Monday, 27 April 2015

April Art Bead Scene Challenge

Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940
By Frida Kahlo
Oil on Canvas
61.25 cm × 47 cm (24.11 in × 18.5 in)
Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin

Frida's Soul

Frida Kahlo de Rivera (1907-1954) is Mexico’s most celebrated female artist, famed most notably for her association with pain and passion both in her life and in her artwork, and notorious for her honesty in depicting the female form.  Painting was not her original path, but a horrific bus crash at the age of 18 left her bedridden for over a year while she underwent over 30 operations to put her broken body back together again.  Painting became a way of release, and of her 143 paintings, 55 are self portraits due to the amount of time she spent alone and immobilised.  She painted her life as she saw it, she did not paint dreams. 

As pain was such a big part of Frida's life it featured heavily in her artwork. This particular painting was no exception.  Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (1940) was painted just after her divorce from Diego Rivera and the end of her affair with photographer Nickolas Muray.

Frida often used Christian or Jewish symbolism in her work, so I would like to think that she would have approved of my choice and use of symbolism.  The focal pendant is not only representative of the hummingbird in her painting, but also symbolic of a blood stained cross and representative of her pain that she portrayed in her painting.  I see Frida Kahlo as a tortured soul, tormented by the physical and emotional pain she endured during her lifetime, which is why I have called my necklace, Frida’s Soul.

The polymer clay hummingbird and leaves were made by me, as was the clasp.  The following photos will give you a little peek into some of the processes involved in creating this necklace. 


And finally, a closer view of the individual components.

Frida's Soul

I hope you like it.  Thanks for reading. xx


  1. This is lovely Melanie, I really really love the colour of those leaves and the stylized birdy :)

  2. Thank you so much Jess. One of the things I love about doing the Art Bead Scene monthly challenges is that they encourage me to consider using colours that I wouldn't normally use. I'm really pleased with how this necklace turned out. :)