Hello readers. British Summer Time is here, the clocks have sprung forward an hour, so it must be spring. However nobody told the weather, so although it is daylight for longer which is always nice, it remains cool and a bit rainy.
I've been making multi strand statement necklaces all week. For some reason these colourful necklaces have caught my imagination and I have been unable to settle for simple pieces. It must be the juxtaposition of contrasting but harmoniously coordinating colours that has tickled the fancy of my subconscious mind.
Deep purple titanium coated quartz spikes and green dyed coral harmonise in this necklace and a little citrine glass acorn pendant adds a touch of whimsy. Although the purple spikes are dramatic enough, I piled on the colour, layer after layer until I was satisfied that it would hold no more.
The Majorelle gardens in Marrakesh are twelve acres of bursts of colour, huge cacti, pools and streams that tinkle merrily, Art Deco buildings painted a deep blue - 'majorelle blue', and yellow. Exotic and peaceful, these gardens contains the Islamic Museum of Marrakesh and are owned by the Yves St Laurent foundation. People sit there in the shade and read or picnic, relaxing away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
When this beautiful pendant arrived, I knew I would take as inspiration my photographs of these gardens from a long ago trip. This trip down memory lane makes me want to go right back.
Lalibela is a high place of Ethiopian Coptic Christianity, still today a place of pilmigrage and devotion.
"Lalibela is history and mystery frozen in stone, its soul alive with the rites and awe of Christianity at its most ancient and unbending. No matter what you’ve heard about Lalibela, no matter how many pictures you’ve seen of its breathtaking rock-hewn churches, nothing can prepare you for the reality of seeing it for yourself. It’s not only a World Heritage site, but truly a world wonder. Spending a night vigil here during one of the big religious festivals, when white-robed pilgrims in their hundreds crowd the courtyards of the churches, is to witness Christianity in its most raw and powerful form." Lonely Planet
The cross in this necklace is inlaid with ebony and decorated with ancient carved symbols. I used coral - red cylinders, and white teardrops, as well as lapis, haematite, seed beads and tiny African trade beads to show it off.
All the necklaces on this page have little baroque crystals dangling from the back of handmade extender chains as I can't see any reason why the back view shouldn't be as pretty as the front. These necklaces appeal to the bohemian side of my soul and I think they will bring a lot of pleasure to the ladies who eventually own them.
While you read this, I shall be in Chester, a medieval Roman city about two hours from us in northwest England. It was founded as a Roman fortress in the 1st century A.D. and is known for its extensive Roman walls made of local red sandstone and Tudor style half timber buildings, a photographers dream. I have a couple of days off and we thought we'd try somewhere different - we normally end up in London, but given recent events we thought we'd keep well away from big cities. I'll have loads of pictures for you next week, but I'll say goodbye for now. Have a great week, and I'll catch you next weekend, same time, same place.
Hello folks, I hope the sun shines on you today. I am writing this post in a bit of a rush as I have been busy at the day job all week and have to go in to work as soon as I have posted this.
Manic? I've never known it to be so hectic and have been going to bed at half past nine at night which is unheard of for me, a chronic insomniac, only to wake up at half past two in the morning, fully refreshed but with no on to play with as even the cat had gone to meet his mates on his nightly stroll about the rooftops and Michael snoring gently under the duvet.
Caprilicious has gone truly international now - my latest customer is from the island of Martinique - I was so excited when she bought a load of necklaces and even ordered some more. She wore her necklace on the day after she received the parcel and sent me a photograph. Doesn't she look thrilled with herself? I spent the weekend making a bronze clay clasp for a necklace she has ordered and made a couple of necklaces during the week.
I am still preparing for the Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall in May. A strain injury in my wrist has meant that I've had to give polymer clay a rest and have had to pull out of making the earrings I had promised for the goodie bags. The organisers were gracious about this, although I was a bit upset as I do not like to renege on a promise. Oh well, thems the breaks!
This is a mellow multi strand necklace that can be worn day or night. The wood beads are offset by the shiny crystals and there are loads of varying elements in this necklace. However they seem to fall together well in a sort of a careless tangle.
The beautiful bronze lost wax cast 'sun' bead from Kenya is the focal point of this necklace - the piece is chunky and the faux amber beads are a deep honey brown. I love the sophistication that this necklace exudes. I wear pieces like this at interviews, when I need a tiny fillip of extra confidence, and believe you me, it works!
I even put together a styling suggestion - what do you think?? How would you wear it?
