Saturday, September 1, 2012

challenge of travel reveal!

a big gushy thank you to erin prais-hintz for thinking of this brilliant new challenge. i loved it thoroughly!

welcome to one of the longer stays on your journey: japan!

japan has always deeply fascinated me, and i'm so excited to share this love with you. japanese art especially moves me.

their calligraphic art is called ukiyo-e and is inspired by the buddhist's path to enlightenment. it's characterized by a strong upward movement, which is, in fact, what ukiyo-e means. i find the landscapes especially inspiring. in fact, i have a ukiyo-e tattoo on my arm. it's a waterfall, maple in autumn, mountains, river, koi, stylized flowers, and a lotus. i breathe deeply and pause when i see ukiyo-e. that, to me, is one step on the path to enlightenment.

historically speaking, japan has been full of upheaval. emperors, sho-gun, and wars with neighboring countries, which ultimately led them to declare their borders closed. it wasn't until 1853, when an american ambassador went in and spoke eloquently of the modern era and the technological advancements happening all over the world that japan finally became part of the modern era. japan fever swept the world as it's beautiful art began to be exported. and japan took to the world, embracing technology and other modern influences. now you will find ancient japanese customs alongside skyscrapers, high-speed trains, and amazing technological advancements.

recently japan has received several hard hits, from earthquakes and tsunamis to financial difficulties due to the worldwide recession. we must keep this amazing country in our thoughts and prayers.

i chose to focus on the interesting juxtapostion of ancient/modern, using cherry blossoms and architecture as my jumping off place.

i so love that they hold a cherry blossom festival every spring! isn't that sweet? and the gift they gave to america of cherry trees, planted in d.c., just really moves me. my deepest inspiration is nature. oh, this magnificent earth that God created for us!

in honor of spring, cherry blossoms, and the path to enlightment, i made this simple necklace.

i really hope i was able to convey my love of and respect for japan. i wanted to keep it simple, to reflect the feeling i get when i look at ukiyo-e. that lightness of being.

i wanted to use only things that i have right now, so i dug through my hoard stash and found this gorgeously appropriate vintaj butterfly, in honor of japan's reverence of nature and their respect for the transience of this life.

this lovely enameled copper paddle is from kim of numinousity beads by kimberly rogers. kim lives up in my neck of the woods, and we're just a stone's throw away from each other at the farmer's market, so i get to see her luscious beads and amazing jewelry all the time! tempting, so tempting. the lucite cherry blossom is not exactly from *my* stash. it's from my sister's stash. she has an extensive collection of lucite blossoms and when i cried about my lack of a cherry blossom, she donated it to the cause. have i ever mentioned how much i adore my beloved sister? she's actually in the challenge of travel and you'll visit her here later on in your extended stay in ireland.

here i used pink lampwork beads by doris stumpf that i received all the way from germany in a bead exchange hosted by the lovely lori anderson. it was in honor of the pantone color palette of this summer. the ivory beads are carved bone. i used blackwire from the hardware store throughout for more of that ancient/modern tension.

here's another peek. i got the chain from michael's. it's the industrial chic line. and isn't the toggle just right?

i was so pleased to find such amazingly appropriate treasures right in my stash! and my sister's stash. i love shopping at home!

i so love how this necklace turned out and really enjoyed immersing myself in the experience. i hope you leave this stop in japan a little further along your own path towards enlightment.

keep journeying! please visit the rest of this wonderful world-wide tour!

Name Blog Region Chosen Inspiration Nation
Monique Urquhart Africa Burkina Faso
Niky Sayers Africa Egypt
Therese Frank Africa Kenya
Raychelle Heath Africa Lesotho
Joan Williams Africa Mauritania
Sherri Stokey Africa Senegal
Regina Santerre Africa Seychelles
Raida Disbrow Africa Tanzania
Kristi Wodek Africa Zimbabwe
Sally Russick Americas Brazil
Melissa Trudinger Americas Mexico
Tracy Stillman Americas USA
Sandra Wolberg Asia India
Tanya Goodwin Asia Japan
Susan Kennedy Asia Japan
****Beth Emery**** Asia Japan
Lisa Cone Asia Japan
Tanya Boden Asia Japan
Inge von Roos Asia Laos
Erin Prais-Hintz Asia Nepal
Dee Elgie Asia Phillipines
Carolyn Lawson Asia South Korea
Lisa Stukel Asia Sri Lanka
Elly Snare Asia Thailand
Shelley Graham Turner Europe Austria
Mallory Hoffman Europe Bosnia Herzegovina
Paige Maxim Europe France
Jenny Davies-Reazor Europe Germany
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson Europe Greece
Evelyn Shelby Europe Iceland
Holly Westfall Europe Ireland
Rebecca Siervaag Europe Ireland
Toltec Jewels Europe Ireland
Lee Koopman Europe Ireland
Laren Dee Barton Europe Italy
Cindy Wilson Europe Norway
Kathleen Lange Klik Europe Poland
Shaiha Williams Europe Portugal
Jennifer Justman Europe Romania
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca Europe Spain
Lola Surwillo Europe Sweden
Kim Hora Europe Switzerland
Leanne Loftus Europe The Netherlands
Patti Vanderbloemen Europe The Netherlands
Marcie Carroll Europe Turkey
Marlene Cupo Oceania Federated States of Micronesia
Ine Vande Cappelle Oceania Fiji
Tammie Everly Oceania Guam
Alice Peterson Oceania Kiribati
Elisabeth Auld Oceania Nauru
Susan McClelland Oceania New Zealand
D Lynne Bowland Oceania New Zealand
Denielle Hagerman Oceania New Zeland
Rebecca Anderson Oceania Papua New Guinea
Mischelle Fanucchi Oceania Samoa
Kari Asbury Oceania Solomon Islands
Cece Cormier Oceania Tonga
Emma Todd Oceania Tuvalu
Debbie Price Oceania Vanuatu



