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
Thank you to everyone who voted for my design 'Glacial Fantasy' in the Artbeads Jewelry Design Star Competition. It only went and won!! I am speechless and so, so, so, thrilled. I was informed by email, and they have had my details as well as a couple of other designs from Caprilicious for their website. When I hear more from Artbeads.com about the official announcement, I will let you know. In the meantime, I have another pair of earrings made, to complement Glacial Fantasy - the first two were not deemed 'delicate' enough, and I was politely requested to think again - the customer is always right - right? So.........
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These were made with wire crochet and crystal beads, and the pictures sent on for approval - I hope she likes them, or, its back to the drawing board for me. They look pretty delicate to my eyes, but I am not the one going to be wearing them, so I shall just have to wait and see. I have no problems doing them over and over until I get it right - I just see it as another challenge.
I thought Betty was a bit lonely, so I found her a friend - meet Barbara - she is a half bust, but what is especially nice about her is that I can insert an earring so I can get a good picture of the way the earrings dangle from the ear lobe. I had just made this pendant with a red banded agate stone, and I hung it around Barbara's neck - her neck is a bit scrawny, but, hey, anything's possible if allowed a bit of artistic license. The pendant looks huge around Barbara's neck, but that is because she suffers from turkey neck disorder, but one mustn't mock afflicted chickens!
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'Grace', the pendant in question is made of banded red agate - a beautiful waxy, translucent, rectangular stone. About six feet of wire went into the swirly wraps, and a few more feet of fine wire for the web like weave. I had to add a bit of movement, and a shiny Aurora Borealis coated crystal from my stash was just the ticket.
I played with polymer clay and alcohol inks and produced these faux red jade pieces from a tutorial by Lynda Moseley of Diva Designs. I love the large 25mm focal beads, with a floral etched pattern and I made a chrysanthemum type flower to be the pendant in this necklace. It is called Cinnamon because of the beautiful burnt sugar colour of the faux jade. The other alternative for a name was Creme Caramel - betraying my sweet tooth and secret gluttony - a Freudian slip, if ever there was one! Three strands of carnelian nuggets, held together at intervals by pewter spacers toned well with the focal pieces - a monochromatic necklace, which is quite rare for me - I don't know how I resisted the impulse to add a bit of green or turquoise blue, but I do like how Cinnamon came together in the end.
From Russia With Love
I made this necklace a few weeks ago, and I saved three rainbow titanium coated quartz needles to make a pendant and a pair of earrings. When they were made up the three little pieces resembled the Matroshka dolls sold to tourists in Russia - except, of course that I have attempted to match the earrings, as far as possible The quartz was mined near St Petersburg and has an extraordinarily beautiful sheen from the fine coating of titanium vapour wafted over it.
I spent most of this week catching up on paper work and other stuff at the day job - sometimes it doesn't pay to have too much time off, everything is just waiting for you when you get back to the grindstone - no rest for the wicked!
I did have time to tidy up my website, move my necklaces around - I have new pages now - Chinese Inspiration, Out of Africa, and Leafy Glade are now added to a Treasury of Statement Necklaces, and all the other bits and bobs are grouped under Mini Statements - I believe that all jewellery makes a statement - it tells you about a woman's inner self and expresses her thoughts, feelings, and mood, sometimes, who she would like to be but finds difficult to express - an alter ego. I know that this is certainly true about me - what about you?? Have you ever thought about what your choice in apparel says about you to the world - a non verbal clue to those who might wish to detect what makes you tick! Have you ever thought what women who don't wear jewellery are saying - I think it may be that they don't want people to get clues to their personality - you have to work just that bit harder to know them and what their raison d'être is.
That's all I had time to make this week folks, catch you next week, same time, same place, thanks for stopping by my blog, and once again, thank you for voting for my design in the competition
Happy New Year to all of you, my readers. Now that we have survived the end of the world, we'd better make a good fist of it - so, onward and upwards we go!
One of my presents from Santa was a book about Salvador Dali - I love the wackiness of the man - he even created some pieces of jewellery - he treated them as mini sculptures, which of course is what they are - and I thought I'd share a few pictures of my latest inspiration with you.
