Last week, as I posted, I was turning over the question of what to do with my wire lace peacock - it started life as a pair of Peruvian threadwork pendant/earrings, which I embellished with crystals and put together with some copper wire and yet more crystals to make a peacock - but I didn't quite know what to do with it - I threw the question open to a couple of jewellery makers groups - one in the UK, and the other predominantly with members from the USA - and having got loads of inspiration and ideas, decided on a simple handmade chain incorporating pearly beads and crystals to match the peacock, and to hang it asymmetrically. In folk art, peacocks are often drawn looking backwards at their tails - this may be because they are vain creatures, but the artists use it as a symbol of renewal as the feathers are renewed each year.I made my peacock look back at its tail feathers
too - I loved the curved shape it gave the neck - and it was lovely to be able to bend wire in the direction that it wants to go for once!
I titled the piece Scherezade as it seemed to be so 'Arabian Night's Dreams', with its brilliant colours - and I love the haunting music by Nikolai Rimsky - Korsakov. I think the dancer in the ballet below might have worn this piece! The design seemed to flow - all I had was the bare minimum of an idea and my box of crystal beads, and one thing just followed the next till I felt as if I woke up and the finished
article was staring me in the face - maybe I didn't make it after all and it was the elves that visited in the night - however, Santa's grotto, this ain't!
Once this piece was finished, I felt drained - it had absorbed all my creative energies and I turned my thoughts to simpler pieces that give me just as much pleasure. I had a few pendants and pieces of polymer clay I had made earlier, so I set about making them up into items that were wearable.I like my jewellery to tell a story - as if you haven't guessed by now from reading my blog! I continually research my inspirations on the internet, gathering ideas and stories poetry and music,
as the piece comes into being. I made a water lily, on a lily pad out of polymer clay - hadn't quite decided what to do with it, but realised that by a happy accident, I had put in a
fold over in the leaf that could be used as a bail. The two wires I had cured into the piece so I could attach it to something then became redundant - so I cut one off, and attached a little lamp worked glass and bead dragonfly to the other, which I coiled into a spring, so that the dragonfly appeared to be hovering over the waterlily - from that idea it was easy to take it further, into creating a lily pond with fish and snails and dandelion heads - I let my imagination run riot - and turned out a pleasant and summery piece with a three dimensional aspect to it.
Flowers in a Tornado
I have had these tornado beads for ages - I made them up from a tutorial by Lisa Niven Kelly of Beaducation, and I love their organic shape - it struck me - I mut be the only person - or one of a minute number of people - who needs a tutorial to make a messy bead - most people have to learn how to make their jewellery neat and tidy, but I had to do it the other way around! I paired them with some lucite beads and knotted waxed blue cotton for a light and pretty summer necklace. However, mindful that summer is a time for sun tan lotion, perspiration ( ladies glow! - I am told, but lets call a spade a big shovel here) I put wire in at the top, to keep the look pristine for longer! I made earrings to match too. It is a tangled necklace - but I have a secret weapon to keep the threads from turning into a hopeless knot - large safety pins! - placed strategically across the strands will allow transport of the necklace, completely safely, without the nuisance of untangling it each time it is worn - of course you have to remember to put the pins in when you take it off.
Pendant to match the earrings
I had an abalone shell pendant set in Sterling silver, and I made up a little necklace in complementary colours to go with it - am wearing (test driving) it at the moment, and it feels just right around the neck. Some lovely zebra dyed blue howlite arrived in the mail, and I couldn't wait to use it, it was so pretty - I had a pewter dragonfly clasp that I was keen to use, and as it was meant for two strands, the howlite was put together with opaque blue seed beads, chrysocolla rectangles and silver coloured spacers, with a dangling dragonfly to match - there are earrings to go with this piece as well, on some lovely extra long surgical steel kidney wires - cant wait to see how they will go down.
