Welcome, readers, to the Caprilicious Blog. Wandering around the garden centre last weekend, I fell in love with the most beautiful statue of Kwan Yin. We have a small garden, and didn't quite know where I would put her - but she simply had to be brought home. I have never felt so strongly drawn to an inanimate object, and with a few surprised glances in my direction, Mike dutifully trotted off to order the statue and pay for her delivery. The serenity of her face is almost infectious - and of course, we could all do with some of that - serenity, not an infection!
Last week, I made some squiggle earrings - they were tacked on at the end of the blog. They were very difficult to make, and of course, it is always a nightmare to get free form earrings to be equal and opposite and mirror one another exactly.
However, the degree of difficulty was a challenge, and it seemed to work out - more or less - they are light and pretty, but don't accurately reflect the amount of work that has gone into them, or the degree of difficulty. Perhaps, that's as it should be!
My friend BN tried on a pendant I had made earlier - Bluebells - and said it was a bit big for her at 2" in diameter. She wondered if I could make a smaller one - once again a challenge, as most of my pieces are on the larger side. Both of them are here for you to compare - Bluebells, and Baby Bluebells.
I do so enjoy rising to a challenge, and with both pendants patinated and the patina preserved with micro crystalline wax, I cannot decide which one is best - can you??
At this point, I should have given up wire work, and gone on to something less onerous on the hands, but instead, ploughed on with a Ssssssserpent! With four lengths of copper wire, each about 2 feet long, the serpent slowly but surely wound its way around my neck, with frequent stops to rest my fingers. It took over ten hours to wrap and shape this necklace, and finish it to my satisfaction. When presented to a Wire Workers group on Facebook, the notifications on my page went wild for a couple of days - they understood the work that had gone into it, and were gratifyingly enthusiastic.
The legend of Nagina, remembered from my childhood was that snakes partner for life, and if one of a pair is killed, the image of the 'murderer' stays on the retina of the dead snake, which only another snake can see. The female of the species being deadlier than the male, and all that, Nagina would hunt out the murderer of her spouse, and from then on, his days were numbered. Perhaps the male snake just goes off and finds another spouse and does not bother with all this exhausting avenging of the beloveds death jazz ( or am I being sexist here??).
This legend was made into a Bollywood movie in the late eighties, with Nagina transmogrifying into a beautiful woman ( of course!) who sang and danced and swayed like a snake, every time a flute like instrument was played, with many costume changes, including pale grey contact lenses when in snake/woman form, and writhed orgiastically, morphing back and forth from snake to woman in order to wreak her revenge. The song is on You tube - she came over all peculiar and unnecessary as soon as she heard this instrument and looked like she was about to do herself a mischief! If you want to see it, you will have to find it on You Tube - I refuse to have it on the blog - type the word Nagina into a You Tube search, and voila!
I foreswore wire for a while after this, my hands and wrist hurt so much, Mike had to massage them to get the circulation going again.
One of Gerry's friends at the jewellery party gave me a box of beads from a necklace she had loved, but had sadly broken - some of the beads were missing, and she asked me to replace them with coral and turquoise, and make her a symmetrical necklace, about 18" long. Symmetry is not my strong point, but hey, the customer is always right! So, here goes.....
These pictures were sent out to her and I was gratified to find a message in my inbox saying she loved them.
The Wings of Love
These earrings were sitting forlornly in a box, waiting patiently for a new home. Their chance to shine came the other day when one of my old friends walked in with her son, looking for a gift for the son's teacher. Gratifyingly, the young lad fell in love with so many of my pieces - he is about 11 years old, and he oohed and aahed over the pieces I was showing his mother - he was the best salesman I could have hoped for - he got his mom to buy a couple of items for herself, and just flipped out over the colours on these wings.
I showed them the remaining wings in my stash, and pictures of the stuff made earlier, and his mother ordered a pendant to go with these earrings - all I can say is, K can you come work for me?? and what a lucky teacher!
For those who haven't seen them before, these are the wings of an Indonesian beetle - the wings are collected after it dies, and made into jewellery - they are not coloured or varnished - this is nature in all her beauty - no wonder they are called 'Jewel Beetles'. The beautiful iridescence of the beetle wings will endure and remain splendid for many decades - examples survive from India that are over one hundred years old, including use as decoration in Victorian tea - cosies.
This week has just flown by and the weekend is here again - I am down to work at the day job on Saturday, and hopefully it isn't raining on Sunday as we have plans to go to the Upton on Severn Jazz Festival. That's all I have time for this week, have a great weekend, catch you same time, same place
Hello folks, it's nice to chat to you again. If you have been following the Caprilicious blog, you know that I had all but put my life on hold, preparing for my very first jewellery party at my friend Gerry's house in the north of England.
Well, it's done and dusted, and in my opinion, went off very well.
