I have been a doctor for thirty years now - so what is it that draws me to creating jewellery and all the other things I do around Caprilicious? - photography, writing blurbs, posting on Facebook, setting up and modifying my website regularly, writing this blog, marketing, sales, packaging and posting, trawling the internet for unusual elements and beads, entering into bidding wars with unseen enemies for beads I crave, learning new techniques on line, taking classes - and all this while keeping a stringent eye on the day job! I am a long way from retirement (it seems like a long way just now) and there is no room for error - I have to keep up with the advances in medicine as they occur, and the job itself is pretty stressful.
A good friend of mine asked me the question, and this set me thinking - what have I gained from all this activity - am I just a busy fool?
Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time ...
Thomas Merton 1915 -1968
Trappist monk, poet, activist and student of comparative religion
For 'art' insert jewellery making in my particular case! I have found friends in quarters I would never have thought to look, met some really interesting people, and of course, the people who buy from me are the tops! After all, Caprilicious is my alter ego - every piece in it speaks to, and of, me - as a corollary to this - anyone who likes my jewellery is a kindred spirit!
OK, enough of this introspection, let me show you what I made this week. And so, without further ado......
Roya was made with snow white jasper lozenges with inky blue agate nuggets and blue - black crystals. A few silver tone spacers and four Shiva eye beads add a pop of colour to an otherwise sober piece. The Shiva eye is the operculum or lid of the sea snail, and has recently become very fashionable. It is usually circular and fits snugly, sealing the entrance to the shell. These beads are filled with an orange resin, giving them their colour - if not for this, Shiva Eye beads are usually white.
ROYA is an Arabic name, meaning vision. This ties in with the Shiva Eye - according to mythology, Shiva and Parvati, his wife, were having a bit of a romp in the Himalayas, where they lived. Parvati came up from behind, and shut both his eyes with her hands, and the world went dark for a few seconds. Shiva, who had a really bad temper (and by all accounts, no sense of humour) opened a third eye in the centre of his forehead. He would rather be disfigured for life, than be blind for a few seconds??? - I don't know! someone should have sent him directions to the nearest sense-of-humour shop in Nepal!
My mother suggested that it might have been because he wanted to keep an eye on his mortal subjects at all times - who knows?? In his place, I would have added a fourth eye for good measure, this time in the back of my head, just to keep a watch for those naughty people behind my back - lack of foresight (or is it hind??) I call it!
Wake up, Titania
I spent an enjoyable day with polymer clay and wire, fashioning what looked like the seed pods of the 'Honesty' flower, a project from a book by Rie Nagumo. Translucent clay is difficult to work with as it becomes brittle very quickly, and I had to coax it and speak to it sweetly ( threats and the swear words flying around weren't working on the darn thing) to stay attached to the wire frames until the curing process was complete. I made quite a few, and only managed to lose six.
Honesty seed pods
I called this the 'Hell on Wings' project - I enjoyed it really - masochistically!
Titania Meets Oberon - Kay Konrad
These are paintings by Kay Konrad, a German painter who painted these beautiful imaginary scenarios from A Midsummer Night's Dream. The one above is called Titania meets Oberon and the one below is Träufelnd Oberon, Titania Asleep. As the mood of my necklace was evocative of these paintings, I requested permission from him to reproduce them on these pages. Have a look at his art on http://www.kaykonrad.de . I think his paintings are so dreamy and fairy like. I sent him a link to Caprilicious and he said my jewellery was beautiful - what a nice man - I am anybody's for a compliment!
Träufelnd Oberon, Titania asleep by Kay Konrad
In the painting above, Oberon is just about to drug Titania in her sleep with fairy dust so that when she wakes up she falls in love with the first person she sees. A lot of people have had that problem, even without the (non) help of Oberon's magic - or there wouldn't be so many divorces in the world - so I called my necklace Wake up, Titania, in an effort to save her from falling for a wrong 'un. Seed beads and coiled segments were wired onto fairly stiff copper - I wanted the necklace to be robust, and not become misshapen too easily. The seed beads I chose were a pinky - purple to go with the mood of the paintings, but the copper wire inside the glass shines through, and only the more strongly tinted beads show up pink.