The clasp and earrings to match
I want to say a special thank you to those who write on the Caprilicious Jewellery Page on Facebook and leave comments on my website/blog - your encouragement means a lot, thank you very much. Also, those who have come back to buy a second piece from me - I often wonder whether you liked your jewellery if you don't write back - but when you buy a second piece - I am sure you did! My pieces of jewellery are like my little babies - and I send them out into the world - I can only hope you love them as much as I do - am I being fanciful?? and a bit overly sentimental, bordering on silly?? -almost certainly, but then I am new to this and am not blase' as yet - please forgive my enthusiasm :)
Catch you next week with another instalment of the Caprilicious Blog
I love my wire work - but I like it to be a bit organic - not too organic and messy - but a bit 'handmade' - after all, what's the point of having handmade stuff that looks like a chain store find, made by a machine in China? I was taught by a perfectionist - her wire loops are so neat and tidy, so it's now a bit of an effort to 'mis - make' my version of handmade jewellery.
I showed you the tumblestones I was given to set into pendants last week - well, after a lot of looking at it, and turning it over in my little fist, the second one got a setting of wire swirls - after all I couldn't make two with the same design - like the old 'mother and daughter' catalogues from JcPenney's - could I??
So, here they are - the first one was on a Viking knit wire chain, and the second on a green and black Kumihimo braided silk necklace. I am glad to report that both have reached their new homes, and their owners are reportedly delighted with them.
The stone above was really hard to set as it was a plump. slippery odd shaped customer - hence the extra safety elements - the cross wires on the back and an extra layer of weave at the very top, to give it strength.
The second one below was not much easier - a smooth elongated marble - all my instincts were to put it in a coiled cage of wire, but perseverance paid off and I set it in a hardy square wire swirl, letting the wire guide me as to its placement.
I spent part of the weekend making the stars for the next piece - they were made of polymer clay, cut to free drawing templates of various sizes, etched with a star pattern, painted and reformed in a faux ceramic finish, and then glazed with Ice Resin, which took 3 days to set firmly. I strung the finished stars onto long chains of multicoloured seed beads, nearly blinding myself in the process - I hate seed beads - you have to string 11-12 beads to cover and inch of beading wire, and their holes are ever so tiny- but they do look pretty - don't they??
This song was a favourite with my dad in the sixties, but I found another, more modern version on YouTube, my favourite hunting ground, for your listening pleasure.
Now that's what I call a pocket full of stars!
I made a pair of earrings with some copper flowers from my kiln, which were patinated with Vintag colours, and some turquoise rondelles - they turned out really pretty and I am pleased with the result. However, I failed in my endeavours for the 'messy' look - never mind, you can't win them all!
But, the nicest piece I made this week, started life a few weeks ago. I bought a Nepalese pendant from a trader many moons ago, and made a pair of polymer clay 'arms' for a necklace to match. The clay was set in a wire armature, and the piece was poked and prodded and teased into shape, impressed, embellished, painted, and encased in resin - this saga went on and on for a few weeks, till I was happy with the result. I finally made up the necklace and called it 'Tribal Princess' and was in the process of posting it on my website, when one of my friends happened to be online on FaceBook and snapped it up - so it never went on the Caprilicious website after all in the end. I now present.....
The pendant, all the way from Nepal
The 'arm' of the necklace
A Sneak peek into next weeks work
My Peruvian peacock - do they have peacocks in Peru??
I started out making these two Peruvian thread work pendant pieces a long time ago - and they have mysteriously metamorphosed into this peacock, which I finally finished last night - now to figure out how I want to hang it - I will have a picture for you next week.
Have a lovely weekend - I am working at my day job on Saturday, but have the rest off to play - catch you next week!
On average, the moon is about 378 195 km away. At its furthest it is nearly 400 000 km away. During a lunar perigee and full moon where the moon is at its closest point to the earth on its elliptical orbit, the lunar surface can appear up to 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than any other full moon. We were lucky enough to see this, nicknamed 'Supermoon' by scientists from NASA, on the 5th and to a lesser extent on the 6th of May. My husband and I looked at the moon through our little telescope, but my camera was unequal to the task of photographing it.