Mine of course, was made out of wire, an aventurine bead for the green iris and a couple of crystals. It is called JEALOUSY- the green eye lending itself readily to the title - and of course, the crystal tear drop -there are plenty of tears associated with that particular emotion!
It is to be worn as a pendant, although it can easily be converted into a pin. I didn't think anyone would want to wear it on an eye patch, that might just be going a little, teeny weeny bit too far! The pendant is made out of two long pieces of wire, bound by another extra long, slender wire. Fun to make, although extremely fiddly, all those wires wanting to go every which way but where you want them to!
I picked up a two foot length of copper enamelled non tarnish wire and made a Chinese PIPA knot which I embellished with beads - it was so pretty, I made another and paired them into earrings. I love Chinese knots, but they are very difficult to put together - sometimes the instructions sound like they are in double Dutch. I would love to find someone who could teach me on a one to one basis, but in the meantime, these are what I can do ..............
I read up on the history of knot making in China, essentially a folk art. When I was there, every gift, every wine bottle, came with a tag made of knotted cord. Wire of course is another entity altogether - it stays put when bent into a shape - but if bent into the wrong shape - OMG!- near impossible to tidy up invisibly, so..... practice, practice, practice is the key.
..........endless and repetitive pattern evokes one of the fundamental truths of Buddhism and the cyclical nature of all existence. In essence, knot work serves to create an atmosphere of well-being, good luck and health, longevity and harmony. As gifts, they are emotional, sentimental, and are often keepsakes between lovers and friends.
Waresa, or to give her her full name - Mbaba Mwana Waresa is the Zulu goddess of rain, rainbows, and is credited with the invention of the fermentation process and therefore, beer!! (probably a cooking experiment gone wrong or a long forgotten drink taken out of the cupboard and served to her menfolk inadvertently) - my kinda Goddess!!
This pendant, also a wire knot, was affixed to a copper frame which was embellished with tangled fine black wire and silver lined seed beads to resemble raindrops. A beautiful lapis lazuli faceted oval sits in the middle of all of this. I hung it on a leather thong, embellished with copper wire curls at each end. This is a large but light piece, and can easily be worn with jeans and a jacket during the day, or on bare skin, at night. For some reason, I seem to have gone all tribal on me - but I just go where my beautiful muse takes me - I'm easily led!
After the holidays, I received a little parcel with a little rectangular piece of labradorite in it - the colour of the piece captivated me, and it went straight into this pendant. The stone is surrounded by ruby quartz beads, and copper wire lace, both the pendant and the lace resemble the sea foam - Aphrodite, of course was the Greek goddess of love, who was born out of the sea foam -and she was known to be a beauty by all that looked on her.
This was meant to be a 'take a break, have a Kit Kat' period - but I am absolutely bonkersly obsessed - wire, beads and tools attach themselves to my ankles as I walk by, begging to be joined together in holy matrimony - hence all the little bits of jewellery that are on these last few blogs - only to keep the whine of the beads quiet. Now, I am left with a little pile of pendants and earrings that have been photographed and set aside, and will have to find a place to put them away before they get stomped on by a galumphing husband or eaten by a hungry cat! These are a few earrings I made - as you can see, I made simple dangles on frames I bought earlier, and then the wire wanted in on the act, so I had to wrap some more crystals around the edges - pretty, though.....
So, this is what I made in my 'rest' period - I have been itching to get my hands on some of the beautiful gemstone beads I bought, and Nepalese pendants - I have at least six of those, and learn a new modern style of wire work from a lady called Lilian Chen and... and.... and... - there will not be enough hours in the day for all that I want to do, and all I have to do at the day job - it certainly promises to be a lot of fun. Do stay with me through the year, wont you, and I will do my best to entertain you.
See you same time, same place, next week
Hello everyone, the honorary employees of Caprilicious Jewellery ( Mike and I ) celebrated the first birthday of the company with a couple of mince pies donated by a friend!
