Hello readers, I hope you are all enjoying the weather, which is slowly showing signs of getting warmer. It is so nice to be able to shed the heavy winter gear, and wear fewer clothes - can't wait to get to the point where the sandals come out of the cupboard and onto my feet.
My mother went on a little tour of South India with her niece, and very kindly brought back some beads for me. I had asked her to look out for a string of Rudraksha beads - more about them later. The ones she sent are about 20mm in diameter, and I was a bit intimidated by their size, I had really wanted them a bit smaller. However, no one puts Caprilicious in a corner, and I decided to rise to the challenge. I made some polymer clay ruffle beads from a tutorial by Christelle Van Lingen, in a blend of red and gold, and put a necklace together with a copper electroplated oak leaf skeleton.
I added a blue agate bead and a copper Bali style bead to provide a pop of colour and extra interest, and little gold plated crystal beads to add some sparkle to the piece - I was quite pleased with the way the necklace turned out. I like the juxtaposition of an ancient, traditional seed bead, and the polymer clay, which is as contemporary as you are going to get - and very different, too from anything i have seen, made with these seeds.
Rudraksha is a large evergreen broad-leaved tree whose seed is traditionally used for prayer beads in Hinduism. The seed is borne by several species of Elaeocarpus. Rudraksha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the name Rudra ("Shiva") and akṣha ("eyes").
Rudraksha seeds are covered by an outer shell of blue when fully ripe, and are also known as blueberry beads. The berries are strung into a rosary, used for repetitive prayer. The seeds are classified on the basis of the number of divisions that they have, and different qualities are attributed to the rudraksha based on this. A common type has five divisions, and these are considered to be symbolic of the five faces of Shiva.
Rudraksha beads are often worn by Indian 'sadhus' or holy men, who are devotees of Shiva.
The plant and the blueberries that produce the Rudraksha seed
Sadhus, wearing strings of the Rudraksha beads - the one on the right looks pretty pleased with himself!
In a complete about turn from the oak leaf necklace, I made a couple of light and pretty summery pieces to go into the English Country Garden collection - a little pendant - Primrose, and a necklace made of all the shiny, pretty floral elements I could find - The Summer Bouquet. The inspiration for this came from a throwaway comment by a presenter on last Sunday's airing of 'The Antiques Roadshow' while valuing a tiara - he mentioned that tiaras were often turned upside down and worn as necklaces in Victorian times - so I made a modern day tiara/ necklace - it is extremely light and pretty, and looks like a wildflower bouquet.
Winner - Bead Barmy Readers Gallery Competition April 2013
I had news that Katrina won in the 'We've got the Blues' category, and that it sold, all on the same day - I must remember to tell the new owner she has a winner!
Linda Jones, a well known and influential jewellery designer, and author, writes a blog for the WireWorkers Guild, which is a forum for people who love wire. She offered to feature me on her blog in May, and sent me a questionnaire. I filled it out, and she emailed me back - she was so complimentary, I have had a job fitting my head through the door and am literally floating around the room. This is a screen capture of her email
What can I say - other than thank you, Linda Jones! And here it is http://wireworkersguild.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/caprilicous-jewellery.html?showComment=1366967638186#c8771846690699081699
When I finally managed to come down to earth , I finished off the last piece I made this week and took these photographs of The Spirit of Ecstasy. The art nouveau wire work surrounding the focal was behind the idea for the name.
The Spirit of Ecstasy, also called "Emily", "Silver Lady" or "Flying Lady", was designed by English sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes and carries with it a story about a secret passion between the second Lord Montague of Beaulieu, a pioneer of the automobile movement, and editor of The Car Illustrated magazine from 1902 and his secret love and the model for the emblem, Eleanor Velasco Thornton. Eleanor was John Walter's secretary, and their love was to remain hidden, limited to their circle of friends, for more than a decade. The reason for the secrecy was Eleanor's impoverished social and economic status, which was an obstacle to their love. John-Walter, succumbing to family pressures, married Lady Cecil Victoria Constance, but the secret love affair continued.
