Christmas is here folks - by the time I write next week, the goose will be well digested and we will be looking forward to the New Year! Here's wishing all of you a Joyous and very merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
Melusine, the lady dragon
Melusine was a fresh water sprite in sacred springs and waters around Luxembourg. This tale, from medieval times, told by ladies when they sat spinning at their looms claims her as an ancestress of the rulers of Luxembourg, who
magically made the castle of Bock appear the morning after her wedding. On her terms of marriage, she required one day of absolute privacy each week (only one???). Unfortunately, her husband could not resist temptation, and spied on her in her bath - she was discovered to be a mermaid! When he let out a surprised shout, her bath immediately sank into the solid rock, carrying her with it.
Melusine surfaces briefly every seven years as a beautiful woman or as a dragon, holding a small golden key in her mouth and legend would have it that whoever takes the key from her will set her free and may claim her as his bride!
I used her as inspiration for the necklace that bears her name, of beautifully marked, glamorous, tactile dragons vein agate rondelles. The addition of sparkly crystals as spacers made the sheen of the gemstones even more prominent - I love this necklace.
This one is yet another 'wear three ways' offering from Caprilicious - the abalone clasps I have in my stash have green, purple and a golden yellow colour to them, and I have already made necklaces in green and purple - this is the golden yellow one - the colour resembles fine cognac, when poured into a crystal brandy balloon - all warmed up and ready to slip down your throat like honey.
More Arabian Nights Dreams
I hate the thought of being a one trick pony - stringing beads onto a pretty clasp is a lovely way to get instant results, but I'd get a bit bored if I did that all week - so, I alternate making up necklaces, wire work, claying (clay - polymer and precious metal) and now enamel. I don't mind admitting, I am not enjoying the enamelling quite so much, especially after my last debacle! Mike laughs at me - he says I think I should have been born with a perfect skill set - I don't enjoy the learning curve - maybe he is right. Next year, I shall set aside one weekend every month to play with enamels - till I get it right. Just now, it's a bit of a sore point.
So, I went on to play with wire - a couple of weeks ago, I set out to make a pendant in the shape of a lotus - it took me a while, and some very sore fingertips, but I cracked it. The pendant ended up extremely colourful, with the addition of loads of coloured alexandrite, apatite, jade beads, and onyx danglers, and instead of just leaving the pendant as a stand alone piece, I hung it on a necklace made of tektite - meteoric glass, from Australia, and freshwater pearls. I particularly like the tactility of the tektite - and of course the rough, sparkly centre of the druzy cabochon.
It's All Coming up Roses
I have a fairly sizeable collection of rose quartz in various shapes and shades of pink, and decided to use some of it - pale pink is a very subtle shade and difficult to design with unless the wearer is a Barbie doll. It is extremely easy to design a piece for myself, but as I am not a Barbie, I needed to think outside the box to come up with these two designs. Now that they are made up, I think the chunkier one would be what I would instinctively pick in a shop, if I had to buy pink - the addition of the bright colours in the spacers would appeal to me. I made the spacers in both necklaces myself out of wire and some fire polished beads. I do like Rosy Posy as well - it will be interesting to see which one gets picked up first, and by whom - watch this space....................
I spend as much time looking for fancy clasps, as I do beads and gemstones, as I think that often a clasp elevates a piece of jewellery from the ordinary to something special. The other side of that coin is that I design my jewellery with the clasp as an additional focal point - and I think you would agree that the butterfly in this necklace deserves to be seen, sitting sweetly on the shoulder of the wearer.
Last Tango in Paris
In a complete departure from the 'pinkness' of the last two pieces, I made use of some cinnabar beads I happened to have lying around - I meant to make one necklace with red and black elements, but in the end, two of them emerged - can't think how that happened. The combination of red and black is so aggressively sensual, that it brought to mind a Tango - The Last Tango in Paris, Bertolucci's beautiful film with the fabulous Marlon Brando. Cinnabar beads are made of a soft wood that takes a heat impression, so the beads have some very detailed design work imprinted on them. I added lava rocks and a couple of large bean shaped crystal beads, to add interest.
Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone are Tango dancers par excellence and we were lucky enough to watch them live in a show down in London last year - I have a little clip for you here that illustrates the power of red and black when put together - sizzzzzle.......
Every day this week, a bit at a time, I wrapped a pyrite chunky fan shaped nugget with antique brown wire, added gemstone beads, dangles and embellishments till it begged me to stop - no more, please, it cried - I was surprised, as I had planned many more additions and curlicues and beads, and..... and..... and....