I had this Ghau box that had been clamouring for attention, and a hundredweight of beads accumulated so that I could have every conceivable type of coral and turquoise to go with this - I wanted this to be a pièce de résistance. I did not wish to think later on that I should have used this, or that shape of bead - so I collected coral and turquoise in different shapes, colours and sizes, over the last few weeks. I think I have done the Ghau box justice with the necklace that finally emerged. I took my inspiration from ancient Aztec jewellery, with coral and turquoise - the Aztecs used silver a lot, probably because it was so abundant in Mexico - I think they might go a bit pale and gulp, if they looked at the price of silver today!!
As the Ghau box is a dull gold colour, I matched it with gold tone stardust beads - I love those stardust beads, and buy them all the time in preference to plain silver or gold tone ones - they have a sandpaper like surface, and gleam gently in the light - much prettier and more subtle, I think - texture is very important to me.
The only other piece I have had time to put together this week is one I called Deep Purple - I used to listen to that band all the time in my misspent youth. It is made with different colours of purple crystal, teamed with silvery crystal beads and a lovely abalone shell clasp. The crystal tear drops I so love fill the bottom row of the necklace, and shine in the light due to the AB coating. Purple is a colour that gives a regal feel to the wearer, and this necklace is no exception. It can be worn in three ways, depending on the position of the clasp.
Have a lovely weekend people - I shall be slaving away, working at the day job all weekend. Catch you later, 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
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,
This is one of my all time favourites and I named a necklace after it - I sold two in a royal blue, and decided to make another to use up the left over spacers. This one was in a pretty peacock blue with an Aurora Borealis finish - I called it Beguiled!
( didn't think it would be quite right to call it Bothered or Bewildered )
This is probably one of the few pieces I can remake easily - I know the bead sizes, the sizes of the spacers, where to source them from, and the exact numbers of the beads required to make it all written down - so, I shall make it from time to time in different colours - my threshold for boredom is very low! so it will have to be different in some way.
The Aurora Borealis (AB) finish is where a crystal has been coated on the outside, covering about half the crystal face. When the crystal is turned, you can see the colour of the crystal on one side and the AB finish on the other. The more facets the crystal has, the better the effect, and a rainbow effect appears when the bead is turned.
I just love this finish, and buy most of my crystal with it - they are usually a little more expensive than normal crystal, but the shine is worth it. Unfortunately my photography skills have not kept up with my magpie skills - so I get a bit frustrated - but I really cannot find the time to read the entire manual of my little camera (which is larger than the camera), anyway, it all reads like Double Dutch to my simple mind.
So, my plan is to lie in wait till some unsuspecting person walks through the door who can teach me a thing or two about the camera, arm wrestle them to the ground, and make them divulge .....or else!
The lady who bought Bewitched took one look at Beguiled - and was a bit fed up - she thought that it was better than the original - maybe she will have the second one as well, who knows??
This one was made of black and silver crystal in three strings - the AB finish on black gives the bead an oil slick, shiny finish that no longer looks totally black. I added a couple of Lava rock beads - they have a channel cut through the middle and little rhinestones have been applied by hand in the Swarovski factory. Due in part to the painstaking work involved, the beads are expensive - but, Christmas comes but once a year, and every one likes to look their best - a few pennies extra towards this may well be in order. The lava beads, due to their weight, cause the necklace to drape beautifully around the neck.
I played with polymer clay all weekend - curing and sanding- and buffing! I made some earrings to donate to my favourite charity, and once these were all packaged up, I felt I could go back to my bead stash, which has been sitting forlornly in the corner, while I play with crystals.
In the colours of the midnight sun in summer in the northern - most part of the world - this was taken in Norway last year.
I used some Kyanite slices, resembling the blue of the sky, and I added some coral and black agate geode beads to make this necklace. The geode beads are pretty - they are cut and rounded off to reveal the crystalline structure of the minerals inside the gemstone, and they sparkle in the light. The sponge coral chunks are earthy, and a beautiful deep red.