My poor Muse was exhausted after this effort, so I gave her a rest, and entertained myself by exercising my right brain - reading a fabulous book called Wire in Design by Barbara Mc Guire. It is a compendium of a whole load of wire artisans' work - I then Googled each artisan in the book and drooled all over their stuff, until I could coax my muse back through the door, all rejuvenated after a couple of days off.
Eva Cassidy was a hugely talented American jazz vocalist who died tragically of a melanoma at the age of thirty three. Terry Wogan introduced her to the UK listener by playing her music on his show on Radio 2, well after she died, and her album went to the top of the charts in the UK and Europe. This necklace is a tribute to her amazing arrangements and vocals - the silver electroplated maple leaf, with the pewter leaf spacers interspersed with faceted onyx olive shaped beads is called Falling Leaves. The maple leaf has a few onyx beads on a little chain dangling in front of it to provide extra movement to the piece, without detracting from, or obscuring the beauty of the leaf skeleton.
That's all the Muse and I had time for this week, have a nice weekend, and we'll catch up with you next week, same time, same place
Last week I was toasting myself in the sun, albeit gently, walking in a park where people were shedding outer layers of clothing, much like a snake sheds its skin. I wasn't quite so brave, but I did put away my winter boots - and this week - it snowed! - a frantic rummage in the shoe cupboard ensued!
Oh well, it was nice while it lasted - I just hope that's not the end of the British summer - as my husband is fond of reminding me - "Ne'er cast a clout till May is out" - if he would only tell me what a 'clout' is, I would be better equipped to deal with the weather.
I found inspiration from an unlikely source this week - a programme on the telly about leaf fossils excavated in the UK.
Leaf fossils are a window into what the Earth looked like in prehistoric times. We can look at a leaf fossil and let our imagination conjure up a field or forest millions of years ago.
A real leaf fossil from www.bgs.ac.uk
From www. global.rakuten.com
About 50 million years ago, in southern England and the Isle of Wight, mangroves grew in the wet areas, and in the drier areas the plants included pines, laurel, raspberry and magnolia. The programme was about an accidental find of a laurel leaf fossil, from the Isle of Wight, probably similar to leaves of today i.e. leathery, shiny and containing aromatic oil. Laurel is widespread today, in tropical, subtropical and Mediterranean regions and is not indigenous to the area. This fossil was found in a bed of slate - Slate is a fine-grained, sedimentary rock composed of volcanic ash through low-grade regional metamorphism - there are no known volcanoes in the vicinity of the Isle of Wight.
I found this poem written by a man who calls himself simply Dominic D, he comes from Wisconsin and writes random thoughts, poetry, Haikus and short stories on Helium - which I am rapidly becoming addicted to as a repository of interesting writing that might not have been lucky enough to have become a published work - well, published on paper.
An image of time
trapped in the Earth
stays there waiting
with priceless worth.
A discovery is made
deep down below
remains are uncovered
from so long ago
on the face of the stone
perhaps back then, it
was shelter it was seeking,
but trapped it became instead,
not knowing centuries later
it would become a work of art
studied and admired,
but all it ever wanted to really do was
The Leaf Unturned Necklace
I made a leaf from copper Precious Metal Clay in my kiln, polished it, and then patinated it using rock salt, acetic acid and liquid ammonia fumes till I got a lovely encrustation of the turquoise blue, akin to that found on the roofs of buildings in Liverpool - they have a fantastic copper roof on the Liver Building which is always this colour. This had to be varnished to hold the patina for posterity (!) and then set in faux slate - polymer clay which I have now found can be made to resemble almost anything - give me some wire and some polymer clay - and I will be in heaven! I made up the necklace with grey speckled ceramic beads of different sizes, a lava rock flower, snowflake obsidian, which is essentially quick cool lava rock with grey/white inclusions, and a few little dangles - I do like my dangles - to signify the field of wild flowers where the prehistoric fossil was found, and a couple of twists of faux turquoise, for colour and some freshwater pearls - an entirely grey piece would be dull, dont you think??
