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,
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,
That's another Christmas done and dusted, and it will soon be 2013. I hope all of you had a fabulous time with friends and family, and that Santa recognised all your efforts to be good in 2012 with loads of nice things in his sack for you.
I have been requested to lay on a Boxing Day sale by my junior doctors at the hospital - now that Caprilicious is a commercial venture, they don't see why I shouldn't fall in line with the rest of the commercial world post Christmas - so, if Santa has been particularly forgetful (or mean), you can always indulge yourself here.
All this being new to me, I did not have the time (or the know how) to set up a slick system with a code at checkout and an automatic discount, so I have requested people to contact me with the names of the items they want and I will send out an invoice - apologies for this cumbersome way of doing business in advance.
I had a few days off at Christmas, and took over the kitchen to play with polymer clay. I could see my husband wincing, every time he walked into the room and saw my stuff spread out all over the counter tops - but he bore it manfully - a tiny shudder shook his frame, and was the only sign of what he was thinking! Of course, I made sure Santa rewarded him well for his forbearance - I will elaborate no further!
I cleared up to cook our turkey on Christmas day, but other than that, the kitchen looked like it had been hit by a cyclone.
This is a photograph taken of Einstein's office in Princeton, just as he had left it, within hours of his death. Now, I'm no genius, creative or otherwise, but I am quietly proud that my kitchen looked worse than this for a few days!
That's my excuse, and I stick to it!
I made a few bits and bobs, but mainly played - wallowed, really, in clay - I pulled out all the tutorials I had collected, either paid for, or freebies found on the internet and stored on Pinterest for a rainy day - and how it rained! I didn't really want to produce anything - just to know that I could, if/when I wanted to, if you know what I mean. I ended up with more scrap clay than I started with, from abortive attempts, as well as some pretty cool stuff, but that's the way it goes.
Polymer clay artists are predominantly women, and kitchen implements, and other items around the house are press ganged into service in the name of art. Thinking outside the box is the name of the game - I even used the metal tube around Mike's cigars as a form, for a faux bone/ivory tubular bead! The dinks made in the piece to distress it and give it an aged look are from rolling it in coarse and fine salt, and washing it away once the clay is cured - got that from a tip off Pinterest, and it worked well - hooray!!
Unfortunately, once used the implements cannot be reused in the preparation of food - indeed, they are quite ruined by the plasticisers in polymer clay - the surface goes all dull and horrid - Oh well, that just means one more implement taken out of commission from the kitchen, into my craft cupboard.
This is a necklace made of faux ivory made while I was playing with clay. I made a tubular bead, and few others, and had a lot of fun antiquing the pieces, and polishing them on the buffing wheel. They were teamed with onyx, lava beads in different shapes, black onyx, haematite, a hefty chunk of coral and a few jasper beads. A single turquoise nugget provided an extra splash of contrasting colour.
I love tribal inspired jewellery and this one is definitely African - the look and feel of it is rugged, chunky and interesting, and it is for someone who likes the avant garde, and is not afraid to experiment - girly girls, look away!!!
Chunky coral and lava beads add texture and colour, contemporary jewellery is all about drama, contrast and vibrancy, and I have tried to bring all of these to this piece.
A few more presents were required, and I made a couple of bracelets and earrings to be gifted to some of my favourite people at work. My pliers mysteriously jumped into my hands as I was walking past, so I made a few pairs of earrings so as not to hurt their feelings, they were feeling a bit put out when I was playing with clay.
I saw these beads on a website, and they were so colourful and pretty, I had to buy them. They are called rainbow jasper and it may be that they are a mosaic of different types of jasper - nevertheless, they were just too nice to pass up. I teamed them with ceramic electroplated spacers and turquoise and made this pretty necklace.
Once I had cleared the kitchen in time to cook Christmas dinner, I was informed by Michael that he would do it all - my presence was not required - sweet!
I sat down in front of the telly to watch Ben Hur - again - with a roll of wire and and a bloodstone cabochon. Bloodstone is a dark green, almost black coloured stone, and to my mind needs brightening in some form - you might not agree with me on that - but I am sure the pendant I made was worth the effort - it took simply ages to form all the curlicues and swirls - this is my favourite pattern from a tutorial by Gailavira, from whom I bought the tutorial originally.
That's about all I had time for this week - now to get ready for the New Year. I am working at the day job on New Year's Eve, and New Years Day - clearly, I drew the short straw this year, but somebody has to be at work, while all the rest of you have a good time partying. Catch you in 2013, have a lovely time on new year's eve if you are out and about, and stay safe.
Speak to you soon,
Last week I wrote about the naiad. This week is the turn of the siren - In the story of Odysseus, the sirens lured sailors to their death with a bewitching song. These beautiful women were formerly handmaidens of the goddess Persephone and they were sometimes depicted with the bodies of birds. When Odysseus passed by, he had himself tightly bound to the mast, and had his sailors block their ears with wax - this caused the Sirens so much distress - they couldn't believe that they had lost their appeal - that they threw themselves into the sea and drowned. Maybe that's where Bollywood got the idea that 'vamps' always came to a sticky end - in reality, bad girls have more fun! Or as Mae West famously said -Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.
