The view from the Tea Bar - is my gurning little friend trying to tell Mike something?
Hello all, I hope you have been enjoying your summer - in the UK we have had approximately 20 days of warmth, mainly in dribs and drabs - last weekend was good though, with a chance to sit outside in the sun - barbeque food flying off the shelves in the supermarkets - no one celebrates a sunny day like we do in the UK - we have so few. We have a thermometer mounted on the fence outside a kitchen window from the counter we call the 'tea bar' ( we drink a lot of tea in this house) and Mike tells me the temperature on the fence about twenty times a day - and it has been .... warm ... ish.
To celebrate our 30 seconds of summer, I made a couple of pieces with warm coral - I had some enamelled pendants made earlier, to which I had added polymer clay bezels, and I pulled out my collection of coral and turquoise and set to work. The first piece was inspired by the pendant, which reminded me of a tropical sunset, and the Flame of the Forest trees which are so common in India. We had some in school, and they had long flat seed pods, which we used to cover with silver paper from cigarette packets - we had no access to foil in those days, or Toys'rus - heaven forbid - and use them in mock sword fights. They are certainly a beautiful tree when in bloom, and the coral shards I used mimic them perfectly.
The Flame of the Forest tree in full cry
By the time I was done, it turned into a necklace full of the promise of tropical
warmth - I wore it to work even before I photographed it - and then it rained!
The second pendant was made using a cloisonne technique, where cells made of wire are used to keep the enamel colours apart - I made something resembling a 'tablet' - perhaps for a shy person as a gift to express his love - what can say it better than hearts and flowers - and very non calorific too. I added wire flowers and a heart, and more coral and turquoise, and this one is one of a kind - most definitely. A lot of people from a jewellery forum I belong to recognised it as my work, even before they read my name on my post - I think wire is truly something I love to play with, and obviously, it shows!
My newly acquired stash of crystal beads was by now feeling ignored, after all the attention it got last week, so to placate it, I made some dragonfly earrings - what better symbol of summer than a dragonfly - and here they are. The wings are made of Czech pressed glass daggers, and the earrings are on extra long kidney earwires.
I acquired a number of pendants, beads and baubles from a Nepalese artisan of the Limbu tribe in Kathmandu. The owner of the company supports indigenous tribal women, and the designs are made in the mountainous regions of Eastern Nepal, bordering on Bhutan and Sikkhim. Although relatively expensive, they are so beautiful, I was not able to resist them.
I want to make 'East meets West' fusion pieces of jewellery, that go with any sort of apparel, and have scoured the recesses of my mind for new ideas with traditional elements. The artisans themselves are well paid by the company that sold them to me, it warms my heart to find ethical vendors from the East, there is so much to be said for paying a fair price if it gets back to the right people.
Do feel free to leave me a message if you like the pieces that follow on these pages, as I use up the stuff I bought - they are too pretty to be put away in a drawer and forgotten about. I have enough for two to three weeks of enjoyable creating - it is bound to take me that long to find different ways of showing off these beauties, as I am keen for them to be as fantabulous as they deserve.
A more traditional use of the Nepalese pendant, but in keeping with its style
The Focal Bead, placed asymmetrically
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Branch coral spikes
Blue coral fossil beads
Sea sediment jasper
Hand carved bone beads and black onyx
Yes, I have been busy - what with buying these, looking at them over and over, rummaging in the old stash, making the necklaces, photographing them and putting them online, both in the Facebook shop and on this website, doing a weeks work at the day job - Phew! - but I just got so excited when I acquired these, I couldn't resist making them up. I did buy a few more, but I have had to go looking for Lapis Lazuli beads to make them up - what I have is so pretty, it needs just the right beads to go with it - so have spent time sourcing the lapis beads, as well as all the other things I have had to keep up with this week.
Next week, I look forward to a visit from an old friend - we haven't met since 1971 and I might not have time to do much in the way of jewellery making. I leave you with a picture a friend from a jewellery making forum put up on her site. See you next week.
