Yes, I know, that's a strange title for a jewellery blog - but have a look at the picture below and tell me if they don't look like rainbow coloured slugs and snails!
Slugs on my work surface
Snails in my oven!
One of the ladies from Jane's Armchair Raiders (a jewellery maker's forum I belong to on Facebook) liked my squiggle bead necklace so much, she had me make her some beads - a compliment, indeed! So, it would appear that someone is soon to be the proud owner of another Rainbow squiggle bead necklace/parure - can't wait to see what she makes with them. She has a very neat and tidy approach to her jewellery, and a finish that is second to none. I will definitely be looking out for this necklace on her page 'MadeByAleks' on Facebook. Her jewellery style is very different to mine, and it will be interesting to see what two people make with the exact same beads.
This necklace is named for the Lapis Lazuli nuggets, as the word 'Nila' honours the Nile river in Egypt, and also means blue. The necklace has faceted nuggets of carnelian and lapis, and carries an electroplated maple leaf in an iridescent copper finish. I hung a swirl of wire in front of the leaf, with an onyx and a blue jade teardrop, to add colour and movement. The waxy carnelians are set off by the lapis to perfection - I like the colour combination very much - what do you think??
This lovely black jade pendant has two little boys on it - one of them is holding a ball and they look like the are having a fine old time. As the pendant is a rather dark shade of green, I brightened it by adding chunky pyrite nuggets, and pale green prehnite nuggets. I recently discovered prehnite, a beautiful pale green stone, which comes from India, China and Australia amongst other places where it is deposited in hemispherical masses and finger like projections. It is tinged with black, as if touched by a sooty finger, and is ever so pretty. A pyrite chunk dangling from the end of the pendant provides both movement and interest, and serves to further lighten the somber colour of the black jade.
I bought a couple of strings of howlite slab nuggets in a lovely bright spring fresh green. I broke the strings up, and over a year, have made a few very different pieces of jewellery with them. I made a pendant, and a cuff to match for my friend Sheela, and then a collar - Tinker Bell. With the left over nuggets, I made Atlantis - named for the lost island with the same name.
Atlantis (in Greek, Ἀτλαντὶς νῆσος, "island of Atlas") is a legendary island first mentioned in Plato's dialogues, written about 360 BC. According to Plato, Atlantis was a naval power lying "in front of the Pillars of Hercules" that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa in approximately 9600 BC. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune". Atlantis inspires today's literature, from science fiction to comic books to films. Its name has become a byword for any and all supposed advanced prehistoric lost civilizations.
The slab nuggets resemble nothing more than this fabled island which has inspired hopes for a Utopia. The addition of a polymer clay focal bead and some faux bone pipe beads broke up the line of the slab nuggets - I like asymmetry - but I'm sure you have noticed that by now!
I dug out some of the pictures I have of the other pieces I made out of these slab nuggets - some of them were taken before I learned how to use my little point and shoot camera, which makes me wince now to look at them! It just shows how far I have come, I suppose.
An old friend & co - conspirator who has accompanied me in a million kinds of mischief!
I think of all of them, I like Atlantis best - but then, I would say that, wouldn't I!
I plan to play with my kiln this weekend, and try to put the stuff I learned from Jules into action. A bit of enamelling, I think, is in order.
That ends this week's blog folks, catch you next week, same time, same place,
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
Romeo and Juliet,
Act 2, Scene 2
People have often asked me how and why I name my jewellery, and occasionally, when short of inspiration, I have berated myself for starting this, my very own little tradition. However, mid moan, even I have to agree that it is better to have a query about a piece with a name - than have someone ask me -' how much is SC24590? '.
I have now been doing this consistently for an year, and have now got quite used to it. It gives a piece a character - sometimes, I design the piece to look like a concept I have dreamed up - and sometimes, the piece is made, and then I look at it and a name comes to me. This usually happens fairly seamlessly - and the few times I have been unable to find a name for it, I have realised it was because I was not happy with the piece for one reason or another, and have taken it apart. Ergo, if I cannot name it, it will not be allowed to exist ( insert a throat slitting movement of the right hand here).
