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,
Hello folks, I hope you have all had a good week.
I have been busy at the day job, and picking out a present for my husband - he has just had a birthday, and we have a wedding anniversary later on this month. Please forgive me if I go all romantic and soppy on you, but that's the way I'm feeling - I will snap back to the more recognisable snarly, irritable self - he's sure to annoy me soon enough!
So this week its all flowers, and sweetness and light - as I said, do forgive me, it's not often I go soppy like this.
The week started with a bunch of coral tear drop beads I teamed up with some really bright red and green Nepalese Yin Yang beads - when I first had the Nepalese beads, I wondered what on earth I would do with them - they were that bright - but nestled in the middle of this Lei, or garland, they look very much at home.
A Haku (Hawaiian) is a braid - I got this from Wikipedia, in the process of researching my coral Lei. In my heightened state of hopeless romanticism, I thought this was soooo sweet (sick bucket, now, quick ) so I thought I'd share this with you.
Haku mele - to braid a song. A song composed out of affection for an individual is considered a lei.
Anyway, the Lei I made is not sickly sweet, fortunately my muse isn't following my mental state, I am lucky in that, if nothing else!
Of pomegranate studded fish and love - the moon
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After waiting a fortnight, the full moon is here, and just as it rises to kiss the tide, pomegranate fish far and wide, fall in love, lock eyes, and smile!
This is the painting I bought for Mike as a wedding anniversary present. I saw it while browsing idly on Face book - the artist was from Bangalore - I come from there too, so it seemed like kismet that I should find it at a moment when I was at my most romantic (!). I originally thought I'd visit the artist in India, later on this year, but the jewel colours of this painting attracted me so much that I could not resist it. I found her shop on Etsy - here's a link, http://www.etsy.com/shop/youandispelljoy?ref=seller_info and bought it straight away, so that it would be here in time for the day.
This is what the wonderful Kalyani Ganapathy has to say about herself in her profile on Etsy - and I think that exuberance of feeling is well demonstrated in my painting - can't wait to get it back in its new frame - I am sure he will love it too.
'While I have strands of gray, I merely am a child in thought, an adult in body. I draw straight from the heart. Everything on my canvas makes me smile. And, you guessed right, I am on a quest for joy! Unadulterated, pure and simple joy!
I believe you and I are both creative, as creative as we want to be. To me creativity is that silver lining on a dark day, the sugar rush from a hot fudge Sunday on a bright sunny day, and my channel to reach out to the world. So welcome to my world, my blanket of happiness...'
More flowers! I have got it bad, haven't I ?? - never mind, this phase wont last too long!
I made another Nepalese pendant oriented necklace, and used some carved coral roses - they are so pretty, and they contrast so well with the bland white howlite beads also in this piece. To add texture and interest, I put in some translucent black crackle agate - I would love to make a necklace of just these beads, but really nice ones are quite expensive, so I just bought a few - maybe one day!
Still on a floral note, but this time, a darker theme ( yes, slowly getting back to normality, then), Nightshade comes from a genus that produces the potato, tomatoes, petunias, gooseberries, aubergines, chili peppers, and tobacco. Deadly Nightshade produces belladonna or atropine which has been used as a poison.
The lovely puffy, faceted onyx squares (which gave me a whole load of trouble - well, I would insist on using what is meant for a bracelet in a necklace, so its really my fault), contrast with the coral roses and turquoise pillars - very showy, and definitely night time jewellery - worn on a cruise perhaps?? - who knows where it will end up!
One more necklace in The Eastern Promise series - I tried this pendant on one or two different strands of beads, and what seemed to be just right for it was a lovely strand of light orange sponge coral cylinders, and some large turquoise beads. The coral is lighter coloured than any I have used previously, a pale orange rather than red, and it struck me that the colour was like a Persimmon or Sharon fruit. I had been hoarding these beads for a while now, and this seemed the perfect time to use them - the pendant was so large, it needed to be balanced with a multi strand necklace, or one with chunky beads. When finished, the name Persimmon Poetry just came to mind - and stuck - so here it is .......
