Sunday, 2 March 2014

Challenge of Music 2014

A belated welcome to my stop on the Challenge of Music blog hop! After what seemed like an eternity of knotting (126 knots to be precise), I finally have a challenge piece to show. It's green, but not so much in anticipation of spring. The colour is in many ways the central component of this story and challenge creation and it all begins in the year 2000.

My studentmössa, "student cap", from the graduation in June 2000.

The year 2000 started, in a way, rather anticlimactic for many after the much ado about nothing 1999 new year's eve. No world ending, no civilization crushing Y2K computer bug, no epic end-of-a-millenium party. But for me and everyone else my age in this country it was the beginning of a very important time. It was our last semester at gymnasiet, the three years following the mandatory nine years of schools, and it was time to choose our path in life. As the year transcended into the Year of the Dragon, many of us were really to send in our university applications. I was one of them, the first one (and so far the only one) in the family to aim for higher education.

This is the first meaning of the green colour as I, during the last year studying at the social science - business administration programme (samhälle ekonomisk), had gotten fed up with what I thought was my path in life, marketing. The more we studied, the less it felt creative and challenging and the more it felt like just learning about how to manipulate people. Business administration felt hollow, without real meaning and importance even though I still sort of loved the dynamic world of business. And having become more and more interested in environmental issues as well as human rights, contrasting marketing with the important issues in the world, money making felt soulless. The solution came one day when our class teacher handed us a list of business admin and economics programmes at the universities and högskolor in Sweden. After looking through the list, one line stood out. It said the Ecological Economics Programme. Not knowing much about all the existing disciplines, this felt like striking gold: I could combine my interest in economics/business admin with my passion for environmental issues! I knew straight away what I wanted to study after the summer. Now it was just a matter of finishing the last courses, get my grades and my student cap and then pursue my new passion in life.

In the summer I got the papers saying I got in and in late August I moved to a student flat in Västerås, a place I couldn't even pinpoint on a map of Sweden I'm embarrassed to say...

This is where the music part of this challenge comes in. Choosing a year was easy, the year 2000 was so extremely important in my life, but choosing a song wasn't much harder. We only had the basic channels on telly (plus the danish as we're on the verge of the area where you can get their broadcasts), but in my flat I got cable, which meant getting two (then) music channnels, MTV and ZTV. I still remember two songs from that year, one mainly from the telly (Overload with the Sugabages) and one from the telly and the clubs I visited with my new class mates that autumn. This is the second song I remember from that year:

The one thing I remember from the actual music video I saw on my telly was -- yes, you guessed it, the colour green.

But there's even more green associated with the year 2000 for me. Not just the green from the song I remember so well from the dance floors and videos on telly, not just the symbolic green of my choice of studies (apart from Ecological Economics, it included all sorts of green disciplines, from environmental sciences and green technology to eco sociology and environmental history). The one thing I remember best from my first -- and so far, only -- flat was not the inside, but what was outside. A country girl moving to the big city, I still felt close to nature: on the back of the student apartment building there was a lawn and a small exposed cliff with bushes and trees. You could at times see many rabbits and on occasions even a roe or two. At the centre of it all was a big linden tree. Every time I looked out my windows, I saw that beautiful tree, it filled up the window frame.

So that my challenge piece was to be green was the one thing I knew right from the start when signing up. Now it was "just" a matter of design and finding the right components. In the end, I settled for a simple (but somewhat time consuming design) that focused mainly on colour. The colour of the music video and the colour of my memories of the year of the dragon 2000.

In a way it's also a reference to home: the paired dagger beads reminds me of bamboo leaves, like from the bamboo bushes dad planted in the gardens. I spotted that while making the necklaces so it wasn't a symbol I intended originally.

As for more references to the music, it's a song that make you want to move -- dance or just jump up and down -- and I can just imagine the necklace and the beads bouncing and moving with the person wearing it.

The necklaces is made using medium braided silk thread and small dagger beads in a very simple pattern, knotting them two and two with spaces in between. Thought about varying it a bit, knotting some daggers in groups of three or one, but in the end I kept it like this --probably because of them reminding me of our beloved bamboo. At first it was intended as a lariat without clasp, but as it tangles easily I felt it was probably better to add a clasp -- none can be seen in the pics as I want a green one to match the beads -- wear it like a multi-strand rather than wrapping it around the neck.

It's very simple, but I like it. It'd be easy add a removable pendant or little beads on headpins if I ever felt like varying it a bit.

And that's it, my challenge creation and my story of an important year in my life. It's my life -- a fragment of it captured in glass beads and silk cord. For many more stories and creations, please visit our challenge creator and blog hop host Erin's challenge reveal post for her creations and for links to the rest of the participants. Enjoy!


  1. Dagger beads are one of my favorite shaped beads and I think your design makes really great use of them. Fantastic job

  2. I love it - green is my favourite colour.

  3. Oh fantastic! what a great song and what a fab necklace--I love it!!! xox jean

  4. This is a lovely necklace. I hope your fingers have recovered. Great choice of music too. Good old Bon Jovi...yeah!

  5. Such a great story! The path you have taken all stemmed from the choice - to be green. I love that! I don't know that I remember this video, but Bon Jovi was (is) hot and that song is an anthem for sure. I love the simple repetition of this design. It is a stunner! Thank you for joining me in the 3rd Annual Challenge of Music. Enjoy the day! Erin

  6. Interesting story and music. Such a beautiful necklace telling about the colour green in your life. Milka

  7. You nailed it - what a wonderful story and how you co-related both the design perfectly to these events in your life! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Thank you so much for all your lovely comments, everyone! It's not much, but it's something. :-)


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