Eastern Promise - Royal Blue
It was that time again, time to dip into my stash of Nepalese artisan made pieces - they are so pretty, albeit rather expensive - but in my opinion, if one considers the work that goes into a handmade piece of wearable art, it is well worth the price. I knew I wanted to put this pendant on a lapis lazuli necklace, and had been collecting enough to make this piece. As it is rather a large pendant, it needs a robust necklace to balance it, so I put a four stranded necklace together with lapis, coral and stardust beads.
This one is named for Princess Tiana - from the story of the Frog Prince - you know the one, where you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince ( and then if you're totally unlucky he turns into a pig )- the original story came from Russia - Disney set it in New Orleans, and there are some incredible jazz sounds in that movie. The pale green Czech pressed beads, the tiny silvery crystals, and the lava rock in a multi strand necklace looks very sophisticated and simple - Bling for the daytime!
La Belle Epoque
There is a lot of nostalgia for 'The Beautiful Era', just before the onset of the First World War, when all was golden and glowing - the 'retrospectoscope' has been liberally applied to this memory, complete with rose tinted glass. Beloved by the French, La Belle Epoque is thought to be a time when relative peace and prosperity in the land allowed art to flourish, parties to be gay and wild, and women to be louche, and men to have a rakish Rhett Butler smile and not give a damn - what more can you ask for?? Louche women and wild parties demand - yes, you guessed it - BLING!
This necklace will take you to any party - three strands of black and silver with an AB finish, a Blinged up Lava rock bead focal, and peacock coloured crystal on one side.
Next week we take a short break in Rome, and I will have very little time to make anything. I shall of course spy on what the European women are wearing - at this time of year, it is usually all about scarves, and earrings, necklaces don't get a look in.
Have a good week, and I will catch you when I get back,
No, I haven't been slaying vampires in my spare time, or even as my main occupation - I have been playing with my Dremel - I buffed everything - if he had stayed still for a couple of minutes, I would have buffed the cat! It took me a while to actually take the Dremel out of the box - I had this irrational fear that it was going to bite me, so I did it in stages - took one whole day to charge the battery (even though it has an hour turnaround) - but, 'you've got to do these things properly don't you' - was how I rationalised my procrastination. Eventually I ran out of excuses, and then went for it. Now, of course, I am an old hand and am blithely buffing away - everything is shiny in our house now!!
I bought a tutorial by one of the teachers at Polydays 2012 - one of the ladies at the meet had made it, and was wearing hers, it looked fab, very much the stuff I want to make. A lot of polymer clay people make faux gemstones - faux coral, and turquoise and all sorts - but I would rather use real gemstones if I decide to make that sort of jewellery. In the modern jewellery I want to create - all angles and swirls and colour - I am happy to use polymer clay and be proud of it. It is such a modern material, and lends itself to all sorts of new techniques - I love the challenges it presents. I intend to combine it with wire and all sorts - the possibilities are endless.
SORBET - design credit Bettina Welker
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The necklace is made of Buna cord, and the pendant and clasp are rolled into one in a very clever way. The amount of clay in the tutorial was enough to make six of these - so I did.
After this, I was getting wire withdrawal symptoms! So I sat myself down in front of the telly with one of my enamel pendants I made last week- the one I like the best, and devised this necklace.
It is named Moonflower for the flower I have fused onto the centre of the pendant with glass. The Moonflower opens at night and remains shut during the day. It is an Ipomea, and grows prolifically in India. To go with the night time theme, I constructed a web of stars around one of the beads, added a ceramic owl and some grey and white ceramic beads which I bought in Greece, to the necklace. To reduce my wire cravings, I added a wire bail, embellished by a little flower.
I have a link to a website which shows a real time video of a moonflower opening which I found fascinating - I invite you to take a look - it is fascinating, and rather beautiful - http://www.moonlightsys.com/themoon/flower.html
Let me tell you about the Absinthe Fairy :-
Absinthe is an anise flavoured spirit, which is also flavoured with fennel, and the flowers and leaves of the 'grand wormwood'. It has anywhere upto 89% alcohol and tastes of licorice!
Absinthe traditionally has a natural green colour due to the chlorophyll in the herbs used, but may also be colourless, and contains 'thujone' which was thought to be a dangerously psychoactive drug - this reputation has been proven undeserved. Much beloved by the Bohemians, it was even added to ordinary water by the common folk - to purify the water - wish I could use that excuse!
