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
This week I had a couple of days off from work, so I decided to try out some new stuff - I love colourful jewellery and there is no one who uses colour more successfully and with more panache than a polymer artist called Alice Stroppel. She has a tutorial for pen and ink drawings on polymer clay, and I got this from her in an attempt something different - I hoped I hadn't bitten off a bit more than I could chew, but felt like I ought to stretch myself a bit at a time, and add another dimension to what I do.
Anyway, here I was with this tutorial and after a few panic attacks and a lot of procrastination, I made two bracelet blanks - and got on with it. I say this blithely, as if it was a smooth transition from reading the tutorial to the execution of the piece, but I am a past master at putting things off - it took me four days to get to actually starting up (and I will admit, I was a bit - no, a lot, scared of making a complete idiot of myself) and three days to ink the second bracelet, bit by bit.
I kept the first bracelet simple, with flowers made of Millefiori canes, and with the leftover cane, made a pendant to match.
The pen and ink bit was kept to a simple colourful stripe - I told you I proceeded gingerly! While these were curing, I made a couple more conventional bangles, which fulfill my love for colour. Canes are also new to my repertoire, but I think I am just about ready to make some simple ones now - it takes a while to get used to a medium, and I think now is the time to dip my toes into deeper water. As you can see, I have relied on colour and texture with the bracelets below, but they do make a colourful splash.
Leaf on the Water
While proceeding very gingerly with the bracelets, I made some stuff I knew I could turn my hand to, almost as if I needed just to reassure myself of my abilities, in case I fell flat on my face. The picture above was my inspiration for Leaf on the Water, a necklace made with rectangular Peruvian opals and a Maple leaf skeleton pendant. The leaf skeleton has been electroplated with 9 Carat gold, and is a work of art by nature. The soothing blue of the opals seemed to suggest a seascape, and I added a couple of shells and a froth of little beads and crystals to signify the foam on the waves. It turned out to be a piece of jewellery that can be worn by day as well as night.
Another idea I approached with caution is the Flat Wire Twining lesson by Mary Tucker - she makes flat bracelets with what seems like hundreds of pieces of wire in a weave that resembles fabric, and basket weaves that are very realistic.
I am terrible for trying to run before I can walk, and become disheartened. I was quite determined this time that I wouldn't let that happen. I made a three dimensional wire pitcher, with 'water' pouring from its spout. Hung on a simple black waxed linen cord, the pitcher looks like it is spilling water down the décolleté.
The Lotus Eaters
While in my craft room( sounds less swanky and up myself than 'studio' don't you think?), I made a few faux ivory flowers. When I finished sanding and buffing the flowers, I teamed them with turquoise beads into a little bracelet - my muse must be on a bracelet making jag , there are that many rolling off my production line, these days. I am a mere vassal, following where Ms Muse leads!
The Button Project
Did you know there was a silk industry in England - in Macclesfield, no less - no? I didn't either.
Annabel Wills, Silk Museum curator says: “Macclesfield was the heart of the UK’s historic silk industry, and silk-related businesses are still active in the town. Handmade silk buttons were where it all began: from a cottage-based enterprise, it grew into a flourishing silk industry and helped make the town what it is today. This exhibition will celebrate that history and allow contemporary artists to exhibit and sell their beautiful buttons.”
The Silk Museum has organised a Button Exhibition and invited artists to submit buttons to be displayed in a curated exhibit. I have expressed an interest in submitting an entry, and hope it will be accepted. The buttons are required to have a link to the themes of heritage, or metamorphosis, and I have been wracking my brains to come up with an idea - that will be my project for the weekend. Obviously, I will share it on this page first, once the project comes together. I have always loved embellishment - in my opinion, the fillip a pretty button, or a bow, or a bit of edging gives to an outfit can be the making of it. My mother had boxes and boxes of pretty buttons which she carried back to India from the UK and hoarded jealously - my sister and I used to knit our own cardigans and used up a lot of them in our twenties.