I love tutorials - freebies are nice, but when folk take a load of time to photograph every little step, and make a living out of teaching all they know, I am happy to support them. Most times the tutorials work out and make life so much easier - who want's to waste time reinventing the wheel?? CraftArt EDU is a website that has all sorts of tutorials, and I indulge in them on and off - one such was a tutorial by Sophy Dumoulin for hollow polymer clay fossil beads. I spent an enjoyable evening making four beads - when finished they looked like dragon eggs - I imagined incubating them in a warm place only to find a baby dragon tapping it's way out of the eggshell - that's how the name Dragonseed was born.
My buffing wheel truly came into its own and the beads have a lovely soft sheen. I was dying to make them up into something, but had to wait - I had some very dear friends visiting us over the weekend to help celebrate our wedding anniversary.
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the painting I bought for my (most definitely) better half, from Kalyani Ganapathy. It came back in a lovely shiny black frame and I am pleased to say that Mike loved it. We are running short of wall space, but we found a little niche for it - I have a little nook with a little pressed glass plate from Iceland which resembles a geyser, an antique Victorian plate, a silk rose and a metal frog with an emergency cigarette in its mouth on a plinth made of a single piece of oak - an eclectic collection of whimsical objects - and my pomegranate fish fitted in there as if they were painted for that little corner. Have a look at Kalyani's Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/kalyaniganapathysart?fref=ts
It is filled with grown up whimsy, and the colours are so fabulous, they send my right brain spinning with delight, my heart aching with lust to acquire more and my fingers itching to get to my credit card!
My mother, who still takes painting lessons at 85, was a bit peeved that I paid for a painting - she probably reckons ' why pay for something when she could do it at home with a smaaallll aubergine' .... a classic line from Goodness Gracious Me, one of my favourite TV series. This particular sketch is a parody of Indian mothers, every one, bless them - but my answer to that is there's aubergines, and there's AUBERGINES - and this one is an AUBERGINE!! Thank you, Kalyani Ganapathy!
I decided I would wrap the 'fossils' in wire, rather than drill holes into them and hang them as pendants ( I think I am still secretly afraid of the Dremel - but I'm not telling anyone, including me). I wrapped them in copper wire and enjoyed making the curlicues and spirals I learned from Rachel Murgatroyd at In The Studio, many moons ago - the pendants are large at 3.5 to 4.5" long, but light and pretty, and, most definitely different!
This must be the week of the dragon for Caprilicious - I found this wonderful black Hetian Jade Chinese pendant in the shape of a dragon - black jade is actually a very dark green, and comes from the depths of the earth where lava has solidified with mineral inclusions such as carbon and iron. Hetian jade is best known as 'mutton fat jade' when it is a creamy white, and can be very expensive. The black form, though less expensive, is still very beautiful, and I found this pendant in my quest for unusual shapes and colours. I teamed this pendant with green aventurine and faceted onyx beads in a two strand necklace. The name Tanita derives from Semitic roots meaning "serpent lady" - the ultimate serpent being the dragon, of course. This was also the name of the Phoenician goddess of love, fertility, the moon and the stars.
My friend's daughter whom I have known since she was knee high to a grasshopper (Omigod, I am old enough to say that - and for it to be true!) fell in love with a pair of earrings made with the wings of the Thai Jewel Beetle (or Sternocera aequisignata, when it's at home). Both my friend and I thought she might have been squeamish about the fact that the jewellery was made out of insect wings, but, no, to my surprise she even asked for a necklace to be made to go with it! The wings are weightless and rustle pleasantly in a beetlish (!) manner, and I came up with a simple but effective design for a single layer of wings around her neck. As her hair has been coloured green recently - it should look perfect on her - I hope she will send me a picture when she wears it.
The earrings that started the ball rolling
| || |
| || |
The necklace will look fabulous on her!