But, I heard the piteous cries of the pendant, and let it go - last seen, it was on a simple memory wire choker, legging it in the direction of my storage box - I wouldn't admit this to anyone but you - in the end, it seemed like it was right to stop me from over egging the pudding.
I thought I would take a short break over the next couple of weeks, and chill out over Christmas - at least that was the plan, but I found that my fingers developed a mind of their own - pliers and snips seemed to attach themselves mysteriously to me! No matter how much I try, I can't seem to get away from them - I tell you, it is an addiction!! So, I gave in and decided to make up some earrings, to replace the ones I sold at Caprilicious' birthday bash - I shall take my time photographing them and uploading them onto the page - perhaps as one lot in January.
By request from some of my favourite customers, I have put on a Boxing Day Sale for a week - please have a browse and message me with the name of any piece you like and I will invoice you with the discounted price.
Have a fabulous Christmas, catch you next week, same time, same place
I have been playing with FotoFlexer - it has been a nice calm week and I have had time to think and play. I love getting parcels in the post, and I think the best thing about Caprilicious is that it allows me to get at least two parcels every morning - the postie must wonder what goes on at our place, but I suspect he doesn't give a toss, as long as he gets his Christmas pressie.
He has been delivering crystals all week - and I have helped to keep the Czech economy ticking over - with a bit of help from the ladies who have bought stuff from me. I decided that I would no longer put capital into beads and jewellery related items - I wait till something is paid for, and use that money to purchase other bits and bobs - so far the plan has worked well, with one or two minor lapses.
So what have I been doing with the recently delivered crystal beads?? - take a look.......
Diabolique - because the Devil wears Caprilicious - naturally!
One of my Caprilicious friends has been helping me to name my jewellery - thank you, Lynda Borley! - she suggested I make a necklace called Madame Bovary. I gave it a little thought - Emma Bovary was a woman whose quest for romance led her to ruin, and eventually suicide -she was in love with the idea of being in love, and had romantic assignations with men who always disappointed her in the end -what sort of a paradigm would her story be for a piece of jewellery? - who would want such associations with something like that around their neck?
However, life has its ups and downs, and I imagined how she must have felt each time she was getting dressed to attend a new liaison - the quickening of the pulse when she thought of the bit of 'afternoon delight' in store, the little half smile and the hum as she flitted about, trying on this outfit and that, and matching her jewellery to her clothes - maybe picking something light and easy to conceal under a mantle as she left the house, to be revealed when her man was with her - I went off into this daydream - and when I woke up I had made Madame Bovary! - a necklace Emma Bovary might wear to a tryst, tripping happily off to meet one or another, not realising where her insatiable quest for romance was to take her!
A string of amethyst coloured tear drop shaped crystals came through the letter box and I made them up into a three strand necklace I called Silk Cut - after the only vice I have left, now that I have been teetotal for over an year, and am on a perpetual diet! The purple of the Silk Cut advertisement is delectable, and I tried to do it justice with this piece.
Wild!- from the Bewitched series
BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEWILDERED
Men are not a new sensation
I've done pretty well I think
But this half-pint imitation
Put me on the blink
I'm wild again, beguiled again
A simpering, whimpering child again
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered - am I
Couldn't sleep and wouldn't sleep
When love came and told me, I shouldn't sleep
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered - am I ...............
I sat down with a roll of 16 gauge wire and twisted it into this bracelet, which I then embellished with pretty coloured Alexandrite beads - they reminded me of the bubblegum we chewed all day at school (when the nuns weren't watching of course, or a beating we were sure to get!). I shaped it to fit my wrist and added a magnetic clasp to ensure that it stayed on the wrist.
This is a fun little piece, made of copper linked beads in shades of orange and brown - it has a bracelet to match, and this can be linked to the necklace to make either a longer piece, or wrap twice around the neck - daytime chic, and nice to wear over jumpers and roll neck tops in autumn / winter. At this time of year, it is nice to add a bit of colour - spices up the day, and your mood, as well.
Iara - The Green fairy of Brazilian Folklore
Iara was a water nymph, from Nova Olinda in Brazil, a beautiful young woman, sometimes described as having green hair and translucent skin, who spent her days on a rock by the river combing her hair or dozing under the sun. When she sensed a man was in the vicinity, she would start to sing gently to lure him. Once under the spell of the Iara a man would give up everything dear to him to live with her underwater forever, which was not necessarily a bad thing for the man, as she was pretty and would cater for all needs of her lover for the rest of his life - the poor Iara was doomed to a life of servitude for making the mistake of 'pulling' (sounds familiar!).