Gerry had invited about twenty five of her friends, about half of whom turned up, as is always the way. She put out a veritable feast - with savoury snacks and cakes, and had let me have the run of her dining room to display my jewellery. I spent an hour setting it all out, and then ... we were off and away with the first ring of the doorbell.
I had some wonderful feedback, everyone was wowed by the colourful stuff in the room, and they all left clutching their Caprilicious boxes with a couple of pieces of jewellery at least, in each box.
I earwigged one conversation where a lady was likening the necklace she was holding to something her friend had bought by Bulgari! Bulgari, of course, have been making and selling jewellery out of Italy since 1844 and would have been quite offended by the comparison, but I certainly wasn't!
When I got back home, I hung a sold sign on the pieces that had gone at the party, and took them off the website. This was the response I got to the 'faux Bulgari' piece from a passer by on Facebook - and what a nice, kind, generous person she must be! Oh well, you can't please everybody - but, I just had to respond in kind - and then barred the person from my page - the last thing I need is a dialogue, bandying insults with a person of this mean a spirit.
One lady came along 'just to have a look' because she didn't wear necklaces - only bracelets and earrings - but then got completely carried away, trying on everything, and left with four necklaces! So I even had a convert to 'necklacism'. I wore 'Wake up, Titania' so people could see that it wasn't impossible to wear and carry off a fairly substantial necklace. All in all, it was a very interesting experience, made easier with the help of my friend BN, who came along to help me set things out, make sandwiches, hold mirrors up for people, straighten up the display, and generally be extremely helpful - thank you BN.
It took me a few days to recover, and I left my jewellery making materials be for a while. Unpacking and setting up for the working week, and cajoling the cat into talking to us again took all my concentration. When I had fully recovered, I sat down with five feet of copper wire, and a few beads, and got down to some serious wire weaving - in all, this pendant took about twenty feet of wire in two thicknesses. I saw this picture on http://www.superbwallpapers.com/ while I was idly browsing, and it really caught my imagination - this pendant is called Colliding Planets, after the picture.
The Queen of Hearts Pendant
I've had these Swarovski 'Cosmic' squares in my collection for a while now - the magpie in me wanted (needed!) to hoard them for a while. I used a few, and then was content to look at the rest, and get them to sparkle in the light when moved. They are 'cosmic' squares inasmuch the edges are rounded - like a square that's been slightly squished in a child's drawing.
The shine of these crystals is magnificent, and I just knew that I would need to find the perfect project for them. They are swamped by the usual Caprilicious statement piece, so I decided that a small piece would have to be the showcase for these beautiful 'Bermuda Blue Cosmic Squares'. The pendant was made from a Nicole Hanna tutorial.
One of my customers asked me to send her friend a birthday gift, and include a note saying it was from her. I had thought about this at Christmas and used this idea to good effect - how many times have you had a florist send someone flowers over the phone, or the internet - you never know whether the bouquet you sent was like the picture on the website, or if ordered over the phone to a price, whether it was any good at all - perhaps it was made up of buttercups and dandelions and your friend was too embarrassed to tell you!
I sent a little birthday card with the gift, and a message that the gift was 'from ......,
via Caprilicious Jewellery.' If only I had copperplate handwriting - alas, years of writing as a doctor, and now typing at the computer have taken their toll on my writing - it has gone all wild and woolly, a bit like the person holding the pen.
This squiggle pendant started its life as one of a pair, from a tutorial for earrings, but I ran out of wire and ended the weave any which way I could - this meant I couldn't make one to match, as I couldn't replicate the mistakes I had made! It sat in my stash until I could figure out a way to use it. BN liked it so much, I gave it to her, and she sent me this picture - she hung it on a wire bail and added impression jasper to make a necklace. Isn't it amazing how the same focal can excite such different responses from two people. I only wish I had taken a picture of the piece as it was for the blog - I was going to turn it into a focal for a bracelet, but this is delicate and pretty, and somehow the delicacy of the jasper, suits the piece to perfection.
This was what I was trying to make! I sat down last night with a reel of wire and made this all the way through the movie Water for Elephants. It was a very sweet love story, and easy to follow, so I was able to multi task my way through it. We get films from LoveFilms each week and most of my jewellery making is done with a DVD playing in the background - the more complex the story line, the less weaving I do, but this movie was just right for this highly complex design - you cannot imagine how difficult it is to make a matching pair of free form woven earrings until you try - a lot of cursing under the breath occurs.
That's all I have for you this week folks, thanks for dropping by. Don't forget to hit the 'follow this blog' button, and have a good weekend. I am working this weekend, and hope it will be quiet enough to play with the kiln, or some polymer clay, even.
Catch you next week, same time, same place,
Good morning, and how nice it is to have you stop by. How are you today? We have had a mixed bag, weather wise, in Britain (what a cliché - a blog from the UK mentioning the weather in almost the first sentence!), and our collective moods have been up and down with the vagaries of the elusive summer sunshine.