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Ruskin: "Between the earth and man arose the leaf. Between the heaven and man came the cloud."
I read a book called Steampunkery by Christi Friesen - it is absolutely my kind of craft book - simply written, with loads of tips and pictures, with a wicked sense of humour - I have never read a craft book written so well. On further investigation, she writes free tutorials on the internet as well, and all she asks for is a mention. I have vowed never to copy anyone - and I stick to that rigidly - but as Mike is fond of saying - 'there's no such thing as an original thought' (yes, he's a wise old bird, that one - his hair ain't silver for nothing!!) - and you have to get your inspiration from somewhere, I thought Christi's book was a good place to start.
I made the next pendant, Unbreak my Heart from a popular song of that name by Toni Braxton in the 90's - the heart disgorges wires and springs and gears - much like a broken settee - it is made in the tradition of Steampunk - my first dabble into this genre.
Steampunk came into prominence in the late 80s and 90s incorporating elements of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, horror, and speculative fiction. It involves a setting where steam power is widely used— the Victorian era in Britain or the "Wild West" in the United States, or in a post-apocalyptic time with elements of either science fiction or fantasy. This technology includes time machines and airships found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, and of course, more modern writers with whom I am not familiar.
“To some, ‘steampunk’ is a catchall term, a concept in search of a visual identity. To me, it’s essentially the intersection of technology and romance." – Jake von Slatt, aka Mr Steampunk - an IT professional and 'steampunk mechanical hacker' - you can find him here if you want to know more. http://www.wired.com/culture/design/news/2007/06/vonslatt
I made the pendant, made up the ribbon necklace, took pictures and posted them on Facebook - when I got home from work, to my pleasant surprise, there was a very discerning lady (anyone who likes my stuff must
have a discerning eye, right?? - right!) looking to buy it - in fact she requested earrings to match as well! - which I made up at the weekend.
" Unbreak my heart,
Say you'll love me again
Undo this hurt you caused
when you walked out the door
And walked out of my life
Uncry those tears......" Toni Braxton
A mechanical heart might be so much easier to unbreak!
Unbreak My Heart
The next piece was pure tomfoolery - how many times have we seen those sickly sweet cherubs on people's walls and in garden centres up and down the land, smiling benignly down from heaven - or wherever it is these cherubs get to - purely nausea inducing, I think - that of course is my personal opinion!
So, still under the spell of Christi Friesen, I made a naughty cherub - my kinda guy - a bit worse for wear, sticking plaster and grazed elbows, obviously been out somewhere - top hat, tails, bow-tie, monocle on a chain, blowing smoke from a fat cigar (which started life as a cigarette, but ended up as a cigar by the time I put in a wire armature to keep it upright). My dad had a record by Connie Francis from the late 50's called Stupid Cupid - and this is what I named him - I shall include this song, you can play it as you read on, for a bit of light relief!
I think he's ever so cute - I hung him on a hot pink velvet ribbon that simply ties at the back and is adjustable so he can nestle in a cleavage - which I think he would like, being the sort of guy he is, or be worn with a T shirt.
Have a Happy Easter holiday - eat a hot cross bun for me!! See you next week.
Time to indulge in my other passion - little shoots are peeping up in my garden all over the place , telling me its time to clear up winter debris and get ready for some sowing. I got some poppy seeds to sow out - poppies are my favourite flowers - if only the leaves didn't look so dreadful and straggly once the flower has died, or they lasted a bit longer - Oh well, you cant have everything. I have a little idea for poppy based jewellery, but that will have to wait. This week it is the turn of the sunflower. I have a smallish garden,with nowhere near the space I'd like to grow masses of sunflowers - like the paintings of Provence - you can feel the heat coming off the land in those paintings. So I decided to make my own with my favourite (currently) - polymer clay.
