New - from the Out of Africa Collection
I have never been to sub Saharan Africa, but have increasingly been seduced by the beautiful imagery from that continent.
This recently came to a head when I bought a copy of the eye wateringly expensive book 'Africa Adorned' by Angela Fisher - with page after page of colour and vivacity leaping out of it. It brings to mind the jewellery and colours in the desert lands of Northern India - the women wear large jewellery and head dresses, and bright colours, almost as if to combat the drab brown of the sand and scrub land surrounding them. Tribal sophistication is bold and dramatic, calling forth of the fierce nature of our human spirit to overcome all obstacles. That's what jewellery was originally worn for in ancient cultures ....to remind the wearer of her strength and purpose. Jewellery never was just about baubles and beads. It had purpose. And power. And beauty.
Clothes and accessories should be as bright as you are comfortable with - if you want to be noticed - the key however, is to be comfortable.
Sweet little gemstones on tiny chains are lovely, in their own way - but the statement they make is completely different from what the Caprilicious Tribal woman is all about. I have some of these 'little sweeties' in my own little collection, mainly bought for me by my mother, who is into pastel colours and whites - get the picture? - but as I grew older, I realised I had to find my own style, and dress to project the image I have of myself in my minds eye - and that image is bright colours and stand out jewellery (sorry, mum).
I am a strong believer in that old adage (or have I just made it up?) - you are what you wear - ergo, if you dress well and feel confident, you walk tall and are undaunted by the curve balls that are thrown at you during the course of the day.
I set up a new section on my website and Facebook page - Out of Africa - the intention is to make urban - contemporary pieces influenced by tribal jewellery to sit on those pages - and hopefully on you. This section is all about big, bold and eclectic mixing to complement the romantic patchwork of chunky knits, flowing attire and a bohemian Lagenlook. I am keen to make these at affordable prices so that all my readers are inspired to try them out - I am sure they will go down well. Tribal style is more about attitude than a place. So whenever you want to show off your fun and free-spirited side, tribal jewellery is the way to do it. This collection will be full of vibrant pieces to add a whimsical and artistic touch to anyone's wardrobe
I have been gearing up to this for a while now - I made some chevron beads, faux bone and this week, faux amber which will fit in with this, my new venture. The necklaces are meant to be bright, bold and in your face, some more so than the others - to the ladies who model themselves along the lines of heroines from the novels of Jane Austen, I say - perhaps you might want to look at my other pages.
As you can see, the beads gleam in the light - no varnish was involved - each bead was buffed with my trusty bench buffer, 'Buffy' - I would never have imagined that I could love a rotary, fast moving tool so, I am usually girlishly afraid of them - but, I couldn't do without my darling Buffy now. Mike's task this week is to find me a little table and a box to house Buffy so that the dust is contained, a la Melanie Muir, not to mention catching the beads that sometimes ping around the room like bullets - Oh, that Buffy - he likes to keep me fit, diving after those beads!
I made a Hamsa pendant out of wire and hung it on a necklace made using a few Chevron beads, a couple of faux amber beads, with glass millefiori beads and real carved bone beads, reminiscent of Berber jewellery from Morocco. The Hamsa is a stylised hand - if you want to read about it, here's a link to a post I wrote earlier - http://www.capriliciousjewellery.com/3/post/2012/11/where-i-keep-calm-and-play-with-wire.html
It is called Flower Power because of the Millefiori beads - which is Italian for a thousand flowers - and also because Marrakesh was on the hippie trail in the seventy's and eighties. It is bright and colourful and is bound to brighten up your day - who says the desert in the only place where one needs cheering up - look outside - the rain and slush and snow is just as dreary.
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Mike took this pic - clearly I need a better photographer, urgently
Is that a Gauntlet (or are you just happy to see me)??
I have been issued with a challenge by one of my customers - if you can help, do feel free to drop me a line. I am required to take the beads from the first picture below and turn them into a piece that will evoke the feeling of being in the second picture - which is a frozen river in Ladakh.
