This week I had a couple of days off from work, so I decided to try out some new stuff - I love colourful jewellery and there is no one who uses colour more successfully and with more panache than a polymer artist called Alice Stroppel. She has a tutorial for pen and ink drawings on polymer clay, and I got this from her in an attempt something different - I hoped I hadn't bitten off a bit more than I could chew, but felt like I ought to stretch myself a bit at a time, and add another dimension to what I do.
Anyway, here I was with this tutorial and after a few panic attacks and a lot of procrastination, I made two bracelet blanks - and got on with it. I say this blithely, as if it was a smooth transition from reading the tutorial to the execution of the piece, but I am a past master at putting things off - it took me four days to get to actually starting up (and I will admit, I was a bit - no, a lot, scared of making a complete idiot of myself) and three days to ink the second bracelet, bit by bit.
I kept the first bracelet simple, with flowers made of Millefiori canes, and with the leftover cane, made a pendant to match.
The pen and ink bit was kept to a simple colourful stripe - I told you I proceeded gingerly! While these were curing, I made a couple more conventional bangles, which fulfill my love for colour. Canes are also new to my repertoire, but I think I am just about ready to make some simple ones now - it takes a while to get used to a medium, and I think now is the time to dip my toes into deeper water. As you can see, I have relied on colour and texture with the bracelets below, but they do make a colourful splash.
Leaf on the Water
While proceeding very gingerly with the bracelets, I made some stuff I knew I could turn my hand to, almost as if I needed just to reassure myself of my abilities, in case I fell flat on my face. The picture above was my inspiration for Leaf on the Water, a necklace made with rectangular Peruvian opals and a Maple leaf skeleton pendant. The leaf skeleton has been electroplated with 9 Carat gold, and is a work of art by nature. The soothing blue of the opals seemed to suggest a seascape, and I added a couple of shells and a froth of little beads and crystals to signify the foam on the waves. It turned out to be a piece of jewellery that can be worn by day as well as night.
Another idea I approached with caution is the Flat Wire Twining lesson by Mary Tucker - she makes flat bracelets with what seems like hundreds of pieces of wire in a weave that resembles fabric, and basket weaves that are very realistic.
I am terrible for trying to run before I can walk, and become disheartened. I was quite determined this time that I wouldn't let that happen. I made a three dimensional wire pitcher, with 'water' pouring from its spout. Hung on a simple black waxed linen cord, the pitcher looks like it is spilling water down the décolleté.
The Lotus Eaters
While in my craft room( sounds less swanky and up myself than 'studio' don't you think?), I made a few faux ivory flowers. When I finished sanding and buffing the flowers, I teamed them with turquoise beads into a little bracelet - my muse must be on a bracelet making jag , there are that many rolling off my production line, these days. I am a mere vassal, following where Ms Muse leads!
The Button Project
Did you know there was a silk industry in England - in Macclesfield, no less - no? I didn't either.
Annabel Wills, Silk Museum curator says: “Macclesfield was the heart of the UK’s historic silk industry, and silk-related businesses are still active in the town. Handmade silk buttons were where it all began: from a cottage-based enterprise, it grew into a flourishing silk industry and helped make the town what it is today. This exhibition will celebrate that history and allow contemporary artists to exhibit and sell their beautiful buttons.”
The Silk Museum has organised a Button Exhibition and invited artists to submit buttons to be displayed in a curated exhibit. I have expressed an interest in submitting an entry, and hope it will be accepted. The buttons are required to have a link to the themes of heritage, or metamorphosis, and I have been wracking my brains to come up with an idea - that will be my project for the weekend. Obviously, I will share it on this page first, once the project comes together. I have always loved embellishment - in my opinion, the fillip a pretty button, or a bow, or a bit of edging gives to an outfit can be the making of it. My mother had boxes and boxes of pretty buttons which she carried back to India from the UK and hoarded jealously - my sister and I used to knit our own cardigans and used up a lot of them in our twenties.
If these buttons are pretty, I might just jazz up some of my suits with them, or, if you like them and want them, let me know, I will be only too happy to let you have them.
The Girl from Ipanema
This was a song recorded in the mid 60's and was an instant hit, and is the second most re recorded songs in the world, after 'Yesterday' by the Beatles. It was inspired by a real woman.
.......Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto (now Helô Pinheiro), a nineteen-year-old girl living on Montenegro Street in the fashionable Ipanema district in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Daily, she would stroll past the popular Veloso bar-café, not just to the beach ("each day when she walks to the sea"), but in the everyday course of her life. She would sometimes enter the bar to buy cigarettes for her mother and leave to the sound of wolf-whistles. In the winter of 1962, the composers watched the girl pass by the bar, and it is easy to imagine why they noticed her—Helô was a 173-cm (five-foot eight-inch) brunette, and she attracted the attention of many of the bar patrons. Since the song became popular, she has become a celebrity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Girl_from_Ipanema
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This is one of the very first versions with English lyrics, sung by Astrud Gilberto, who was married to João Gilberto, the Brazilian singer who first made the song famous.
I used the tutorial from Alice Stroppel again, with the second blank bracelet I prepared earlier, and spent a day creating a pen and ink drawing of The Girl from Ipanema - an hour into the process, I began to enjoy myself and have a lot of fun, and that shows through in the drawing. She has beautiful pale blue hair - I just wish I could colour mine blue too, but I think I am bit long in the tooth for that - and besides, my day job precludes such eccentricities.
This was a very work intensive project, with the bracelet blank to be made, then drawn upon, and then inked, with the inks needing to be set at each stage, so that they did not smudge. Finally, when I was happy, the bracelet needed covering with a film of protective coating and cured again, so that the inks are preserved during normal wear - I had a lot of fun doing it.
Tall and Tanned and Young and Lovely
This cuff took a lot of my time, but I didn't mind at all, it was so much fun to make. I have made up a few more blank bracelets in various colours, and will, from time to time, play with inks again.
That's all I had time for this week, folks, catch you next week, same time, same place,