The moon over the Sinai desert
I decided to make a piece of jewellery in honour of the supermoon. A piece of blue crackled agate, resembling the face of the moon emerged from my bead stash, and I set it in wire and surrounded it with stars in blue and white Swarovski crystals. This had the effect of brightening what would otherwise be a dull stone. I set some 'stars' in the bail and wove some crystals into the Viking knit chain for good measure. As I finished the piece, I could hear the strains of Moondance in the back of my mind, so I named the pendant after Van Morrisons lovely song.
And I’m trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
And all the night’s magic seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush
Can I just have one more moondance with you my love
Can I just make some more romance with you my love
MOONDANCE - Van Morrison
Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
’neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
A yearning for the sun
This winter has seemed long - never endingly so - there was a short respite in the UK at the end of March, but the weather turned - a lot of people are worried that that was our summer - Oh well, if I cant have sun in the sky, I will make some to hang around the neck! With this thought, I made Summer Sunshine, out of polymer clay sunflowers in yellow and black, dusted with silver and gold mica powders and hung on multiple strands of silver lined seed beads in a Bohemian style necklace.
I also wire wrapped a little slice of gold druzy in square sterling silver wire into a sweet pendant and hung it on a twisted silk and organza ribbon - the Droplet of Sunshine pendant. Druzy refers to a gemstone with a crystalline structure, usually quartz or agate. Golden druzy has been put in a vacuum sealed chamber and coated with a vapour of 14k gold, which then bonds with the stone at molecular level. Though druzy isnt fragile, it needs to be used carefully, to prevent damage from bumping it into surfaces, so it is really only suitable for pendants and earrings.
So, that's summer taken care of as far as I'm concerned!
Lilac Wine - more druzy
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Here's more music for you from the fantabulous Nina Simone. This is not as well known a piece of music as some of her others, but is haunting just the same.
I had an amethyst druzy pendant that I bought because I couldn't resist the strata of quartz, pink chalcedony and amethyst crowned by the stalactites of crystalline amethyst.
It proved to be difficult to set as it had a drill at the top, and enclosing it in wire would cover up the crystalline structure. In the finish, I crowned it with a wire flourish and added two strands of golden quartz nugget beads to a few amethyst chunks to form the necklace. A couple of left over quartz nuggets were turned into earrings with the addition of amethyst chips.
I bought a second-hand rock tumbler from a lady at work - her daughter played with it as a young girl ( evidently not too often, judging by it's condition), and it was taking up room in her house. She also gave me a box full of old jewellery, some tumble stones, a few fossils and some nuggets of unpolished rock, that if I wish, I can tumble into usable pieces. She asked me to make two pendants out of the prettiest stones - a blue cat's eye chunk, and another that looks like a mosaic of some sort. I worked hard to set the first one - it is over an inch thick, slippery, and odd shaped, and kept falling out of the mount and sliding all over the room - the air was as blue as the stone, by the time I finished, but it soon became a challenge - I was going to tame it or die trying - I'm still here, so what of the stone? .....
On a Viking knit necklace
More from the goody box
If you know what this is, post me a comment please
I need to think of something to make up the green 'stone with no name' - it promises to be difficult as well, as it is about an inch thick and an inch wide - oh well, I will just have to use those grey cells - and you will have to wait till next week to see what I come up with.
Have a good weekend, and see you - same time, same place
Last week I posed the vexatious question - mould or mold? - and obviously more people are reading this than my counter lets on - people very kindly posted their answers to my question - there was one suggestion on Facebook that it depended on where I learned to spell - the answer is, in India, from nuns, and an Anglo Indian lady - the lovely Nora Jessie Laffery who supervised my homework as my parents were busy anaesthetists, working hard all day.
I have mentioned the different patinas I have been trying out on my kiln fired copper - there has been Liver of Sulphur, Kosher salt and ammonia fumes, salt and vinegar crisps, proprietary Patina kits from Vintaj, patinas from the USA from a lady who calls herself Miss FickleMedia (this name brings to mind a cat whip and thigh high patent leather boots - but she is actually called Shannon LeVart, from Missouri USA, and is probably nothing like my imagination has conjured up) and now a Butane torch.