Her last challenge was to request a necklace evoking a stark cold mountain scape, snow capped, with sunlight hitting the mountain tops. I created Meluhan Dreams for her with wire, crystals and druzy - she sent me this picture, and is clearly delighted with it. She even phoned me all the way from Delhi to say how happy she was and to have a chat with me about Caprilicious - I was so thrilled. I have to make sure I rise to this challenge as well.
I have a couple of months to decide how I am going to work this miracle!
From The Vineyard
I found this string of almost perfect amethyst nugget beads while sorting out my bead box - each one looked like a grape - the gems in this string are almost edible. Teamed with some peridot beads and the tiniest freshwater seed pearls, they went into this necklace with a gold plated birch leaf. I hung a bunch of crystals, pearls and amethyst on the front of the bail to resemble grapes. I know it should have been a vine leaf, but this is England and vineyards are not so plentiful out here - so please indulge my poor muse here.
A lentil bead, made with polymer clay
I love the idea of making my own beads and components, and fashioning my pieces from all the images floating around in my head - mixing polymer clay with gemstones and crystals - Mixed media jewellery is the way forward, I am convinced of this. I made Aloha with this bead, and a string of sea sediment Jasper. It was named by Mike, who said it has a Polynesian feel to it - who am I to argue??
Om is a mystical Sanskrit sound of Hindu origin, sacred and important in various religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It occurs at the beginning of every prayer or invocation and can be used repetitiously in a mantra for meditation. I acquired this conch shell pendant, inlaid with a turquoise Om - It sat in my collection for a while, until, the beads that go into this necklace fell out of a box into my hands - if I believed in mystical stuff, I would say that was really weird!
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I love this clip - it is of Diana Vishneva dancing to Deva Premal's 'Moola Mantra' - the forms she makes with the simplest movement and accessories are astonishing and beautiful - rather like the courtship display of a bird. I loved it so much, I bought the CD - but alas, neither do I look like Diana, nor can I dance like her - the best I can do is a booby bird's dance.
That's a wrap for this weeks jewellery folks, have a fab week and I will catch up with you, same time, same place, next week,
Thank you to all the ladies - and a gentleman, who bought stuff in the Caprilicious Boxing Day Sale - strangely, most of the people who decided to get a piece of Caprilicious were from the USA - your stuff will be with you soon after this blog comes out - and I am sure you will love your chosen pieces. I know people have spent a lot of money at Christmas time - presents and entertaining, and travelling, but a nice piece of jewellery is something to lift your spirits, and I hope Caprilicious can do that for you.
I have been researching Trade beads this last week - they were known as African money, and were used as currency for goods, services and even slaves. They were used by European explorers instead of money, and a lot of them were made in Venice from glass. The African people were thought to love them as decorations for their attire and in jewellery, and of course, this love of colour and adornment was exploited thoroughly and ruthlessly by early visitors who exchanged glass beads for ivory, slaves, gold and other commodities. As making Millefiori is part of attempting to be a polymerista ( I don't consider myself one yet- a trainee maybe!!), I took it on myself to make some chevron beads. I found a tutorial on the internet from the multi talented Desiree McCrorey, and modified it to suit my requirements - and I think for a first attempt at this technique, made quite a creditable job of it.
A complex cane of different colours was constructed as per the instructions in the tutorial, and covered over with a transparent layer of green coloured clay - so far, so good. Then the beads were cut, rolled smooth, and cured - even better! Now for the pain in the proverbial - sanding - every bead had to be sanded smooth under water with five varying grits of sandpaper - finer and finer each time, and then with Micro mesh cloths - ever finer and finer, till the last cloth felt like there was no grit in it at all - apparently, this one is used to polish the wind shields of aeroplanes! A lot of the green/ transparent layer was sanded off, to reveal the stripy lines of the cane within.
