a whole castle with literal portrayals of the rooms. (The little model for the Kingdom was far more convincing when I was a child, alas.) The torture chamber was just a white tiled room where Judith could clearly see the torture instruments, even though they weren't there, and the streams of blood started as an eerie red light on the walls. The garden was simple but beautiful, with calla lilies (good choice, they're white and have pure lines and are usually used for funerals) and rippling celesta music and white birds flying around. Blood gets into everything in the first five rooms, I'm not sure how I'd show it but obviously something subtle with beading. It wouldn't have to be a strictly representational portrayal, I think I'd go for something more abstract and symbolic, which is of course entirely in keeping with the way Bartok approached this fairy tale to begin with.
And now I need to put the idea aside, stop getting excited, and get back to my big queue of quilts and this year's BJP! It'll be good to let that one evolve gently in my mind, and I think I will need this year to build up the beading and design experience before tackling it anyway.
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