Happy New Year to all of you, my readers. Now that we have survived the end of the world, we'd better make a good fist of it - so, onward and upwards we go!
One of my presents from Santa was a book about Salvador Dali - I love the wackiness of the man - he even created some pieces of jewellery - he treated them as mini sculptures, which of course is what they are - and I thought I'd share a few pictures of my latest inspiration with you.
Mine of course, was made out of wire, an aventurine bead for the green iris and a couple of crystals. It is called JEALOUSY- the green eye lending itself readily to the title - and of course, the crystal tear drop -there are plenty of tears associated with that particular emotion!
It is to be worn as a pendant, although it can easily be converted into a pin. I didn't think anyone would want to wear it on an eye patch, that might just be going a little, teeny weeny bit too far! The pendant is made out of two long pieces of wire, bound by another extra long, slender wire. Fun to make, although extremely fiddly, all those wires wanting to go every which way but where you want them to!
I picked up a two foot length of copper enamelled non tarnish wire and made a Chinese PIPA knot which I embellished with beads - it was so pretty, I made another and paired them into earrings. I love Chinese knots, but they are very difficult to put together - sometimes the instructions sound like they are in double Dutch. I would love to find someone who could teach me on a one to one basis, but in the meantime, these are what I can do ..............
I read up on the history of knot making in China, essentially a folk art. When I was there, every gift, every wine bottle, came with a tag made of knotted cord. Wire of course is another entity altogether - it stays put when bent into a shape - but if bent into the wrong shape - OMG!- near impossible to tidy up invisibly, so..... practice, practice, practice is the key.
..........endless and repetitive pattern evokes one of the fundamental truths of Buddhism and the cyclical nature of all existence. In essence, knot work serves to create an atmosphere of well-being, good luck and health, longevity and harmony. As gifts, they are emotional, sentimental, and are often keepsakes between lovers and friends.
Waresa, or to give her her full name - Mbaba Mwana Waresa is the Zulu goddess of rain, rainbows, and is credited with the invention of the fermentation process and therefore, beer!! (probably a cooking experiment gone wrong or a long forgotten drink taken out of the cupboard and served to her menfolk inadvertently) - my kinda Goddess!!
This pendant, also a wire knot, was affixed to a copper frame which was embellished with tangled fine black wire and silver lined seed beads to resemble raindrops. A beautiful lapis lazuli faceted oval sits in the middle of all of this. I hung it on a leather thong, embellished with copper wire curls at each end. This is a large but light piece, and can easily be worn with jeans and a jacket during the day, or on bare skin, at night. For some reason, I seem to have gone all tribal on me - but I just go where my beautiful muse takes me - I'm easily led!
After the holidays, I received a little parcel with a little rectangular piece of labradorite in it - the colour of the piece captivated me, and it went straight into this pendant. The stone is surrounded by ruby quartz beads, and copper wire lace, both the pendant and the lace resemble the sea foam - Aphrodite, of course was the Greek goddess of love, who was born out of the sea foam -and she was known to be a beauty by all that looked on her.
This was meant to be a 'take a break, have a Kit Kat' period - but I am absolutely bonkersly obsessed - wire, beads and tools attach themselves to my ankles as I walk by, begging to be joined together in holy matrimony - hence all the little bits of jewellery that are on these last few blogs - only to keep the whine of the beads quiet. Now, I am left with a little pile of pendants and earrings that have been photographed and set aside, and will have to find a place to put them away before they get stomped on by a galumphing husband or eaten by a hungry cat! These are a few earrings I made - as you can see, I made simple dangles on frames I bought earlier, and then the wire wanted in on the act, so I had to wrap some more crystals around the edges - pretty, though.....
So, this is what I made in my 'rest' period - I have been itching to get my hands on some of the beautiful gemstone beads I bought, and Nepalese pendants - I have at least six of those, and learn a new modern style of wire work from a lady called Lilian Chen and... and.... and... - there will not be enough hours in the day for all that I want to do, and all I have to do at the day job - it certainly promises to be a lot of fun. Do stay with me through the year, wont you, and I will do my best to entertain you.
See you same time, same place, next week
Who knew that jewellery making had a connection to engineering?? - yet, how many times have we bought a piece of jewellery that looks great in a picture, or on a mannequin, only to find that it does not sit right, twists around and looks the other way just when someone you are trying to look 'cool' for glances in your direction, or gives you a poke in the ribs ( or some other unladylike place ) when you move??
This is all down to the 'E' word - thats right - Engineering!
I always thought that engineering was all down to being able to make sense of figures - perhaps it is - and that's why I am a medic - but I have found that it impacts on jewellery making in a big way.