Fortunately, I recently moved all operations from the kitchen to my 'studio' ( Ooh la la, aren't we getting grand!) and the mess there was semi contained - at least it was not in Mike's way - he has been very patient so far, but I know not to overstretch the limit of his forbearance - things could get explosive - you can't keep a man from his kitchen especially when he is chief cook and bottle washer!
And then, for the buffing wheel - the beads are so small, the wheel kept snatching them out of my hands and flinging them halfway across the room, leaving a gouge mark on the bead, which I then had to buff out again - what a load of fun! Without this bad boy, I would have to have used the Dremel, and that would have taken ages - even longer than this little lot! I moved it into an alcove, rather than have it on the table, facing the stained glass window - Yikes! - the consequences of a bead flung at the window doesn't bear thinking about.
So finally, with a lot of swearing and huffing and puffing, I produced twelve beads - two hours to roll out the clay and make the beads -and almost five hours to sand and polish them! I was reminded of the time I used to play badminton as a child - the main exercise was from picking the shuttlecock up off the floor when I missed the shot, which was most of the time - I hadn't learned to swear back then, being a good little Indian girl - my, how things change!
Real, antique chevron beads
Anyway, I hope you will all agree from this picture , that my beads look like chevron beads (please agree, oh, please, please agree) and that they shine like glass - that, they most definitely do! I am my harshest critic, and even I have to grudgingly agree that my beads are most definitely usable. I still have some of the cane left, and when I make another batch, I will shave off some more of the green with a knife prior to curing them - and so reduce the five hours of sanding and buffing and picking the beads off the floor...... to possibly, two!
But still, I like the beads, and that's reward enough, for now.
I started to put together a few necklaces this week. Of course the Nepalese pendants had to get a first look in - I have been collecting gemstone bead components with this day in mind for a couple of months - now, finally it is time to introduce them to each other, and arrange their marriage - hooray!
Coloured powders sold in a market at Holi
Holi is the Indian festival of spring. It is a riotously colourful celebration, full of dance and song, and people fling coloured powders in the air and anoint each other with daubs of colour to celebrate the coming of spring.
Of course, by the end of a hard days celebration, the revellers look bedraggled and dirty, and a lot of them are p!££** as newts, but are very smiley, happy, tired people.
As the days are now getting longer, spring will soon be here - after the holiday season is over, this is the thought that keeps us going through the grey days of January and February. Already, the daffodil shoots are poking up out of the hard ground in my garden.
My necklace was made in the colours of Holi, with an artisan- made Nepalese pendant, and dyed mother of pearl shell beads in jewel colours, with a few accents of coral, turquoise and Czech fire polished beads. The beads came all jumbled up on a string, and I spent ages separating them out into little piles of exploding colour, and I am glad I did, as it simply made the colours pop in the necklace.
It took me a while to get a decent photograph of my new creations, with so little sunlight about, and very little time due to the demands of the day job. I decided that some of my old pictures were rubbish, so I retook them as well. When I finished, I had a large pile of colour sitting at one end of the living room, and when a ray of sunlight fell on it,the colours shone like a glass picture in a kaleidoscope.
With the next Nepalese pendant, I used some amber beads - amber is pine resin which can be many years old, and contains fragments of the hapless creatures that perished when they got stuck to it, when it was still soft and newly dripping from the tree. The colours are so pretty, they remind me of the toffee my mother used to make when I was a child.
A third pendant got a coral heishi ( pronounced hee-she, as in hee - haw! ) bead necklace, with brushed silver tone accents.
I got a bit 'over - pendanted', and made a piece without one - I used some lapis chunky nuggets, with extremely pretty, and colourful, orange jade beads - a few silver tone accents, and it was done - the clasp was meant to sit to one side as a focal, but it didn't seem right, so I cut it up and started again, this time, putting it where clasps are usually - at the back of the neck - it seems such a shame though, to have something so pretty where it is not visible - the wearer will just have to present her back to people and wear her hair up - or simply revel in her secret.
