We had the most wonderful time in Rome, eating gelato twice a day, tramping around till my feet and knees hurt and begged for mercy. What a fabulous city, with history at every turn.
Unfortunately, I came home with the beginnings of a streaming cold, and am still suffering with it - no rest for the wicked, I have had to go in to the day job - I just hope I haven't spread the germs far and wide.
I took a load of my jewellery with me, and wore some every day - it was fabulous to have the right accessories for each outfit, although I wouldn't admit as much to anyone but you - I like to pretend that it was all effortlessly thrown together!!
Starry Starry Night
The Roman skyline at sunrise - can you see the star at one o'clock - I am pleased with my photograph!
When I got home, there were so many packages waiting for me - it was like Christmas had come early. I ordered these beautiful crystals - clear tear drops with an Aurora Borealis finish, and cold or no cold, I just had to make them up. In the end, I had to redo the necklace to get it to the point where I was satisfied with it, and it took me twice as long each time - that's what a muzzy head does to you - but eventually, having teamed it with some large AB finished bean shaped blue/grey crystals, I was satisfied. The clear crystal sparkles against bare skin, like a lit up chandelier, and reminded me of stars in the sky.
Mike bought me an anvil from a junk shop - and proudly brought it home. He put it on the dining table for me to find as a surprise when I got in from work - I'm afraid my gratitude was tempered by the sight of the rust stains on my clean white tablecloth - I had to restrain myself from having the screaming abdabs by stuffing my knuckles into my mouth!!
I have a little steel block to bash away at wire, and now, I have a little cobblers anvil, which has to be cleaned and oiled until it is fit to bring back into the house.
My cold has meant that I haven't been able to play with my beads for a couple of days, but I felt well enough after a couple of days to make a little necklace I called Lumiere.
It has ten strands of rainbow effect glass beads, and glass pearls, carrying a Lava rock pendant set with pink, blue and clear Swarovski crystals. The crystals have been hand set into the lava rock and catch the light with movement, and the colours are echoed by the beads in the necklace.
The necklace was made back to front, with the longest strands carrying the pendant at the front of the necklace - and it can be worn as it is or twisted into a roll - both ways are pretty - what do you think??
Tektite - Classique
The Chinese called it the "Inkstone of the Thundergod", while the Australian aborigines called it Maban or magic and associated it with good luck. Indians consider Tektite as the sacred gem of Lord Krishna or the fire pearl. Tibetan monks worship this stone as the "Stone of Shambala". It’s also been worn as a fertility amulet since centuries.
Tektites are natural glass objects primarily composed of silica. Tektites found on Earth are formed by large asteroidal impact with the Earth. Energy from the impact melts terrestrial rock and ejects it into the upper reaches of the atmosphere. A few minutes later tektites rain down. The final shape is dependent on terrestrial weathering. Libyan glass is a pale yellow tektite, and Moldavite is a beautiful emerald green.Tektites are found in geographically 'strewn fields' related to the source crater. The most recent and largest strewn field is in Australasia with tektites being found in the Indochinese peninsula (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and southern parts of China), the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia.
I bought mine from a dealer in Australia - the beads are a rugged black, but smooth and cool to touch, with no evidence of jagged edges. Not being overly concerned with its healing powers, I bought the string of beads for their beauty, and combined them with silver crystal and black onyx. As bright focals, I added a large silver tone toggle clasp and some 'wiggly' wire spheres. I thought the round beads would be better at the back, for comfort, but in the end, this piece turned out to be just as comfortable with the clasp at the back as when worn to one side, the way it was designed.
While rummaging around for the tektite beads, I found some large,faceted lapis beads which I had been hoarding for a special purpose - this seemed to be the ideal time to use at least one, having developed acute wire withdrawal symptoms. While we watched J Edgar Hoover on DVD, I pulled out some wire and made 'Sceptre'.
This was designed by Donna Spadfore of Gaillavira, and I have had the tutorial in my folder for ages - I love the way the piece has evolved, having changed a few minor details to suit the way I wanted to make it.
