I don't know how you are faring, but we have had a fantastic week here in the Midlands, warm and sunny, culminating today in thunderstorms. For a while it didn't feel like this was the UK at all - could have been in the Southern Mediterranean - fantastic! - you could almost feel the country holding its collective breath - terrified that this was it - and our summer was going to be a flash in the pan.
It is no wonder my thoughts turned to warmer climes and I made some faux ivory using polymer clay - I made quite a few beads and pendants and mindful of the promise I made to myself to use at least one of my moulds each week, I made a little butterfly, which will eventually end up as a focal piece for a necklace. These were all from a tutorial by Tina Holden (http://beadcomber.blogspot.co.uk/ )- she makes some fantastic stuff, and her tutorials are very explicit - and the best thing about them is --- they work! There's nothing worse than shelling out hard earned cash for tutorials and then wasting time, energy and material on turning out a duff object - it really hacks me off. Tina's shop however, has the real deal and I have bought a few tutorials from her.
I played with some alcohol inks to colour the butterfly, forgetting to put my gloves on - and what an unholy mess I made - my hands looked like I had gone to bed with fake tan on - shan't be doing that again in a hurry!
Waiting to be brushed down and patinated
I also made some little silver pieces in my kiln, to turn into earrings and pendants - they were so much simpler than copper to make, but equally, so much more expensive.
Anyway, all I had to do was brush the pieces off with a brass brush and tumble them and patinate them - they now await my creative forces - and a few more bits of silver wire to turn them into earrings etc. I will soon have a page for silver jewellery - but Caprilicious will always be geared towards statement jewellery.
I was on quite the ecology kick this week - I made a necklace to resemble coral using little opaque red seed beads and a pendant I sourced from my favourite Nepalese shop in Kathmandu. Coral reefs are home to fish, molluscs, crustaceans and other sealife, and are endangered from climate change, overuse of reef resources, pollution of the sea causing overgrowth of harmful algae, over fishing and the use of cyanide and blast fishing.
This underwater picture by Jacques Cousteau inspired me to use glass beads and resin to create a look alike which was eco friendly.
The Nepalese pendant
The Coral reef necklace
My husband took one look at it and remarked how ethnic it looked - the reds and golds, and of course the pendant which is unmistakeably Eastern, of course. However, as the week went by, I seemed to make one ethnic looking piece after the other - a bit of Asian, a pinch of African, and in the latter part of the week, a dollop of Peruvian - who knows what was going on in my head??? Next, my muse decided I was going to be elephant / ivory friendly - so the faux ivory beads I had made went into two necklaces, celebrating the African elephant at dawn, in bold yellows and reds, and at dusk, in the blues of the watering hole.
Serengeti Dreams - Sunrise and Sunset
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I used a cinnabar flower to make a mould, from which I turned out some fairly credible 'ivory' flower beads - I will use this technique again I think.
I really enjoyed making the bunches of grapes for my Bacchanalia necklace - I thought people who didn't like statement pieces may, however, enjoy little bunches of grapes to wear as pendant and earring sets. Of course I went overboard when I was ordering the beads - they were soooooo pretty and almost irresistible - so I bought more than one colour and made them up into my first ever 'range' - Ooh, Caprilicious is growing up - ' A range', no less! I thought to myself!
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They were so much fun to make, I simply could not stop - so now I have four different colourways in pendants and earrings. The earrings were made with fewer beads to be lighter, and smaller, and have little fluorite chips for leaves, while the pendants have larger Czech pressed glass leaves.
Of course, if one of you wants a Bacchanalia necklace - I can be persuaded to make one for you - it wont be the same of course, but very similar to the one in this picture. It has glass bunches of grapes, and polymer clay leaves and twigs, with blue dragons vein agate grapes on the other side. The design is in the customers photograph gallery of a large jewellery wholesaler in the USA - Fire Mountain Gems - I sent it in and after about a week was delighted to receive an acceptance email - and I must tell you, they don't accept stuff easily. It is a very busy necklace, but very pretty, even though I say so myself.
I buy a few things from this chap who travels to Peru regularly and brings back little bits and bobs - something different - I get bored if I use the same stuff over and over - and I like the challenge of putting together items that wouldn't normally be seen in the same room, let alone the same piece of jewellery - so when he showed me this pendant, I had to have it. It was so delicate and sweet, I made it up with dyed peacock blue baroque pearls and Czech crystal beads into an Art Nouveau inspired piece - with two strands of linked chain - it was fun making the links of the chain - almost hypnotic - indeed, so hypnotic, that I dozed off, and when I woke, there was more than I needed, and I had to cut some off! The whole piece is set off by a vintage crystal clasp - this is so pretty and shiny, it appeals to the magpie in me. Anyway, here is the Peruvian Princess - I think she is very sweet and youthful - what say you??
This has been a fun and busy week - my mother arrives next week and will be with me for a month - I will endeavour to keep going with my creations. I have booked into an enamelling course for a couple of days at In The Studio in Kegworth, but will spend the rest of the four weeks pampering her - she is 84 - and she deserves a bit of pampering after the year she's had!
I hope to have a few things to show you next week, see you then,