Thats me for this week folks, as I have to rush off to work now. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hello folks, nice to catch up with you this week. I hope you're all getting ready for spring which is bustin' out all over the place here. My craft room has had a long awaited spring clean after I got back from Polymania - I thought it would be a shame not to wipe the dust from my table when I had the opportunity, before unpacking my tools from my suitcase.
It was a fabulous, but extremely tiring long weekend in Bristol. Our tutors came from Croatia, Utah and Scotland with their projects and each one had a list of tools and ingredients they required us to bring. I had to schlep them all the way to Bristol on the train. Fortunately I had to change trains only once, in Birmingham, and people helped me lug a heavy suitcase on and off, allowing me to save wear and tear on my back. I packed carefully and had just the one suitcase with tools and a few clothes. Other ladies who had driven down, had brought everything they could carry, including the kitchen sink!
Just over sixty of us converged on Bristol all with the intention of playing with clay, having fun and learning new techniques.
There were rows of ovens and Emily was appointed by Cara to tend to them. She took her job very seriously indeed, and scooched along in her stockinged feet from one oven to the other with a stopwatch, taking stuff out, and popping stuff in, resembling The White Rabbit. We were allowed use of the room till midnight each night, and loads of us stayed late, munching chocolate, drinking wine and making stuff in perfect companionable silence every night.
I couldn't shop much, as I was worried about lugging a heavy suitcase across the country, and my wallet was mightily pleased with that result.
Parallelogram, Parallelogram, Triangle!
Nikolina Otrazan brought us a technique all the way from Croatia - she showed us how to cut a slab of clay with a few deft incisions and end up with parallelograms and triangles which, when put together formed an arabesque. 'Simple', she said, 'all you have to do is put together a parallelogram, parallelogram, and triangle, and this design appears', but I couldn't do it for the life of me. In the end, I gave up and left the room, and sat outside drinking tea and catching up with social media, before I slit my wrists in despair. Poor Nikolina was very upset and kept getting me to try again, until I begged her to leave me alone. Here are some efforts from the others in the room - it shows that it can be done, but just not by me!
I decided that this is going to be my new mantra when I am annoyed about something - I shall go 'parallelogram, parallelogram, triangle', and no one will know that these are swear words as far as I am concerned.
Jana Benzon Roberts came from Utah with an abstract brooch on Day 2, and I was relieved that the techniques seemed well within my abilities. I haven't finished my brooch yet, but loved learning the techniques which I can put to use on other pieces of work.
Melanie Muir, from the Highlands of Scotland, with her dry wit and interesting technique, templates and texture plates, was there to teach us mokume gane, and although I haven't finished that project either, I had a great time learning how to do it. I've brought the makings home and will do my best to complete it shortly.
Wine o'clock arrived when the sun went over the yard arm each day, and bottles and corkscrews appeared as if by magic from Mary Poppinesque handbags - clay and wine seemed to go together without any effort at all. I quickly nipped down to the bar and brought back a large pint pot of Diet Coke, just to be companionable.
Each one of us handed in a 2" cane in black and white. These were gathered up into large triangles - the resulting kaliedoscope was then reduced in size and we were all given a piece of the resultant cane. Jana gave us a demonstration of how to reduce a large cane, which involved beating the cane against a hard floor. As the room was carpeted she tried a ceramic tile first, which promptly shattered with the force of the blow. We ended up huddled around her in the disabled toilet, watching her, Cara and another lady beat the bejeezus out of the canes on the tiled floor. You can see from the photographs below that the exercise was a success.
I was in Bristol for three days and this is all I saw of it apart from the railway station from the window of our giant claying room!
I had the foresight to book a couple of days of annual leave after this marathon and rested up on Monday and Tuesday. I've developed a repetitive strain injury in my wrist, probably from all the polymer clay I've been handling and kneading (unless I've turned into a teenage lad while I wasn't looking!!).
That's me for this week, friends. I need now to concentrate on the Handmade Fair which is around six weeks away. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hello readers, I'm glad to see you back again for another installment of the goings on at Caprilicious. I've had another quiet week, working away at the salt mines, getting into the swing of things and gently acclimatising myself to the change in time zone. I've been going to bed every night at 10pm like a little old lady, leaving Mike to watch telly on his own till silly o'clock as is our norm. I'm slowly getting back into the zone though, and by next week I will be keeping him company late into the night twiddling my wire and playing with my beads.
This weekend I am going to Bristol for a polymer clay meeting - loads of us are descending on this poor unsuspecting hotel and we are going to wallow and play with clay all weekend, guided by experts from the USA and UK. It always reminds me of the Roald Dahl story 'The Witches' - a bunch of women, muttering incantations and hovering over a modern cauldron - the oven, making magic out of lumps of clay. Of course, polymeristas are all lovely people and everyone is all smiles and bonhomie and not in the least witchlike.