Eleanor died on 30 December 1915 when the SS Persia, on which she accompanied Lord Montague on his journey to India, was torpedoed off Crete by a German submarine, four years after she had been immortalized by her lover.
Spirit of Ecstasy
The rough cut black tourmaline gleams gently, and the severity of the black is relieved by the multi-coloured, shiny crystal spacers, and the graceful swoops of the wings of the focal. The polymer clay 'cabochon' is smooth, although its surface appears corrugated, and was made from a tutorial by Sophy Dumoulin of CraftArt Edu. I just love this technique - although time consuming, it is fabulous - and you have to wait till the absolute end, to see if the piece you have made is any good - for someone short on patience, it is a good exercise! The toggle clasp is pretty too, but this time, I put it at the back of the neck, where it should rightfully belong - when I tried to bring it to the front, as I do with a lot of pretty clasps, it fought a major battle with the focal, and lost. I consoled it by explaining that the back of the wearer is visible too, especially if she has her hair short, or swept up - or it could remain a delicious secret between the necklace and the wearer ( must be going doolally tap - I am now talking to a clasp!).
That's as much as I had time for, sweet people, I am exhausted by the repeated expansion and deflation of my head after all the accolades Caprilicious has received this week - and I know I will have to work hard to stay worthy of what has been said.
Catch you next week, same time, same place
This week, there were some very difficult decisions to be made - I had to submit a single button to the Button Project picking for my theme 'Silk' , 'Metamorphosis' , or 'Heritage' - I could eventually add another three to a set of four to be sold off by the organisers when the project ended.
I decided to go with 'Metamorphosis' as my theme, loosely interpreted by me as the change or transformation that occurs as night follows day. I thought that there would most probably be too many butterfly/ larva buttons as the other theme was Silk- and anyway, who wants to make or wear a dead caterpillar? - not me, that's who!
I made the four buttons in polymer clay, and took my pictures, I was quietly pleased with the way they turned out. I planned to give each one a gradation from a dark blue to a pink/yellow/orange, and I added a leaf motif in the background, so the button would eventually resemble a fossil. The method I used was pioneered by Sophy Dumoulin of CraftArt Edu. However, with this technique, there is no way of telling what the piece will look like till it is cured, sanded and buffed - sanding reveals the true design, hidden inside, almost like a metamorphosis in itself - I held my breath till, lo, and behold, the buttons appeared - not entirely the way I envisaged, but near enough.
I was now faced with the choice of button - I had to decide which one was the best and was destined to be the original exhibit, with the others sitting in a box, waiting to hear if someone loved them enough to give them a home. How bad would they feel, if they had to come back home to Nuneaton in a padded envelope - how could I put my sweet button babies through this?
And once I decided which one I liked best, should I send the required photograph on a dark background, or on white?
Having agonised over this for a long while, I gave up and decided to listen to some music instead, till the Aspirin cleared my head.
The one at the top left is the one I chose eventually, with the dark background. Now, all that is left is to wait and see whether the organisers will accept my entry.
Through Caprilicious, I met a lovely lady I shall call BN - she makes jewellery too and is like me, a doctor. She loves Caprilicious and took the trouble to come all the way to Nuneaton to see me - I was ever so pleased to meet her and we talked jewellery for hours - it was nice to find someone to chat with on a topic that is so dear to my heart, without fear of their eyes glazing over with boredom - I'm sure I do that a lot at work, and have to restrain myself, quite often, when my radar picks up the glazed expression I used to get when my mother lectured me on my many misdemeanors as a teenager. I only hope I am quicker to spot 'the look' than my mother was!
