Prior to the release of Just Live, Juliette at the end of May 2013, a very special giveaway marked the occasion. One lucky winner was to become the proud owner of the custom-designed, hand crafted, sterling silver, one-of-a-kind “Juliette Bracelet” used on the cover of Just Live, Juliette! and detailed in the novel. That’s right – THE bracelet photographed for the cover and created by award-winning artist, Mary Anne Helmond.
The winner of the bracelet was Tonya G. of Florida, U.S.A. Congratulations, once again, Tonya! The lovely Tonya is a bookaholic and offers book reviews, tours, and so much more on her website – My Family’s Heart Book Reviews & Tours. “My love of reading has always gotten me through good days, bad days, you can always turn to a book and melt away into another time, another place and forget the real world for at least for a while.”
Please enjoy this
into the bracelet’s creation.
In The Artist’s Studio
A Glimpse Behind-the-Scenes of Just Live, Juliette!
Her studio was quiet, save for the whispering shush of the soft blue flame shooting from her mounted propane torch. She leaned in towards her work table and adjusted her bottom on the stool; tucking a short, blond strand behind her ear and tweaking the position of the visor across her eyes. Feeling the rising heat of the flame float towards her face led a smile to settle on her lips. Perfect, she thought.
Her long, thin, steel mandrel already held the beginnings of her creation. Delicately rolling it between her fingers, she dipped the molten glass bead that it supported in and out of the flame, forcing the softened glass to shift and settle; to bend to her skilful will. As she turned the mandrel, the glass gently flowed around it; shiny and thick like honey. This was a special commission, and she wanted it to be perfect. As an artist, she wanted every piece to be perfect, but this one seemed to need it; to have some sort of distant yearning to be perfect. She couldn’t explain it. It was simply an emotion she had felt when she had received the commission.
She twirled the mandrel some more. The detailed, green-tone bead that would form the base had finally taken shape. Holding it closer, she critically examined the exquisite surface, and then twirled it back into the flame once more, ensuring a perfect, rounded form. Satisfied that it was ready, she allowed the warm, greenish ball to hover near the flame to stay warm as she carefully heated the first of several thin rods of colored glass; the first of her specially-prepared combination of colors. Her focus was unwavering as she carefully balanced the mandrel in her left hand and the new, fragile rod of glass in her right; watching as the end succumbed to the heat and formed into a small dot. Lightly touching it to the larger, warm, greenish ball hovering under the flame, she began the painstaking process of creating the unique peacock pattern he had requested.
Only when this bead was perfect would it sit in the kiln to anneal; to slowly cool to room temperature to strengthen the glass and to prevent it from cracking. Tomorrow, she would remove it from the mandrel and add a sterling silver bracelet. That is what he wanted. And he wanted the plain, white box she would place it in when it was done to be wrapped with a dainty silver ribbon to mirror the daintiness of the bracelet. Silver was familiar, he had said. He had shared that when he thought of this young woman, he thought of silver, although he didn’t know why. He had confessed that it was actually metal in general that came to his mind – steel, or maybe iron – he wasn’t sure. But neither of those made for as pretty a gift as sterling silver. The artist wasn’t sure if the gift was for the man’s love or not, but he had been such a kind and gentle soul, that she truly hoped it was.
Spotlight on the Artist – Mary Ann Helmond
When not playing the role of muse in such fictional glimpses, Mary Ann Helmond can either be found teaching high school art classes, or spending time in her Kitchener, Ontario, Canada studio creating stunning lampwork art and beads, and designing jewelry such as the custom bracelet created specifically for the cover of Just Live, Juliette! The unique peacock pattern is Mary Ann’s signature design.
Mary Ann’s work has been published in several books and magazines, including Lark Crafts 500 Series – “Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry”, Canadian Beading magazine, The Flow magazine, and the 2012 Toronto Bead Society Calendar. Her work has competed in three juried shows through the International Society of Glass Beadmakers.
“The Art Nouveau Peacock”, created in collaboration with Guelph, Ontario, Canada bead artist Roxann Blazetich-Ozols, was a finalist in the Bead Dreams competition for the Bead and Button Show, 2012, and first place winner in the mixed media category of the Wellington Artists’ Gallery juried show, October 2012.
Mary Ann now adds the custom-designed “Juliette Bracelet” on the cover of Just Live, Juliette! to her long list of accomplishments.
In the fall of 2013, Mary Ann’s peacock beads were added to the collection in the Glass Market at The Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, U.S.A. Congratulations Mary Ann! Her work can also be found in the Gallery Shop of the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.
And, of course, you can always visit Mary Ann Helmond’s website for more information and a glimpse at her amazing work.