The Absinthe Fairy is a green fairy, and is a metaphorical concept of artistic enlightenment and exploration, of poetic inspiration, of a freer state of mind, of new ideas, of a changing social order. Absinthe was the drink of choice of the Bohemians in Paris in the 19th century, and they called it 'La Fee Vert' - or the Green Fairy!
I made a necklace from a string of beautiful Aurora Borealis coated green crystal briolettes to which I added silver and green crystal, and I felt that the resulting necklace had to be named after her - it is exactly what an Absinthe fairy would wear.
The Blue Fairy -or- The Fairy with the Turquoise Hair
The Fairy With Turquoise Hair (La Fata dai Capelli Turchini) is the original 'Blue Fairy' as picturised by Disney from Carlo Collodis tale The Adventures of Pinnochio. Disney, however, turned her into a blue eyed blonde! She appears at regular intervals to admonish the little wooden puppet to avoid bad or risky behaviour, and guides him out of the bad habit of telling lies. Eventually, she breaks the habit, forgives him, and gives him a human form.
Turquoise blue is one of my favourite colours, and I simply love the deep blue of these briolettes, coated with the iridescent Aurora Borealis shimmer. I made a simple necklace with them, along with shiny, sparkly, 'stardust beads' - simple is not usually my style, but the crystal is so beautiful, it would be criminal to try and add other elements that distract from it - so, here we have it - the simple little Blue Fairy necklace...................
I had a few beads left over from the two strings I had bought - they were mightily displeased at being left behind - I could hear them cussing and muttering - so, (after all, who am I to ignore the need of crystal briolettes to be admired) I put them into my next piece - KINGFISHER. What better example of shiny blue and green can there be? ( a peacock, I suppose, but lets pretend that we didn't think of that ) The inspiration for this one was from the way the briolettes are sold - with plastic spacers between them, to prevent them from breaking. I used silvery tube spacers - have had them for the longest time, and always wondered what I would do with them - now I had the answer! Three strands of blue and green shimmer, separated by silvery tubes with the faintest hint of a design imprinted on them - delicious!
I had to take loads of pictures to get a reasonable facsimile - the shine from the Aurora Borealis coating, especially on the blue thwarted me at every turn - and I still feel, that I did not do justice to the necklaces. I will have to research how to photograph crystal - I am sure there is a trick or two I can unearth with a bit of diligent Googling.
I have a bit more bling in my stash, and no doubt it will all make it's way out of the box soon - after all, Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, etc, etc,
Catch you all next week, have a good one
Guess what I bought this week.......... a Dremel! - I realised that there was no way I was going to realise my ambition to get bigger and better with my ideas for precious metal clay and polymer clay unless I conquered my irrational, rather girly fear of power tools. Also, one of the ladies from the Polydays 2012 group had a lovely power tool with a cute silver carry case and she made light work of the drilling part of making the hinged bangle - I wanted one immediately (mainly for the cute case though). Alas, the one I bought has a boring case - it is cordless, and can do hands free operations though, which will be ideal for coiling wire - which is another thing I have always wanted to do - yippee!
Since I posted last, my fingers have been flying - why, I'm surprised that I have any left at all and they haven't been worn down into stumps, like an old pencil!
I was on a roll, and all the components in my stash were fighting to come out of the cupboard and join the melee'.
I used up components I have been hoarding for over a year - who knows what I was saving them for. I figured that instead of buying more, I ought to make an effort to put what I have into my designs.
This one was made with a Chinese jade carved Endless Knot, strung with rice pearls, emerald chips and other tiny beads. The Endless Knot symbolises Eternal Love and friendship - it has been integrated into many cultures, and has mystical connotations - the Celtic knot is one example.
Some beautiful Turquoise spike beads arrived in the post that morning - and I could not resist them - just had to make them up to see what they looked like in a necklace. One of my favourite ways is to add an asymmetrical focal element, but this time, the spikes themselves needed to be the focus of attention, so I chose to use dull gold pyrite chunks instead, to break up the line of spikes. I thought Cleopatra might have fancied this one - but she apparently didn't pay for her jewellery - and cut the fingers off her favourite jewellery makers for the privilege of creating her bijoux, just so they wouldn't replicate the necklace - so, thanks, but, no thanks Cleo, someone else can have it instead - but only if they promise to leave me my fingers.