That's all for this week folks, thanks for stopping by - catch you next week, same time, same place,
Have a good weekend,
What terrible weather we've had - rain, rain, and more rain - floods in parts of the UK, though luckily we haven't been affected too much around where I live. The whole of the UK has been covered over by a blanket of cloud - even the weather girl on the TV has lost her perky smile - she has a squeaky, high pitched, chirpy, birdie voice and usually ends with a 'bye bye' - now she slinks off apologetically, having delivered her message of doom with a semi grimace - more of the same!
Anyway, the rain has kept most people at home, and out of the hospital, so the worried well have kept dry and snug. This meant that I was free to play with my kiln all weekend, while on call - I made some pendants and focal toggle clasps with copper clay, and tried to enamel them in cheerful colours - or at least that was the plan.
These are the pretties I made, after I scrubbed the fire scale from them and cleaned them up, all ready for enamelling.
The bottom two are 'Hamsa' hands -
The Hamsa is a palm-shaped object popular throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and usually made into amulets for jewellery and wall hangings. Depicting the open right hand, the Hamsa is believed to provide defence against the evil eye. The symbol pre dates Christianity and Islam. In Islam, it is also known as the hand of Fatima, so named to commemorate Muhammad's daughter Fatima Zahra. Christians call it the hand of Mary, for the mother of Jesus, and the Jewish community calls it the hand of Miriam.
In the Middle East, the Hamsa has been adopted as a symbol of hope for peace, and the Hamsa prayer goes
Let no sadness come
to this heart
Let no trouble come
to these arms
Let no conflict come
to these eyes
Let my soul be filled with the blessing of joy of peace
and I concur with this sentiment!
As far as I am concerned, of course, it is a pretty object - I don't actually care whose hand it is! I saw some beautifully coloured ones in Morocco, and I thought I'd make some with brightly coloured enamels.
Unfortunately, I proved unequal to the task of enamelling them - I have successfully enamelled onto silver clay and copper sheet metal - but just couldn't get it right this time around. Fortunately, I only ruined two of the pieces - I will do it someday - just have to get a bit more research in - reminds me of the years where my sister and I used to attempt to bake cakes and end up with pancakes - she is now a fabulous cook, and knocks out cakes at the drop of a hat, and I can too - if and when I want to (very rarely).
So to cheer myself up, I made some simple pendants with wire -at least wire wont talk back and give me cheek! I made three little pendants, and an ear cuff - bending and twisting away my irritation with the enamelled pieces ( or more correctly, non enamelled rubbish).
The Queen of Siam
I'm usually a bit of a hoarder, and like to keep pretty things for a while, but I have realised that this strategy is pointless - if, indeed, one can call it a strategy. Now that I have all this coral and turquoise in the house, I decided to make up the rest of the pendants I bought from E. Limbu, the Nepalese artisan - they were too pretty to languish in a cupboard till I felt like sharing them with somebody. So I made one with teardrop shaped coral and pyrite slab nuggets. As soon as Mike saw it he said how Russian it looked - and I did a double take - Russian??
But when I looked at it again, I saw what he meant - the sponge coral looks decadently opulent, so I called it Czarina.
Eastern Promise - Czarina
Eastern Promise - Carnival
The second pendant was a bit more ornate, so I put it into a fairly simple necklace with chunky coral and turquoise nuggets, and Mother of Pearl heishi beads - these tiny, flat little beads came strung in a jumbled up mass of vibrant colours, and I spent some time separating the colours - this worked well, and the necklace looks as exuberant as a carnival - hence the name. I used some pretty brushed silver tone flowers as well, and they set the carnival beads off perfectly.
