I saw a peacock with a fiery tail.
I saw a blazing comet drop down hail.
I saw a cloud with ivy circles round.
I saw a sturdy oak creep on the ground.
I saw a pismire swallow up a whale.
I saw a raging sea brim full of ale.
I saw a Venice glass sixteen foot deep.
I saw a well full of men’s tears that weep.
I saw their eyes all in a flame of fire.
I saw a house as big as the moon and higher.
I saw the sun even in the midst of night.I saw the man that saw this wondrous sight.
If anyone is interested - a pismire is an ant!!
Have any of you read this nonsensical nursery rhyme - it is a piece of nonsense until you add punctuation marks - specifically commas in the middle of each line - and then hey presto, it all reads absolutely right. Of course, you also have to delete all the full stops - go on, try it -
It would then read like this - and make more sense - but who looks for sense as a child??
I saw a Peacock, with a fiery tail
I saw a Blazing Comet, drop down hail
I saw a Cloud, wrapped with ivy round
I saw an Oak, ...... etc. etc.
I was playing with the silver ginkgo leaf I posted on last weeks blog - having attended an on - line class by Patrik Kusek I decided it was an ideal piece to combine with polymer clay. And then it struck me in a light bulb moment - even though it was a leaf, it doesn't have to spend the rest of its 'life' as one - so I decided to give it a new Avatar - as a peacock. Very ambitiously, I decided to go the whole hog and make a necklace and add the pendant to it and turn it into one large statement piece. Much kneading and slicing, swearing (at the pasta machine) curing and varnishing later, I had the bare bones of the piece - it would have to wait another day to be made up - exhaustion had set in and put its foot down with a firm hand!
Art Clay Silver - 0.999% pure - purer than Sterling Silver which is 0.925% - impression of a dry ginkgo leaf
Inspiration - the light bulb moment
The Fiery Peacock Necklace
Enough for one necklace??? - sure hope so!
The focal piece - for once it was going to be central
The pendant with a peacock blue dyed dangle
Close up view of the clasp
The whole necklace
With a little help from my friend
Handmade toggle clasp attached with seed beads
This necklace turned out to be hell on legs to photograph - the elements are so busy visually, I could almost hear my camera's brain whirring as it decided where to focus on - added to that the high gloss varnish reflected the light off the pendant and the silver element at different wavelengths - I apologise to the poor little thing, it was quite worn out after one session with this necklace - I had to recharge its batteries straight away, before it expired through exhaustion.
Got news that my Sea Urchin necklace has been featured on Cuteable.com - this is a daily blog to which you submit your offerings and they pick a few to go on - I am thrilled to bits - really fantastic to have ones work validated. Now I can put a 'cuteable' badge on my blog!
The sea urchin necklace - cute as damnit!
The Kumihimo disc and bobbins I ordered arrived today - Kumihimo is the ancient Japanese art where with a complex set of almost mathematical repetitive moves, upto 16 threads can be braided. Each set of moves creates a variation of the braid, and changing the materials / textures and colours produces an infinite variety of results.
I had originally bought silk knotting thread to tie Chinese knots, which are so beautiful, but hell to reproduce from a book - they are probably better taught in a class, but I simply haven't the time or the patience - so jumped at the chance of using the thread in Kumihimo. Apparently, there are specific cords for this braiding - called rattail, and a thinner one called bugtail! and wire can be used too. So I bought me a book and braided away happily all morning, producing a very pretty black and silver round braid with 8 strands - well done me!
The disc or Maru Dai
16 thread braid
The Kumihimo braid I made for my necklace
The Madame Butterfly necklace
I had a beautiful labradorite cabochon in my stash for a while, and I was getting wire withdrawal, having made the peacock earlier on in the week without a whiff of wire in it. So I decided to make another (yes, yet another) necklace. I learned how to wire wrap a cabochon over two years ago in my first wire work class at In The Studio, Kegworth. But now that I have moved on from that point, just making a pendant out of the little cabochon - it is just about three and a half cms long - didn't appeal to me much.
