Yes, I know, that's a strange title for a jewellery blog - but have a look at the picture below and tell me if they don't look like rainbow coloured slugs and snails!
Slugs on my work surface
Snails in my oven!
One of the ladies from Jane's Armchair Raiders (a jewellery maker's forum I belong to on Facebook) liked my squiggle bead necklace so much, she had me make her some beads - a compliment, indeed! So, it would appear that someone is soon to be the proud owner of another Rainbow squiggle bead necklace/parure - can't wait to see what she makes with them. She has a very neat and tidy approach to her jewellery, and a finish that is second to none. I will definitely be looking out for this necklace on her page 'MadeByAleks' on Facebook. Her jewellery style is very different to mine, and it will be interesting to see what two people make with the exact same beads.
This necklace is named for the Lapis Lazuli nuggets, as the word 'Nila' honours the Nile river in Egypt, and also means blue. The necklace has faceted nuggets of carnelian and lapis, and carries an electroplated maple leaf in an iridescent copper finish. I hung a swirl of wire in front of the leaf, with an onyx and a blue jade teardrop, to add colour and movement. The waxy carnelians are set off by the lapis to perfection - I like the colour combination very much - what do you think??
This lovely black jade pendant has two little boys on it - one of them is holding a ball and they look like the are having a fine old time. As the pendant is a rather dark shade of green, I brightened it by adding chunky pyrite nuggets, and pale green prehnite nuggets. I recently discovered prehnite, a beautiful pale green stone, which comes from India, China and Australia amongst other places where it is deposited in hemispherical masses and finger like projections. It is tinged with black, as if touched by a sooty finger, and is ever so pretty. A pyrite chunk dangling from the end of the pendant provides both movement and interest, and serves to further lighten the somber colour of the black jade.
I bought a couple of strings of howlite slab nuggets in a lovely bright spring fresh green. I broke the strings up, and over a year, have made a few very different pieces of jewellery with them. I made a pendant, and a cuff to match for my friend Sheela, and then a collar - Tinker Bell. With the left over nuggets, I made Atlantis - named for the lost island with the same name.
Atlantis (in Greek, Ἀτλαντὶς νῆσος, "island of Atlas") is a legendary island first mentioned in Plato's dialogues, written about 360 BC. According to Plato, Atlantis was a naval power lying "in front of the Pillars of Hercules" that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa in approximately 9600 BC. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune". Atlantis inspires today's literature, from science fiction to comic books to films. Its name has become a byword for any and all supposed advanced prehistoric lost civilizations.
The slab nuggets resemble nothing more than this fabled island which has inspired hopes for a Utopia. The addition of a polymer clay focal bead and some faux bone pipe beads broke up the line of the slab nuggets - I like asymmetry - but I'm sure you have noticed that by now!
I dug out some of the pictures I have of the other pieces I made out of these slab nuggets - some of them were taken before I learned how to use my little point and shoot camera, which makes me wince now to look at them! It just shows how far I have come, I suppose.
An old friend & co - conspirator who has accompanied me in a million kinds of mischief!
I think of all of them, I like Atlantis best - but then, I would say that, wouldn't I!
I plan to play with my kiln this weekend, and try to put the stuff I learned from Jules into action. A bit of enamelling, I think, is in order.
That ends this week's blog folks, catch you next week, same time, same place,
Hello readers, I hope you are all enjoying the weather, which is slowly showing signs of getting warmer. It is so nice to be able to shed the heavy winter gear, and wear fewer clothes - can't wait to get to the point where the sandals come out of the cupboard and onto my feet.
My mother went on a little tour of South India with her niece, and very kindly brought back some beads for me. I had asked her to look out for a string of Rudraksha beads - more about them later. The ones she sent are about 20mm in diameter, and I was a bit intimidated by their size, I had really wanted them a bit smaller. However, no one puts Caprilicious in a corner, and I decided to rise to the challenge. I made some polymer clay ruffle beads from a tutorial by Christelle Van Lingen, in a blend of red and gold, and put a necklace together with a copper electroplated oak leaf skeleton.
I added a blue agate bead and a copper Bali style bead to provide a pop of colour and extra interest, and little gold plated crystal beads to add some sparkle to the piece - I was quite pleased with the way the necklace turned out. I like the juxtaposition of an ancient, traditional seed bead, and the polymer clay, which is as contemporary as you are going to get - and very different, too from anything i have seen, made with these seeds.
Rudraksha is a large evergreen broad-leaved tree whose seed is traditionally used for prayer beads in Hinduism. The seed is borne by several species of Elaeocarpus. Rudraksha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the name Rudra ("Shiva") and akṣha ("eyes").
