Hello folks, I hope you have had a satisfying week and are ready for some fun this weekend.
A piece of great news - Caprilicious Jewellery is soon to be available at an outlet in Abu Dhabi - I have sent off the first consignment, and if the jewellery sells well there, I might do regular business. More about this next week.
I had to share this - I sold this pendant last week to a lady who asked me what inspired me to make it - she was obviously well into Art Nouveau jewellery - she had written a thesis on the subject, and she said the pendant reminded her of Lucas von Cranach's Tintenfisch und Schmetterling - I had actually seen the aforementioned pendant on a website during one of my periodic browses of the internet - but to be compared with a master jeweller - very humbling.
Who knows what stays in your brain when you look at images constantly, as I do - or, if this pendant was indeed influenced by Lucas von Cranach - all I can say is, I see the octopus, but not necessarily the butterfly - I leave you to decide whether they do actually have some resemblance to one another.
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Tintenfisch und Schmetterling (Octopus and Butterfly; 1900) by Wilhelm Lucas von Cranach, a master jeweller who liked his octopuses - strange bedfellows, I say!
I went to Shrewsbury this week, to the workshop of the lovely Jules Harper to learn how to prepare precious metal clay pieces for the application of enamel. I went on an enamelling and a precious metal clay (silver) course last year at In The Studio, but this time around, wanted one on one tuition. Now that I have a bit of experience, there were so many questions bothering me - one cannot keep bobbing up and down in a class with loads of people - you sound like a smart aleck and eat into other peoples time. Jules taught me how to fire copper and bronze clay
properly, and to prepare them and enamel them - most exciting of all, the little lentil bead I made with copper clay and enamelled on both sides - it would look so sweet in earring designs, and is light because it is completely hollow. She is a very patient teacher, and the time just flew by - that's a sure sign of a lot of fun - maybe not quite so much for her, though. I thought it was around 5pm when I left her place, and it was only when I was halfway home, I realised it was in fact well past 7pm - sorry Jules!
Here's a link to her website if anyone is interested http://www.artclayjewellery.co.uk/
Now that the weather is slowly getting better, I want to play with my kiln and make some colourful pieces in it, and thanks to Jules now, it wont be such an anxiety ridden operation.
Having 'borrowed' the necklace on the right in reds and golds, to wear to a dinner party, I received so many compliments that I felt i needed to make another, this time in the cool colours of blue and silver - to my eye, it looks like the necklace has been bathed in moonlight - but, I will leave it to you to decide if the name is apt, and which one you prefer.
The Greek word "amethystos" may be translated as "not drunken", from Greek a-, "not" + methustos, "intoxicated". Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it. According to a 16th century French poem, Dionysus, the god of intoxication, of wine and grapes was pursuing a maiden named Amethystos, who refused his affections. Amethystos prayed to the gods to remain chaste, a prayer which the goddess Artemis answered, transforming her into a white stone. Humbled by Amethystos's desire to remain chaste, Dionysus poured wine over the stone as an offering, dyeing the crystals purple.
Amethyst is a purple quartz found deep within volcanic rock, and its colour comes from manganese and iron impurities. The Agapanthus or Nile lily is an amethyst coloured flower, and the little nuggets of amethyst in this next necklace brought the buds of this very pretty flower to mind. I had a load of these in my garden, but unfortunately, as the name suggests, it likes warmer climates and all of my plants died. I might try to grow it indoors this year. I love the geodes/ druzy form of any gemstone, where the natural striations are left in, as part of the stone, and the pendant I used was sourced with great difficulty. It came to me all the way from Brazil, after a lot of bargaining with the vendor, to secure the best price. I thought it was so regal, I crowned it with a scroll of wire filigree work. A little jade butterfly, prehnite nuggets and some green crystals set the purple of the amethyst nuggets off beautifully.
That's all I had time for this week folks. We are off to Giverny, and will visit Monet's garden, and then on to Paris where I want to see his paintings at the Musee de l'Orangerie.