Ode to the LBD
I love pearls, but I prefer the modern way of wearing them - in multiple strings, and ropes, swaying in gay abandon - I am not a fan of the single string. However, there are times that one requires a bit of simple sophistication, when 'swaying in gay abandon' may be inappropriate, but something makes you want to step out of the Doris Day mould - this next one is for those times. Black onyx squares in two strands interspersed with silver tone spacers in different shapes, suit this requirement. This is surely a lyrical verse inspired by the little black dress.
Forever in Blue Jeans
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I had these beautiful blue crackled agate flat beads in my work tray for ages - I had no idea what to do with them, but they were so pretty, I was happy to touch them once in a while. They look like crackle glazed pottery, are flat and gently faceted, and are so tactile - I simply love them. It came to me suddenly - to put them with a large prehnite carved flower.
I remade the necklace thrice before I was satisfied with the elements - it seemed best with shimmering Swarovski crystals in different colours and shapes between the flat cream and blue of the agate. A twisted lapis and pyrite rectangle, a jade flower and a butterfly were added to the mix, and my work here was done. The necklace, when finished looked like something I would wear with blue jeans and a casual jacket - hence the title.
I like a reel of wire and a pair of pliers in my hands when hubby and I sit in front of the mind numbing programmes we have on the telly. We aren't hooked into the satellite channels, so watch whatever the terrestrial channels and Virgin Media choose to throw at us. We must have watched some of the worst 'tax dodge' movies made in the world - but, that is our time together, and we set the world to rights, sitting in our armchairs like a pair of old 'uns - what am I saying - we are old 'uns! So, I ply away, like Madame DeFarge. This is what I made in the armchair this week.
This piece is named for the focal piece - a black onyx pendant carved with the face of Kwan Yin. She is the Buddhist goddess of mercy and unconditional love. I love the statues and sculptures they have of her in Thailand and Indonesia - she has such a beautiful compassionate, serene face, and a curvaceous feminine body. I wrapped the graceful face in square wire, and attached it to a wire collar - I thought I'd go with a monochrome pallete this time, and used white howlite beads to contrast with the pendant.
A copper wire branch with little leaves, on a sweet little necklace of coral spikes, pearls and crystals.
Enter the Dragon
A carved turquoise pendant with a dragon motif was hung on a necklace made of such diverse elements as Rowan branches cut into beads, yellow agate, coral, turquoise and even a freshwater pearl. It is a very 'on trend' Tribal Chic piece and very comfortable to wear.
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A complimentary bracelet, made with the beads left over from the necklace
In between making all of these, I played with enamels in my kiln. When I went on the enamelling course, a lady dropped by - she was selling her mother's collection of enamel colours and other paraphernelia - I picked up whatever I could lay my hands on - as always the start up costs are expensive - especially as the first pieces are usually rubbish - but I surprised myself, and Mike, and made a couple of nice pendants. I also made a little dog, a butterfly and a heavily pregnant teddy bear - but the pendant holes got blocked up by the glass - I probably overloaded them with the enamel powder - I shall keep them as souvenirs of my journey into new horizons - and to remind me not to do that again.
That's all for this week folks, I'm off to play with my Dremel, finally finish off the lentil beads I made in Polydays 2012, buff up some pendants, redo the enamel on the one pendant..... a woman's work is never done.
See you next week,
Who knew that jewellery making had a connection to engineering?? - yet, how many times have we bought a piece of jewellery that looks great in a picture, or on a mannequin, only to find that it does not sit right, twists around and looks the other way just when someone you are trying to look 'cool' for glances in your direction, or gives you a poke in the ribs ( or some other unladylike place ) when you move??
This is all down to the 'E' word - thats right - Engineering!
I always thought that engineering was all down to being able to make sense of figures - perhaps it is - and that's why I am a medic - but I have found that it impacts on jewellery making in a big way.