I find I have now passed my cold on to Michael (amongst others, most likely), who of course, has it much worse than me (and blames me for giving it him) - probably the worst cold since the beginning of time, and is convinced he requires constant nursing care ( no sympathy from me, sorry! - d'you think this is why a nurses uniform turns men on? - they haven't heard of compassion fatigue???), and added to this, my old cat has decided he needs feeding one tablespoon at a time - if I put any more than that in his bowl, he walks off and demands a new/ fresh meal after some time - in a fresh bowl each time! - no use me trying to force him to eat the old stuff - he just sits there and stares at me, or stalks off in disgust - anyone with a solution to this, please let me know.
Till next week then, if I am still sane,
I love unusual elements - I was sorting out my bead stash, and trying to get tangled strings of beads back into little labelled pouches, with prices for each of the different types of gemstones, when it struck me - I dont have too many round beads in my stash - in fact, the only round beads I have are left overs from jewellery I have conceived around a focal piece, and then had to buy in with that particular piece in mind. A quick rummage revealed oval beads, and square beads, pumpkin shaped beads, rugged rough nuggets, freeform tooth shaped beads, smooth nuggets, floral shapes, coins, rondelles - a few round glass beads I got when I first started out still languish at the back of the stash, and I could hear them pleading with me to be used - 'me, me, me', they cried!
I also have a stash of pendant beads and cabochons - mainly druzy - I love that rugged, excavated, sugar crystal look. I have started to collect little tiny gemstone beads, to put in the Caprilicious silver collection, and I now have a box full of those, and will soon have to get a bigger container.
This week, I was exhausted from making 'The Mermaids Song' and the other pieces I put together last week, so I slacked off for a couple of days, until I felt the urge to pick up a pair of pliers and play with some wire. Sometimes, I make a few wire elements and then put them together, and at others, I find a focal, and plan the execution of a piece of jewellery, knowing that I will change my mind halfway, and add something unexpected into the mix.
I started out with this pendant bead ( a bead is anything with a hole in it, and does not need a separate piece of metal to surround it- it doesn't necessarily have to be round). I, however, treat most pendant beads like cabochons, that have no hole, and frame them with my own bezel. This one is one of the Intarsia beads I had sent out to me from Italy. It is made of marble, inlaid with jasper, so beautifully, one would be forgiven for thinking it was all one piece of stone, the clue is in the white frame around the inlay work. I love the intricacy of Intarsia work, and have a few pieces in my collection. They are difficult to use, as, strung alone, the piece looks a bit bare, and a frame to show it off is required - in my opinion, anyway.
The first one I made way back in February, reminded me of cherry blossom, and I gave it a floral polymer clay frame. It was called Spring Fever. This time, I pulled out a piece of marble inlaid with yellow jasper - it looked like an explosion of fireworks in a night sky to me. The romantic in me remembered the fireworks that go off every time one falls in love, and I designed a heart shaped double frame around the Intarsia, to be carried by needles of yellow jasper. However, by the time I finished the frame, shiny silver lined seed beads had jumped onto it and twined themselves around it, and I was forced to continue the theme with the same beads in the necklace. The yellow jasper needles were put away, to be used another day - I did apologise to them first for raising their hopes!
I think I did that magnificent piece of Intarsia art justice with my frame. I wish I could find the artisan and ask him/her what they thought of it.
A True Blue Affair
My first love when I first got into the jewellery making lark was druzy - and that hasn't changed one bit. I love the way these stones are cut, displaying imperfections, rather than cutting or polishing them out. None of us are perfect, and we all employ a bit of camouflage here, a bit of subterfuge there - and titanium druzy is just that - a bit of camouflage to cover up what would essentially be a dull stone - among other druzy, that is. A lot of geodes/ druzy have natural striations and facets, which are so pretty, no further efffort is needed to prettify them. But what of the poor piece of stone, that has nothing to edify it, apart from nature's embellishment with a surface crystalline texture - camouflage with a thin vapour of gold, or platinum, or titanium, of course! Titanium, in particular gives the stone a blue green oil slick sheen, and is very pretty. I had a pendant, bought in the USA, with such a stone set in Sterling Silver, just a bit bigger than a 50 pence piece. Teamed with lapis lazuli beads and loads of silver-tone spacers, I made a Lariat style necklace, with the pendant incorporated into the toggle clasp - this can be worn long, or shorter, wound twice around the neck. I personally prefer it short.
