Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Inspired by Reading Book Club The Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn

The Inspired by Reading Book  Club selection for  September is The  Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn.   This book takes place in Manila roughly during the time of the dictator Marcos.  It is a very dense, film like pastiche of life in post colonial Philippines.  Not an easy book to read for several reasons.  It can be confusing and it does display many graphic images of the violent and sad lives of those less fortunate, especially women.

I have personal reasons for wanting to know more about the Philippines since my grand children's maternal grandfather emigrated to the US from Manila.  I also have been quite intrigued by Jessica Hagedorn's writing.  I loved the movie references and  meta texts of those movies throughout the book adding depth of meaning to many aspects of the novel, as well as referring to the Philippines' importance in movie making in that part of the world.  I especially liked the part about the German film director visiting.

I was inspired to make my necklace by the character of Abuelita Socorro.  Here is Hagedorn's description of her:
"Abuelita Socorro has silver hair.  She drenches herself in "Maja" perfume, wears her perpetual black widow's dress with sheer black stockings and black suede pumps. She has thick ankles, a thick waist and always wears two strands of pearls."

I decided to dress her in  more traditional Filipino jewelry and made a necklace that features the filigree of the Tamborin jewelry and the butterfly that symbolizes the dream of freedom from colonial repression/rule.

This picture shows the simple filigree of a chain that actually comes from Mexico but harkens back to the Spanish filigree tradition.  The toggle clasp that I made has a lone butterfly on a background of copper turned black by patina.  The goldish color of the brass is suggestive of the original filigree that would have been made of gold plated silver.

The pendant I made is also made with brass pieces to suggest gold.  The butterfly itself is stamped into silver soft solder and the flower and border are brass stampings that have been soft soldered to the base. 

                                                      A necklace for Abuelita Socorro

Sadly the dream of freedom from colonialism, also expressed with the butterfly symbol, by the poet, writer and martyr Jose Rizal, did not bring a better life to the Philippines.  The novel the Dogeaters deals with the complex subject of being Filipino in the late 20 the century.  Abuelita Socorro is one  part of this multifaceted identity.
Andrew  Thornton is the leader of the wonderful Inspired by Reading Group.  I am always challenged by the books he has chosen for us to read and to be inspired by to make a creation.  Thank you once again Andrew for a remarkable read and the chance to express my take on it  in jewelry.   I hope you will check out what others have made this month.  The list follows:
Mary Harding    you are here
Mary K McGraw
Jeanne Billeci Steck
Andrew ThorntonLaurel Ross , Connie Parsons , and Allison Smith

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