I bought some ox bone pieces from a Chinese trader - they were already made up into the most boring bracelets (and that's just my opinion) and there were two necklaces with pendants on them - I bought the necklaces for the pretty pendants, so I could cannibalise them, and use them in different ways - I envisaged coral, and turquoise and multicoloured gemstones to brighten the cream of the bone.
The first of the ox bone necklaces was called Cherry Vanilla Cream - which was bought last week - it had lovely red howlite beads to resemble the 'cherries' in the title, and I worked hard to reassemble the rectangular tiles from the bracelets into a necklace, and made a pendant up out of copper wire.
I had two more bracelets in another pattern, so I decided to make yet another necklace in the same style, but use one of the carved ox bone pendants with it - and so The Black and Cream Beauty was born.
A lady in India enquired if I had any more bone beads and I sent her a picture of the others in my collection. Although she was quite keen to own one of these, she waited to see what I could come up with, using some of the elements in the picture on the left. She wanted me to make something with the cylindrical beads and a pair of long earrings to match. For my part, I am always happy to try and design with a particular customer in mind, so this is what I made.
Ebony and Ivory
To me, they appeared like an extremely simplistic piece of jewellery - no jazzy colours and not one piece of wire anywhere (OH NO!) but she had indicated that she wasn't too keen on wire. However, when I photographed them on my mannequin, I fell in love with the simple sophistication of both pieces - and 'Ebony and Ivory' came out tops. Of course, the 'ebony' is actually garnet - but hey, I took a few liberties with the old artistic licence.
Having said that, I think I like both of them - they are light, pretty, and quite sophisticated. And then came the body blow - she decided on The Black and Cream Beauty - and wanted long earrings to match - and perhaps I would like to use the rectangular tiles matching the necklace?? - OMG! now what?? - no way was I going to say no, and many hours and a few miles of wire later, ( and the emergency course in Engineering) I managed to assemble a pair of earrings to match.
The problem was that the tiles are pierced vertically on two sides to allow them to be strung into bracelets - to get them to hang, and move, as all good chandelier earrings should, was always going to be difficult. But..... I did it, I did it, by jove, I got it.... and I could have danced all night.....
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Well, OK, lets just say I was very pleased - no need to go overboard, for cryin' out loud!
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The way they were meant to be!
I wonder if I could do it again, if I had to??
I was also commissioned to remake Bewitched - and I called this one Bewitched Again. I try to send my customers a little gift, as a thank you, and a little pair of earrings with a couple of left over beads seemed to be perfect for that purpose.
Last week, I attended Polydays 2012, a gathering of people who have a common interest - polymer clay. It was organised in the village of Toddington, in the Cotswolds, by Alison Gallant, and I shared a cottage with five other ladies - my first time sharing a room with someone other than a man (!) in a long time, and the first time in a single bed since my nights on call as a junior doctor. This was the therapy I needed - 'keep busy, and do new things', I said to myself, ' and you will be OK' - and I was. There were three fabulous tutors, from backgrounds as diverse as Graphic Design, and Environmental Science - one of them had even run a restaurant for a while with her husband - poor guy was conscripted into cooking for 35 people each day - not that he showed a moment of stress! Here are some pictures taken by me and some of the others who were there. I learned a lot - and would like to go back next year - but first, to put what I learned into practice!
So peaceful outside, but........
Mokume Gane class
Posing for the camera
The infamous bracelet - I love it now!
Broadway High Street
A hum of noise inside the village hall - spot the pasta machines - 3-4 to a desk an Italian mamma would be proud of us
A hive of activity
My silkscreen tile
The guillotine - to slice really fine shavings of veneer
The gang from Carlton Cottage
And so, I plod on, one foot in front of the other. I cannot deny that it has been hard going this last year - it is very difficult to be a member of a 'caring profession' when you are in pain yourself, but somehow, it had to be done. I couldn't have done it without Caprilicious, though - and it will soon be a year since I set it up! I will have to do something to celebrate - any ideas?? Do tell me if you have any, wont you.....
Catch you next week,