Hello readers, I hope you've all had a great week. We have had a lovely, sunny and warm Bank Holiday long weekend in the UK, and I have had schoolmates to stay for our annual reunion - more on that later. This inevitably got me thinking of childhood dreams, and taking stock of the reality of adulthood. As a child, I was a very girly girl - I loved jewellery, make up and dressing up and would have liked nothing better than to be a cross between Curly Locks from the nursery rhyme by Mother Goose, and Umrao Jaan - a famous courtesan and poet, whose life story has been immortalised in a couple of Bollywood movies. Of course, thankfully, neither was I beautiful enough to be Umrao Jaan, nor did I write poetry, and as for being Curly Locks...............
Oh well, Que Sara Sara!
I was too young to understand what Umrao Jaan had to do for a living apart from singing her poetry soulfully and wearing beautiful jewellery.
Today, I have a day job that is both prosaic and exciting (how did those two words jump into the same sentence??) and have had a few Umrao Jaan's pass my way as patients - such is life!
Besides which, I don't really like strawberries and my sewing skills leave a lot to be desired - I was the bane of the needlework teachers life!
I do not wash dishes or feed swine either - that's a no-no in my book, so not all is lost.
And of course, we mustn't forget my mother, who would have chased me around Bangalore with a big stick before abandoning me to either the Umrao Jaan or Curly-locks course of action!
Aren't these colours exciting?? These are the colours predicted by Pantone, the world authority on colour, to be prominent in design and fashion this autumn. The colours are so bright and vivid - brighter than last years colours, which were just a couple of shades paler, but what a difference that makes!
All the clothes in the shops will follow this trend as designers, who are swamped by this imagery will find themselves making stuff in these colours, almost subconsciously picking them for their products.
The East Coast Desi
Desi [d̪eːsi] is a term for the people, cultures, and products of the Indian subcontinent and their diaspora. India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal are some of the countries included In this term.
The largest Desi diaspora populations are found in the USA, UK, Canada, South Africa, the Middle East, Australia and South East Asia .
Last week, the East Coast Desi, Sruthi Singh featured Caprilicious Jewellery on her blog
Sruthi has a lovely home and takes some beautiful photographs of it on her blog, apart from other things that fill her with enthusiasm - I am grateful that Caprilicious Jewellery is one of them - she is just the kind of woman for whom I design - contemporary, fun and feisty, the quintessential Caprilicious Woman! Sruthi says.....
'I'm Sruthi - a mother, wife, artist, and a huge decor enthusiast. I've been a part of the corporate world and worked for the Big Four in accounting. But my heart was always inclined towards the creative field. My son has taught me to stop and smell the roses and devour the smaller moments in life. Decorating his room has led me to opening my online children's art boutique on Etsy called "The Yellow Bamboo". You can check it out right here http://www.etsy.com/shop/theyellowbamboo
Thank you very much, Sruthi, that was a great write up for Caprilicious.
I discovered Facebook late in life - to look around and see if I could find out what had happened to mates from school, and I must say I was richly rewarded - there are five of us in the UK from my school year - and we have made contact with each other now and meet up at least once a year. This year we met over four days, with people coming and going at their convenience, so I had little time to make jewellery. What was nice was that my friends like my jewellery and took some home with them - I'm a sucker for anyone who likes my jewellery!
We ate and drank, swam, sang and danced to our hearts content, and it was worth the effort Mike and I put in to have such a fun time. We will most definitely do it again in August next year, and anyone from our class who wants to come along is welcome.
The Emerald Isle Cuff
This bracelet was made using wire, a green agate slab nugget and pale green crystals. The green agate is particularly pretty, with markings running through it bringing to mind an atoll in the Indian Ocean. It took two days to weave the fine netting of wire, and I added tiny green crystals at the front of the cuff to add a bit of colour.
That's all I had time for this week folks. I am at work on the day job all this weekend and if I have the time, I intend to play with my kiln again - am keeping my fingers crossed that I will have something to show for it at the end of all my hard work.
Have a fab week and I will catch you later, same time, same place
Hello readers, nice of you to drop by to see what I have been up to this week. Most of the week went swimmingly, apart from a disaster I had with a pendant I was attempting to make in my kiln - anyway, less said about that the better - let me show you the stuff that did turn out to my standards.....
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
These beads were made last weekend - a couple of Yin Yang beads, and the others were meant to resemble Kenyan mud cloth or batik beads. I distressed them a bit, before curing them, but in the end could not bring myself to 'antique' them - I loved the crisp effect of the white swirls on black. So now we have beads with dinks in them, but black and white with a high shine.
The Yin and the Yang, in Chinese Taoist philosophy is a description of how contrary forces are interrelated and interdependent. The interdependence is characterised by the white dot in the Yin, black side, and the black dot in the Yang, white side.
The relationship between yin and yang is often described in terms of sunlight playing over a mountain and a valley. Yin (literally the 'shady place' or 'north slope') is the dark area occluded by the mountain's bulk, while yang (literally the 'sunny place' or 'south slope') is the brightly lit portion.
