Wednesday 18 November 2015

History Hop: Paleolithic Style - Sign up here!

Primitive stone tool. Source: Didier Descouens via Wikipedia.
Welcome to another History Hop! The purpose of this blog hop is to create a piece of jewelry (or wearable art) inspired by a period in history. The idea for this edition of the History Hop came about while I was watching one of Werner Herzog's documentaries, Cave of Forgotten Dreams. I found myself enchanted by the primitive art and thought it would make a great theme for a jewelry hop! First, I'll explain a little bit about the era and share some inspiration I found during my research (more on the rules and how the hop works later).
The Paleolithic era is a time in early, primitive history notable for the development and use of simple, hand formed tools (like the stone hand axe above) and some remarkable examples of early art - cave paintings. The simplicity, limited materials, tools, and art of the time are what inspired me to choose this period for our blog hop. I'm sure the organic and simplistic style of the era will translate beautifully into your own jewelry.

Source: Wikipedia

The Paleolithic era is divided into three categories (Lower, Middle and Upper) and it was during these periods that mankind began to develop some
of the recognizable foundations of humanity. Some of the first works of art were created during this era (photos at right) as well as primitive stone tools. (1)

For the purpose of this blog hop, we'll be looking at the Paleolithic period as a whole, so there's no need to focus on just the Lower, Middle or Upper periods, unless you want an extra challenge!

Source: Wikipedia {{PD-Art}}
To the right are two examples of cave paintings from the era. The one at the top right depicts a number of wild animals - horses, rhinos and buffalo. The images are layered on top of each other with beautiful shading and just the essential details. 

The second image is another layered depiction of lions, again with the charcoal-like line drawing of the first image. They both possess a quality of movement and liveliness, despite their simplicity.

There's no right or wrong way to draw your inspiration from these images. Study them and create something with your own interpretations. Draw inspiration from the animals, the colors - cream, ombre, charcoal, earthy neutral tones - or the movement. Create a simple piece or something layered and complex; something with flow and movement. Whatever sparks your creative fires!

Cave paintings were not the only form of art that developed in the Paleolithic period. Etchings, carvings and sculptures became abundant. These were often made of clay, stone or bone (more materials to consider using in your designs). The subjects of the sculptures, much like the cave art, were often animals, but also female forms referred to as Venus figures. (2) Even now, the female Venus or "goddess" figure is very popular in art. You've probably seen one or two lampwork glass goddess pendants in your time! The sculpture below, known as Venus de Brassempouy, is a beautiful example of a Paleolithic sculpture. This particular piece is thought to have been carved from mammoth ivory. (3)

Source: Frederique Panassac

Aside from the art, another feature of the Paleolithic era I found intriguing was the stone tools. A number of techniques were developed during this time in history for cutting, sharpening, and creating stone tools. The photo at the beginning of this post is a wonderful example of a faceted (or flaked - Acheulean) stone hand axe. These were most often made with stones you might already be familiar with - jasper, chalcedony, obsidian, and quartzite. Now, being bead lovers, I'm sure we've all seen beautiful, faceted stones in our time. These would make a great addition to a piece inspired by the stonework of the period. (4)

Besides stones, other natural materials - wood, antler, natural fibers and leather - were used in day to day activities as tools and adornments. (5) As you can imagine, jewelry designs would have been limited (this era gave birth to jewelry), but there are records of shells being worked and used as personal adornments and perhaps for rituals. (6) Other materials used to fashion beads and adornments were bone, ivory and stone. (7)

Shell beads. Source: Blombos Cave - Wikipedia

Things to consider for your designs: there are no set dos and don'ts! Feel free to interpret the Paleolithic period in your own way. Draw from the earthy, natural hues, the organic materials (stone, bone, shells, cloth - consider handmade beads with a primitive design), or create a piece inspired by the animals depicted - perhaps even a particular cave painting.

So, let's get to the blog hop!

History Hop: Paleolithic Style rules & deadlines:

  • Sign ups until November 30th. Comment on this blog post to sign up.
  • Create a single (or more!) piece of jewelry or wearable art based on the Paleolithic era.
  • Blog hop reveal on December 9th. That gives us 3 weeks to create!

How a blog hop works:
Sign up by commenting on this post. Please leave a comment with a link to YOUR blog. I will collect all the links and names and make a list of the hoppers so we can all hop back and forth checking out all the gorgeousness. Does that make you hoppy? It makes me hoppy!

After you create your piece, take some nifty photos and create your blog post. You can ramble on, like me, or keep it short and let your photos speak for themselves. Schedule the post or publish it manually on December 9th - the reveal date.

As you sign up, I'll collect your blog links and make a list of participants. I'll update this post with the list, so you can copy and paste it into your reveal post.

Most importantly of all, please make sure to leave a link to your blog so I can add you to the list and everyone can see what you make! Ok, most, most importantly, have fun! 

Not a blogger? If you don't have a blog, why the heck not? No problem, please contact me, and I will direct you to where the non-blogger reveal will be. I'm planning on creating an album in a Facebook group (only if we need it!), so you fabulous non-bloggers can have fun, too. I get soo many emails, you might have better luck contacting me via my Facebook page, Beady Eyed Bunny.

To finish this off, I've put together a little color palette from one of my favourite cave paintings, a bison from the Cave of Altamira. But feel free to use any colors that speak to you. Enjoy!

References & further reading:
Cave of Forgotten dreams by Werner Herzog
1 & 5. Paleolithic - Wikipedia
2. Paleolithic Period -
3. Venus of Brassempouy - Wikipedia
4. Acheulean Industry -
6. Additional evidence...Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
7. Treasures from the Ancient World - Museum of Ancient and Modern Art

Full list of participants:

Leah Curtis (hostess) - Beady Eyed Bunny
Shaiha's Ramblings
Julia Hay - Pandanimal
Rachel Mallis - Mint Monarch
Robin Reed - Artistry HCBD
Joanne Tinks
YeeLen Spirit Designs
Karin G. - Gingko et Coquelicot
Dini Bruinsma
Deborah Apodaca
Tapping Flamingo

Facebook Participants:

Laura Bailey Taskey
Album for Facebook participants found in Bead Soup Cafe 


  1. I am so in. Www.ShaihasRamblings com.

    1. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. Now, I need to go think about what I will be doing.....:D

  2. Definitely count me in! I'm very excited! This is my blog:

  3. Yeahhhh me too. :)

  4. Oh! Me me me me me me. Please. =) This is so up my street it's moved in. =) Very short time scale though! and so close to christmas. =/ But I'm sure I can do something.

  5. Me! I wanna participate!

  6. Me too!

  7. I'm in!

  8. I am sooo in!!! artistryhcbd.indiemade. com

  9. Can i play please

  10. I am in like always! :)

  11. I'm in too!

  12. Count me in please ♥ I love to participate!

  13. Count me in!!!

  14. Can't wait to see what everyone comes up with! Now to go think about what I'm going to create....