I bought some ox bone pieces from a Chinese trader - they were already made up into the most boring bracelets (and that's just my opinion) and there were two necklaces with pendants on them - I bought the necklaces for the pretty pendants, so I could cannibalise them, and use them in different ways - I envisaged coral, and turquoise and multicoloured gemstones to brighten the cream of the bone.
The first of the ox bone necklaces was called Cherry Vanilla Cream - which was bought last week - it had lovely red howlite beads to resemble the 'cherries' in the title, and I worked hard to reassemble the rectangular tiles from the bracelets into a necklace, and made a pendant up out of copper wire.
I had two more bracelets in another pattern, so I decided to make yet another necklace in the same style, but use one of the carved ox bone pendants with it - and so The Black and Cream Beauty was born.
A lady in India enquired if I had any more bone beads and I sent her a picture of the others in my collection. Although she was quite keen to own one of these, she waited to see what I could come up with, using some of the elements in the picture on the left. She wanted me to make something with the cylindrical beads and a pair of long earrings to match. For my part, I am always happy to try and design with a particular customer in mind, so this is what I made.
Ebony and Ivory
To me, they appeared like an extremely simplistic piece of jewellery - no jazzy colours and not one piece of wire anywhere (OH NO!) but she had indicated that she wasn't too keen on wire. However, when I photographed them on my mannequin, I fell in love with the simple sophistication of both pieces - and 'Ebony and Ivory' came out tops. Of course, the 'ebony' is actually garnet - but hey, I took a few liberties with the old artistic licence.
Having said that, I think I like both of them - they are light, pretty, and quite sophisticated. And then came the body blow - she decided on The Black and Cream Beauty - and wanted long earrings to match - and perhaps I would like to use the rectangular tiles matching the necklace?? - OMG! now what?? - no way was I going to say no, and many hours and a few miles of wire later, ( and the emergency course in Engineering) I managed to assemble a pair of earrings to match.
The problem was that the tiles are pierced vertically on two sides to allow them to be strung into bracelets - to get them to hang, and move, as all good chandelier earrings should, was always going to be difficult. But..... I did it, I did it, by jove, I got it.... and I could have danced all night.....
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Well, OK, lets just say I was very pleased - no need to go overboard, for cryin' out loud!
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The way they were meant to be!
I wonder if I could do it again, if I had to??
I was also commissioned to remake Bewitched - and I called this one Bewitched Again. I try to send my customers a little gift, as a thank you, and a little pair of earrings with a couple of left over beads seemed to be perfect for that purpose.
Last week, I attended Polydays 2012, a gathering of people who have a common interest - polymer clay. It was organised in the village of Toddington, in the Cotswolds, by Alison Gallant, and I shared a cottage with five other ladies - my first time sharing a room with someone other than a man (!) in a long time, and the first time in a single bed since my nights on call as a junior doctor. This was the therapy I needed - 'keep busy, and do new things', I said to myself, ' and you will be OK' - and I was. There were three fabulous tutors, from backgrounds as diverse as Graphic Design, and Environmental Science - one of them had even run a restaurant for a while with her husband - poor guy was conscripted into cooking for 35 people each day - not that he showed a moment of stress! Here are some pictures taken by me and some of the others who were there. I learned a lot - and would like to go back next year - but first, to put what I learned into practice!
So peaceful outside, but........
Mokume Gane class
Posing for the camera
The infamous bracelet - I love it now!
Broadway High Street
A hum of noise inside the village hall - spot the pasta machines - 3-4 to a desk an Italian mamma would be proud of us
A hive of activity
My silkscreen tile
The guillotine - to slice really fine shavings of veneer
The gang from Carlton Cottage
And so, I plod on, one foot in front of the other. I cannot deny that it has been hard going this last year - it is very difficult to be a member of a 'caring profession' when you are in pain yourself, but somehow, it had to be done. I couldn't have done it without Caprilicious, though - and it will soon be a year since I set it up! I will have to do something to celebrate - any ideas?? Do tell me if you have any, wont you.....
Catch you next week,
I was at work in the day job all last weekend - and this time the Gods weren't smiling on me - it was literally the weekend from hell! I was in and out of the hospital, picking up pieces that had been dropped by others, soothing ruffled feathers - and whatever could go wrong..... did.
So I came home each day and pulled out my beads and clay and soothed myself calm - it was so nice to be able to do that - and I think the people around me benifited from that! A three day weekend can be so tedious, when everything is unravelling around you.