Rudraksha seeds are covered by an outer shell of blue when fully ripe, and are also known as blueberry beads. The berries are strung into a rosary, used for repetitive prayer. The seeds are classified on the basis of the number of divisions that they have, and different qualities are attributed to the rudraksha based on this. A common type has five divisions, and these are considered to be symbolic of the five faces of Shiva.
Rudraksha beads are often worn by Indian 'sadhus' or holy men, who are devotees of Shiva.
The plant and the blueberries that produce the Rudraksha seed
Sadhus, wearing strings of the Rudraksha beads - the one on the right looks pretty pleased with himself!
In a complete about turn from the oak leaf necklace, I made a couple of light and pretty summery pieces to go into the English Country Garden collection - a little pendant - Primrose, and a necklace made of all the shiny, pretty floral elements I could find - The Summer Bouquet. The inspiration for this came from a throwaway comment by a presenter on last Sunday's airing of 'The Antiques Roadshow' while valuing a tiara - he mentioned that tiaras were often turned upside down and worn as necklaces in Victorian times - so I made a modern day tiara/ necklace - it is extremely light and pretty, and looks like a wildflower bouquet.
Winner - Bead Barmy Readers Gallery Competition April 2013
I had news that Katrina won in the 'We've got the Blues' category, and that it sold, all on the same day - I must remember to tell the new owner she has a winner!
Linda Jones, a well known and influential jewellery designer, and author, writes a blog for the WireWorkers Guild, which is a forum for people who love wire. She offered to feature me on her blog in May, and sent me a questionnaire. I filled it out, and she emailed me back - she was so complimentary, I have had a job fitting my head through the door and am literally floating around the room. This is a screen capture of her email
What can I say - other than thank you, Linda Jones! And here it is http://wireworkersguild.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/caprilicous-jewellery.html?showComment=1366967638186#c8771846690699081699
When I finally managed to come down to earth , I finished off the last piece I made this week and took these photographs of The Spirit of Ecstasy. The art nouveau wire work surrounding the focal was behind the idea for the name.
The Spirit of Ecstasy, also called "Emily", "Silver Lady" or "Flying Lady", was designed by English sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes and carries with it a story about a secret passion between the second Lord Montague of Beaulieu, a pioneer of the automobile movement, and editor of The Car Illustrated magazine from 1902 and his secret love and the model for the emblem, Eleanor Velasco Thornton. Eleanor was John Walter's secretary, and their love was to remain hidden, limited to their circle of friends, for more than a decade. The reason for the secrecy was Eleanor's impoverished social and economic status, which was an obstacle to their love. John-Walter, succumbing to family pressures, married Lady Cecil Victoria Constance, but the secret love affair continued.
Eleanor died on 30 December 1915 when the SS Persia, on which she accompanied Lord Montague on his journey to India, was torpedoed off Crete by a German submarine, four years after she had been immortalized by her lover.
Spirit of Ecstasy
The rough cut black tourmaline gleams gently, and the severity of the black is relieved by the multi-coloured, shiny crystal spacers, and the graceful swoops of the wings of the focal. The polymer clay 'cabochon' is smooth, although its surface appears corrugated, and was made from a tutorial by Sophy Dumoulin of CraftArt Edu. I just love this technique - although time consuming, it is fabulous - and you have to wait till the absolute end, to see if the piece you have made is any good - for someone short on patience, it is a good exercise! The toggle clasp is pretty too, but this time, I put it at the back of the neck, where it should rightfully belong - when I tried to bring it to the front, as I do with a lot of pretty clasps, it fought a major battle with the focal, and lost. I consoled it by explaining that the back of the wearer is visible too, especially if she has her hair short, or swept up - or it could remain a delicious secret between the necklace and the wearer ( must be going doolally tap - I am now talking to a clasp!).
That's as much as I had time for, sweet people, I am exhausted by the repeated expansion and deflation of my head after all the accolades Caprilicious has received this week - and I know I will have to work hard to stay worthy of what has been said.
Catch you next week, same time, same place
Sara is a lady who draws, paints and crochets - she also runs a Flickr group to support 'quality art and handmade'. She selects five designs as her favourites of the week and allows people to vote for them on her blog. My JuJu Woman necklace was selected this week - if you have a moment to spare, do visit her site and cast me a vote in the next seven days, please. http://sara-artstudio.blogspot.co.uk/
The pictures above are, from left to right, jaggery, citrine nuggets, and brown sugar. Jaggery and brown sugar are cane sugar with a higher content of molasses than white sugar - this makes the partially refined sugar moister. Jaggery is sold in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean, and I have seen it piled high in the Asian shops in the UK just before Asian festivals, and sold in 5 kilo doorstop sized lumps wrapped in jute sacks.
