We have been informed (hopefully reliably) that spring has finally sprung - at long last, about six weeks late this year. My thoughts have turned to my second passion, my garden, and the bluebells that are poking their heads out of the cold ground. Coming from a tropical country, as I do, it is such a pleasure each year to ring in the changes of each season, and in celebration of nature's wonder, I have written a new page for the Caprilicious website, soon to be populated with flowers and other pretty things from my garden. This is my first piece on the new page, titled THE ENGLISH COUNTRY GARDEN. Just now this is the only piece I have there, so, to keep it company, I have included a gallery of pictures of my own little piece of England - my garden.
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Tiny butterflies flit around the edges of this piece, and little bluebells and leaves unfurl between tendrils of copper wire in this little pendant on an organza ribbon. A chemical antiquing (stinky) bath, a polish with steel wool, shined up and protected with micro crystalline wax, and the pendant is good to go.
We went out to the pub for Sunday lunch - when I got back, I found that Pearl Blay of The Beading Gem's Journal had posted a blog about Glacier Inspired Jewellery featuring Caprilicious Jewellery. It really made my day - thank you so much Pearl. You can read about it here -
Before I got this news, I was a bit fed up (that's me being polite and restrained). I had spent the day before making some really pretty beads - for once they were all equally measured and sized, and had a blue and white stripey veneer, attempting to resemble an African Trade Bead. I also made some polymer clay canes - this is a big deal for me, as I have shied away from making canes for a long time now. I constructed a complex cane of a lions face, so I could make a bracelet for a friend of mine, who is a dedicated big cat person. Although it wasn't my best effort and would have ended up a practice piece, a whole day was spent, happily wallowing in clay (brings to mind a hippopotamus), and late in the evening, the finished pieces were popped in the oven to cure. A moments distraction, and I set the oven to 225C! - 100C higher than it should have been - the result?? billows of horrid smoke, and a horrendous smell - and a load of cinders. I had to scrub the oven clean before we went out to lunch - all that hard work wasted!
They say everyone does it once, but I had hoped to be the exception - alas, it was not to be, and I joined the long list of people who have had burnt offerings to throw away. Pearl's mail on my return was a sight to gladden my heart and raise my spirits.
To cheer myself up, I made Reika - Portrait of a Geisha, using three faux black jade pieces I made earlier from a tutorial by Lynda Moseley. Reika means Beautiful Flower in Japanese - apparently the same word can have more than one meaning, if pronounced differently. As for writing Japanese names........
Kanji, one of the three scripts used in the Japanese language, are Chinese characters, which were first introduced to Japan in the 5th century via Korea. Kanji are ideograms, i.e. each character has its own meaning and corresponds to a word. By combining characters, more words can be created. For example, the combination of "electricity" with "car" means "train". There are several ten thousands of characters, of which 2000 to 3000 are required to understand newspapers. A set of 2136 characters has been officially declared as the "kanji for everyday use".
Suddenly, the complexities of the English language seem like child's play - I don't think I could cope with the Kanji concept - I hated algebra, so it's no good asking me what A+B equals, apparently the Kanji for electricity + car = train (?? !!) Not to me, it doesn't!
I do speak at least four Indian languages tolerably well, and can write in one of them, so I suppose there's hope for me yet - not that I'm planning to take lessons in Kanji anytime soon!
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The Kanji tattoo for Reika
The fluorite flower dangling from the tip of the pendant echoes the shape of the flower beads on either side of the pendant, and the colour echoes the little nuggets of the necklace.
Four polymer clay 'fossil' cabochons sat waiting in my finished-but-waiting-to-be-made-into-something box. I gave one of them to my new friend BN - we decided that we would both have a go at them and compare notes. I dug up my Wigjig, and made a surround for one of them with wire, intending to hang it asymmetrically as a focal bead in a string of graduated blue agate rondelles from my stash.
The Wig Jig has been waiting patiently for me to use it - I made a bracelet for one of my colleagues at work, a long time ago, and then forgot all about it. It has movable pegs that fit into the holes of an acrylic block, and the wire is coiled and swirled around these pegs, to give perfectly formed coils, each one with the exact same dimensions as the last, without any tool marks marring the wire.