I have enjoyed the Impressionists for ages and have a few prints on my walls - can't wait to see the real thing. The poor cat will be most unhappy to go into the cattery , but, needs must. I hope the weather will play nicely with us, and I will catch you when I get back,
Have a great week,
The Denise Cuff Bracelet
I finally finished the floral cuff bracelet for my friend Denise - and I named it in her honour. Last week it was almost done except for a touch of varnish, and I thought the leaves were a bit bright, so I dulled them a bit before varnishing the cuff.
Denise visits us in late August, and I will ask her to carry a gift for a friend who lives in 'Vegas. She took one look at the Enchanted Garden collar, and asked if I could make her a headband - I thought long and hard, before I made it - a clay lining to the headband would make it too heavy to wear - instant headache! I prefer to keep my friends, so decided to make some roses with the wire cured into them, and wrap them onto a headband with beads and leaves, almost like a tiara. I named it after Anna Karenina, the ultimate romantic tragedy heroine.
The Anna Headband
She looks like she might wear my headband!
I'm not sure who this actress is, but I'd make her a headband any day of the week - isn't she romantic looking? This picture is from an advertisement for the movie.
Rather than make beads, I preferred to make the individual roses around a long stem of wire each, and cure them upright, so the wafer thin petals didn't bend or fold when cured in the heat of the oven.
I took this picture on a glass dummy Mike brought back from a junk shop many years ago - it sits in a corner wearing a Chinese silk cap with a queue attached to it and a spare pair of my glasses on its nose. I wasn't allowed to use this picture on my website or Facebook page - Mike said it looked too weird (did he mean wired ??) and might put people off - wonder what he meant!!!!! I think it's quite funny, actually.
Begin the Beguine - brings back a night of tropical splendour....
I am very proud of this piece - it evolved from a butterfly I made when making some faux ivory pieces - I coloured it with alcohol ink, and put it away. Something made me bring it out again, and I made some more butterflies, and my favourite - a dragonfly to go with it. I made this necklace with some jewel coloured quartz nuggets and crystals, and it is so tropical and summery, I just had to call it Begin the Beguine.
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I love the Louis Armstrong version, but couldn't find it, so have found a French version by a woman who is fast becoming a favourite of mine - Laura Fygi - what a beautiful voice - this is music to make love to, ladies (and gentlemen)!
These are a pair of beautifully cut, matched cushion cut citrines, and they have an asterisk shape cut into the back to allow even more light through. They were wrapped in square sterling silver wire which was then fashioned into heart shapes. They are very light and pretty, and I have had to provide rubber ear stoppers to prevent accidental loss - we all know how painful it is to lose a favourite earring, I won't let that happen to any of my patrons!
Begin the Beguine wrung me out - all those intricate butterflies, each one different from the other, and then putting them together so it would look like they were all fluttering around the necklace - but it was worth it for the message I received from the lady who bought it - she loved it, and I am so happy it went to a good home.
I also had a phone call from India, from the lady who bought Meluhan Sunset - a piece conceived by her imagination, translated into a piece of jewellery by me. It was taken to India by my mother and then couriered to New Delhi, to her office, where it sat, waiting for her to pick it up. Of course, she didnt't go to her office for one reason and another that week, and mum and I sat on pins, praying that it wasn't lost.
Anyway, she has it in her hot little hands now, and said she was drooling all over it, she loved it so much - it was fantastic to hear from her, and the relief that she had it, and loved it, was almost palpable.
I made this Dove of Peace brooch a while ago - it is a wire dove, attached to a vintage brooch. It has a twig and a leaf in its 'beak'. It languished quietly on my website for a while, until it was rescued by a discerning lady, who posted a picture of her wearing it on Facebook - suddenly it had so many 'fans', and an order for another followed - so thank you Debbie!
I made the brooch myself this time with polymer clay and attached a wire dove to it. I am enjoying these little brooches - polymer clay is such a fantastic medium to play with. I concealed the wire holding the dove deep inside the brooch, and it is such a pleasure when the engineering of a piece works just so!