My mother always had some in her pantry, and as children, we would sneak in and steal a few chunks, stuffing them into our mouths with a handful of raisins and cashew nuts and run into the garden, before we were caught and given a good hiding for our trouble. It is no wonder then, that I love citrine nuggets - they remind me of my childhood.
I have come to the sad conclusion that I am a bit of a glutton - I often describe beautifully marked gemstones as 'almost edible', though why anyone would choose to eat a stone is beyond me. It may be because I fall in love with the gemstone on the basis that more than one sense is excited - it not only looks good, but it looks like it might taste good! I do, however, stop short of actually putting them in my mouth - even though they have no calories.
When I made this necklace with citrine nuggets, all I could think of was brown sugar, no other name seemed to fit -so, that's what I called it.
I have had the carnelian leaf pendant in my collection for ages, as well as the opalite leaf in the next piece I am going to show you. The waxy translucence of the carnelian seemed to go perfectly with the crystalline structure of the citrine.
The opalite leaf in the next piece glows as if it has been touched by the light of the moon. I teamed it with faceted blue chalcedony and banded blue agate - I made the entire piece up, and then felt that the leaf, on its own, was too small for the size of the stones in the necklace, so I unpicked the whole piece, and make a wire frame for the pendant.
I had a new weave I wanted to try out, taught by a wire artisan called Mary Tucker. Her weaves have a flat appearance, almost like a woven fabric - I tried out a short segment, and when I separated the wires, I liked the result so much, I incorporated it into the frame for the pendant. Once I had enlarged the pendant, it fitted well amidst the large stones in the necklace. I originally bought the blue chalcedony because the blue reminded me of the baroque palace of Catherine the Great in St Petersburg and I remained true to that idea with the name for the necklace. Until St Petersburg, I had never seen such a brilliantly coloured palace - and it is indeed magical - I was there so many years ago, but have never forgotten its beauty.
.....a young, lithe and graceful human being with unfathomable eyes. she hides her soul within her and rarely lets anyone else see it. A laila takes a long time to let somebody into her life and past her defenses, but once she places her trust in them completely, she finds it near impossible to let go.
Some beads are too pretty to languish in a dark corner, and these Nepalese wooden beads, as well as the coral, fall into that category. The coral has been dyed black - it is illegal to make jewellery out of real black coral, as it is a protected species by international law. These tear drops are made of sponge coral, which is from a sustainable source, and dyed black. Nevertheless, the tear drops are very pretty, and I have tried to use them to their best effect in this necklace. The origin of the name is Arabic where it means 'dark as the night, and mysterious', but when I dug a bit further, it would appear that the Urban Dictionary has claimed it as a noun - the definition of 'a laila' is interesting, to say the least.
I love agate beads that have markings on them - they are so delicate, it is almost impossible to believe that this artistry is wrought by nature. With these waxy translucent whisper pink Dragon's vein agate beads, I found it easy to design a piece adding just a soupçon of bling - a couple of magenta agate beads and a carved amethyst dragon bead, a few spacers - and there it was - the colours remind me of a fuchsia.
Fuchsias have always brought to mind a lady in a ball gown being twirled around in a fast quickstep that imbues her antebellum gown with a life of its own, ballooning around her, so her ankles and delicate dancing slippers are visible .
Thanks for stopping by my blog folks, I hope you have enjoyed this weeks efforts. Catch you next week, same time, same place
Smile - easier said than done today - I should have been wishing my brother a Happy Birthday - Oh well, one foot in front of the other, I plod on, as one does.
The Scapular Bangles
The faux bone was made using instruction from Lynda Moseley of Diva Design ( http://www.etsy.com/shop/SCDiva )and the bangles themselves from an idea taken from a tutorial on Vicky Turner's blog post Claymagination
( http://claymagination.blogspot.co.uk) - a big thank you goes out to both these artists. I imagined a camel fair, with the traders wearing these made out of camel bone in the middle of the desert. I have been a bit heavy handed with the distressing, but, if these bangles were worn in that particular situation, surely they would look as ancient and distressed as these. The secret to being able to make them so thin ( they are only 2 mm thick) and yet, durable, is to reinforce them with a piece of card between layers. I was amazed at how easy this was to do, and how much fun.