The most famous sunflowers of them all - Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers
Monet's contribution to the 'sunflowers in a jug' genre
Monet's Garden at Velhuil
Impressionism is a 19th century artistic movement that swept much of the painting and sculpture styles of the period. It was not just a passing fad but has defined an entirely modern way of expressing one’s artistry that eventually rubbed of in other art forms like literature, photography and film making - I wondered if that could be replicated in jewellery making as well. I have a few prints dotted around the house and can spend hours gazing into the dreamy quality of the paintings. The impressionists painted by recreating the sensation in the eye that views the subject, rather than delineating the details of the subject by simply applying colours and brush strokes that took on a strange accuracy , rather than attempting to recreate a photograph with paint.
These are puffy, frilly polymer clay flowers, edged with gold - light as a feather, anchored to copper wire and adorned with gemstones. The left -over one was anchored to a memory wire choker and a wire dragonfly added to one side - and there you are, I am an Impressionist too!
A garden in waiting
Harry the house - guardian
Green and lush in midsummer
It's hard to believe that a garden that looks like the first picture, can be the same one in the last - coming from the tropics I wasn't used to the aggressive changes in climate reflected in the garden, and of course mood!
It will be St Patrick's day soon - the end of Lent - and the Irish diaspora will be out celebrating - I have a very good friend who is Irish, and we spent a lot of time together in our training years - she put the story out that we were actually long lost sisters - according to the epic story her father had been stationed in India in the war...... my mother might have had something to say about that, and anyway, I'm not that old - but a lot of gullible midwives actually believed it and congratulated us on meeting so late in life and how well we got on - let's just say, I have a sister and her name is not Fidelma. So, being virtually part Irish, I am celebrating too.
Bollywood would have loved this story line - except we would have been twins, and there would have been a fire or a flood and our mother would have managed to carelessly mislay one of us in the struggle to survive, one of us would have been evil and the other a police woman - as it is, Fidelma and I are both gynaecologists - very prosaic!
With my Irish / Impressionist hat on, I created this Peter Pan collar with green howlite slab nuggets and cream wooden beads, and a sculptured bow at the neck. The Peter Pan collar was originally designed by the actress Maude Adams in 1905 for her role in the Broadway play of the same name. I called it the Tinker Bell collar though, it certainly is green enough and the collar was created for someone like her!
I read this poem by Tiffany Kuhanez, and this about sums it up -
Tinkerbell a little fairy
That glows within the night
She surrounds me glowingly...
Surrounds me with pixie light.
She sprinkles pixie dust
That helps you to fly
And when she blows dust from her little hand
Now I can touch the sky!
My friend Jinny Holt continues to make her wonderful books of spells - wierd and wonderful! - she is a true artist and can effortlessly turn her hand to lots to creative things. Read about her in her bloghttp://creativesoulcreations13.blogspot.com/
Je T'aime - the necklace
Do listen to the music - I'm sure you will enjoy the jewellery more if you do. I love this song, and though it is a bit racy, it makes you want to dance.
Je T'aime was inspired by a picture of my garden shed last summer - I have a yellow Clematis Tangutica scrambling all over it.
I made it with some orangey yellow silver lined seed beads and my favourite medium - wire - I hope you like it.
The flowers arrive in late summer and I love this Clematis, especially as it is a species that is out of the norm. It has dandelion like seed heads which are pretty in their own way, but I simply love those flowers.
The Angel's wing necklace
We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another. ~Luciano de Crescenzo
Luciano is a Neapolitan writer and film maker - now 83 - I thought this was very profound - after all , who of us wouldn't like a hug.....
I made what I thought was an angels wing in wire and silver lined shiny seed beads - an angel ought to be shiny surely .....
this is what occurred - this is, I think a night time version of the 'Spring fever' necklace
The Spring Fever Necklace
Vine leaf toggle clasp to pick up the lucite leaves in the necklace
Silver and white with coloured leaves as accents
A large quartz crystal glows gently to one side of the necklace
The Angel's Wing Necklace
I have had to go back to my day job, my holiday at an end - have a nice week and I hope I will find you well next weekend. Happy Mother's Day and St Paddy's day to all of you.