Thursday, February 28, 2013

Challenge of Music Blog Hop


What do you think of when you hear that word?

Chinese food? Probably.

But in relation to music, certainly you hear the childhood piano favorite, "chopsticks", playing in your head.

As a child, I wanted to learn to play piano. I took lessons, but could never get my left hand to do something different than my right hand (am I alone with this one?) But I could play Chopsticks. Because both hands are doing the same thing, but in the opposite direction. Then mid-way through the song, they do the same thing, but a couple keys apart. This was easy for my child hands (and brain) to "master". We played chopsticks until we were told to "knock it off!!" by the adults in the room (then we switched to "Heart and Soul" - another easy song for the piano). As an adult now, I can see where more than a couple minutes of chopsticks would make you yell "knock it off!!".

Liberace plays it in this youtube video, like I have never heard it before: (wow!)

And here is what I discovered on Wikipedia about Chopsticks (it's a waltz - who knew?!):

"Chopsticks" (original name "The Celebrated Chop Waltz") is a simple, extremely well known waltz for the piano. It was written in 1877 by the British composer Euphemia Allen under the pseudonym Arthur de Lulli.[1] Allen, who was the sister of a music publisher, was supposedly only sixteen when she composed the piece, with arrangements for solo and duet. The title Chop Waltz comes from Allen's specification that the melody be played in two-part harmony with both hands held sideways, little fingers down, striking the keys with a chopping motion. This name suggests the piece should be played in 3/4 (waltz) metre, although it is also commonly heard with the stresses as in 6/8 time.

On to my creations!!
***Obligatory apology for the photo quality. I was forced to use an indoor light box, which is no substitute for natural sunlight***

I knew when I decided to use this song I would need to make some decisions. Should I go with an Asian theme? Or a childhood theme? Or make some thing that represents the two halves of the song?
Rather than make a decision, I went in all directions.

My first photo is the childhood theme. When I think of "chopsticks" I think about being that kid at the piano! I'm not a bracelet fan, so this can be worn either as a bracelet or a necklace. Simply remove the length of chain and wrap the charm bracelet around your wrist! Lots of plastic kid charms and pixies, a bottle cap bead, a vintage red celluloid heart and wooden mini yo-yo.

Above the dog it says "I'm in the doghouse"

Next, I got to thinking about the Asian influence this song had on my thoughts. On a recent visit to Erin's etsy store, I saw her Asian inspired simple truths, to compliment the monthly painting at Art Bead Scene Blog. Serendipity! - It was perfect for what I had in mind. And the colors would be perfect too! In the meantime, I've had an Arizona iced tea can on my workbench, waiting to test my disc cutter. The can is fairly thin gauge, and it cut like buttah! My "plan" was to dap my discs into bead caps, but I now realize (after mutilating unsuccessfully dapping a couple discs) I do not have the right kind of dapping block for that - something to shop for, like I need a reason to shop ;-)
OK, plan "B"!
It took me a while to figure out how to fold them, but I made mini fortune cookies out of my discs! I absolutely love them! But then, my pendant arrived, and, while I love it, the colors were more subdued than I imagined they'd be. My fortune cookies are too bright and don't look good with it.
OK, plan "C"!
I happened to have an Asian brass fan sitting out on my bead desk (from Trinity Brass, I think), so I designed my fortune cookie necklace around that. I am actually quite happy with it. I have enough fortune cookies left over to make a bracelet too! (someday)

Faceted fuscia Jasper, Brass Fan, and my little fortune cookies!

 Of course, I made earrings to match!
I case you're wondering, I did not slide tiny little fortunes inside the cookies - but I could!
But what about Erin's beautiful pendant? Not to worry. I had strawberry quartz beads that matched wonderfully.
Now, this was another one of my ideas for Chopsticks...if you count the number of chain links on this necklace, it's the same number of notes in Chopsticks:
123456.123456.123456 (clasp) 12.12.12345.12345.12.12.

(plus, you might have noticed that I chose the stick version of Erin's pendants, rather than a round one or some other shape - get it? chop STICK)
18 links per side, represent the two "halves" of the song

Strawberry Quartz and sea glass, adventurine, Lucite leaves, and the lovely Simple Truths pendant

Lastly and also serendipitously, last weekend I stumbled across a bunch of chopstick I had bought, back during my auction-going days. They are petite (about 6" long) and beautiful, with mother of pearl inlay. So, at the last minute, I wanted to try to make something with two of them. This is more of a experimental necklace, and not really meant to be worn. I may add to it, but this all I had time to do. I think it has potential. The chopsticks alone would be beautiful stuck into a hair bun.
Czech Dragonfly bead from Maya Honey

Rather than copy the list here, please go to Erin's blog post here to see the other participants!

Thank you, Erin, for hosting once again. This challenge proved to be a bit more difficult than I thought it would be, but I'm happy to have been a part of it. I'm anxious to see what everyone else has done!


  1. I'm blown away by your darling fortune cookies! So innovative. Love the entire necklace. The chopstick necklace is so clever, the necklace with Erin's pendant is so beautiful and the child's bracelet is so fun. Fantastic job!

  2. Wonderful job! I love the child's bracelet. I bet you had a blast creating that! And the fortune cookies! They are so totally cool! Love the post, the music and your story. But isn't that where music comes from??? Our stories.