My design ethic has always skewed me towards the asymmetrical, so this time I decided to go almost Baroque - this is a style from the 1700's which is dramatic, opulent, exuberant and grand - completely unrestrained and over the top - less if definitely not more with this lot! The word Baroque is derived from the French or Spanish, meaning a rough or imperfect pearl, and Baroque jewellery is usually crawling with pearls. It is a linear style with curved exuberant forms which are symmetrical - Labradorite lends itself well to this - it looks gray /brown to a casual glance, but when in the light it is greenish/blue, and has yellow sheen - it has to be seen to be believed. The play of colour is called labradorescence. The stone comes from an island in Labrador, Canada, and you also get Indian Labradorite as well as some from Madagascar.My husband is an opera buff and we watched Madame Butterfly the night before last - and I thought, what could be more symmetrical than that? - so this is my take on a butterfly.
I wire wrapped the cabochon and used it as the centrepiece - the body of the insect - and put as many curlicues as I could get away with, a bit of weaving and every other thing I could think of - after a while, even I had to say enough is enough - there has to be an end to embellishment - I then realised to my horror that I hadn't included any pearls - there is no such thing as 'Baroque Jewellery' without pearls - so I managed to find 2 empty spaces where it seemed that a pearl would fit, and they were duly added in - hopefully they look as if they belong there and not an afterthought - Rachel Murgatroyd, of Wire Wrap Jewellery, who taught me wire work has a favourite saying ' There's no such thing as a mistake - just a design feature'!
Malcolm McLaren and Robby Kilgore adapted Puccini's opera and added these lyrics to the music.
'Calling Butterfly, Madam Butterfly
Butterfly, Butterfly have no fear
I'll be back to wipe your tears
Oh sweet Butterfly, so sweet Butterfly'
I think this is a rather sweet butterfly - don't you?
Have a nice week, catch you later.
Madame Butterfly - my Baroque butterfly necklace - spot the pearls!
Labradorite by day
Labradorite photographed at night takes on the sheen from artificial light
I have some time off from the day job next week, so will be setting out an Etsy outlet, to go live on my brother's birthday, on the 2nd of March, dedicated to him.
See you next week folks.
Cold and frosted over with icing sugar, the garden looked so pretty and magical, bringing fanciful thoughts to mind - and a degree of yearning for spring and the promise of summer and warmth. I thought I'd make a dragonfly - my first attempt at it, and once I'd shaped the wire and made the dragonfly, had to decide what to do with it. There was no particular design in mind - just the dragonfly that I had and a few lengths of wire woven leaves. Just at this point, I stumbled across a poem written by a woman who calls herself Susie - published in www.fairiesworld.com - this is how it goes
Down past my garden, underneath the trees,
There is a place of magic that no-one ever sees,
A little grassy clearing, plain at ones first sight;
But if you take the time to see, you shall find delight.
If you come to see this place, take heed:
you've found the Dell.
And so was born the idea of the Dragonfly's Dell. I know that dragonfly's are attracted to water, so there had to be an element of blue in the necklace, and I found some beautiful cobalt blue Cat's eye beads in my stash that I had forgotten about. I spent a restless night trying to imagine the necklace, but gave up in the end - the old brain was freezing over!
I looked at an article about jewellery trends - and it would appear that my love for the statement collar necklace has been borne out - it is and has been a lasting trend since autumn of last year - I must have had a premonition when I started to make them the year before - how smart is that!
It seems that collar necklaces can never truly go out of fashion. Their simple design makes them such a perfect statement piece, one that completes the whole look just by itself. The best thing about these necklaces is that they come in so many different styles which make them perfect for every occasion. And the latest is the detachable collar in a Peter Pan or Tuxedo style, to be worn over a T shirt or an outfit with a high neckline to glitz it up.
People think that collars are night time wear and showy - but if you look at the latest trend, ladies are wearing it as just the one piece of jewellery with a white shirt and denims, and it looks fabulous. I certainly wear my necklaces to my day job - apart from anything else it gives my patients something to focus on rather than the anxiety of what they think I am about to inflict on them!