The Denise Cuff Bracelet
I finally finished the floral cuff bracelet for my friend Denise - and I named it in her honour. Last week it was almost done except for a touch of varnish, and I thought the leaves were a bit bright, so I dulled them a bit before varnishing the cuff.
Denise visits us in late August, and I will ask her to carry a gift for a friend who lives in 'Vegas. She took one look at the Enchanted Garden collar, and asked if I could make her a headband - I thought long and hard, before I made it - a clay lining to the headband would make it too heavy to wear - instant headache! I prefer to keep my friends, so decided to make some roses with the wire cured into them, and wrap them onto a headband with beads and leaves, almost like a tiara. I named it after Anna Karenina, the ultimate romantic tragedy heroine.
The Anna Headband
She looks like she might wear my headband!
I'm not sure who this actress is, but I'd make her a headband any day of the week - isn't she romantic looking? This picture is from an advertisement for the movie.
Rather than make beads, I preferred to make the individual roses around a long stem of wire each, and cure them upright, so the wafer thin petals didn't bend or fold when cured in the heat of the oven.
I took this picture on a glass dummy Mike brought back from a junk shop many years ago - it sits in a corner wearing a Chinese silk cap with a queue attached to it and a spare pair of my glasses on its nose. I wasn't allowed to use this picture on my website or Facebook page - Mike said it looked too weird (did he mean wired ??) and might put people off - wonder what he meant!!!!! I think it's quite funny, actually.
Begin the Beguine - brings back a night of tropical splendour....
I am very proud of this piece - it evolved from a butterfly I made when making some faux ivory pieces - I coloured it with alcohol ink, and put it away. Something made me bring it out again, and I made some more butterflies, and my favourite - a dragonfly to go with it. I made this necklace with some jewel coloured quartz nuggets and crystals, and it is so tropical and summery, I just had to call it Begin the Beguine.
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I love the Louis Armstrong version, but couldn't find it, so have found a French version by a woman who is fast becoming a favourite of mine - Laura Fygi - what a beautiful voice - this is music to make love to, ladies (and gentlemen)!
These are a pair of beautifully cut, matched cushion cut citrines, and they have an asterisk shape cut into the back to allow even more light through. They were wrapped in square sterling silver wire which was then fashioned into heart shapes. They are very light and pretty, and I have had to provide rubber ear stoppers to prevent accidental loss - we all know how painful it is to lose a favourite earring, I won't let that happen to any of my patrons!
Begin the Beguine wrung me out - all those intricate butterflies, each one different from the other, and then putting them together so it would look like they were all fluttering around the necklace - but it was worth it for the message I received from the lady who bought it - she loved it, and I am so happy it went to a good home.
I also had a phone call from India, from the lady who bought Meluhan Sunset - a piece conceived by her imagination, translated into a piece of jewellery by me. It was taken to India by my mother and then couriered to New Delhi, to her office, where it sat, waiting for her to pick it up. Of course, she didnt't go to her office for one reason and another that week, and mum and I sat on pins, praying that it wasn't lost.
Anyway, she has it in her hot little hands now, and said she was drooling all over it, she loved it so much - it was fantastic to hear from her, and the relief that she had it, and loved it, was almost palpable.
I made this Dove of Peace brooch a while ago - it is a wire dove, attached to a vintage brooch. It has a twig and a leaf in its 'beak'. It languished quietly on my website for a while, until it was rescued by a discerning lady, who posted a picture of her wearing it on Facebook - suddenly it had so many 'fans', and an order for another followed - so thank you Debbie!
I made the brooch myself this time with polymer clay and attached a wire dove to it. I am enjoying these little brooches - polymer clay is such a fantastic medium to play with. I concealed the wire holding the dove deep inside the brooch, and it is such a pleasure when the engineering of a piece works just so!
Last week, The Bollywood pendant was snapped up almost as I posted this blog, and an old school mate from Melbourne asked if I could make her another, with a pair of earrings to match. She is a wedding gown designer and makes evening wear as well, she says they will match the new gown that she will wear to a Fashion Award affair. Check out her designs on Facebook - Arlene D'Monte Designs and at Brides on Main http://www.bridesonmain.com.au/collection/collection.html
Here are the pieces I made for her.....