Last week, The Bollywood pendant was snapped up almost as I posted this blog, and an old school mate from Melbourne asked if I could make her another, with a pair of earrings to match. She is a wedding gown designer and makes evening wear as well, she says they will match the new gown that she will wear to a Fashion Award affair. Check out her designs on Facebook - Arlene D'Monte Designs and at Brides on Main http://www.bridesonmain.com.au/collection/collection.html
Here are the pieces I made for her.....
My designs on a red carpet - would you credit that??? - Hollywood next, I suppose!
That's all for this post, see you again next week, have a good weekend
This week, I put together a small collection of fine silver pieces, made in my kiln. I have restricted myself to copper and silver plate so far, but I think the time has now come to treat myself - and you, of course, to a precious metal. I have been laying the ground work for a while now, collecting supplies of silver chains, jump rings, head pins, clasps and all the other bits and bobs I needed for this task. Obviously, this has taken a while, but it has been so much fun, to compare prices, pick out pretty, shiny chains - this of course, is a never ending process, but at least I now have the basics to start up a small collection. I made some little earrings and pendants from Precious Metal Clay - this is silver combined with a starch binder in the form of a clay - it needs to be shaped and prepared with a design in mind - when this goes in the kiln, the starch binder burns away to leave an almost pure silver - 99.9% silver.
To go with these I bought some very pretty semi precious gemstones - faceted apatite, carnelian, citrine, tourmaline, labradorite, blue chalcedony - all shiny and so pretty - I am really enjoying this!
One of my earrings is a semi lunar shape, embossed with a design, one in the positive, and the negative on the other. I was thinking of the 'far side of the moon', which we earthlings never get to see - the hemisphere that faces away from the earth, and was first seen by the Soviet Luna 3 probe in 1959. The earth's gravitational force has stopped the moon from rotating, and the far side of the moon was found to be smoother, with fewer craters when finally seen by human eyes, when Apollo 8 orbited the moon in 1968.
Another of my earrings was stamped with a cherry blossom motif, and I added pink jade butterflies and Swarovski pearls. I also made a snowflake shape in two sizes - a pendant with a pair of earrings, which I wire wrapped with sterling silver wire, little coral Heishi beads and Swarovski pearls. A slender sterling silver chain was added to the ensemble, pretty!
I had a couple of tiny enamelled charms, just one of each, so I used them as charms on curb chain bracelets, with tiny gemstones as added charms - pretty everyday jewellery. A motley collection, but I think it is a good start. I intend to make at least one item with silver each week - so I shall be busy - I have to start the enamelling up as well - my kiln awaits me eagerly!
So there you are folks - my first bits of silver - perfect for little inexpensive trinkets or presents, I have done my best to stay with the Caprilicious ethos of being just that bit different from what is found on other sites and in the High Street - I hope you like them.
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This is the best jazz rendition of 'That Old Black Magic' I have heard - I know this is one of ole Blue Eyes' famous numbers, but I like this version - have a listen, I bet you agree with me.
I had a faux bone/ ivory leaf - the last but one piece I made before my mother arrived in the UK, and decided to use it with some leaf shaped spacers and black pressed glass beads in a pretty and light necklace. I tried my best to add an asymmetrically placed brightly coloured bead - but for some reason, I was dissatisfied with the result - so in the end I gave up and the necklace is all black and white and silver. I did in the end add a tiny chunk of turquoise - just to confound my Muse - I stamped my foot with a firm hand, and added a molecule of colour - I was going to have some, no matter what! Some earrings appeared in my hands, as I sat in front of the TV with my husband, they have an extra wire loop in the centre, to add to the swaying movement with movements of the wearers head - by that I mean, instead of making it all with one piece of wire, I used two. I was sorely tempted to keep the piece for myself - but I think I enjoy the pleasure people who wear my jewellery get, more than wearing it myself. Anyway, as the designer, I get to test drive it first! - just to iron out any problems and kinks, of course!