Detachable sequin collar
Statement necklace by day
So out of a fanciful idea and the following of a growing trend, came the idea for the Dragon's Dell Collar, made of a heavy duty silver plated copper wire frame, with its lapels at the front, and open at the front so as to be fully adjustable. Took it for a test drive, and it sits beautifully at the base of the neck. My anxiety with all wire jewellery is the spiky ends that can make life hell for the wearer - I certainly wouldn't wear a piece of jewellery if it was uncomfortable - it would remind me of my first pair of scratchy/ itchy Tweed trousers - I actually took said trousers off in the car during one very long and memorable journey! -I certainly wouldn't want to put anyone else through that- belated apologies to the very shocked Japanese people in the tourist bus who watched me do it - there are a few photographs floating around in Japan, I dare say!
The Dragonfly's Dell Collar
and - this is how it looked when test driven by me!
The Daisies' Dance - from Daisy Time by Marjorie Picthall
Buttercups have honeyed hearts,
Bees they love the clover,
But I love the daisies' dance
All the meadow over.
Daisies are the sweetest flowers, reminding one that summer is here - daisy chains are meant to represent the sun, the earth and the never ending circle of life and this is probably the reason why they are joined up into garlands. To me they represent the sheer joy of the warmth of the sun after months and months of cold frost and bone chilling wind.
I grow loads of them in my garden - these are Shasta daisies - they have such a pretty ruffled edge, and the best thing about them is that all we do is cut them back in the autumn, and they grow back in summer - free from the stress of covering them up from the frost and having an empty spot to replant each year.
I thought it might be fun to try and recreate them - but that was easier said than done. My polymer clay efforts weren't up to scratch, so I chucked them, and started again with my favourite medium - wire. Although my daisies dont look like the ones above, they are pretty, and there are so many different types of daisy, so, if you look at them at a certain angle in a certain light, with a slight squint, they are pretty authentic, I'd say! The leaves of the real daisy aren't so pretty though, so I have used artistic licence and added colour with Czech 'Jablonex' crystal leaves as well as a few of wire. So I have Daisies and leaves dancing across my necklace - The Daisies' Dance.
Finally gave up on the postal system - between Royal Mail and the Postal system in the USA, the armband I posted out over two weeks ago has got completely lost - it certainly doesn't take two weeks for mail to get from here to there - just hope it's not lying in some dusty dead letter office and that the postman's wife likes it. Made a copper wire choker as a replacement ( in case the armband does turn up, didn't want her to have two of the same) and will try posting it out again - I hope I have better luck this time round.
The original armband
The replacement choker
Have a fabulous week, and I will catch up with you soon.
Colour is an integral component of what draws ones eye to a design or what causes one to turn away from it. Even though you might like a colour combination in theory and think it to be very fetching, the colours you are attracted to and wear reflect your personality and mood - some one in a sombre mood is highly unlikely to choose a gaily coloured outfit and vice versa. Designers have always found picking a fashionable colour a difficult choice to make, and anyway, fashion victims are those who wear the 'colour of the season' without caring or indeed knowing whether it suits them or not. This spring, the colours mooted by the fashionistas are tangerine and yellow - which is good for me since I like brights, and these colours can be mixed and accented using all sorts of others from different areas of the colour wheel to great effect.
Some colour combinations work and others look absolutely terrible; this is a subject that anyone interested in design knows only too well. I have learned through trial and error, and sometimes I set out to make a particular piece with a certain set of gemstones, beads, etc, only to find that other elements have snuck into the final piece and it has taken on a life of its own. I sat down and did a bit of research, more to understand my instincts than to consciously design jewellery - I think I prefer to let my instincts take me where they will.
Colours that are on the opposite side of the colour wheel from each other are complementary . e.g. yellow and purple or orange and blue. . The main difficulty with this scheme is finding the balance of colours, as using such strong colors can create a very gaudy appearance. I think I prefer offsetting complementary colours with one or two little shots of a contrasting colour - that seems to make the design pop out at you and grab you!
A monochromatic colour scheme involves a single colour used in combination with it’s tints and shades. If you lighten a colour, you obtain it’s tint. If you darken a colour, you obtain it’s shade. The disadvantage of this scheme is that it often lacks contrast - not as vibrant as the complementary scheme.
Colours that are next to each other on the color wheel are analogous colours. E.g. Purple and dark blue - they can be used very effectively to create an overall warm or cool feel.