To think that this jewellery making lark started with some beads, a couple of toggle clasps, a reel of Tigertail (it has 49 strands of fine stainless steel wire coated with nylon and is very strong) and some crimps to end the necklaces I wanted to make in a small storage chest of drawers!
I now have a chemistry kit, a kiln, a library of jewellery making books, two new cupboards to release my dining table for its original purpose, kilometres of wire in different gauges, three drawers of gemstones and beads, a Butane torch, boxes of polymer clay, resin, acrylic paint and alcohol inks, moulds (molds??!) - and this list grows. No wonder I spend all my waking hours thinking up ways to use all these up - and this will never happen, the way new stuff keeps finding its way back to our house - we should have shares in Royal Mail!
But I am enjoying it, so onwards and upwards I go! I have some pictures here of my journey into jewellery making over the last few years.
When I first started, I bought this box of drawers as 'storage' - deluded wasn't I???
Stuffed full of beads, tools and wire in the tool box
The first pieces dried and ready to go in
Reclamation project - I reclaimed my dining table! - at least one can see its outlines now
My crafty corner, in front of the television
Just out of the kiln
Moved from the dining table to a purpose built cupboard, and every Tupperware box /steel container in the house has been pressed into use - container overload!
My little kiln - no room at the inn, so into the conservatory it went.
A batch just out of the kiln,burnished and waiting to be tortured! before being turned into jewellery
Kosher salt and ammonia fume patina
Girl About Town Earrings
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Having heat patinated, varnished and waxed these copper discs from my kiln, I added wire wrapped amazonite drops, creamy Biwa pearls and chrysocolla Heishi beads to match the green oil slick colours from the patina and provide a contrasting shape to the discs. These earrings are really cool, and fit for a Girl about Town!
Livin' La Vida Loca
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I have always loved Latin music - the rhythm and sounds are second to none. It has been my dream to go to the carnival in Rio - all those fabulous girls in those fantastic headgear - maybe one day. This latest offering is a polymer clay face made by me from one of my moulds, in a faux granite finish - believe it or not, I used coarsely ground pepper to get the grainy effect of the granite!
Donna Spadfore aka Gailavira wrote this very complicated tutorial for the wirework surrounding the focal, and I have made this many times in different forms. Her tutorial was for a pendant, but I readjusted it so I could attach it to a frame and added wooden beads, the roses I made from the same clay as the face - stone roses!, and some turquoise ovals. A lot of work went into this necklace, and I am sure it will be well received - it has a mellow vibe which belies its name - La vida loca - but look into the focal and you will know where I am coming from.
The next piece came to me when I was relaxing in a hot bath, looking up at the ceiling. I painted it with stars when we first moved in, having taken a fancy to a passage from The Merchant of Venice in a conversation between Lorenzo and Jessica in Act 5 Scene 1...
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears.
Soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patens of bright gold.
We read The Merchant of Venice in school, and I knew it particularly well having been made to learn it almost off by heart as punishment for various minor misdemeanours and infringements of tiresome rules - I was always taken by the idea of the patens of gold, and I got some of my own - so some good came of all that! (ssh, don't tell those nuns!)
I made a Man in the moon which I stained with alcohol inks and studded with tiny watch parts from my Steampunk stash. Another moon shape from the same mould was converted into a whimsical sun with the addition of some brass filigree circles, these were painted and distressed in copper acrylic paint. I decided to make a necklace with the sun, moon and stars, all in one and named it Celeste after the Celestial bodies in it.
I haven't had time to make much more than these offerings this week - the rigours of the day job have overtaken me. I hope to be able to add some self made components to each piece I make and along with bought elements, like gemstones, beads etc, have pieces of jewellery on offer that are most definitely one of a kind. People who have bought from Caprilicious have commented that the jewellery they received in the post is better than in the pictures on the site - maybe that's an indictment of my photography skills - I don't mind that one little bit - my fervent wish is to put a smile on your face when you open a package from me.
Have a good week and I will catch up with you next Friday.