Shiny pretty things - to appeal to the magpie in every woman
I took delivery of a bunch of crystals from someone who was closing down a bead shop - so while I sat watching the telly with Mike, I put together some pretty chandelier earrings - I felt the need to dive straight into the crystals - I usually hoard pretty things for some crazy reason, but it would be madness to hoard half a kilogram of mixed crystals. I poured them through my fingers, sorting them into little piles and picking the ones I wanted to use - like a wide eyed AliBaba in the cave of treasures - and these are the chandeliers I made with this multicolour medley of crystal beads.
Love's Sweet Scent
This piece evolved out of my disastrous weekend - I mixed myself some pretty buttery yellow clay to make flowers from - had just about had enough of various shades of pink - someone recently said that yellow is a difficult colour to create with, and apparently, some people wont wear yellow as it causes their skin to look sallow. I thought, maybe it could be used as an accent - to brighten up a piece of jewellery - a little bit of it can't hurt - and it is so pretty after all. A floral theme seemed to evolve - I made peony type flowers - which will go into a brooches, I think, and a bunch of jasmine flowers and buds - these are the little plump jasmine that have the most delicious scent - ladies in India might wear just the one in their hair and you can smell it from a mile off, if you have a halfway decent sense of smell. They are usually a creamy white, but I claimed artistic licence and made them in the yellow of the winter flowering jasmine found in more temperate climes - they are still pretty recognisable though..... I think!
Fat budded Jasminum multiflorum
Winter flowering Jasminum nudiflorum
My mother has a bush in her garden which yields loads of flowers - enough to use as offerings during her prayers, and for the ladies of the house to wear in their hair should the mood take them. I remember my dad bringing home little packets of jasmine garlands, all ready for pinning into mum's hair - and she always shared them with her daughters - I wonder if it was a secret message between them!
Anyway, mindful of the edict that too much yellow would not be appreciated, I wove my jasmine into a little corsage, and teamed it with turquoise coins, pearly beads and dark blue sunstone in a statement collar - I love making those. I am sure, come winter, when the only flowers we can find easily are in the supermarket, they will gladden the heart.
These jasmine are evocative of my childhood, and the bush growing outside my bedroom window, and I called it Love's Sweet Scent. The jasmine has been set low enough so it won't jab the wearer in the neck - I just love this necklace.
I also made some silver components in my kiln - more flowers!- I need to decide just what to do with them, so will just post a little sneak peek into what is to come. The polymer clay peony has very thin petals, to try and resemble the flower as closely as possible - it may be too fragile on a piece of jewellery that may be knocked about during regular wear, and will have to go into a brooch, though I originally inteded to use it on the wrist in a wide bracelet - like a prom corsage.
Fine silver components, hot from the kiln
Jhumkas - Indian style in Wire and Crystal
I made some beadcaps using wire and crystal - when my friend Suj saw one of them, she said - Oh you can make Jhumkas out of them - Jhumkas are bell shaped danglers, and almost every Indian woman has a pair of these. They used to be simple, in gold and pearls, but have now become so fanciful, they are almost unrecognisable. I made mine in copper wire with some of my crystal bead stash in a colour combination of green and gold - very dressy. As these are all lightweight beads, the resultant piece is pretty and ornamental, yet light and easy to wear.
The beadcaps on the Shangri La Pendant
One of the pairs I own
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There is a famous Bollywood 60's song where the heroine is lamenting the loss of one of her earrings in the market in Bareilly, while cavorting
( isn't that a nice word - conjures up some wickedly interesting images - in my mind, anyway) - probably around a flowering bush with her boyfriend - ah, those were innocent times. Every time they went around the bush and came out the other side, the heroine wore a new outfit - so what was she doing behind that bush with her boyfriend - I never thought to enquire! Anyway, I provide rubber stoppers on all my earrings, so, the wearer of these can cavort away sans anxiety!
My little piece of Caprilicious silver this week is a tiny fine silver bud, about an inch long, made in the kiln, antiqued and polished, with a tiny red Cubic Zirconium emdedded into it. It comes with it's own chain, and is perfect for someone who likes her jewellery a bit smaller - as you all know, a lot of my stuff is 'in your face' and cannot be overlooked when worn - maybe because I was once innately shy, (although I have grown out of it now) but there was another side to me that was a bit 'song and dance', and didn't know quite how to reflect that, so preferred my apparel to do it for me. I could not buy chain store stuff if someone paid me.
Most of my designs are made with me in mind - if you don't want it, I should be happy to wear it myself - so, the corollary to this is, if you like the stuff I make, we must be kindred souls - Soul Sisters, even!
That's all for my week this time around - see you same time, same place next week