If these buttons are pretty, I might just jazz up some of my suits with them, or, if you like them and want them, let me know, I will be only too happy to let you have them.
The Girl from Ipanema
This was a song recorded in the mid 60's and was an instant hit, and is the second most re recorded songs in the world, after 'Yesterday' by the Beatles. It was inspired by a real woman.
.......Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto (now Helô Pinheiro), a nineteen-year-old girl living on Montenegro Street in the fashionable Ipanema district in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Daily, she would stroll past the popular Veloso bar-café, not just to the beach ("each day when she walks to the sea"), but in the everyday course of her life. She would sometimes enter the bar to buy cigarettes for her mother and leave to the sound of wolf-whistles. In the winter of 1962, the composers watched the girl pass by the bar, and it is easy to imagine why they noticed her—Helô was a 173-cm (five-foot eight-inch) brunette, and she attracted the attention of many of the bar patrons. Since the song became popular, she has become a celebrity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Girl_from_Ipanema
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This is one of the very first versions with English lyrics, sung by Astrud Gilberto, who was married to João Gilberto, the Brazilian singer who first made the song famous.
I used the tutorial from Alice Stroppel again, with the second blank bracelet I prepared earlier, and spent a day creating a pen and ink drawing of The Girl from Ipanema - an hour into the process, I began to enjoy myself and have a lot of fun, and that shows through in the drawing. She has beautiful pale blue hair - I just wish I could colour mine blue too, but I think I am bit long in the tooth for that - and besides, my day job precludes such eccentricities.
This was a very work intensive project, with the bracelet blank to be made, then drawn upon, and then inked, with the inks needing to be set at each stage, so that they did not smudge. Finally, when I was happy, the bracelet needed covering with a film of protective coating and cured again, so that the inks are preserved during normal wear - I had a lot of fun doing it.
Tall and Tanned and Young and Lovely
This cuff took a lot of my time, but I didn't mind at all, it was so much fun to make. I have made up a few more blank bracelets in various colours, and will, from time to time, play with inks again.
That's all I had time for this week, folks, catch you next week, same time, same place,
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
No, I don't mean blood from a stone, you read it right first time - Light from a Stone - this epitomises Labradorite. This greyish brown stone is, at first sight boring - in fact it resembles something you might find lurking at the bottom of a cat litter tray - but, wait .... move the stone till it catches the light - and you get that fabulous flash of light from within it's depths - a flash of yellow, blue and green - and you are hooked!
Labradorite is a feldspar, first found in Canada, formed by the slow cooling of magma, giving the crystals time to arrange themselves in large clusters before being locked into place in layers - these layers reflect light at different angles, giving that characteristic flash - the Schiller effect.
The Inuit thought the Northern Lights had been captured by the stone, it is that beautiful. I once bought a bracelet with a large slab nugget - and was immediately hooked - grey brown is difficult to design with, and of course, the stone needs to move to catch the light, so still photographs do not do it justice - Oh well, I can but try - I am not sure if any one will be discerning enough to actually want the necklace, but I love it, and will happily wear it myself.
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This is a little National Geographic clip of the Northern Lights - I have tried heroically to get the stones in my necklace to bring forth the fire in the stones - but this tends to happen when they are moved in the light - so do bear with me.
We were lucky enough to catch a tiny glimpse of the Northern lights last August around the coast of Norway - and they are mighty beautiful - but it has to be really cold and clear to get a good display - Brrrrrrrr - I say, stay warm and wear my necklace!
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These are the hardest photographs I have had to take - I positioned each bead so it would catch the light, and unfortunately this is the best a still camera could do - you can see flashes of fire here and there.
The Harnessed Peacock
This is my nod to Mary Wesley, whose books I read and enjoyed a long time ago - she published her first book at the age of seventy, and wrote a number of best sellers after that - the women in her books are all extremely unconventional, and she has a sharp and dry wit. Harnessing Peacocks is one of her books, and it was also made into a motion picture. Mary had a red lacquered coffin made for herself by a local artisan, and kept it in her living room - she offered to be photographed in it for an interview by a magazine - politely declined, of course! I love that story, she must have been such fun - even her biography is called Wild Mary.