I spent the week preparing frantically for the jewellery party at my friend's place at the weekend - cleaning and polishing stuff I tried to chose carefully to match the demographics of the people who are likely to be there.
I am determined to put on a decent show - both for Caprilicious, and for my friend, who has bigged me up and invited all her friends - Gerri and I have known each other for ages, having been at school together. These good folk will be driving for up to an hour to get there and will be expecting a decent show for their effort.
I will tell you all about it next week, when I have recovered my equilibrium. Just now, I am wandering around the house muttering and shaking my head, looking for stuff the house appears to have eaten - a bit like Gollum and his 'Preciousssssssssssssssss'.
These stones landed on my doorstep earlier this week, bought from a vendor in India - 342 carats of carved cabochons in Labradorite and rose quartz, 73 carats of prehnite teardrops, and best of all, 233 carats of a labradorite slab.
You might well wonder why I would want to buy a large flat grey stone - enlarge the picture, and you will see a fine tracery of blue, that resembles lightening bolts running through the stone.
This is what happened when I tilted the stone so it got some light shining on it from the living room window - the flash of Schiller is unmistakeable.
When I tilted it further towards the light, the flash was so brilliant, I almost needed my sun glasses to look into it directly.
I have put these stones away, deep in my stash, and will bring them out periodically to look at, and stroke, until one of them speaks up and demands to be used. The large slab will remain with me, until I can be certain it will go to a good home, it is so beautiful, it deserves preferential treatment.
Beads Unlimited are a bead company in Brighton. I occasionally submit designs to their website, for their readers gallery, and Jo Porter went along to the Caprilicious website to take a look at my other designs - she loved them so much, she offered to feature me on her Bead Barmy Blog - and here's a screen capture of what she wrote.
To read it for yourself, here's the link - http://www.beadbarmy.com/2013/06/hobby-to-business-caprilicious-jewellery/
Thank you Jo, and Beads Unlimited, for your kind words and your little gift of beads and wire.
Flutterby from last week was a hit, and sold even before the blog was released on Friday. I had one more cloisonne butterfly and I decided that it too, should be allowed free - and so Flutterby (2) was born. I used amethyst, fluorite and emerald nuggets, so that the two of them wouldn't be identical.
With my foot still poorly, I gave it a fighting chance by resting it as much as possible - this meant that I could not work with polymer clay, as this meant treks back and forth from the oven to my work room. So I played with my kiln and fired some silver clay, and for the first time, bronze clay as well. Silver is now so expensive, I had to make sure I got it right- here are the pieces I made.....
Metal clay is made from powdered metal mixed with water and a substance called "methyl cellulose" to create a clay-like dough.
Metal clay handles similar to traditional modeling clays, and when dried is transformed into a solid, metallic object through a firing process. During firing, the methyl cellulose binder is burned away and the metal particles "sinter" into a solid form.
The montage below shows some of the story. I managed to make quite a few pieces, and only one of them broke in the heat of the kiln, probably because the imprint of the design was a bit too deep - Oh well, I can live with that.
The whole thing was fired for an hour in an oxygen depleted environment, buried in carbon particles in a lidded stainless steel container and left to cool in the kiln overnight. And then, I held my breath as I opened up the container and scrabbled around in the charcoal for the pieces of bronze that I had buried the day before - would they be OK, or would they be rubbish????
It's amazing what a bit of soapy water in the tumbler can do - the stainless steel shot works its way into every crevice and shines and hardens the metal - I love my little tumbler, it makes the metal so pretty - I forgot to put a couple of pieces in the tumbler, and you can see the difference straight away. I couldn't wait to add some pretty gemstones and turn them into danglers.
Daffodils Daffodils lining the road to Coombe Abbey
............Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
One cannot imagine an English Country Garden without daffodils - I found this beautiful set of brass stampings on a site in the USA and bought a few of them - this is the second one I have used, with a woven copper frame and loads of Czech glass. I meant to put a beaded necklace on it, but in the end decided to give it a more modern look with a leather thong. A blue chalcedony tear drop finished the piece off with elegance.
That's it for this week, thank you for stopping by. Must go and pack the car now and see how many things I can forget! Catch you next week, same time, same place with the story
p.s. for those of you who read the Caprilicious blog each week, to the side of the title is a logo that reads 'Follow my blog with Bloglovin' - this will ensure that it lands in your inbox without fail, so you don't need to be connected to Facebook to get it. Alternatively, below this is the Network Blogs link - this will do the same - you can take you pick
see you soon
Hello everyone - and what a nice week we have had - the sun has been out most days, and at last, I have put away those winter boots and brought out sandals and colourful shoes to match the uplift in mood a bit of sunshine brings.