Sweet Jade Orchid
I had this beautiful clasp in my stash for over an year - and I felt so mean for ignoring it, in spite of its piteous cries. When made up into a necklace with aventurine nuggets to match, it was too heavy - felt like a yoke around my neck - I was unable to raise my head after a few minutes. I was so annoyed, I had to cut the necklace up - and then I had to bag all the elements up - I try not to lose any beads if I can help it, as I always plagued by the thought that I might end up needing just that one that I was careless with some day in the future - and that would seriously exasperate me. So there I was, on my hands and knees, chasing beads around the room, - when I finally finished, it was back to the wire, to sit down, manically twisting and tweaking away, weaving the vexation out of my system. When I felt better, I had five little pendants with green jade beads, and I remade this necklace using them. The pendants remind me of the inside of an orchid, and that's how this necklace got its name.
A jade orchid
The Latest Trend - apparently.................
I wore ear cuffs in my early twenties - I vaguely remember a plain and simple silver band fitting snugly around the cartilage of my ear. People have been making and wearing them in the last couple of years, but I am reliably informed (!) that they are going to be the latest, must have accessory in the spring of 2013 - if we all survive beyond December the 21st! - we'll all know then how reliable my source is. While I was playing with wire this week, I made a couple of them - mainly as give away items - I found these pictures of various celebs already wearing them and a picture showing how they are worn which I shall keep for people who aren't in the know. The ones on the green back ground are mine, and they are quite comfortable to wear.
Thanks for stopping by the blog - I now know that more than ten people read it (the blog has ten official 'followers') , but a lot more have sent me comments or clicked the 'like' button on Facebook - its nice to know I'm not rambling to myself like a lunatic, but as Mike says, talking to yourself is OK, its only when you answer yourself back that you need to worry!
That's all I had time for this week folks, catch you same time next week. Have a great weekend,
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
For some reason this week has been about earrings - well, it started with the lady who bought the Ghau Box necklace commissioning a pair of earrings to match, and then deciding she wanted Dew Fairy Dreams as well - and would I come up with a pair of earrings 'to wow her' - so no pressure then! I thought about making little ginkgo leaves out of polymer clay and wiring them together, but soon realised it would be impossible to get an exact colour match due to the techniques used to make the pendants in Dew Fairy - so I made wire ginkgo leaves to match instead - this was harder than I thought as the two had to mirror each other exactly, and wire develops a mind of its own when you want it to play nicely - its like the roll knows when to play me up - but tame it in the end, i did - and this is what I came up with. My customer is away on holiday, so will only see them next week - I will let you know what she says.
They do look good together - the green chips are peridot and they are an exact match to the ginkgo leaves
I was now on a roll - I had some earring components I made in the kiln out of Copper Precious Metal Clay - Copper clay is a soft putty like substance consisting of fine copper powder in an organic binder. It is rolled out, textured, dried, sanded and fired in my kiln at 920 degrees Celsius - the organic binder burns away, and the copper sinters together to leave pure metal - this is then cooled, tumbled and polished and formed into jewellery. Precious metal clay is available in silver, gold, copper and bronze. I have fallen in love with copper as a medium for art jewellery, and have chosen copper clay - for now, anyway. I tried many different firing schedules, and finally came up with something that works - hooray! I then learned about cold patination of copper and got me a set of chemicals - or rather, sent hubby off on an errand to find the chemicals for me - you can see the effect achieved after I patinated the pieces and sealed them with Plastikote spray to hold the patina.
These earrings were made to go with the Leaf Unturned necklace, whose focal is made of polymer clay and precious metal clay copper.
Bacchus was the original party god - his devotees were associated with wine, grapes, sexual free for alls and not surprisingly, fertility! A drunken orgy is still called a Bacchanalia. Bacchus' divine mission is 'liberation' - he loosens the tongues of those who drink his wine, and allows them to do and say as they wish. It is said that most of Bacchus' worshippers were women, and his feasts were attended only by them - although this part of the story is a bit suspect, given the 'fertility' bit he is meant to represent.
© Copyright Christine Westerback and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
I made bunches of grapes with teardrop shaped glass beads - they looked almost edible, and then wired them individually on to a frame with crystal leaves, polymer clay leaves and stems, copper tendrils, and added some jade and dragons vein agate grapes to the other side of the necklace - it is a necklace that can be worn by any self respecting bacchanaliast! ( yes, that is a made up word)
It was bought within twenty four hours of posting it on the website - I wish the new owner plenty of fun with it.