And finally, I decided to go back to wire wrapping a cabochon - with a simple neat wrap - the kind that attracted me to wire work in the first place - I just wanted to see if I could do it again, after all the wild and woven stuff I have got used to making - this piece is simple and sweet, but I couldn't resist twisting the square wire and making loops around the cabochon with the addition of tiny green aventurine beads, like little planets surrounding the sun. The cabochon is a green and black druzy, and is very pretty - a very soothing shade of green.
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The back of the pendant
That's as much as I have had time for this week folks, thanks for stopping by, see you next week, same time, same place
No, I don't mean blood from a stone, you read it right first time - Light from a Stone - this epitomises Labradorite. This greyish brown stone is, at first sight boring - in fact it resembles something you might find lurking at the bottom of a cat litter tray - but, wait .... move the stone till it catches the light - and you get that fabulous flash of light from within it's depths - a flash of yellow, blue and green - and you are hooked!
Labradorite is a feldspar, first found in Canada, formed by the slow cooling of magma, giving the crystals time to arrange themselves in large clusters before being locked into place in layers - these layers reflect light at different angles, giving that characteristic flash - the Schiller effect.
The Inuit thought the Northern Lights had been captured by the stone, it is that beautiful. I once bought a bracelet with a large slab nugget - and was immediately hooked - grey brown is difficult to design with, and of course, the stone needs to move to catch the light, so still photographs do not do it justice - Oh well, I can but try - I am not sure if any one will be discerning enough to actually want the necklace, but I love it, and will happily wear it myself.
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This is a little National Geographic clip of the Northern Lights - I have tried heroically to get the stones in my necklace to bring forth the fire in the stones - but this tends to happen when they are moved in the light - so do bear with me.
We were lucky enough to catch a tiny glimpse of the Northern lights last August around the coast of Norway - and they are mighty beautiful - but it has to be really cold and clear to get a good display - Brrrrrrrr - I say, stay warm and wear my necklace!
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These are the hardest photographs I have had to take - I positioned each bead so it would catch the light, and unfortunately this is the best a still camera could do - you can see flashes of fire here and there.
The Harnessed Peacock
This is my nod to Mary Wesley, whose books I read and enjoyed a long time ago - she published her first book at the age of seventy, and wrote a number of best sellers after that - the women in her books are all extremely unconventional, and she has a sharp and dry wit. Harnessing Peacocks is one of her books, and it was also made into a motion picture. Mary had a red lacquered coffin made for herself by a local artisan, and kept it in her living room - she offered to be photographed in it for an interview by a magazine - politely declined, of course! I love that story, she must have been such fun - even her biography is called Wild Mary.
The copper non tarnish wire bird has a crystal tear drop dangling from its beak, and brilliant green and blue crystal and glass 'tail feathers'. I kept the chain simple, but not so simple that I didn't embellish it with a few crystal dangles.
This one was made to complement a turquoise clasp - I used zebra howlite, square onyx beads, shiny crystals, blue glass beads, dichroic glass rectangles and pressed glass beads in the shape of pansies all the way from Czechoslovakia. I love Czech glass - they have some beautiful beads, and I buy them whenever I can find them. They looked like sweeties from my childhood when I finished the necklace, hence the name.
The real deal - I like mine better - no calories!!
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I love this clip of Scherezade by Rimsky Korsakoff - I have played it before on this blog - but am playing it again, as it is appropriate here - this is only part of it, but the music is so haunting - do listen to it - and of course, the Kirov - Mariinsky ballet needs no introduction.
I made these pendants for Scherezade - to wear when she told her prince stories, night after night, holding his interest by withholding the ending - just to live another day, and tell yet another story - a cruel tale, but, we got all these stories from her plight, and she got a stay of execution - and he got the girl - a win win (win) situation, by all accounts!
The druzy cabochons came all the way from Jakarta, I love the crystalline centres that sparkle in the light - once again difficult to photograph. I have been taking online photography lessons and tips, but might make my way to some real ones at the local college come January, I so hate not being able to share my enthusiasm with you. Lashings of wire, and tiny gemstone beads embellish the druzy, but I have kept the whole thing simple, on a ribbon instead of making a whole necklace around it to keep the focus on the pendant itself - this will turn heads anyway, so a whole 'statement necklace' will probably be a bit of overkill.
