When designer Andrew Thornton proposed a new jewelry challenge, Inspired by Reading, based on a monthly book to be read by the members, I knew I couldn’t resist. After just a few paragraphs of May’s selection, A Rumor of Gems by Ellen Steiber, I was hooked. Ms. Steiber creates an amazingly realistic world in the city of Arcata and her characters are nicely flawed and endlessly fascinating. Her prose is beautifully poetic as well. But despite the precious gems that continue to turn up in every alley of the city’s streets, the scene is constantly being stolen by a small jade dragon that goes from an inanimate statue to a vibrantly alive creature in the blink of – well, a dragon’s eye. From the moment I began to read, I knew I wanted a dragon to star in my jewelry piece.
Over the past year I’ve bought a few dragon-themed books to use as inspiration for a dragon pendant or sculpture since I like scary and scaly dragons, the real fire-breathing type. Like the medieval ones in The Book of Kells, kind of fantastical (are there really any other kind?) and mysterious. I had a design that I used for the body of a snake in my “Serpent” necklace so I recycled it with the addition of head, feet and wings for my pendant, using attachments for a bit of 3-D and a faux jade mix of polymer clay for the body.
“Wyrm” – Polymer clay, heat-set oil paint, acrylics
“Rumor of Gems” – Polymer clay, heat-set oil paint, acrylics, copper, honey tourmaline, African brass
I highly recommend this book. And if, by the end of it, you haven’t quite had your fill of dragons and gems—the author is in the process of writing a sequel to Rumor of Gems. If you love to make jewelry and you love to read, check out the Inspired by Reading Book Club on Andrew’s blog,