I sourced the beautiful quartz needles in my next piece all the way from Russia - they come from a mine just outside St Petersburg. They have been treated to a titanium vapour coating which makes them iridescent in beautiful shades of blue, violet and gold. I could not wait to use them and made this necklace immediately - I did not have to do anything to embellish the beauty of the stones - just hang them on a beading wire with violet tear drop shaped beads as spacers - the teardrop shape helps the quartz to spread out more easily. I did hoard a couple of them - one perfect crystal for a 'point' pendant, and two little ones for earrings - I just couldn't bear to part with them all at once.
From Russia With Love
I was asked to turn the beads on the left into a statement necklace reminiscent of this glacier in Ladakh on the right.
The stones are Blue Ice Quartz, and I have seen them on many occasions all strung in a row in a choker. I bought some blue agate geodes, and each of these has beautiful markings - shards of white surrounded by blue.
The picture of the glacier in Ladakh was taken by Manish Lakhani - visit his pictures on Flickr for more pictures of this desolate, but beautiful place at .
and his blog on
This is what I came up with - Glacial Fantasy.
After I finished that, in my spare time, and just for a laugh, I took a tutorial on making faux jade from Lynda Moseley and tried it out, made a faux bone scapular necklace, and attended a Webinar on jewellery making tools from CraftCast- sound busy, don't I - I forgot to mention that I had a few days off from work - had some annual leave owing to me, and decided to take it, and use the time productively. Here are some pictures of the faux jade and bone. Buffy truly came into his own, shining the pieces I made so that they didn't look so 'faux' any more. Anyway, all this activity kept me out of mischief, and Mike was content to let me play while he pottered around. Our dishwasher was on the blink, and it took 3 days to find the parts to repair it - I refuse to wash dishes by hand, so I lived on protein bars -until it was repaired - no cooking was done!
You must wonder why I keep raving on about 'Buffy' - have a look at this picture of faux black jade I made, courtesy of instruction from Lynda Moseley, and you will see why.
It takes literally two minutes to get that perfect sheen if Buffy cooperates and doesn't go flinging them around the room ( actually that's my fault for presenting them to him wrong, but I won't admit that). I made a couple of pairs of earrings with my faux black jade pieces, here they are -
I loved the faux bone bangles so much, I decided to make a torque necklace using the same technique. However, torques need a space in the back for the neck to go through, and I wasn't too sure the piece would be flexible enough. I made it anyway, and held my breath till it was all finished, and Buffy had had his wicked way with it, and then - it worked, wow! I love it. It sits like a Masai necklace, or a ruff - the flanges are not shaped to the neck, but it is light, only 5 mm thick, strong and flexible - the engineering works well. Now I need a really adventurous woman to want to try it out - do you know any?? - send them my way please.
Oh, and I was very pleased with myself - I made a signature stamp - C J , for Caprilicious Jewellery and there it is on the back of the necklace - the cat's whiskers - that's what I felt like when I had stamped my first piece - I have arrived!
That's a wrap for this week, folks, thanks for stopping by. Catch you next week, same time, same place,
My poor (much) better half has been reduced to scrabbling around in skips on behalf of Caprilicious. I charged him with finding a box to house Buffy so that I could take him off the shelf where he currently lived - I watched a video by Melanie Muir which showed how a casing could be made for a buffer out of a cardboard box, which collected all the fine dust, and caught the beads if they flew out of your hands. This is what Mike found for me, along with a second hand computer desk on wheels, to put it on. Buffy is quite happy in his new home, and easily accessible - I had a lot of trouble trying to reach into the shelf where he lived earlier on and almost put my back out . I was so happy, I spent the weekend playing with clay, and shone everything to a glassy finish - including the stuff that could have done with being a bit rough and ready. There is room for a dust mask on top of the box, so I can avoid breathing in particles of clay, and a towel can be attached to the back of the box, to catch the beads when they get flung away from me - Buffy has a short temper - all I need to do is glance at him wrong, he grabs stuff out of my hands and flings them as far away as he can - and sometimes right at me!
JuJu refers to talismans used in sorcery by Shamans - I had this design in my mind's eye, inspired by a picture from Africa Adorned, and made some faux bone talismans - the real ones have 'eyes' carved into them to protect against the evil eye, and I reproduced these talismans as faithfully as possible. I then strung thirteen strands of seed beads - I am told they have to be an odd number, and hung the talismans on them with individual seed bead bails. I wore it to work, and had quite a few compliments from people in my clinic - something tells me that this necklace wont last too long on my shelf.
Paul Newman did all his own stunts on the bicycle in this song - imagine, all that and a trick cyclist too......