  3. Anonymous7:07 AM

    Wow! You've been so creative. So many creative ideas coming from one piece of music. I love them all, can't choose a favourite. Milka

  4. What a prolific month - I like how you took off from a common piece, and developed pieces imbued with your personal meanings. The fortunes cookies are my favorite!

  5. That is an incredible bounty of work. I'd of never thought of chop sticks and how great it is that your personal story lead you there. I thought the child like piece would be my favorite but as I moved through the pieces I have to admit I have more than one. Fortune cookies out of Arizona ice tea - talk about rocking my boat - incredible.

    Would you mind if I added our blog to my list on line?

  6. WOW! That;s all I can say is WOW! I am so impressed with all of your pieces. Your interpretation of Chopsticks is prolific and stunning. I think the bracelet/necklace made wit those charms is such a neat idea. It's so playful. The rest of the pieces are just unbelievable gorgeous. Those "fortune cookies"?! Wow. So creative and original!!!

  7. Oh, beautiful - you went from playful to gorgeous to stunning :) I love the 'fortune cookies' idea, especially in the Arizona tea tin, it is so perfect: cherry blossoms into fortune cookies! The rest of the pieces are amazing too. Love all of them.

  8. Oh, see, now *I* want to make some fortune cookies! I love that! (I love the others, too, but this one caught me!)

  9. I enjoyed your story of your inspiration music. The childrens bracelet is so much fun. And those Chinese cookie beads you made out of aluminum cans are fabulous. You did justice to Erin's pendant.

  10. Great jewellery and a great interpretation of the music. While the fortune cookie necklace really is neat, I must say it's the necklace with Erin's pendant that's my favouite. For the colours, shapes -- and of cause the sutble chopstick reference of the chain links. The chopstick necklace is cool and very creative too.

  11. Lovely, Lovely!...I really like the Simple Truth pendant necklace...the colors and deign are wonderful...:) ...also, I like the dainty little cookies that you made, very cool! ...well, lots of other blogs to check out yet, so I'd better get going...will be back to check out your bead soup too, as I see you are in that one too...:)

  12. This post is so much fun! I loved how you opened with the whimsical child like piece and I feel like the theme went and got all grown up along the way ending with this experiment (but I'd prefer to say, cutting edge) piece. Love, love the little fortune cookies, I don't think they need a message at all, perfect just as they are

  13. You have been busy!!!! Wow! You were truly inspired and made some amazing pieces of wearable art!!!!

  14. You are so right - I definitely think of childhood when I hear this song. Your 'kid' design is just awesome and made me smile! And those fortune cookies? Amazing! I absolutely love them! What you did with Erin's pendant is so beautiful and the meaning behind the design and how you chose the elements is so interesting. And finally, the chopsticks are lovely - I think that design would make great Christmas tree ornaments. Beautiful job all around!

    :) Molly

  15. Oh WOW! I love all your pieces - especially the fortune cookie necklace! What you did with Erin's pendant is amazing and I love that you used the notes as reference for that piece! Your post was a lot of fun to read through and see each of your interpretations of Chopsticks!

  16. Wow Cynthia! You hit this challenge out of the park! Each interpretation is beautiful, clever and oh so creative ... Chopsticks will never look or sound the same to me again!

  17. Cynthia, your choice of music was both courageous and surprising... and awesome! The inimitable Liberace was such a treat. And you really delivered on the inspiration pieces. I have to confess the last one is my favorite, not just because it looks beautiful... but also has a hint of danger LOL. You could call it your "Don't Mess With Me" necklace. A new direction in personal safety. Very cool!

  18. Isn't Librace wonderful!

    I like that your bracelet/necklace is so versatile and the charms you selected are really fun, fun, fun. It has childhood written all over it! Your fortune cookies are amazing, such a great idea. The necklace made with Eri's pendant is a beauty and the chops sticks are really fun. Man, were you inspired!

  19. Oh My gosh! How FUN!!! I love all your interpretations of that simple piece of music. Wow. I adore those cute little fortune cookies on the necklace the best!

  20. Fabolous! So many interpretations of a piece of music, from fun to elegant! Good job, very well done!!

  21. The fortune cookies are fab, awesome idea!

  22. I am just chuckling over here because this is so very clever! I love the choice of music, and Liberace playing it, too! What a kitschy choice! Each of these so clearly demonstrates the idea of Chopsticks to me. The fun kid themed one (that is the only song that I can play as well!), the fortune cookies are fab - what a great idea! Now I see what you were planning to do with the stick pendant. I love it! And the cool vintage chopsticks? That is the most clever yet! I am so happy that you were able to play along with me and you were super inspired. Thank you for sharing your music and talent with the world! Enjoy the day. Erin

  23. Ok, I don't even know where to begin! Each of your pieces is so different, yet so wonderful AND appropriate! I love it! So many interpretations of one piece by one person :) Brilliant!

  24. Anonymous4:01 AM

    Love the fortune cookies, what an inspired design! And I love the necklace with Erin's pendant too, very pretty! Fantastic how inspiring such a simple tune can be!

  25. WOW!!!These are soooo cool! I love the whimsy of your charm necklace/bracelet. It's fabulous-these are all fabulous-but I this little number really speaks to me. BTW, I also did the chopsticks/heart and soul bit too! I can't stop smiling at your post! Thanks!!!


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