The copper non tarnish wire bird has a crystal tear drop dangling from its beak, and brilliant green and blue crystal and glass 'tail feathers'. I kept the chain simple, but not so simple that I didn't embellish it with a few crystal dangles.
This one was made to complement a turquoise clasp - I used zebra howlite, square onyx beads, shiny crystals, blue glass beads, dichroic glass rectangles and pressed glass beads in the shape of pansies all the way from Czechoslovakia. I love Czech glass - they have some beautiful beads, and I buy them whenever I can find them. They looked like sweeties from my childhood when I finished the necklace, hence the name.
The real deal - I like mine better - no calories!!
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I love this clip of Scherezade by Rimsky Korsakoff - I have played it before on this blog - but am playing it again, as it is appropriate here - this is only part of it, but the music is so haunting - do listen to it - and of course, the Kirov - Mariinsky ballet needs no introduction.
I made these pendants for Scherezade - to wear when she told her prince stories, night after night, holding his interest by withholding the ending - just to live another day, and tell yet another story - a cruel tale, but, we got all these stories from her plight, and she got a stay of execution - and he got the girl - a win win (win) situation, by all accounts!
The druzy cabochons came all the way from Jakarta, I love the crystalline centres that sparkle in the light - once again difficult to photograph. I have been taking online photography lessons and tips, but might make my way to some real ones at the local college come January, I so hate not being able to share my enthusiasm with you. Lashings of wire, and tiny gemstone beads embellish the druzy, but I have kept the whole thing simple, on a ribbon instead of making a whole necklace around it to keep the focus on the pendant itself - this will turn heads anyway, so a whole 'statement necklace' will probably be a bit of overkill.
I have just about managed to capture a bit of the sparkle at the centre of the gemstone here
I have a few more cabochons, and have been trying to set one into a pendant in the shape of a lotus - and struggling, I don't mind admitting. There's something missing, and I just can't put my finger on it - don't you just hate that feeling - but I have put it away for the time being and hope that when I look at it again, inspiration will strike me like a bolt of lightning and I can show it to you next week. Till then, have a lovely weekend, and a fabulous week. See you same time, same place,
I love roses - there were so many fabulous rose bushes in my mother's house at one time, and when I moved to the UK, I tried to replicate that garden - alas, I had not factored in their requirement for sunlight, and planted them willy nilly - needless to say, I was a very disappointed rose non - grower! In later years, I took the trouble to study floriculture, and realised that all my borders were in the shade, and roses were never going to do well in my garden - Phew! that was that, at least now I knew what I was doing wrong, I could stop my doomed efforts to have a rose garden. Now I just buy them in Sainsbury's with the weekly shop, and that satisfies my soul. When I set up Caprilicious, I used a picture of roses in all my banners, business cards, Facebook and Etsy shops - I suppose you could say, I overdosed my soul with roses.
I learned to make polymer clay roses and to use them in some very pretty ways. I strung them together in a necklace, wired them into ear cuffs - I put them anywhere I could - it would appear that I made these pieces when I was feeling particularly romantic - a lovely melody, or a sweet gesture from my husband perhaps, would set me to thinking of roses.
In one of these moods, I crafted the Enchanted Garden, which had a contemplative little face set in a rose strewn necklace/collar. A friend of mine saw it and asked if I could make her a bracelet - she will visit me from the USA in August, and I endeavoured to make a cuff bracelet, using a method described by the fabulous Donna Kato. I was given carte blanche with the colours, so made them a bit brighter than the Enchanted Garden.
The Caprilicious Jewellery Logo
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The Enchanted Garden Collar
Donna Kato uses a wire armature cured into the basic bracelet to provide strength and flexibility, and the whole piece is cured on a form. Embellished with the roses and leaves, and when buffed, sanded and varnished, it is good to go!