I had this exquisite ox bone 'Goddess' face and I made a Siren with it - with a serene face, 'blonde' flowing locks of hair, surrounded by the sea, made of wire and crystals, in a 3 dimensional story board. It took me simply ages to weave the hair, but I was pleased with the final result. I finished it with a gold silk Kumihimo braid and extender chain that I made myself and embellished with wire spirals.
Goddess ox bone face
Gold silk Kumihimo braid
The Ice queen's necklace
When in Reykjavik, we went to the mythological museum - and here I found this wonderful tale - Freya, the Nordic Ice Queen was a warrior goddess of sensual love. Her husband was the Norse God Od.
Freya was a spectacular beauty known for her appreciation of romantic music and stunning floral arrangements. That was her softer side; she was also known as the goddess of war and death. She was the original blonde bombshell and with her blue eyes, she was irresistible. She also owned a magical necklace called 'Brisling' that made her fascinating and alluring to all men who laid eyes on her. I found some Kyanite shards that looked to me like slivers of ice and I combined them with blue agate nuggets, sea sediment jasper and Biwa and freshwater pearls, along with metres of wire to resemble the iciness of Freya's kingdom to make a necklace worthy of an Ice queen.
Kyanite is a sedimentary rock laden with aluminium in an elongated crystalline structure, which is mined alongside quartz amongst other such substances. Its name derives from the Greek word for blue, but it can occasionally be green, and when it contains manganese, orange. It has special significance in metaphysical circles, as it thought to clear the body's communication channels and is an aid to meditation when worn close to the throat.
I love it for its unusual appearance and ethereal, icy qualities - although relatively expensive, I think it is worth it as it is so pretty.
The Ice Queen
The colours that inspired the necklace
My version of Brisling
My work with copper clay is still disappointing - I found out that it needs to be put into the kiln when it is at 930 degrees C hot - quite a terrifying thought! To do this, I have to wear Asbestos gloves, a pair of goggles to protect my eyes from the glare of a red hot kiln, put the copper pieces in a stainless steel pan filled with activated carbon, and lift it into the kiln on the end of what looks like a pitchfork, but has two tines, to fit under the lip of the stainless steel container - Oh dear, what a palaver! - but, I am not one to give up, and crack it I will.
To cheer myself up after a terrible week, and two experiments that went wrong in my kiln, I decided to go back to something I knew and could manage more easily - polymer clay. I have recently made contact with a lady called Jinny Holt - and her artwork is stunning - she is a wizard with the polymer clay, and her work is inspirational.
I dug out a picture of the Fuxing Gardens in Shanghai, from a visit in 2004 - I use that as my 'enchanted place' when I practice self hypnosis and want a calming image in my mind. The gardens in China are always full of plants in full bloom - and I realised why this was - all the plants are grown in huge hothouses in pots, and when they are at their best, they are wheeled out, and the older ones taken away - there's always a few gardeners with their wheel barrows moving plants about the place! The blooms are so beautiful, that after the initial shock of seeing the pots, one forgets all about it and concentrates the mind on the flowers.
This necklace is called the Enchanted Garden - it took me a while to make as each flower had to be shaped, and then attached to a pre made collar with liquid polymer clay, cured again, and then finished off. The piece has soothing colours - and I think it is pretty neat. A serene little face peeps out between the flowers.
Fuxing Gardens Shanghai
"Hope is a walk through a flowering meadow. One does not require that it lead anywhere." - Robert Brault on http://www.robertbrault.com
I follow Roberts blog - he is a writer in the US, and his writings and musings chime with me.
I also found this quote from the Washington Post- it isnt attributed to anyone specifically, but it sounds a lot like something Woody Allen might say -
'Why do people give each other flowers? To celebrate important occasions, they're killing living creatures????
Why restrict it to plants? " Sweetheart, let's make up, have this deceased squirrel" !!!
Anyway, if you were offered a necklace of flowers, you wouldnt need to kill a 'living creature' would you - perhaps a hint in the right ear??
The Enchanted Garden Collar
Silver lined seed bead accents between the flowers
Summer Loving - happened so fast!
I bought some marabou feathers, and in the haste to clear up the 'crafty' mess in the house threw them away by accident - in my defence, they weighed nothing and the packet seemed empty - I had to go on a rummage to find them, so used a few, before they got lost again. I taught myself to make a Viking knit chain, and used this to hold the polymer clay flowers and feathers. Viking knit is an ancient art - and involves weaving wire around a dowel to produce a hollow knitted wire tube - first described in Scandinavia, but also called a Trichinoply chain - I wondered whether it had some origins in India - but on researching it further, it would appear that it is entirely Scandinavian and the 'Trich' in Trichinopoly here refers to a hair like weave or knit and not a place in South India!
I wanted to have the feathers stand upright, rather than wired and pointing downward and with the help of polymer clay, that most wonderful medium, I was able to engineer that effect without having to glue the feathers in place - it always worries me that glue might come away that I try to use it as little as possible.
Little buds to one side
Summer loving had me a blast
Summer loving happened so fast
I met a girl crazy for me
Met a boy cute as can be
Summer days driftin' away,
to uh-oh those summer nights...
I have had a lovely week off from the day job, which I filled quite productively with my little production line. Back on Monday, nose to the grindstone, with a bit of time off to make some pretty things.
Enjoy your week and do come back next week for another instalment - see you then!!