I bought the Jig because it reminded me of the Rangoli patterns drawn on the doorsteps of Indian households every morning, and more colourfully at festivals - the nostalgiascope at work again! The ladies draw a grid made of tiny dots, and then draw a pattern looping around the dots with white or coloured powders, and get some very pretty decorative effects. All good little Indian girls know how to do this - and I did too, once - when I was a good little Indian girl, a long long time ago
There is a WIG JIG 'University' with free online patterns to be used with the Jig, and the thought of attending University again, albeit for such a fun lesson, tickled me pink!
Rangoli Pattern around a grid of dots
A more complex 'festival' pattern waiting for colour
A pattern filled in with coloured powders
The 'cabochon' was made using a fossil technique taught by Sophy Dumoulin on CraftArt Edu, and wire wrapped using the WigJig Centaur.
I named the necklace Silver Shadow after that hallmark of luxury and elegance - The Rolls Royce. The emblem on the front of the Silver Shadow Roller is a glorious Art Noveau Lady, with her hair and wings streaming backwards in the wind - elegance personified.
The faceted blue agate beads are like fat little droplets of water around the neck - I do love this piece, simple, yet dressy and elegant.
I made a cuff bracelet with a blue agate geode - I seem to gravitate towards that stone - the blue is so pretty. This piece was commissioned by a friend of mine in Mumbai - and I am so relieved that she likes it.
Well folks, here it is - Caprilicious is officially a Jewellery Design Star on the Artbeads.com website. Thank you for taking the time to vote for me. People have asked me what the prize is - it is recognition and exposure - a physical prize is not important, and wasn't the reason I entered the competition. I love it when people like my jewellery, and if I could afford to, I would give it away to all those who expressed a desire to wear it - as it is, I keep it affordable and within the remit of most people, so I am almost giving it away - it must be some deep seated need to be liked - fortunately, I'm not a psychiatrist, or I would have divined some weird and wonderful reason for this pattern of behaviour.
Thanks once again for stopping by, and for voting. Catch you same time, same place next week, have a fabulous weekend - we're off to the garden centre
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.....
Colour is an integral component of what draws ones eye to a design or what causes one to turn away from it. Even though you might like a colour combination in theory and think it to be very fetching, the colours you are attracted to and wear reflect your personality and mood - some one in a sombre mood is highly unlikely to choose a gaily coloured outfit and vice versa. Designers have always found picking a fashionable colour a difficult choice to make, and anyway, fashion victims are those who wear the 'colour of the season' without caring or indeed knowing whether it suits them or not. This spring, the colours mooted by the fashionistas are tangerine and yellow - which is good for me since I like brights, and these colours can be mixed and accented using all sorts of others from different areas of the colour wheel to great effect.
Some colour combinations work and others look absolutely terrible; this is a subject that anyone interested in design knows only too well. I have learned through trial and error, and sometimes I set out to make a particular piece with a certain set of gemstones, beads, etc, only to find that other elements have snuck into the final piece and it has taken on a life of its own. I sat down and did a bit of research, more to understand my instincts than to consciously design jewellery - I think I prefer to let my instincts take me where they will.
Colours that are on the opposite side of the colour wheel from each other are complementary . e.g. yellow and purple or orange and blue. . The main difficulty with this scheme is finding the balance of colours, as using such strong colors can create a very gaudy appearance. I think I prefer offsetting complementary colours with one or two little shots of a contrasting colour - that seems to make the design pop out at you and grab you!
A monochromatic colour scheme involves a single colour used in combination with it’s tints and shades. If you lighten a colour, you obtain it’s tint. If you darken a colour, you obtain it’s shade. The disadvantage of this scheme is that it often lacks contrast - not as vibrant as the complementary scheme.
Colours that are next to each other on the color wheel are analogous colours. E.g. Purple and dark blue - they can be used very effectively to create an overall warm or cool feel.
Three colours equally spaced around the color wheel - The triadic colour scheme offers high contrast while retaining harmony. This arrangement I think really appeals to my sense of colour, and makes many appearances in my designs. So far, I have thrown colours together instinctively, but after this, I will pay more attention to what I am doing.