Ths year I have decided to take the plunge and apply to take Caprilicious to some expensive and upmarket shows. Before I went to India, I read about Kirstie Allsop's Handmade Show at Ragley Hall in May 2017. She usually holds the show at Hampton Court in London each year, and this is the first time she is coming to Warwickshire. I saw that there was an application form to enter, as the show is quite closely curated, and was pleasantly surprised when I made the cut. I've only rented a tiny space as a test case, and have agreed with the organisers that I might want to go to Hampton Court in September if it goes well.
Ragley Hall in Alcester was originally built in 711 AD and changed hands with the fortunes of it's owners a number of times. It is now owned by the 9th Marquess of Hertford whose parents saved it from falling into disrepair and it is now run as a thriving business with events, weddings and tours as well as a farm. The event itself will be held under cover, which is important as May is likely to be rainy and sometimes chilly if we are unlucky.
I was asked if I wanted to provide promotional material for the goodie bags for Press and VIP's - well, I suppose in for a penny and all that, so I agreed. They asked me to provide a photograph of what I planned to send them and I sent a picture of the earrings I propose to make. They require 250 - 300 pairs so I can see that I will be making earrings each weekend for the forseeable future! Fortunately I picked a design that is simple to make, but quite effective, in my opinion - what do you think?? I have a tutorial on how to make these on the website, mainly as an aide memoire and I am so glad I did that, as it can be quite easy to forget the exact way of replicating a design after all the trouble taken to fathom the best way to do it.
Video of last years show at Hampton Court
I'm sorry this post is so short, but I'll have loads to tell you after Polymania next week. Have a fabulous weekend and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello readers, I hope you are well and looking forward to the onset of spring. Having spent the whole of February in warmer climes, my winter has been foreshortened and it is with delight that I find that the days are getting longer and it is no longer dark when I leave the hospital to drive back home.
When I got back home, the first thing I saw in the mountain of mail waiting for me was a copy of Bead and Jewellery magazine with a tutorial written by me in it. To my eternal surprise and possibly secret shame, I've turned into someone who loves flowers and makes them at every opportunity. I always associated a love of flowers with being rather girly and a bit soppy, neither adjective really being applicable to my persona. Who knew??
I took a short break from jewellery this week. Most of my time has been spent working at the day job and sleeping off the jet lag. However, since I've now come clean that I am a soppy girl at heart, I thought I'd show you some pictures I took in a wholesale flower market in Mysore, India.
This is the Dufferin Clock Tower, built in honour of the British Viceroy to India, Lord Dufferin who visited Mysore in 1886 at the invitation of the Maharaja. The clock tower stands in an open courtyard in front of the Devaraja market, which is a covered wholesale market for flowers and fruit.
My parents went to medical school in Mysore in the 50's. Whenever we visited Mysore as a young family, dad used to stop the car outside this market and nip out to buy my mother a jasmine flower garland to wear in her hair. I didn't really think anything of it then, but much later on realised that they were reliving the romance of their medical school years, when they were young and in love. Apparently dad used to buy her a foot long string of fragrant jasmine wrapped in a leaf to wear in her long black hair when he came a-courting. Not one to put her emotions on display, my mother used to unwrap the flowers and put them in her hair and say nothing, but I'll bet there was a lot said later on when we weren't around.
Devaraja Market was built over 100 years ago and is a wholesale market with rows of shops radiating from a central courtyard. The flowers there are sold by the bushel to make garlands for religious rituals, adornments for idols, and garlands at weddings for the bride and groom, who exchange them when they have tied the knot.
As I walked around the market, I realised that it services the 'religious industry', selling flower garlands and fruits and other items essential to the rituals practised in India.
When it is festival/ritual time, people buy flowers, fruit, joss sticks, camphor, dried coconut halves, banana leaves, coconuts, mango leaves, betel leaves and nuts as offerings to the Gods amongst other things (most of which are snaffled by the Brahmin priests who are brought in to intone the prayers deemed necessary for that particular festival - a kerching! bonanza time for them). The ladies buy new clothes, glass bangles to match, and flowers to wear in their hair.
All of these, apart from clothing are sold wholesale here. There isn't a long stemmed bloom in sight!
Here are some pictures for you to enjoy.
The main business takes place early in the morning - a siesta is essential by midday.
I hope you enjoyed my little wander around Devaraja Market. There was so much colour, and the flowers so fragrant, that I was overawed by the experience, and so were my friends Rekha and Arvind who only came along to humour me to begin with.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.