The legend of the Iara was one of the explanations for the disappearance of those who ventured alone in the jungle - a romantic bogeywoman!.
I teamed a carved jade pendant with Serpentine which is so called because it resembles the skin of a snake. It is sometimes called New Jade and has been used since ancient times to guard against disease and sorcery. It is also thought to help find inner peace and is a meditation stone - not too sure about stones finding me inner peace - but hey, if you want to believe that, that's fine by me - I used it because it is so pretty.
That's as much as I have had time for this week. I have to be in London for a couple of days early next week to attend a meeting associated with the day job - Continuing Medical Education - that's what it is called. I shall wrap up warm - it is turning pretty cold out there. Catch you when I get back,
Have a good weekend, and a great week
Got chatting to a Facebook 'friend' - she makes the most delicious jewellery, in the USA, and it turns out she comes from Bangalore, as do I. I originally contacted her over a year ago to enquire about one of her pieces, not realising that this would lead me down the path of a serious bead addiction and a quest to make my own stuff. Anyway, she was nice enough to look over my 'bits and bobs' album on FB where I posted stuff as I went along, and she encouraged me to set up a page and now here I am, talking to all of you with my very own blog - wouldnt have believed it 2 years ago.
Promised D a piece of jewellery as a gift for all the encouragement -you know how important it is when one is starting out. She sent me a picture of her in a Yoga outfit and this inspired me to make this armband for her. Turns out she is one talented lady with a fab singing voice!
Copper wire armband embellished with coral and turquoise beads
Adjustable at the back
Gemstone bead embellishment
The vine dangler - can be removed and used as a pendant
Then went on to the next programme on my agenda - mixed media jewellery - I have wanted to make simulated gemstones, and glass out of polymer clay and set it in Precious metal clay. So, bought a tutorial from a lady on ETSY to make faux glass and spent a whole day painstakingly attempting to create faux glass beads - what a disaster! - I don't know what went wrong, and cannot find out. The lady who wrote the tutorial said it was meant for Pardo clay, which you don't get in the UK, so I substituted what I could find, and the resultant beads were so bad, they went in the bin - I did keep them for a couple of days hoping they would grow on me - like a wart - but they didn't. I saved pics of them in an album aptly called 'cr*p' - and that's the only reminder I want of that.
Met and became a member of a Jewellery makers group on Facebook a couple of weeks ago - only those people heard my cries of anguish - and they were very supportive. So, I got back on the bike the next day, and made what I call The Desert Mambo necklace - am in a better mood after that, I assure you.
The Desert Mambo Necklace
Creamy polymer clay ruffles, edged with gold, a reversible focal pendant, patinated and varnished copper wire, for a lasting finish and to prevent discoloration of the skin on contact, and a contrasting orange coral bead, just to make the colours 'pop'. Asymmetrically wired to satisfy my requirement for disorder!
Also made a couple of brooches for Mike's friend's wife - he wanted a dove of peace as Mrs B was a prominent member of the CND in Wolverhampton in her time. He didn't like the first one - and he made so many requests for design changes, I just thought it would be simpler to whip up another one. Did you know the dove of peace has to look to the left - he says so - not borne out by Google images though, he wanted it to have a wing - 'couldn't you add on a wing?' he asked plaintively, he didnt like my beloved dangles - I cannot seem to make much without those - they add movement to a piece - I think - but of course, he commissioned the piece, and the customer is always right - right?
So, the first one is the reject - am interested to hear your comments - the ladies from JAR were all in favour of a lynch mob, but I just made another one - I'm nice like that!
A Rowan twig and leaf in its beak, white 'tail feathers'
Looking to the left, with a wing, sans dangles!!
The doves were made with copper wire and wired invisibly to vintage brooches.
Finally got my kiln going - truth be told, I was a bit afraid of it - something that small that can go up to temperatures of above 1000 degrees C should the pants off anybody!
So got my Copperclay bits made, dried them and took them to the kiln at the top of the garden - I have no other space for it. Mike and I toasted my first effort with tea, and then after a bit of faffing about with the programming, on it went. Got some credible pendants, although a couple broke as they were too thin - I suppose par for the course - this seems to be the week for a 'will do better next time' mantra.
Good kiln, pat, pat
The pendants drying out before firing
Out of the kiln, waiting to have the firescale removed
The fruits of one days labour
I have now made use of the Facebook Vendor shop application and put in a few pieces of jewellery - has taken me a bit of time uploading all the information - please go have a look and tell me what you think - I hope you like it. See you next week, same time, same place.