Although in theory the monochromatic image above of the pebbles in black and white with shades of grey is soothing to the eye, I would not be able to resist adding a slosh of red or bright green or perhaps a peacock blue - that would satisfy my need for colour! I have in the past bought pretty, monochromatic clothes and jewellery, (mainly at the behest of my mother who is a simply dressed but sophisticated lady, happiest wearing white with very little adornment ) only to have them languish in my wardrobe until they went to the charity shop almost unworn.
, I now know I love colour passionately - and making jewellery gives me permission to indulge myself as much as I like. Now that I am at a 'certain age', I dont have to conform to anyone else's views and can go as crazy as I like! - and guess what, I have found a number of like minded people who like what I make, and even want to own a piece made by me - why, the word 'creative' has been used as an adjective in two unsolicited descriptions about me ( I wont tell you the others!!) just this week - I never thought that would happen - eep! now I have something to live up to. But I found this little vignette, and I edited it and jazzed it up to show you my views on colour! You decide which one you like .................
My jazzed up edited version - which one do you prefer??
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is one of the oldest living tree species and its leaves are among the most extensively studied herbs in use today. A single tree can live as long as 1,000 years and grow to a height of 120 feet. It has short branches with fan-shaped leaves and inedible fruits that produce a strong odour. Ginkgos are tough, hardy trees and are sometimes planted along urban streets in the United States.It has been used in the prevention of various diseases - it seems to me to be fairly ubiquitous - like the aspirin of the ayurvedic world! Ginkgo extract has been credited with all sorts of benefits in Alzheimers disease, and other neurological disorders - yet other studies show no benefit at all which is par for the course - most medicine is not evidence based.
I, however am more concerned with the prettiness of the leaves - bilobate ( well, that stands to reason) on fine stalks, and a pale green, they are some of the prettiest leaves around - almost as nice as maple leaves. I tried to recreate them in polymer clay - and I hope you will agree with me, that they look pretty. I had one half of a large dry ginkgo leaf that I painted with precious metal clay and fired in the kiln - now that it has been buffed and polished, it is ready to be turned into a bail for a pendant - one of these days!
Silver Gingko leaf bail
The silver shows the imprint of the veining on the back of a dry, torn ginkgo leaf, I liked the tear in it - thought I would wire a gemstone into the tear with a headpin - perhaps even a pearl - not everything has to be perfect to be pretty.
As I researched the ginkgo leaf, I found that loads of people had been drawn to it - for instance, look at the picture across, from a fashion designers blog - she kindly gave me permission to reproduce this image with credit to her.
Artists impression of a ginkgo leaf
From Alice Zoe Daphne's blog http://xazddesign.blogspot.com with thanks
I called this necklace Dew Fairy Dreams after a poem I found, written by Tommy Garrison on www.tommygpoetry.com/dewfairydreams.html
For someone who has been going on about the use of colour, this is a very sober piece, but I think the juxtaposition of the leaves with the pearls works well and appeals to my femininity - I thought about using rose quartz, but by the time I made the piece, it looked like this. I wonder if I will ever be able to sit down and draw something, conceive all its elements and make them so they will fit - working with Precious Metal Clay and making mixed media jewellery will certainly be a challenge for me. Soldering would be so much easier, but I have never made things easy for myself, and obviously, am not about to start now and let myself off the hook! It took simply ages to make this piece - sometimes random placing of wire and beads is more challenging than weaving a regular pattern.
I spent some time on my blog this week and refurbished the website - my friends have been complaining that there are no prices on anything, so I have tried to price up a lot of pieces - mainly necklaces - I love necklaces, and make and wear them a lot, consequently have quite a few to put on the website. I have also put them on my Facebook outlet with a 10% reduction in price for my 'likers' as promised. Some people have said that the Facebook outlet isn't working - please let me know via the Facebook page - I suspect it is Facebook being erratic with it's new app and with the conversion to Timeline and all will be ironed out in the fullness of time.In the meantime, if you have clicked the like button, I will sort out the discount if you contact me.
Have a fab week and I will catch up with you all next weekend.