Named for the orange of the jade beads, henna is a plant whose leaves when crushed give out lawsone, a burgundy organic compound that has an affinity for bonding with protein. Lawsone is primarily concentrated in the leaves, and is released more quickly when in contact with a mild acid such as lemon juice. The Henna paste is piped onto the skin like icing on a cake, in what is basically a Zentangle pattern, and when it dries and is washed off, it leaves a deep orange stain, which lasts until the skin exfoliates. I have added a video of such an application, for anyone who may be interested.
My pièce de résistance this week is a piece entitled NIGHTFALL. It is made with onyx squares which are actually meant to be wired together for bracelets - the beads have two holes each. After a lot of tweaking, cussing and manipulating the engineering, I made a necklace using turquoise spacer beads, and added a showy Nepalese triangular pendant, and some pipe shaped turquoise beads - a contrast of shapes and colours that is very very stand outy ( for want of a better word).
I am quietly pleased with my little collection of necklaces this week, they are different, and colourful - I would wear them!
That's all for this week folks, have a good week and I'll see you same time, same place next week
This is the question that has been driving me crazy - people seem to use it interchangeably - sometimes I just turn an idea or thought over and over in my head, instead of consulting the Oracle - so today, I went into Roget's Thesaurus and the answer is ......either / either! I have the entry from the Thesaurus here:-
Main Entry: mould
Part of Speech:noun
Synonyms: conformation, copy, duplicate, embodiment, facsimile, figure, form, mold , plaster, replica, sculpture, shape
Phew! - now that I have that sorted, let me tell you what I have been up to this week.
I had a resin pendant, in Victorian filigree, coloured to resemble amber with the exoskeleton of a scorpion embedded into it. I seem to have acquired all this stuff, until my stash is so large, I shouldn't really need to buy anything else - but it doesn't work that way ever, does it - like being too rich or too thin or having too many shoes! - you can never have too many things in your beading stash.
Anyway, I digress - so, I put this pendant which is as faux as faux can be, with some real branch bamboo coral which was dyed gold and black - two rows of those with two more faux amber beads and I had myself a handsome piece of jewellery - it looks quite regal in fact - well I think so, have a look at it for me...
I called it Isis - the Egyptian Goddess, who was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife ( just like me - wife, I mean) and was the patron goddess of nature and magic, mother of Horus, the hawk headed God of war. She had seven ( a lucky number in Egypt) scorpions to protect her from harm - three in front of her, two under her palanquin and two at the rear - this babe sure didn't take any chances!
My little exoskeleton pendant is unlikely to do much in the way of protection, but what I like about it is that such an ugly/scary object has been so convincingly prettified - that's why I bought it, I guess. I like the contrast of pretty and scary in the same object!
At the weekend, I pulled out all the moulds I have - in my mold stash (!) and decided that from now on, I shall use every one of them - one or two each week and until I use them all shall buy no more - I do want the AMACO sun mould set, but fortunately, it is out of stock in the UK and I refuse to pay a whole load to have it shipped out to me from the States. So I pulled out the 'Hydrangea' mould and a sunflower mould and made some Copper Precious Metal clay bits with them- my problem is that I tend to make jewellery with what I have - it just evolves as I go along from a little germ of an idea - when I conceive a whole design, it never works out for me. This is actually important when making pieces of copper, as I need to know how many holes I want in the piece - too few and I will kick myself, and too many just looks silly - you get my drift?? Anyway, I imagined a necklace with polymer clay and copper pieces, all from the same mould and designed a necklace - and the long and the short of it is, it never happened and I ended up with a polymer clay necklace, as well as a sweet pair of copper earrings and pendant to match, which nods cursorily in the direction of Steampunk.
| |Confection by
ephemeraI want you to miss me so much
that when we kiss
I find our last kiss
still melting slowly
on your tongue. I found this poem on http://hellopoetry.com/poem/confection/
and Ephemera kindly gave me permission to use it here - it is so evocative, I love it!