Pantone is the world-renowned authority on colour and has been inspiring design professionals with products, services and leading technology for the colorful exploration and expression of creativity for over 45 years.
In 1963, Lawrence Herbert, Pantone's founder, created an innovative system for identifying, matching and communicating colors to solve the problems associated with producing accurate color matches in the graphic arts community.The PANTONE VIEW Colour Planner, introduced in 2004 is a biannual trend forecasting tool that offers seasonal color direction and inspiration 24 months in advance for multiple usages, including fashion, cosmetics and industrial design, which the fashion industry follows rather slavishly. The colour of the year for 2012 has been predicted to be 'Tangerine Tango' which means that a lot of clothes and accessories will have at least a touch of orange to them.
'Tangerine Tango, a spirited reddish orange, provides the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward. Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,' says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.” http://www.pantone.co.uk
So I figured, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em - this is my take on Tangerine Tango ----
Sophisticated, dramatic and seductive enough for you?? - Tangerine Tango as interpreted by Caprilicious Jewellery
Lava rock ovals and flowers, mother of pearl luminous orange ovals, freshwater pearls, generously sprinkled with silvertone spacer beads in various shapes and sizes
Picture jasper teardrop shaped 2" long cabochon, wired in sterling silver with a copper bail, and rectangular glass beads.
Jasper, a form of chalcedony, is an opaque and impure variety of silica, usually red, yellow, brown or green in colour, rarely blue. Picture Jasper exhibits a combination of banding patterns from flow or depositional patterns from water or wind resulting in what appears to be scenes or images when cut. I think picture jasper is particularly beautiful as it appears to be ingrained with geological and historical memories. I set it with dark lava rock shapes to offset the brightness of the orange mother of pearl and added silver tone spacers and freshwater pearls for sheen.
| || || |
Where Dragons Fly
At the edge of the rain forest,
Along the green narrow creek,
I can hear their rustling wings
Invite me to hide-n-seek.
They flutter forward, backward,
And sideways, in the bright sun.
Red, blue, orange, and brown
Dragonflies, having some fun.
I had a set of four lapis chrysocolla pendant beads bought in Hong Kong a long time ago - these are usually strung in a row with seed beads between them, and I have been racking my brain to come up with a different way of presenting them. Looking into the depths of the stone, it felt like I was immersed in a pool of water deep in a rainforest - there are gold glints of pyrite which gleam softly, bringing dancing motes of sunlight to mind.
I imagined a calm lake, just after a fall of rain, with insects coming out for a drink before the next storm and looked for some pictures to embody that idea - this crystallised into the Rainforest Symphony necklace. I had some polymer clay leaves which I added to the necklace, and made earrings to match - I think I achieved that feeling of tranquility that you see in the pictures of the rainforest - the calm before the storm.
I stumbled across this blog on one of my regular trawls through the internet and contacted Susan with an invitation to look at my website and blog. She writes fashion updates for readers mainly from the US to help them find flattering fashion for the over 50s woman. Her mission statement is To find fashion for women over 50 that exudes sophistication, energy, and a continued sense of wonder.
She liked my designs - and prices - enough to give me a shout out in her blog last week - you can find it here http://flattering50.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/statement-necklaces-from-across-pond.html
. I commend her blog to you - it has some very sensible tips on how to dress well - and look great, and what the well dressed American woman is wearing today. I have had quite a few of her readers come along and take a look at my designs and blog, so thank you Susan.
She says 'If you are an over 50 woman with an artist talent for creating jewelry, fashion, art, music or something else? If so, I'd love to give you a little free publicity on Flattering50
. Just send to firstname.lastname@example.org...
--a brief description of your creations and a little about you
--a link to your website or blog
--a JPEG or two illustrating what you create'
- so if you fit the bill, do send her an email.
Well, that's it for the week - have a fabulous weekend, and see you next week