Three colours equally spaced around the color wheel - The triadic colour scheme offers high contrast while retaining harmony. This arrangement I think really appeals to my sense of colour, and makes many appearances in my designs. So far, I have thrown colours together instinctively, but after this, I will pay more attention to what I am doing.
Although in theory the monochromatic image above of the pebbles in black and white with shades of grey is soothing to the eye, I would not be able to resist adding a slosh of red or bright green or perhaps a peacock blue - that would satisfy my need for colour! I have in the past bought pretty, monochromatic clothes and jewellery, (mainly at the behest of my mother who is a simply dressed but sophisticated lady, happiest wearing white with very little adornment ) only to have them languish in my wardrobe until they went to the charity shop almost unworn.
, I now know I love colour passionately - and making jewellery gives me permission to indulge myself as much as I like. Now that I am at a 'certain age', I dont have to conform to anyone else's views and can go as crazy as I like! - and guess what, I have found a number of like minded people who like what I make, and even want to own a piece made by me - why, the word 'creative' has been used as an adjective in two unsolicited descriptions about me ( I wont tell you the others!!) just this week - I never thought that would happen - eep! now I have something to live up to. But I found this little vignette, and I edited it and jazzed it up to show you my views on colour! You decide which one you like .................
My jazzed up edited version - which one do you prefer??
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is one of the oldest living tree species and its leaves are among the most extensively studied herbs in use today. A single tree can live as long as 1,000 years and grow to a height of 120 feet. It has short branches with fan-shaped leaves and inedible fruits that produce a strong odour. Ginkgos are tough, hardy trees and are sometimes planted along urban streets in the United States.It has been used in the prevention of various diseases - it seems to me to be fairly ubiquitous - like the aspirin of the ayurvedic world! Ginkgo extract has been credited with all sorts of benefits in Alzheimers disease, and other neurological disorders - yet other studies show no benefit at all which is par for the course - most medicine is not evidence based.
I, however am more concerned with the prettiness of the leaves - bilobate ( well, that stands to reason) on fine stalks, and a pale green, they are some of the prettiest leaves around - almost as nice as maple leaves. I tried to recreate them in polymer clay - and I hope you will agree with me, that they look pretty. I had one half of a large dry ginkgo leaf that I painted with precious metal clay and fired in the kiln - now that it has been buffed and polished, it is ready to be turned into a bail for a pendant - one of these days!
Silver Gingko leaf bail
The silver shows the imprint of the veining on the back of a dry, torn ginkgo leaf, I liked the tear in it - thought I would wire a gemstone into the tear with a headpin - perhaps even a pearl - not everything has to be perfect to be pretty.
As I researched the ginkgo leaf, I found that loads of people had been drawn to it - for instance, look at the picture across, from a fashion designers blog - she kindly gave me permission to reproduce this image with credit to her.
Artists impression of a ginkgo leaf
From Alice Zoe Daphne's blog http://xazddesign.blogspot.com with thanks
I called this necklace Dew Fairy Dreams after a poem I found, written by Tommy Garrison on www.tommygpoetry.com/dewfairydreams.html
For someone who has been going on about the use of colour, this is a very sober piece, but I think the juxtaposition of the leaves with the pearls works well and appeals to my femininity - I thought about using rose quartz, but by the time I made the piece, it looked like this. I wonder if I will ever be able to sit down and draw something, conceive all its elements and make them so they will fit - working with Precious Metal Clay and making mixed media jewellery will certainly be a challenge for me. Soldering would be so much easier, but I have never made things easy for myself, and obviously, am not about to start now and let myself off the hook! It took simply ages to make this piece - sometimes random placing of wire and beads is more challenging than weaving a regular pattern.
I spent some time on my blog this week and refurbished the website - my friends have been complaining that there are no prices on anything, so I have tried to price up a lot of pieces - mainly necklaces - I love necklaces, and make and wear them a lot, consequently have quite a few to put on the website. I have also put them on my Facebook outlet with a 10% reduction in price for my 'likers' as promised. Some people have said that the Facebook outlet isn't working - please let me know via the Facebook page - I suspect it is Facebook being erratic with it's new app and with the conversion to Timeline and all will be ironed out in the fullness of time.In the meantime, if you have clicked the like button, I will sort out the discount if you contact me.