I love carved ox bone - now that ivory is banned - and rightly so, the artisans who learned to carve it have turned their hand to ox bone. Because of the intricacy of the work involved, and the wastage of the raw material, carved ox bone is expensive, but I have managed to find a dealer in China who seems to be fairly reasonable. He says, absolutely correctly, that Chinese carving is superior to that from the Indian Subcontinent and this is probably because the ivory trade flowed mainly from poaching the Indian and African elephant, and exporting the tusks to China. However, I don't much like the conventional pieces this vendor has for sale - he has some beautiful pendants and bracelets, on cheap elastic, with ugly clasps, all put together, to my mind, most boringly, one bone bead after another with no relief whatsoever. I bought a few bracelets and necklaces from him, and cannibalised them. This throws up its own engineering problems because of the way the pieces of bone are pierced, but I spent much thought and time on this knotty problem and came up with a pair of earrings - I will look for different ways to use the bracelet tiles as the weeks unfold - my motto is, have wire, can do!
So here is the first of my Chinese ox bone offerings - it is now as far from the original as is possible, I think. Anyway, lots of possibilities have opened up, and I will address them as I go along. It is all about engineering, as well as beauty, and is a challenge I will relish.
Chinese Scroll Earrings
Beautifully carved ox bone tiles
I am still waiting on the Chrysocolla with Lapis Lazuli gemstones I need to make a Rainforest Symphony Mark 2 necklace, so while watching TV, I put together some rainforest insects for when the stones arrive which should be any time now. There appear to be two dragonflies, a butterfly like insect and a cross between a dung beetle and a lady bug. Here is a picture of the first one - hopefully, next week should have the second one made and sent off - and loved!
Rainforest Symphony Mark 1!
Catch you next week folks - I hope you have enjoyed this weeks offerings
I saw a peacock with a fiery tail.
I saw a blazing comet drop down hail.
I saw a cloud with ivy circles round.
I saw a sturdy oak creep on the ground.
I saw a pismire swallow up a whale.
I saw a raging sea brim full of ale.
I saw a Venice glass sixteen foot deep.
I saw a well full of men’s tears that weep.
I saw their eyes all in a flame of fire.
I saw a house as big as the moon and higher.
I saw the sun even in the midst of night.I saw the man that saw this wondrous sight.
If anyone is interested - a pismire is an ant!!
Have any of you read this nonsensical nursery rhyme - it is a piece of nonsense until you add punctuation marks - specifically commas in the middle of each line - and then hey presto, it all reads absolutely right. Of course, you also have to delete all the full stops - go on, try it -
It would then read like this - and make more sense - but who looks for sense as a child??
I saw a Peacock, with a fiery tail
I saw a Blazing Comet, drop down hail
I saw a Cloud, wrapped with ivy round
I saw an Oak, ...... etc. etc.
I was playing with the silver ginkgo leaf I posted on last weeks blog - having attended an on - line class by Patrik Kusek I decided it was an ideal piece to combine with polymer clay. And then it struck me in a light bulb moment - even though it was a leaf, it doesn't have to spend the rest of its 'life' as one - so I decided to give it a new Avatar - as a peacock. Very ambitiously, I decided to go the whole hog and make a necklace and add the pendant to it and turn it into one large statement piece. Much kneading and slicing, swearing (at the pasta machine) curing and varnishing later, I had the bare bones of the piece - it would have to wait another day to be made up - exhaustion had set in and put its foot down with a firm hand!
Art Clay Silver - 0.999% pure - purer than Sterling Silver which is 0.925% - impression of a dry ginkgo leaf
Inspiration - the light bulb moment
The Fiery Peacock Necklace
Enough for one necklace??? - sure hope so!
The focal piece - for once it was going to be central
The pendant with a peacock blue dyed dangle
Close up view of the clasp
The whole necklace
With a little help from my friend
Handmade toggle clasp attached with seed beads
This necklace turned out to be hell on legs to photograph - the elements are so busy visually, I could almost hear my camera's brain whirring as it decided where to focus on - added to that the high gloss varnish reflected the light off the pendant and the silver element at different wavelengths - I apologise to the poor little thing, it was quite worn out after one session with this necklace - I had to recharge its batteries straight away, before it expired through exhaustion.