I have just about managed to capture a bit of the sparkle at the centre of the gemstone here
I have a few more cabochons, and have been trying to set one into a pendant in the shape of a lotus - and struggling, I don't mind admitting. There's something missing, and I just can't put my finger on it - don't you just hate that feeling - but I have put it away for the time being and hope that when I look at it again, inspiration will strike me like a bolt of lightning and I can show it to you next week. Till then, have a lovely weekend, and a fabulous week. See you same time, same place,
On average, the moon is about 378 195 km away. At its furthest it is nearly 400 000 km away. During a lunar perigee and full moon where the moon is at its closest point to the earth on its elliptical orbit, the lunar surface can appear up to 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than any other full moon. We were lucky enough to see this, nicknamed 'Supermoon' by scientists from NASA, on the 5th and to a lesser extent on the 6th of May. My husband and I looked at the moon through our little telescope, but my camera was unequal to the task of photographing it.
The moon over the Sinai desert
I decided to make a piece of jewellery in honour of the supermoon. A piece of blue crackled agate, resembling the face of the moon emerged from my bead stash, and I set it in wire and surrounded it with stars in blue and white Swarovski crystals. This had the effect of brightening what would otherwise be a dull stone. I set some 'stars' in the bail and wove some crystals into the Viking knit chain for good measure. As I finished the piece, I could hear the strains of Moondance in the back of my mind, so I named the pendant after Van Morrisons lovely song.
And I’m trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
And all the night’s magic seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush
Can I just have one more moondance with you my love
Can I just make some more romance with you my love
MOONDANCE - Van Morrison
Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
’neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
A yearning for the sun
This winter has seemed long - never endingly so - there was a short respite in the UK at the end of March, but the weather turned - a lot of people are worried that that was our summer - Oh well, if I cant have sun in the sky, I will make some to hang around the neck! With this thought, I made Summer Sunshine, out of polymer clay sunflowers in yellow and black, dusted with silver and gold mica powders and hung on multiple strands of silver lined seed beads in a Bohemian style necklace.
I also wire wrapped a little slice of gold druzy in square sterling silver wire into a sweet pendant and hung it on a twisted silk and organza ribbon - the Droplet of Sunshine pendant. Druzy refers to a gemstone with a crystalline structure, usually quartz or agate. Golden druzy has been put in a vacuum sealed chamber and coated with a vapour of 14k gold, which then bonds with the stone at molecular level. Though druzy isnt fragile, it needs to be used carefully, to prevent damage from bumping it into surfaces, so it is really only suitable for pendants and earrings.
So, that's summer taken care of as far as I'm concerned!
Lilac Wine - more druzy
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Here's more music for you from the fantabulous Nina Simone. This is not as well known a piece of music as some of her others, but is haunting just the same.
I had an amethyst druzy pendant that I bought because I couldn't resist the strata of quartz, pink chalcedony and amethyst crowned by the stalactites of crystalline amethyst.
It proved to be difficult to set as it had a drill at the top, and enclosing it in wire would cover up the crystalline structure. In the finish, I crowned it with a wire flourish and added two strands of golden quartz nugget beads to a few amethyst chunks to form the necklace. A couple of left over quartz nuggets were turned into earrings with the addition of amethyst chips.
I bought a second-hand rock tumbler from a lady at work - her daughter played with it as a young girl ( evidently not too often, judging by it's condition), and it was taking up room in her house. She also gave me a box full of old jewellery, some tumble stones, a few fossils and some nuggets of unpolished rock, that if I wish, I can tumble into usable pieces. She asked me to make two pendants out of the prettiest stones - a blue cat's eye chunk, and another that looks like a mosaic of some sort. I worked hard to set the first one - it is over an inch thick, slippery, and odd shaped, and kept falling out of the mount and sliding all over the room - the air was as blue as the stone, by the time I finished, but it soon became a challenge - I was going to tame it or die trying - I'm still here, so what of the stone? .....
On a Viking knit necklace
More from the goody box
If you know what this is, post me a comment please
I need to think of something to make up the green 'stone with no name' - it promises to be difficult as well, as it is about an inch thick and an inch wide - oh well, I will just have to use those grey cells - and you will have to wait till next week to see what I come up with.
Have a good weekend, and see you - same time, same place