BN gifted me some beads - she said it was like a goody bag on Ready Steady Cook - I had to make pieces of jewellery using the ingredients from her bag, the only difference being there was no stipulated time limit. In return, she had some of my polymer clay faux amber and a few other bits and bobs. After she left, I made Bedouin Oasis, with some of her beads, one of my handmade polymer clay pendants, with two pairs of earrings to match.
The sand is hot beneath my feet
This desert air, a burning heat
I'm running wild in all directions
Slowly falling from my imperfections
These flats out here seem dead and barren
The silence is blarin'
When then a quiver runs suddenly
Through my spine as I sense
A safe haven
A sweet serenity
I teamed Tiger Ebony wood bicone beads and shell segments in an asymmetric necklace and the colours so reminded me of an oasis - calm and serene - the pendant seemed to work well with that theme, its center looks like a rippling body of water to me - I wore the necklace to work, and got a load of compliments - I was very pleased with the response.
This necklace stemmed from BN's question - 'could you create small?' - I wasn't too sure that I could rise up to the challenge - Caprilicious seems to have become all about the large, flamboyant piece - but I am sure there are plenty of capricious women who want their delicious pieces small and dainty. So, I went off with my thinking cap and sat in a corner for a while ( should that be a dunce's cap you sit in a corner with??) and came up with Indigo Evenings. The iolite I picked is a beautiful deep blue, the colour of twilight in the tropics, and I looked in my gemstone stash in vain to find a green to complement it - I finally found the perfect green in my box of crystals, and added some tiny pearls to make a piece that is so dainty, it looks almost fragile in my hands - so, BN, if you are reading this, have I fulfilled your challenge?
Ariel is a fictional character and the lead protagonist of Walt Disney Pictures' film The Little Mermaid (1989). Ariel is voiced by Jodi Benson in all animated appearances and merchandise.
Ariel has a very distinctive appearance, with her long, flowing red hair, blue eyes, green tail and a purple seashell bra. The blue-green color of Ariel's fin was a hue specially mixed by the Disney paint lab; the color was named "Ariel" after the character. The choice of red as Ariel's hair color was the subject of dispute between the filmmakers and studio executives who wanted the character to have blonde hair. It was noted that red hair contrasted better with Ariel's green tail and that red was easier to darken than yellow so it was ultimately kept.
In the mid nineties, I used to borrow this little girl from my friends, and she and I would stay up all night, watching cartoons, eating ice cream and Jelly and crisps in bed - she loved to come and stay with me, and her parents had the weekend to themselves - The Little Mermaid was one of the movies we watched, over and over, without ever tiring of it.
I made this cuff in memory of those days, using the pen and ink technique learned from Alice Stroppel. It took simply ages to get her hair just so, fortunately, I now have a table where I can leave all the makings without feeling guilty about the mess. The place looked like a bombsite for days and days, while I struggled to juggle the demands of the bracelet, and the rigours of the day job.
All this for one tiny bracelet!!
Made from scratch, the bracelet started like this
And finished up like this!
Lipstick on Your Collar
BN gave me some slate grey veined jasper - the stones look like little pebbles from a river bed - initially I thought I would put them with coral ( and I might, yet) but while doing a rummage in my bead stash, I found these lipstick coloured pink dyed howlite, and they seemed to be clamoring to be let out of the box - I think they go really well together. As I have said before, I am not a particularly 'pink' person - but this necklace found its way from the light box where I photographed it, straight around my neck, and hence, to work. The grey jasper lends the piece a bit of sophistication, and raises its game. One look at it, and I don't have to say another word about how it got it's name.
The gentleman whose photograph I used as inspiration for Glacial Fantasy
( http://www.flickr.com/photos/manisholiday/ or http://kingdom-of-sky.blogspot.co.uk/ for more pictures) liked the necklace so much, he ordered another for his girlfriend! Kudos, indeed - such kind gestures make it all worthwhile!
That's all this week sweet people, thanks for stopping by - catch you next week, same time, same place,
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.
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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 email@example.com...
--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