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
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
| || |
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!
| || |
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,