I used a faux enamel technique on the flowers and they shimmer prettily - just right for a floral garden to welcome the May Blossom - yes I know that May Blossom is Hawthorn, but I am allowed some artistic licence here.
Hydraulic Hydrangea - pendant and earrings
I made these from Precious metal clay, and decided to patinate them with the Vintaj range of Patinas which are new in the UK - they seem to have them a lot more in the USA - where copper is a favourite metal - very rustic and Boho - I took a look on various other UK websites, and it is slowly creeping into UK consciousness, so I guess, I shall be at the forefront of the Copper Revolution. I coloured my flowers Tiffany blue and moss green, and then, since I had changed my mind about how I was going to use them, set myself a challenge to make them up as they were - I had 4 holes in each as they were meant to be links in a necklace - this is how they ended up. I used some watch gears and cogs as I think they are so sweet - you have to look closely at the individual piece to find the gears, but they are there. It has been a challenge to take photographs to portray them properly, but I have enjoyed it. I still have two little flowers left, and they will no doubt surface some day as earrings.
Murano glass Lampwork bead
Hands up those who can see the watch gears.......
Mood Indigo - named by Michael Shilvock
This was made from a Ghau Box, once again from my stash of bits and bobs. This is a rather large box, with inlays of turquoise, lapis and coral, all swirly patterned - I matched the colours with gemstones - and having made a frame for the Ghau box, filled it in with as many gemstones as would fit to give it a lavish look. My husband took one look at it and said 'call it Mood Indigo' - probably because of the prominent colour of the Lapis Lazuli - so here it is.
Play the song too, why don't you - I am a great believer in some foot tapping while I work - and there's nothing better for that than the great Nina Simone - I booked tickets to see her sing in Manchester ( can you see someone singing?? - but you know what I mean) and they cancelled because she was too ill to go on - she died in Paris not long after.
Everyone I know makes Tree of Life pendants - and they are very pretty. It is a motif that recurs in religious symbols, philosophy and mythology and refers to the idea that all beings are connected to one another.
I had been toying with the idea of making one - but I had to figure out an angle - a common or garden Tree (!) simply wouldn't do. I have always been fascinated by the story of the Book of Genesis - and the misogynistic idea that everything is the woman's fault - well, maybe it is, but I'm not about to admit it (actually, neither did Eve - she blamed the serpent!). I think it is also because I went to a Convent school as a child ( but probably just cos I like the idea of mischief). I made a pendant very early on in my practising days for my willing guniea pig and friend Sheela, also with this motif. In todays pendant, there is a serpent looking up at the apples in the moonlight, hatching the plot that will bring mankind to its knees (actually womankind) and him onto his belly for ever and ever - and so it goes for mischief makers!
I had a hammered copper star shaped pendant for many moons, not knowing quite what to do with it, and I used it to make this visual pageant of the day the Book of Genesis was born - and I had to call it just that.
Mischief brewing here
It all began with Adam. He was the first man to tell a joke--or a lie. How lucky Adam was. He knew when he said a good thing, nobody had said it before. Adam was not alone in the Garden of Eden, however, and does not deserve all the credit; much is due to Eve, the first woman, and Satan, the first consultant.
- Notebook, 1867 Mark Twain
The Tree From the Garden of Eden - now owned by Sheela
Before I end, I have a joke for you - One day God told Noah to build an ark and put in two of each animal. Noah built the ark, there was the Great Flood and the animals were saved. After the waters receded, Noah released the animals, two by two, back into the wild. He said to the dogs "Go forth and multiply". He said to the deer, " Go forth and multiply".
He then said to the snakes, "Go forth and multiply." They looked at each other, flummoxed. "What is the matter?" asked Noah.
"We can't," the snakes replied "we're adders!"
Have a fab week and I will catch up with you next Friday