One of my favourite movies, with one of my favourite actors.
Raindrops keep falling on my head
And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed
Nothin' seems to fit
Those raindrops are falling on my head, they keep falling
So I just did me some talkin' to the sun
And I said I didn't like the way he got things done
Sleepin' on the job
Those raindrops are falling on my head, they keep falling
I made this necklace with tiny faceted apatite, which is an icy blue, flat rondelles of flashy labradorite, and the tiniest of seed pearls. It was a bit difficult to make as the holes in the beads and in the leaf are tiny - I had to wear magnifying loupes to find them - and even so, the beading wire wouldn't fit through some of them. I wanted to come out of my comfort zone and make something sweet and simple - I seem to make bold and bright quite easily - this was a challenge to make, and I hope you like it. I decorated the leaf - I think it is an aspen leaf - with tiny apatite beads which look like raindrops, and to add a bit of movement - there has to be movement in any necklace from Caprilicious - I wired a tiny pressed glass Czech leaf to one side, satisfying my requirement of asymmetry. The necklace is very pretty, and a complete departure from usual, yet retaining the design elements I am so fond of.
An Orisha (also spelled Orisa or Orixa) is a spirit or deity that reflects one of the manifestations of God in the Yoruba spiritual or religious system. Wikipedia
I made some large hollow beads from polymer clay to resemble spindle whorls from Mali - spindle whorls were used to spin thread, and were made of clay and stone. I strung them with blue dyed howlite and a hollow gold coloured polymer clay bead. The necklace is very light - this has to do with these beads being hollow - it always surprises me how much a small amount of clay weighs when strung around the neck. The clay beads were constructed to be very light weight, in muted tones so this necklace is not as colourful as some of my regular offerings, nevertheless, it is pretty - dif'rent strokes for dif'rent folks.
I made a few more pieces with faux ivory and mounted them on colourful pendants, using embedded wire as both bail and decoration, using an idea from a tutorial by Barbara McGuire. The pendants are show pieces in themselves, so I hung them simply on black organza ribbon, rather than add any further embellishments. One of them has a 'signature' in Chinese lettering - this idea was born after I read that there was a large Chinese presence in Africa from the 18th century onwards - they were brought in as indentured labour by Europeans, and their descendants still live on in Africa to this day. One of juniors at work tells me they are so well integrated that they speak the language, and join in African society - however, whether they inter-marry is another question. The green of the pendant reminded me of jade, so prized by Chinese people everywhere.
That's as much as I have had time for this week - thanks for stopping by and I hope you've enjoyed my ramblings. Till next week then, 'bye.....
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,
Hello all, hope you are having a better time of it than us in the UK - it is freezing outside with plenty of snow on the ground, ice underneath and more blizzard conditions predicted. The supermarket shelves were empty as Britain prepared to hunker down and stay warm in siege conditions - fortunately, I was off during the worst of the bad weather, and stayed home to play with my beads and wire and clay - what more could a girl ask for??
This is our little effort to keep the fauna outside fed .....
and this is Frosty the snowman's table - look at the undisturbed cake of snow on it - all in one morning!! - The pictures are grainy because the snow was still falling - it was cold enough for icicles to form on the edge of the car door.
Two views in two seasons
I received a package in the post with some weather appropriate items - I had collected some leaves and had their skeletons electroplated and made into pendants - I found a fabulous company in Scotland who will electroplate anything - even a human being if they stand still long enough! They do a good line in plating babies' first bootees and suchlike items. They made these most amazing pendants for me, and I shall be making them up into jewellery in the coming weeks. The leaves were all picked up during walks in and around the grounds of Coombe Abbey in Coventry - I just love that ex Cistercian monastery (who said there's no money in religion??), and the hotel now attached to it. Each leaf is only tiny - about one or two inches long - I wasn't sure how it would look and this was a trial run - I think they did a fabulous job, don't you?? Next time, I shall get a mix of tiny and larger leaves so I can make earrings as well.
The Grounds at Coombe Abbey where these leaves were picked
I shall call this series 'The Leafy Glade' - just so they can be found easily on the website, and on the Facebook page.
I made my first piece of the Leafy Glade series with a silver birch leaf and fluorite cubes in grades of colour - the deepest purple to a pale sea green, with lucite Miracle beads in between - these beads are coated on the inside with a special substance, and this seems to make them glow in artificial light - amazing stuff!
Various crystals and garnets were wired to the bail, to provide some movement to the piece.