The final piece for the week before I took off on holiday was a necklace made of really unusual banded green agate. The beads are cylindrical, and faceted in such a way that some of the facets are smooth and shiny and the others are gritty, with the appearance of ground glass. I saw them in a picture, and had to have them. The gerrn and red bands that make up this gemstone can be a bit dull though, so I livened it up with a central silver tone flower pendant- I looked at it from all different angles, and decided I didn't like the effect - a tad too symmetrical for me, and the flower seemed too small to balance the size of the beads. So, copper wire to the rescue - I whipped up a three dimensional orchid, and studded it with turquoise beads - and this brightened the piece up considerably - so, here is the Blue Orchid Corsage Necklace.....
I hope you can see the beautiful facets in the beads
The shiny black beads are haematite
We flew out to Santorini last week for a few days in the sun after our abysmally dull summer. I post this from the hotel in Santorini - it was written before I left home, but is a few days late - have been too busy climbing the volcano, swimming in the blue Aegean sea, and sunning myself like a lizard on a rock. Catch you when I get back,
I love my wire work - but I like it to be a bit organic - not too organic and messy - but a bit 'handmade' - after all, what's the point of having handmade stuff that looks like a chain store find, made by a machine in China? I was taught by a perfectionist - her wire loops are so neat and tidy, so it's now a bit of an effort to 'mis - make' my version of handmade jewellery.
I showed you the tumblestones I was given to set into pendants last week - well, after a lot of looking at it, and turning it over in my little fist, the second one got a setting of wire swirls - after all I couldn't make two with the same design - like the old 'mother and daughter' catalogues from JcPenney's - could I??
So, here they are - the first one was on a Viking knit wire chain, and the second on a green and black Kumihimo braided silk necklace. I am glad to report that both have reached their new homes, and their owners are reportedly delighted with them.
The stone above was really hard to set as it was a plump. slippery odd shaped customer - hence the extra safety elements - the cross wires on the back and an extra layer of weave at the very top, to give it strength.
The second one below was not much easier - a smooth elongated marble - all my instincts were to put it in a coiled cage of wire, but perseverance paid off and I set it in a hardy square wire swirl, letting the wire guide me as to its placement.
I spent part of the weekend making the stars for the next piece - they were made of polymer clay, cut to free drawing templates of various sizes, etched with a star pattern, painted and reformed in a faux ceramic finish, and then glazed with Ice Resin, which took 3 days to set firmly. I strung the finished stars onto long chains of multicoloured seed beads, nearly blinding myself in the process - I hate seed beads - you have to string 11-12 beads to cover and inch of beading wire, and their holes are ever so tiny- but they do look pretty - don't they??
This song was a favourite with my dad in the sixties, but I found another, more modern version on YouTube, my favourite hunting ground, for your listening pleasure.
Now that's what I call a pocket full of stars!
I made a pair of earrings with some copper flowers from my kiln, which were patinated with Vintag colours, and some turquoise rondelles - they turned out really pretty and I am pleased with the result. However, I failed in my endeavours for the 'messy' look - never mind, you can't win them all!
But, the nicest piece I made this week, started life a few weeks ago. I bought a Nepalese pendant from a trader many moons ago, and made a pair of polymer clay 'arms' for a necklace to match. The clay was set in a wire armature, and the piece was poked and prodded and teased into shape, impressed, embellished, painted, and encased in resin - this saga went on and on for a few weeks, till I was happy with the result. I finally made up the necklace and called it 'Tribal Princess' and was in the process of posting it on my website, when one of my friends happened to be online on FaceBook and snapped it up - so it never went on the Caprilicious website after all in the end. I now present.....
The pendant, all the way from Nepal
The 'arm' of the necklace
A Sneak peek into next weeks work
My Peruvian peacock - do they have peacocks in Peru??
I started out making these two Peruvian thread work pendant pieces a long time ago - and they have mysteriously metamorphosed into this peacock, which I finally finished last night - now to figure out how I want to hang it - I will have a picture for you next week.
Have a lovely weekend - I am working at my day job on Saturday, but have the rest off to play - catch you next week!