I set to thinking of colour combinations and I remembered the times I went saree shopping with my mother as a teenager. Shopping in the Western world was a major culture shock when I first arrived in the UK over twenty years ago, but equally, now, buying anything in India seems like a crazy endeavour.
We used to go into a shop we favoured, and tell the shop assistant the colours we had in mind, and a price range. There was the consideration of what colour the body of the saree should be, and then the weighty matter of the border - should it contrast, or not, etc.
We could say to the salesman - we want a blue saree, shot with green, with a maroon border, and gold checks, in a particular price range - and miraculously a dozen or so of them in different shades and combinations of the colours specified would appear for our delectation. We'd then settle down with a cold drink, while he and his assistant opened them up like carpet salesmen in Istanbul, and spread them out on the counter before us.
We'd put aside about three or four in a shortlist, and then pick a couple to buy. My mum was a busy doctor, so we just went into the one shop, and I knew I had to make up my mind pretty quickly or she might be called away, and I would end up with nothing. I know people who went into shop after shop and repeated this mind blowing exercise - and then probably went back and bought the first one they liked! Mike gets the benefit of this early training, as my shopping is all done really quickly, and he doesn't have to hang around for ages while I make up my mind.
As each saree is five and half metres long, folded into a rectangle about 12" x 18" for storage, and has to be opened up completely to display it properly, it must take ages to clear up after a customer ( and I now feel guilty for messing up the sweater display in Debenhams!!).
The collage of pictures shows the organised chaos that is a saree shopping expedition - Mike feels quite weak and exhausted when he goes shopping in India - he wants to buy everything, because he feels so sorry for the sales people, who see one coming a mile away, and sniff the scent of an easy sale.
I made a couple of necklaces, to be ready for the jewellery party my friend is throwing for Caprilicious - I used the smaller leaf skeletons in my collection, and the smallest beads I could find in my stash. I tried to keep the design simple, but, because my design ethic is asymmetrical colour, something makes me add a surprise element, spoiling the original quest for 'sweet and simple' - but that's Caprilicious for you, and I cannot apologise for that.
I took these pictures in Norway - the contrast in the textures, and the bright oranges/ yellows against the steely greys and blues of the background struck me as particularly vivid - labradorite! I thought, in a rare light bulb moment. I love labradorite for its seemingly dull exterior, until it catches the light - and flash! comes the shot of Schiller or rainbow effect - it is such a deceptive gem stone.
I live in a house that tends to eat my stuff - and then it miraculously reappears. This butterfly reappeared in my stash, and I could see why I bought it - the colours are so lovely and soothing. Teamed with the blues and greens of aquamarine, emerald and aventurine, the butterfly seemed to be skimming over a garden.
Turquoise blue South Sea shell pearls, freshwater pearls, interspersed with carnelian beads, and a little maple leaf skeleton went into this necklace. A couple of crackle quartz beads and a Czech Picasso bead formed the contrast, giving it that carnival feel you get from listening to the style of Afro-Caribbean music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago during the early to mid 20th century. Calypso evolved into a way of spreading news around Trinidad. Politicians, journalists and public figures often debated the content of each song, and many islanders considered these songs the most reliable news source. "Rum and Coca-Cola" by the Andrews Sisters, a cover version of a Lord Invader song, became an American hit despite the song being a very critical commentary on the explosion of prostitution, inflation and other negative influences accompanying the American military bases in Trinidad at the time. Calypso articulated itself as a form of protest against the authoritarian colonial culture which existed at the time.
And at this point - wham! I fell over at work and tore something in my left foot. A deadly combination of new shoes, and a shiny floor had me go a**e over tip and I spent time in A&E getting an X-Ray, and was sent home on crutches. Not being able to walk for a couple of days meant that I was unable to get from bead stash to workroom, to oven - so, I gave up, and lay around feeling and being useless. On the bright side was the fact that there was nothing broken, so I can now hobble around and have a few little items more for the jewellery party next weekend.
I made some Chinese knots - each one is made with 14" of a single length of wire, and then embellished with fine wire and beads. Two pendants and a pair of earrings emerged from the enforced sitting around - the black and silver is a pretty combination.
This strand of Kyanite languished in my stash - I needed some inspiration to brighten it - the steely blue - grey can be a bit depressing. The clasp arrived in the mail, and hey! Presto - with the addition of plump blue quartz, I arrived at this necklace that can be worn in so many different ways, just by moving the clasp around.
That's this week wrapped up folks, thanks for stopping by. Catch you next week, same time, same place
I'm Neena Shilvock, and I'm crazily addicted to jewellery. I've been designing and making quirky and interesting statement necklaces for the last five years and my passion hasn't cooled off one little bit - in fact it has got worse, such that I'm even dreaming jewellery.
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I would love to hear from you - please leave a comment on the blog or send an email to jewellerybycaprilicious(at)gmail.com
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