Tiny, 0.5" long bead caps were fashioned out of wire - and turned three dimensional by bending the petals outwards - hung on extra long stainless steel kidney wires - these are an hypoallergenic alternative to silver, and Hey Presto! Snowdrops! They are pretty, though I say so myself - I would wear them, except my ear lobes cannot take even the slightest weight and tear ever so easily - how I long to wear the chandeliers I make - but instead, just have to look at other people in them and drool over the loveliness of it.
Maybe I should make it a condition that who ever gets these sends me a picture - for my vicarious pleasure, seeing as I could never wear them.
The snow meant that we were voluntarily housebound for four days - well, the weather was so awful, we just stayed in and kept warm. That meant I could hit the pasta machine and play - with clay. I made some 'potato chip' spacer beads - these look like what it says on the tin - potato chips - or for those in the UK - crisps, especially since I made them in a dull gold colour. Just to make it a bit more complicated, I imprinted a stamp on them (and practised what is known as 'Mica Shift' in the polymer clay world), and then figured out how to shine them to a glassy finish without using varnish - I love this medium - so many challenges. I was quite pleased with them when I finished, and put them into a necklace with some roughly faceted black tourmaline.
Apparently, ruffles are the way couture is going in spring ( and now I am a Fashionista?? - is there no end to my madness?? - no, don't answer that!!) and this necklace fits the bill - the polymer clay 'chips' look just like golden ruffles.
On the catwalk for spring - Ruffles everywhere!
Kyanite is such a beautiful, ethereal blue, almost pearly - when put into silver tone jewellery, it has a cold, almost icy effect. I thought I'd try it out with the warmer tones of a copper maple leaf.
As I put the necklace together, I was transported back in time, walking in the grounds of the Abbey, picking and discarding leaves to bring back home to dip in chemicals to bring out their skeletons - and I remembered the bee that had been buzzing around on that sunny morning - almost the last bee of that year, so I decided to add it to the necklace - a wire bee, of course, with gauzy copper wings, that I eventually attached to the bail of the pendant, and threw in a few pressed glass flowers for good measure - a bit of whimsy - and of course I couldn't resist the pun - the necklace is called BEE HAPPY - sorry!
That's me for this week, catch you later, same time, same place
It has finally happened - after an year, and many avoidance tactics, I have had to bite the bullet and move a lot of my jewellery making stuff to a little bedroom - the smallest one in the house. This bedroom used to be an occasional room for the previous owners grandchildren, and when we extended the house, we put a room for the TV on the outside, thus blocking off the window and all natural light - this is not ideal for any sort of crafting activity, but unfortunately is the only space in our house I can use. To camouflage this lack of a view, we had a stained glass window put in with jewel colours, from a design by Frank Lloyd Wright, made by an artist in Warwick, and that now, is my view! The mannequin in the corner is called Betty, and I use her to photograph the necklaces I make. I had already taken over part of the conservatory with my kiln and enamelling endeavours, but needed somewhere indoors to house all my other tools - crunch time came when I acquired a bench buffer - I simply had to have a place to put it. But, it has all been worth it - 'omelettes and eggs'..................... !!
I took an online class with Melanie Muir, and between her techniques and a book written by Bettina Welker, I made these cuff bracelets, and got them to shine like glass using the bench buffer. I was a bit afraid of it and started out with some practice pieces which I ruined completely, but now, I think I have cracked it, and had a lot of fun making the bracelets. They are lightweight, and have a metal form hidden inside, so can be bent around the wrist to give a snug fit - I love cuff bracelets, next only to necklaces, and wear them all the time. Have a look and see what you think..........
I also made these puffy, swirly 'lentil' beads - they draw your eye repeatedly to the centre of the bead, and put them on a necklace made of golden yellow wooden beads. I love the little lock and key shaped clasp - I found those on one of my random browsing expeditions and had to get them - I think a pretty clasp simply elevates a piece of jewellery from the ordinary to the interesting, don't you?
I have developed a mad obsession for Malachite - the green is so stunningly deep and rich, and the markings so beautiful. It is named for the Greek word for "mallow", a green herb.
And to think it is just the verdigris 'rust' in the copper content of the stone that gives it that colour - I'm not keen on this most prosaic of explanations for the beauty of the stone! I bought some faceted beads, with fabulous black markings and teamed it with puffy snowflakes and electroplated silver glass beads. As someone said, malachite is 'impossibly chic' - malachite green can be teamed with most neutral colours, notably teal, aubergine, cream, and navy blue - excellent to ward off those winter blues.
