Sunday, 23 March 2014

Journals - Birthstones

Last year, we had a lot of fun (and some challenges) working to a theme in our journals. This year, some of us thought we'd like to continue, and Yvonne suggested we work on the theme of birthstones.

Birthstones are quite challenging as themes! First of all, there are so many lists, as stones have fallen in and out of fashion or become more or less precious. We decided embrace the variation and compile  a list for ourselves that reflected all the others, rather than limit ourselves to a single arbitrary list. Here's our list, laid out nicely in Nola's sketchbook:

We can approach the task in any way we choose, even work outside our sketchbooks, if we like. We can focus on any aspect of the birthstone that attracts us. The idea is to build up a resource of things that interest us, that we can use later in our work.

First, garnets.  Many of us were away in January, which is summer holiday season in Australia. Only Helen and Nola found time to work on the garden theme, though the others may come back to it later.

Helen initially focused on the stones themselves, raw and worked. The worked stones yield such interesting geometric shapes.

These planes really interested her so she began playing with lines to create geometrical shapes.
Nola was also interested in geometric shapes, but she was fascinated by the natural shape of the garnet, which forms a rhombic dodecahedron, a twelve-sided shape with each side a rhombus or specific proportions. This shape, like a bee's honeycomb fits together in three-dimensional space with no wasted pockets between them. 
This led her into the composition of the stones. She was very interested in the exotic names of different forms of garnet and what these names mean; pyrope meaning "fire-eyed" , grossular, not relating to grains but to gooseberries. The name garnet comes from Latin granatus, "seed" an d may relate to the pomum granatum or pomegranate.
Archaeology is a lifelong interest for Nola so she researched cultures where garnets were widely used. There are lots of Roman artefacts with garnets.
Stay tuned for February... amethyst!

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