My designs on a red carpet - would you credit that??? - Hollywood next, I suppose!
That's all for this post, see you again next week, have a good weekend
We all doodle - as children, how often did we mentally leave a boring lesson by doodling in our note books and get to some place in our subconscious where nobody could reach us? Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas harnessed that idea and created the Zentangle art form - Maria felt that while doodling, she felt timeless and free, engendering a sensation of well being - they recognised the signs of a meditative state, and the art form was born. Today, there are Certified instructors, it is taught in schools, there are seminars in the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York, there are numerous books written about it - amazing, and all from the humble doodle. Zentangle is a type of meditation achieved through pattern making - there are more than 100 named patterns, and combining them in an unplanned unexpected way causes one to enter into a state of flow - Yoga for the mind!
I always knew that repetitive patterns were pleasing to the eye, but never quite understood why - perhaps I have been in a meditative state most of my life - I sure have doodled prolifically during my time at school.
i decided that polymer clay canes were the best way to go, but couldn't quite abandon wire, so made a combination of the two - the piece was very complex to make, but so much fun - I was also researching Zen and Wabi -Sabi design and this inspired me to make this piece - I called it The Bold and the Beautiful - definitely not for the faint hearted - someone really gutsy would wear it as a summer piece with a white Tee, or a black dress - I wonder who that person will be.
Have a look at this You Tube clip - it shows Rick and Maria creating a Zentangle - how easy is that! and how complicated the finished product looks. I also found these Zentangles from a fabulous blog by Lynn McCorry, all the way from Oz, and she gave me permission to use them. Her blog is at http://lynn-mccorry-2.blogspot.com.au/search/label/zentangles
Circus - http://lynn-mccorry-2.blogspot.com.au/search/label/zentangles
Scrapbook of Zentangles courtesy of http://lynn-mccorry-2.blogspot.com.au/search/label/zentangles
Repetitive patterns of black and white with splashes of colour, asymmetrical, with wire woven windows between the Zentangle tiles
Wavy wire lines implanted into the clay
Wire flowers with authentic turquoise centres in 4 sizes, but the same pattern
I bought an ox bone Buddha face cabochon, and kept it in my stash for over an year - I found it while looking for quite something else and decided to use it in some way. I tend to put the bits I want to use out on the coffee table in front of me, and glance at it as I to and fro in the natural course of a days work - the first thing it said to me was 'Zen'. Zen is a Japanese form of Buddhism that believes that meditation, contemplation of ones self is a better way to look for enlightenment, rather than the mere practice of the rites and rituals of orthodox religions.
Zen architecture is modern and serene, weaving emotions into simple sculptural forms to give a deep environmental experience - dreamers are encouraged to be one with their dreams. I found this extremely evocative picture of a Zen garden, and from this was born the Zen necklace with its serene Buddha presiding over swirls of wire.
This one sold out within half an hour of being listed on Facebook!!
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Saw a poster of 'Midnight Tango' a show at the Aldwych in London, with the fabulously talented Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone. The outfit she was wearing in the poster reminded me so much of a showy hibiscus my mother has growing in her garden in India - it is called 'Midnight Blue'. I designed a necklace with that in mind using polymer clay to fashion the petals and a crackled agate for a moon at midnight. The necklace was so popular on the website that it sold within two days of me posting it - and I am not surprised - its inspiration was so breathtaking, that even if the necklace fulfilled half its promise, it would be interesting, to say the least. One of my friends in the jewellery making community liked it so much, she commissioned me to make her some petals, and I did - she was kind enough to promise to credit me with making the petals when she uploads pictures of her jewellery.
I am hoping to actually see the show before it closes on the 31st of March - hint hint to my husband if he is reading this.
Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone
I had quite a few days off from the day job and I have been quite prolific this month - I counted up what I made and it adds up to 17 pieces of jewellery, including two pairs of earrings - they are sometimes the most difficult as they have to be exactly equal and opposite - unless a degree of cheating is involved and they are called asymmetrical! You have to love a trier!
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See you next week, have a good weekend,