Eastern Promise - Lapis and Turquoise
I recently went back to the Nepalese site I love, and bought a few more pendants - I tend to hoard the pieces I love and these pendants are no exception - this one was from a batch I bought last year, and have taken out of its box every so often, stroked it gently in a gollum - like way - ' yesssssssssssss, my pretty' I said lovingly, and put it away in the dark recesses of my cupboard - well, I finally shook myself out of that bit of craziness and made it up into a piece of jewellery. Unfortunately for you and I, artisan made pendants are a little more expensive than we would like - as would be expected, I suppose. But, these pendants certainly live up to the 'pretty' tag! I echoed the lapis and turquoise in the pendant with lapis and turquoise beads, added a toggle clasp - and 'hey presto' - a necklace appeared, replacing the component from the cupboard!
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For those of you who celebrate, I hope you had a happy Diwali and will have a prosperous and fabulous year ahead. I have had no time - or indeed the inclination to celebrate, but will have a few folks round for supper to mark the occasion this weekend - maybe let off a few fireworks - who knows??
That's all I've had time for this week folks, thanks for reading the blog, have a great weekend, and catch you next week - same time, same place.
I have been playing with FotoFlexer - it has been a nice calm week and I have had time to think and play. I love getting parcels in the post, and I think the best thing about Caprilicious is that it allows me to get at least two parcels every morning - the postie must wonder what goes on at our place, but I suspect he doesn't give a toss, as long as he gets his Christmas pressie.
He has been delivering crystals all week - and I have helped to keep the Czech economy ticking over - with a bit of help from the ladies who have bought stuff from me. I decided that I would no longer put capital into beads and jewellery related items - I wait till something is paid for, and use that money to purchase other bits and bobs - so far the plan has worked well, with one or two minor lapses.
So what have I been doing with the recently delivered crystal beads?? - take a look.......
Diabolique - because the Devil wears Caprilicious - naturally!
One of my Caprilicious friends has been helping me to name my jewellery - thank you, Lynda Borley! - she suggested I make a necklace called Madame Bovary. I gave it a little thought - Emma Bovary was a woman whose quest for romance led her to ruin, and eventually suicide -she was in love with the idea of being in love, and had romantic assignations with men who always disappointed her in the end -what sort of a paradigm would her story be for a piece of jewellery? - who would want such associations with something like that around their neck?
However, life has its ups and downs, and I imagined how she must have felt each time she was getting dressed to attend a new liaison - the quickening of the pulse when she thought of the bit of 'afternoon delight' in store, the little half smile and the hum as she flitted about, trying on this outfit and that, and matching her jewellery to her clothes - maybe picking something light and easy to conceal under a mantle as she left the house, to be revealed when her man was with her - I went off into this daydream - and when I woke up I had made Madame Bovary! - a necklace Emma Bovary might wear to a tryst, tripping happily off to meet one or another, not realising where her insatiable quest for romance was to take her!
A string of amethyst coloured tear drop shaped crystals came through the letter box and I made them up into a three strand necklace I called Silk Cut - after the only vice I have left, now that I have been teetotal for over an year, and am on a perpetual diet! The purple of the Silk Cut advertisement is delectable, and I tried to do it justice with this piece.
Wild!- from the Bewitched series
BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEWILDERED
Men are not a new sensation
I've done pretty well I think
But this half-pint imitation
Put me on the blink
I'm wild again, beguiled again
A simpering, whimpering child again
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered - am I
Couldn't sleep and wouldn't sleep
When love came and told me, I shouldn't sleep
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered - am I ...............
I sat down with a roll of 16 gauge wire and twisted it into this bracelet, which I then embellished with pretty coloured Alexandrite beads - they reminded me of the bubblegum we chewed all day at school (when the nuns weren't watching of course, or a beating we were sure to get!). I shaped it to fit my wrist and added a magnetic clasp to ensure that it stayed on the wrist.
This is a fun little piece, made of copper linked beads in shades of orange and brown - it has a bracelet to match, and this can be linked to the necklace to make either a longer piece, or wrap twice around the neck - daytime chic, and nice to wear over jumpers and roll neck tops in autumn / winter. At this time of year, it is nice to add a bit of colour - spices up the day, and your mood, as well.
Iara - The Green fairy of Brazilian Folklore
Iara was a water nymph, from Nova Olinda in Brazil, a beautiful young woman, sometimes described as having green hair and translucent skin, who spent her days on a rock by the river combing her hair or dozing under the sun. When she sensed a man was in the vicinity, she would start to sing gently to lure him. Once under the spell of the Iara a man would give up everything dear to him to live with her underwater forever, which was not necessarily a bad thing for the man, as she was pretty and would cater for all needs of her lover for the rest of his life - the poor Iara was doomed to a life of servitude for making the mistake of 'pulling' (sounds familiar!).