Have a fab week and I will catch up with you all next weekend.
The woman with the monobrow and her self portrait - she obviously had poor body image, she is so much better looking than her self portrait!
Self portrait - she loved her flowers
I happened on a biography of Frida Kahlo, the Mexican painter who was famous for her self portraits. Her work has been described as surrealist and in 1938 André Breton, principal initiator of the surrealist movement, described Kahlo's art as a "ribbon around a bomb". She famously said ' I was born a bitch, I was born a painter' . She was married to the Mexican Muralist Diego Rivera and he is a Dia de los Muertos icon with a lot of imagery related to this holiday in his work. Día de los Muertos is a holiday rooted in the ancient past of Mesoamerica. This festival is celebrated by a people in awe and the celebration of the eternal cycle of life and death.
During the latter part of the colonial period, the people began making brightly colored sugar –candy skulls and exchanging them between family and friends as tokens of affection. These became common items alongside the image of Guadalupe, flowers, water, bread, and copal. Skeleton dolls made of clay and papier maché were made depicting people in everyday activities. These dolls soon became a part of tradition.
I found a shop selling these skulls as beads during one of my foraging sessions online, and I fell in love with them. They are Peruvian and ceramic, - and expensive, decorated with flowers and the prettiest skulls I have ever seen. But, at the time, I had no idea what i was going to do with them - most people wore them as earrings or as charms on a bracelet, but I was determined to do something different with them.
My Peruvian ceramic Sugar skulls - photograph from the website where I sourced them
This is what I came up with - more pictures on the website and on my Facebook page - Caprilcious Jewellery.
Copper and silver plated copper wire, Peruvian sugar skulls, blue sunstone and glass pearl beads
Leaves - design credit Abby Hook
Now, wouldn't you agree - it's a good thing I wasn't influenced by him!! - but you never know! there's plenty of time.
Murano glass ring
Murano glass pendant
Murano glass is a famous product of the Venetian island of Murano, located off the shore of Venice, Italy. The glass made there is world famous - and expensive - and there are many imitations. Murrine technique begins with the layering of colored liquid glass, which is then stretched into long rods called canes. When cold, these canes are then sliced in cross-section, which reveals the layered pattern. The better-known term "millefiori" is a style of murrine that is defined by each layer of molten color being molded into a star, then cooled and layered again. When sliced, this type of murrine has the appearance of many flowers, thus mille- (thousand) fiori (flowers).
Polymer clay is not called the 'Chameleon clay' for nothing. Cane work and Millefiori are the mainstay of the polymer clay artist and the use of gold and silver foil and pigments with translucent clay has led to the technique of making 'faux glass'. Last week I attempted, disastrously, to make faux glass beads - this time, using a different technique altogether, I have got there - after hours of rolling and baking and foiling, I made a bib necklace and got it to shine like a piece of glass - here is the result of my efforts - it is certainly lighter - and cheaper than a slab of glass, not to mention safer! Having made the bib, I had to find a way of suspending it around the neck, and I think it looks really pretty - what do you think - do leave your comments. One thing I am definitely learning from making jewellery is patience.
I have called it the Midnight in Moscow necklace - was on holiday there many years ago, and this necklace reminds me of that holiday.
Polymer clay bib necklace made to look like Murano glass, fluorite dangle
Clay squiggles to embellish
High gloss almost Glazed varnish finish
Closer view of the silver foil effect
Fired up my kiln last weekend and made a few pieces with Copper clay to start with - they need to be 'pickled' to remove firescale and polished and then I will be ready to show them to you - that will be next weeks task - I hope to include polymer clay, resin, wire and turn a simple piece of copper into a work of wearable art.
I had some time off from my day job this last week, so spent some of it experimenting with the jewellery making, photography, and generally relaxing. Also found a bit of time to upload some more pictures onto the Facebook vendor app - so I now have an online outlet - it's a start - I may not have done my jewellery justice with the descriptions and pictures - but as I said, it's a start.
I invite you all to come in and have a browse.
Thats all for this week folks, have a nice week and wrap up warm - it's cold out there - snowing around our part of the world.