Thursday, May 31, 2012

Challenge of Literature Blog Hop

It is that time - the Challenge of Literature Blog Hop!!!!  I was so excited to sign up for this challenge because I had the perfect poem that I have been wanting to create a piece for (since 2009).  I did a final ceramics project for school about this poem, but I have been wanting to make a necklace to go along with it.

The poem I chose for this challenge was Calvary Crossing a Ford by Walt Whitman.

Cavalry Crossing A Ford

A Line in long array, where they wind betwixt green islands;
They take a serpentine course--their arms flash in the sun--Hark to
the musical clank;
Behold the silvery river--in it the splashing horses, loitering, stop
to drink;
Behold the brown-faced men--each group, each person, a picture--the
negligent rest on the saddles;
Some emerge on the opposite bank--others are just entering the ford--
Scarlet, and blue, and snowy white,
The guidon flags flutter gaily in the wind.

Walt Whitman

Sketches - poem broken out and how assemble
I remember the first time I read this poem; it was for my American Literature class (fall 2003).  We had to read the poem in class.  I remember reading that poem and I while I was reading I could seriously smell the horses and sweat of the soldiers, hear the clank and jingling of the bridles, see the guidons flying in the wind and see the weariness of the soldiers resting in their saddles.

Stamping the pendants

I usually never raise my hand or gave an opinion in class, but that day I was more than ready to add my thoughts to the discussion of this poem.

Have liver of sulfur the pieces and are cleaning them with sand paper -
notice the very dirty hands
I know each person had a different take on the poem, but I saw the soldiers returning from a field exercise; they were exhausted and were just sitting there letting the horses cross the creek.  I do remember that the class was split down the middle on whether the soliders were returning from an exercise or were heading out to one.

Sprayed with lacquer and waxed - waiting to be polished
The reason I thought they were returning was the way the soldiers were sitting in the saddle - negliently.  I could emphathize with those soldiers - there were times I came back from a long field exercise (two weeks to a month) where there were no showers and sleep was sometimes non existant.  I can remember that deep weariness - telling myself, "one step at a time".

Pieces laid out
The main focus of this piece is the horse/soldier pendant and the guidons with snippets from the poem.

"Calvary Crossing a Ford"

I wanted to have the soldier and the horse in the necklace and I wanted the necklace to have a rustic feel.  I think mom and I nailed it.  Mom and I used Vintage chain, 20 gauge copper pendants that were stamped with snippets from the poem and dipped in liver of sulfur, and etched lampwork glass beads.  I chose the two different blues because those were the colors of the military uniforms in the late 1800s.

This is the second main pendant - the name of the poem.  I really love how the guidon pendants came out.  To get the texture of the pendants I found texture on mom's garage floor, put the pendants on the texture and hammered the pendants :)  Improvise, adapt and overcome baby!!!!

These are the top two pendants on the left side of the necklace.

Pendants on the top right side of the necklace.

Pendants on the bottom left side of the necklace.

Pendants on the bottom right side of the necklace.

The soldier and horse pendant.  At one point I did start making a necklace for the poem, but I started enameling this pendant and set it aside because it was a pain in the butt to enamel.  So, when Erin was doing this challenge mom and I pulled out the necklace.  I really didn't want the clear enamel on it, so mom took a hammer and broke off the enamel.  I LOVE the texture it left behind and the liver of sulfur really brought out the details.  As always mom did an awesome job sawing!!!!

So, that is our interpretation of Calvary Crossing a Ford.  I hope you enjoyed the pictures and how we created the piece.

Thank you Erin for putting on this wonderful blog hop!!!  I had a lot of fun - except for the last part of assembly, wish I got a picture of that.  I had the necklace on while mom was attaching the pendants.  I was holding my breath each time so she wouldn't accidently clock me with the pliers :)

To see all the other wonderful participents please see the list below (if the links don't work please head on over to Erin's blog to see the list).

Erin Prais-Hintz
Rebecca Anderson
Rose Binoya
Lori Bowring Michaud
Shannon Chomanszuk
Marlene Cupo
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Kim Dworak
Beth Emery
Therese Frank
Amy Freeland
K Hutchinson
Jennifer Justman
Susan Kennedy
Linda Landig
Lisa Lodge
Lisa Lowe
Kirsi Luostarinen
Beth McCord
Melissa Meman
Sharon Misuraco
Tracey Nanstad
Melinda Orr
Kashmira Patel
Alice Peterson
Sally Russick
Niky Sayers
Pam Sears
Amy Severino
Tracy Stillman
Emma Todd
Melissa Trudinger
Lesley Watt
Shai Williams

Have fun and thanks for stopping by!


  1. Hi Beth,
    Wow you and your Mom did a great job making this wonderful necklace. When I first saw the necklace I thought that the blue beads represented the water the soldiers were crossing. The splash of blue looks great with the gray metal. Beautiful necklace.

  2. That's so totally awesome pieces of work =)

  3. Utterly beautiful, I love the color of the beads and what a great focal amazing work!

  4. You have both really put so much thought into this wonderful piece.. I love the rustic look of horse and ride and the words so carefully stamped. Such a delight to read the poem and see such a great interpretation.

  5. WOWZERS, this is stunning! You and your Mom did a bang up job on this piece! AWESOME work! Love the stamped pendants on this piece! What a great poem! Your both very talented!

  6. That piece is so cool - i love the banners!

  7. Wow! I love how you took us thru your creation process and that necklace is just a stunner!

  8. Only you could come up with that horse and rider, just amazing! The blue beads are the perfect complement and appropriate color for your theme, too. All of it so well done!

  9. boy, you said it already, you guys NAILED IT. what a stunning piece!

  10. A stunning necklace! I enjoyed seeing the process.

  11. Wow - you two certainly DID nail this challenge - this piece is great and it really evokes the feeling of the poem. I just love those stamped flags!!!

  12. Wish I could have seen that - not you get hit with pliers, but the necklace on...its hard to imagine how those peanuts will hang. But it is truly inspired by the poem, and I can tell you had a creatively satisfying time! Well done!

  13. That is incredible. I can feel the weariness of the soldiers, the sweat from the horses as they stop to take a drink, the sound of the pennants flapping in the breeze. I think your idea to knock off the enamel was inspired. You know I love your enamel pieces, but this one really needed that rustic treatment. Thank you for playing with me in this Challenge! Enjoy the day. Erin

  14. Wow, just wow. You nailed it, the necklace makes me feel the same things the poem does. Beautiful work.

  15. This is incredible! Love everything about it. Superb job!

  16. That necklace is just ... amazing!! You and your mum are two very talented artists! Stunning job!

  17. Wow, your piece is fabulous! I love Walk Whitman, what a great interpretation!


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