The legend of the Iara was one of the explanations for the disappearance of those who ventured alone in the jungle - a romantic bogeywoman!.
I teamed a carved jade pendant with Serpentine which is so called because it resembles the skin of a snake. It is sometimes called New Jade and has been used since ancient times to guard against disease and sorcery. It is also thought to help find inner peace and is a meditation stone - not too sure about stones finding me inner peace - but hey, if you want to believe that, that's fine by me - I used it because it is so pretty.
That's as much as I have had time for this week. I have to be in London for a couple of days early next week to attend a meeting associated with the day job - Continuing Medical Education - that's what it is called. I shall wrap up warm - it is turning pretty cold out there. Catch you when I get back,
Have a good weekend, and a great week
Hello all, have just got back from a fabulous short break in Rome - the weather was fantastic, and the sun shined on us throughout, allowing us to cafe hop between trudging wearily from monument to museum - watching the world go by - checking out what people are wearing, the way they walk - women seem to walk differently from the rest of the world in Europe - little staccato steps, on tottery high heels, in tight short skirts. The cobbled streets of Rome are particularly suited to clickety - clacking along in stiletto heels, the women so chic, in artfully draped scarves, long dangling earrings and bracelets stacked up halfway up the arm.
Exhausted, feet hurting, and happy to be back, we rescued the cat from the cattery, and now, back to real life - at least I have a couple of days to relax and get the feeling back in my feet, before getting back to the day job - thank goodness for that!
Before I went, I spent a lot of time on the internet researching a way to use my collection of Swarovski squares - these are either square, or with rounded off corners, and boy, do they shine! The only problem is I had to find some way of connecting them - unless I gave up and used them singly in earrings. I do not do bead weaving, which is the most common way to connect circles or square elements - sewing with beads is hard on the eyes, and excruciatingly time consuming - really, the artisans who work with tiny seed beads are to be commended - and good luck to them!
After all that, I found I had to learn a few simple tricks with seed beads to make this next piece or I would never have managed it - just connecting them with jump rings would never be an option for me - too easy! I set out to Square the Circle - an euphemism for an impossible task - the original was a geometric challenge to construct a square with the same area as a given circle using a finite number of steps, which was proven to be impossible in 1882!
Squaring The Circle
I managed to connect the squares - but found that the necklace was too light, and twisted on itself - it needed a focal point to add weight to the centre, and so, the little 2" square pendant of wire and knot less netting was constructed - it also gave the piece some added colour, and plenty of Bling! I used some pretty chainmaille knots between the beads - I have more of these Swarovski rings, and there will be more on these pages, as time goes by.
I got some new tools this week - a new dapping block and doming hammers - working round blanks into gentle dome shapes raises the game just that little bit and allows them to catch the light - I would like to use this technique before I apply enamel to the copper blanks I have earmarked for earrings - they will catch the light every time the wearer moves their head - pretty!
Of course, I had to have a play - I had some Chinese coins and got them out for a good bashing - I'm afraid I smashed some of them by hitting too hard - but, when I worked out all it needed was a light touch using the wrist, rather than the shoulder, I got some pretty good results. Notice the silk cushion I am using as a way to soften the blows on my dining table - I really need a work table - and am coming round to that way of thinking, fast. A few more hammering sessions on the old dining table, and Mike will rush out and buy one - see, there's method in my madness!
The gypsy queen was made from the coins - I punched holes in the dapped and domed coins, patinated them using a proprietary patina, buffed and polished, applied a sealant, and made a couple of pairs of earrings.
I liked the effect, so I patinated the rest and attached them to a hand woven copper collar. I liked it so much, I wore it in Rome - it did attract quite a bit of attention - and strangely, while walking around the Pantheon, I saw a shop displaying earrings just like these - these were copies of Roman artefacts found in the archaeological digs around the area . I must try this with other coins from my travels - not Euros, though - I need those!
The Soleil D' Orient was a vessel that set sail from Siam in 1681, owned by the French East India Company, it is one of the three richest shipwrecks in the world. There were 60 crates of presents to Louis the Fourteenth and probably sank off the coast of Madagascar following a cyclone. It has been looked for by treasure hunters fruitlessly over the years - but it is thought that the treasure is now spread out over many miles - maybe I have a piece here?? - The coins were antiqued by rubbing with sandpaper after being patinated, and then sprayed with a varnish to prevent loss of the rest of the patina - I really like that effect.
Hope you all had a good week too - I will catch up with you later