Got news that my Sea Urchin necklace has been featured on Cuteable.com - this is a daily blog to which you submit your offerings and they pick a few to go on - I am thrilled to bits - really fantastic to have ones work validated. Now I can put a 'cuteable' badge on my blog!
The sea urchin necklace - cute as damnit!
The Kumihimo disc and bobbins I ordered arrived today - Kumihimo is the ancient Japanese art where with a complex set of almost mathematical repetitive moves, upto 16 threads can be braided. Each set of moves creates a variation of the braid, and changing the materials / textures and colours produces an infinite variety of results.
I had originally bought silk knotting thread to tie Chinese knots, which are so beautiful, but hell to reproduce from a book - they are probably better taught in a class, but I simply haven't the time or the patience - so jumped at the chance of using the thread in Kumihimo. Apparently, there are specific cords for this braiding - called rattail, and a thinner one called bugtail! and wire can be used too. So I bought me a book and braided away happily all morning, producing a very pretty black and silver round braid with 8 strands - well done me!
The disc or Maru Dai
16 thread braid
The Kumihimo braid I made for my necklace
The Madame Butterfly necklace
I had a beautiful labradorite cabochon in my stash for a while, and I was getting wire withdrawal, having made the peacock earlier on in the week without a whiff of wire in it. So I decided to make another (yes, yet another) necklace. I learned how to wire wrap a cabochon over two years ago in my first wire work class at In The Studio, Kegworth. But now that I have moved on from that point, just making a pendant out of the little cabochon - it is just about three and a half cms long - didn't appeal to me much.
My design ethic has always skewed me towards the asymmetrical, so this time I decided to go almost Baroque - this is a style from the 1700's which is dramatic, opulent, exuberant and grand - completely unrestrained and over the top - less if definitely not more with this lot! The word Baroque is derived from the French or Spanish, meaning a rough or imperfect pearl, and Baroque jewellery is usually crawling with pearls. It is a linear style with curved exuberant forms which are symmetrical - Labradorite lends itself well to this - it looks gray /brown to a casual glance, but when in the light it is greenish/blue, and has yellow sheen - it has to be seen to be believed. The play of colour is called labradorescence. The stone comes from an island in Labrador, Canada, and you also get Indian Labradorite as well as some from Madagascar.My husband is an opera buff and we watched Madame Butterfly the night before last - and I thought, what could be more symmetrical than that? - so this is my take on a butterfly.
I wire wrapped the cabochon and used it as the centrepiece - the body of the insect - and put as many curlicues as I could get away with, a bit of weaving and every other thing I could think of - after a while, even I had to say enough is enough - there has to be an end to embellishment - I then realised to my horror that I hadn't included any pearls - there is no such thing as 'Baroque Jewellery' without pearls - so I managed to find 2 empty spaces where it seemed that a pearl would fit, and they were duly added in - hopefully they look as if they belong there and not an afterthought - Rachel Murgatroyd, of Wire Wrap Jewellery, who taught me wire work has a favourite saying ' There's no such thing as a mistake - just a design feature'!
Malcolm McLaren and Robby Kilgore adapted Puccini's opera and added these lyrics to the music.
'Calling Butterfly, Madam Butterfly
Butterfly, Butterfly have no fear
I'll be back to wipe your tears
Oh sweet Butterfly, so sweet Butterfly'
I think this is a rather sweet butterfly - don't you?
Have a nice week, catch you later.
Madame Butterfly - my Baroque butterfly necklace - spot the pearls!
Labradorite by day
Labradorite photographed at night takes on the sheen from artificial light
I have some time off from the day job next week, so will be setting out an Etsy outlet, to go live on my brother's birthday, on the 2nd of March, dedicated to him.
See you next week folks.