The final piece is pretty, and both flexible and strong, and I am quite pleased with it. I will finish it off this weekend, and you can have a look at it next week. It needs a bit of paint, and varnish, and I have not had the energy this week - best to do paint work etc when in the mood, or all that effort will be vain and the bracelet will have to be junked!
A Desert Rose is formed in arid desert conditions, when gypsum, selenite and barite form fan shaped crystals in rosettes due to naturally occurring cleavage planes, especially from the evaporation of shallow salt basins.
I saw a picture of these beautiful natural sculptures, and tried to recreate them in wire. I added some leaves and a pod shaped dangling pendant to the rose for added interest, and made a couple more roses to create a pair of extremely simple danglers on long kidney ear hooks.
Sting had this fantastic song called Desert Rose, and I have included it here - but I think he is singing of yet another kind of desert rose!
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The necklace has three strands - seed beads lined with silver, fluorite nuggets and copper spacers, and frosted glass interspersed with copper coloured freshwater pearls. The little pod like woven basket that dangles from the rose contains a fluorite nugget to match the necklace, and tiny leaves and tendrils finish the piece.
I promised myself that I would endeavour to make at least one piece of jewellery out of silver, to add to the Caprilicious Silver Collection. Missed the deadline last week, so made two pieces this week, playing catch up with myself. My raison d'etre for jewellery making was to create fantastical pieces out of wire and other components, that were at once wearable, and affordable. Unfortunately, the 'affordable' part of that statement has, so far, precluded the use of silver wire - I use so much wire in my statement necklaces, that at today's prices for silver, they would have to become heirloom pieces. One day, perhaps, but not just yet!
I have had to content myself with the use of pretty, tiny gemstone beads - to my surprise, I find that the smaller the size of the bead, the higher the price is likely to be - and of course small faceted beads cost a bomb! So, I choose carefully, and I find unusual shapes, sizes and colours will that set the Caprilicious Silver Collection apart. I made these earrings with Sterling silver wire, labradorite, peridot and apatite beads, and added a Swarovski crystal dangler - just to lift and brighten the piece. It is light and pretty little piece of jewellery, but, because of the gemstones and their colours, is extremely fetching.
Samarkand is a city in Uzbekistan, in the centre of the Silk Road between China and the West. It is also called 'the Pearl of Uzbekistan' and has been immortalised in many novels and early travelogues as an archetypal romantic and exotic place, full of 'Eastern Promise' - whatever that is! It is also a semi mythical place in Islamic literature - the name itself conjures up images of veiled women, bedecked in strings of pearls, with kohl rimmed eyes and hennaed feet, tinkling fountains, rubies spilling out of open caskets - basically, my idea of a harem - and the piece that grew in my hands reflects this. It is made with freshwater pearls, garnets, red chalcedony lozenges wired into a focal piece - the focal is very pretty - even my mother said so, so I have no doubts on that score - those of you who read my previous posts know that she is not a woman who bestows compliments easily! I was stunned into silence when she said how pretty it was - gobsmacked, I think they call it.
The Bollywood Pendant
I used sterling silver wire - shaped, and hammered - and wrapped it with .999% fine wire - this is really nice to use and has fantastic tensile strength - does not snap easily when manhandled. I had a number of Swarovski crystal beads in various shapes - square, rondelle, marguerite, bicone, and I went to town, wrapping them into the pendant which I finished with a large blue teardrop shaped crystal. I wrapped a couple of crystals into a simple round bail - and that was it - at the end of it, I was ready to sing a song in the rain, and look longingly and wistfully into the distance for my man (who is sitting right next to me!)---- that's the basis of a lot of Bollywood films, so, that's how this pendant got it's name.
So, I have kept my promise to myself to create one piece of silver each week - I can rest for now, and finish off the cuff bracelet for my friend later on in the day. Catch you next week, have a good weekend,