  1. I love this design. You captured the delicate color of the beautiful cherry blossoms but did not let it overpower your piece. I love the natural color of the chain and the butterfly too, a natural color for cherry blossom branches OR a hint of the industrial and technological revolution that has brought this tiny country into the mainstream.

  2. I love cherry blossoms and the colors in your necklace are perfect. I love the little flower and the butterfly.

  3. Hi Beth! Ooh! Love it. I look at pix first, and thought - simple, sweet, reserved. Then I read your post and it makes such sense why you did what you did! It is lovely!. Carved beads remind me of netsuke. The Cherry Blossoms in DC are divine if you ever are on that side of the country! Located around the tidal basin, reflected in the water with (hopefully ) blue sky... I tried to go every Spring when I lived in the area, and never take it for granted.

    Thanks for a great post! A pleasure.

  4. I am thrilled that you joined me on the journey Miss Beth! Japan is a nation that fascinates me. I think your use of the butterfly is a beautiful tribute to the people and culture of Japan. They have been tjrough many hardships but yet their spirit emerges, changed yet so intricately beautiful. Enjoy the day. Erin

  5. My brother has a love for Japanese culture as well and it influences most, if not all, of his drawings and watercolors. He spent two weeks there a few years ago. The gift of the cherry trees is also celebrated each spring in D.C. They are a beautiful addition to the american landscape. Northern Virginia, where I live, is stunning in late March, early April!

    The necklace you created is a beautiful tribute to Japan!

  6. I loved to read what inspired you about Japan-there were so many different avenues you could have taken with your wonderful pictures! I live just outside of DC and witness their beautiful gift of cherry blossoms each year! Your necklace perfectly reflects your inspiration - nice job!

  7. Thanks for sharing your knowledge of Japan. The necklace is simply beautiful ;)

  8. Great job. I love the photos you used.

  9. What a beautiful necklace. It so sums up the spirit of the Japanese people.

  10. Beautiful! I love the necklace! You captured the spirit of Japan!

  11. I really enjoyed your blog post and learning about ukiyo-e, which is incredibly beautiful. Your necklace conveys that simple elegance perfectly!

  12. Hi Beth,
    I enjoyed reading and viewing Japan through your eyes the art work is beautiful. The necklace you created is just as beautiful and I like how each aspect of the necklace represents a part of Japan.

  13. Beautiful photos! I love that your piece was inspired by the cherry blossom festival. The necklace is lovely.

  14. Beautiful post! I love Japan too! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Greetings! I'm so happy that I found both you and your sister's blogs. I really love both of your designs. You have really captured the spirit of traditional Japanese art... for which I am a big fan. Your color choice and thoughtful simplicity of design seriously rocks;)
    Many blessings,
    Holly (

  16. I really like your necklace. So pretty!!

  17. What fun. I love the butterfly symbolism. Quiet reverence to be sure.

  18. Beautiful necklace. You definitely conveyed your appreciation of the culture. Looks like you have a mighty nice stash if you had all of the elements for this design!

  19. Beth, sorry to be so long delayed to your wonderful post. I find your creation such a wonderful reflection of this nation. Japanese art tends to be restrained, no wasted brush-strokes. The architecture is also in keeping with clean lines and little unnecessary ornamentation. I love how you honoured that aesthetic with your design choices, hinting at the respect for nature and harmoniousness, simplicity and striving. Very well done!

  20. Baeutiful post, and beautiful necklace. Thank you for the insight on the Japanese culture. So serene inspite of the turmoil.


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