For Art Journey #2 we are going to go on a fantastical journey into the mind and imagination of Virginia Frances Sterrett. I stumbled upon her captivating images and just knew I had to dive deep and find out more about her! We have selected three of our favorite images from her body of work that are filled with a wealth of intriguing colors, themes and motifs for your inspiration. You don’t need to use all three illustrations for your submissions, but if you love a challenge we look forward to where this leads you!
About the Art & Artist: Virginia Frances Sterrett
American artist and illustrator, Virginia Frances Sterrett (1900-1931), is our artist for Art Journey #2.
Virginia Frances Sterrett was born in 1900 in Chicago, IL. She grew up as an introverted child intrigued by the enormity of her imagination. After her father died, the family moved to Missouri where she won awards for art at the Kansas State Fair (c. 1913) which encouraged her to pursue drawing.
In 1915 her family moved back to Chicago where she was admitted to the Art Institute of Chicago on a full scholarship. But her mother became ill, so Virginia left the Art Institute to be the sole support for her family by working in Chicago area art advertising agencies.
Virginia received her first commission at the age of 19, not long after she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. The Penn Publishing Company hired her to illustrate Old French Fairy Tales (1920), which was a compilation of work from Comtesse de Segur (Sophie Fedorovna Rostopchine). She was paid $500 for eight watercolors and 16 pen and ink drawings, and an additional $250 for the colored cover illustration and drawings for the end papers. A year later, Sterrett illustrated the Tanglewood Tales (1921) for the same publisher.
From 1923 on her health was failing, and the family moved to the sunny southern California city of Altadena. Eventually she ended up in a Sanitorium, resulting in only being able to work in short bursts each day. She was only able to complete one more commission prior to her death in 1931 – her own interpretation of the well-loved Arabian Nights (1928) which took her three years to complete. This was considered her greatest masterpiece.
Virginia started her last commission in 1930 with a series of illustrations for Myths and Legends that was never completed. She died on June 8, 1931 at just 30 years old.
The St Louis Post-Dispatch paid tribute to her life and work with this addition to the announcement of her death on July 5, 1931:
“Her achievement was beauty, a delicate, fantastic beauty, created with brush and pencil. Almost unschooled in art, her life spent in prosaic places of the West and Middle West, she made pictures of haunting loveliness, suggesting Oriental lands she never saw and magical realms no one ever knew except in the dreams of childhood…
Perhaps it was the hardships of her own life that gave the young artist’s work its fanciful quality. In the imaginative scenes she set down on paper she must have escaped from the harsh actualities of existence.”– St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 5, 1931
Such a short life that was filled with immense imagination and beauty!
View more of Virginia Sterrett’s illustrations here.
What is the Art Journey Challenge?
Every six weeks we will challenge our readers to create jewelry inspired by the featured artwork or collection of art or theme. You have until the end of the Art Journey period to share your work and then we pick one winner to receive beads and jewelry-making supplies from our sponsors that will work with our NEXT Art Journey to hopefully inspire you to continue joining the challenges. Our only rule? You must use at least one art bead in your piece!
How to Enter the Monthly Jewelry Challenge:
Create something using an art bead that fits within our monthly theme. This challenge is open to jewelry-makers, fiber artists, collage artist, etc. The art bead can be created by you or someone else. The challenge is to inspire those who use art beads and to see all the different ways art beads can be incorporated into your handiwork. An art bead must be used in your piece to qualify for the monthly challenge. Upload your photo to our photo gallery. Include a short description, who created the art beads and a link to your blog or shop, if you have one.
Deadline is Saturday, March 23rd.
You may upload as many entries as you like per Art Journey, as long as they follow the guidelines. (Please be patient as they are approved by one of our editors to post in the Gallery).
Click here to submit your entry.
Monthly Challenge Winners
• One prize winner will be selected at random from all pictures posted in our new gallery!
• The winner will be randomly chosen from all the qualifying entries on March 24th.
• Be sure to point out all the art bead artists in your work in the description of the photos when you upload to the new gallery. Links to their website or shop are appreciated. That way we can all find new art beads to love!
What is an Art Bead?
An art bead is a bead, charm, button or finding made by an independent artist. Art beads are the vision and handiwork of an individual artist. You can read more about art beads.
***A bead that is handmade is not necessarily an art bead. Hill Tribe Silver, Kazuri ceramic beads or lampwork beads made in factories are examples of handmade beads that are not considered art beads.
Beaded beads, stamped metal pendants or wire-wrapped components are not considered art beads for our challenge.***
Feel free to share beads that you made inspired by our challenge in our gallery. You can enter two photos per month for each challenge. We love to promote new artists and share what you’ve created!
Join us tomorrow to see our prize and sponsor for Art Journey Two!