In the 4th and 5th centuries Taoist principles such as Yin - Yang, astronomy, calendar making, time telling, divination and the observation of nature's way were all amalgamated into fortune telling and sorcery. The original name I picked for my necklace was 'The Fortune Teller's Apprentice'. This, I thought was an appropriate title for my Yin Yang necklace, until I remembered a piece of music by Dusak - The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Walt Disney set a cartoon featuring Mickey Mouse to this music in Fantasia, and those of you with kids will remember it well - if you don't know it, watch the piece here - it is great fun.
Masala Mango Mantra - a feature
I was really thrilled to receive an email that I had been featured on MasalaMangoMantra's blogspot - it is written by a jewellery designer from Ontario, http://masalamangomantra.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/featured-artistneena-shilvock-of.html
'Masala Mango Mantra is a blog uniting artists, designs, decor, fashion, food from around the globe and that which is Indian inspired by design'. Reshma Sandell, from Mississauga, Ontario has her own Etsy outlet, Ahkriti and has a lot of fun stuff in it. Check it out here..... http://www.etsy.com/shop/ahkriti
Her blog is read widely and followed by a number of people, and I thank her for the feature. I have made so many 'virtual' friends through Caprilicious - Maria Fernandes is the only one I have met so far, and that was really great - wouldn't it be fun to have a party with all my virtual friends and meet them face to face - I bet we'd have a blast! Reshma, you are most definitely invited when I sort it out- date and venue TBA!
Blue Poppy Reverie
I love my garden - it is only tiny, and a lot of my flowers are grown in pots. Now that it is September the season is coming to an end, but there is still enough left in it to look at when we sit out in the evening. Some of my favourite flowers are poppies - I have loads of different kinds, especially perennials - the pictures above were taken at the beginning of this year - poppies are almost the first flowers to bloom in the garden, and Mike gets so excited that they are back, he makes me rush out and take a picture, despite my protests that we seem to be taking the same pictures every year! I have Oriental poppies, Welsh poppies, Icelandic poppies and even an opium poppy.
But the one I really want to grow is the Blue Himalayan Poppy - I buy a plant every year and it just dies on me - it seems to do well enough a few miles down the road in the garden centre - I don't know what he is doing special, and he denies all - maybe it's just a conspiracy to streamline the contents of my wallet - I think he feeds it ice water when everyone has gone home!
This beautiful blue flower with it's bright orange stamens is the national flower of Bhutan. It grows well in cold climates, and apparently, apart from our garden centre, the other place in the UK it grows well is Scotland! I would so love to grow it - but in the face of so many failed attempts made a necklace called Blue Poppy Reverie - I'm afraid that's as close as I am going to get to growing one - unless I can persuade the garden centre chappie to reveal his secret - I'll make him an offer he cannot refuse - anyone got a horse's head going spare??
Aaaargh!.....Back to the Drawing Board
I thought I'd come clean - after all, we're all friends here - this is what I was attempting to make with a new type of bronze clay in my kiln - it was all going fairly well till I fired it, and then, when I tried to pick it up for it's second firing .................
So, no pendant for me! just pieces of rubbish - turns out I didn't read the instructions correctly, so serves me right. I will try again this week, as I think I have got the design right, and if it works out well this time, I will have a pendant to show for my pains. I might have to wait another week though, as I have old friends from my school days coming to stay - it is the August Bank Holiday long weekend in the UK - and of course, that usually means the party pooper gods make it rain!
Oh well, last year we huddled in the pool in the rain, under an umbrella singing the school song at the tops of our voices (the girls didn't want to get wet!) - so no doubt, we will think of something equally resourceful this time.
That's it for this week folks, catch you later, same time, same place
I love the imagery conjured up by Walter de la Mare in his poem 'Silver', and I made this necklace in tribute.The pale blue quartz beads have gentle facets which make them reflective, as if touched by moonlight. An aspen leaf skeleton that was wide enough to fit easily in the palm of my hand seemed like it needed a bit of elongation and movement to balance the piece, so I added a dangle of little silver electroplated glass beads and blue chalcedony, killing two birds. The bead caps were made when trying out an idea a while ago, and seemed to set the blue agate bead off, this in turn giving the necklace a pop of colour. I think Mr de la Mare would have approved, don't you?? Here's the rest of the poem, in case you don't remember it.
Moving swiftly on, I swung from lunar to solar imagery - my muse certainly keeps my brain ticking over!
Reliquary from the Sun
Solar quartz is a natural agatized quartz cut from stalactites. The centers and the edges of these stones are translucent and there are dendritic or tree like inclusions at the very centre of the stone. For believers in crystal healing, solar quartz is probably the most versatile multipurpose healing stone, quartz amplifies energy and healing, draws and sends energy, and stimulates natural crystals in the body’s tissues and fluids to resonate at new healing frequency.
I just think it is so pretty - I cannot resist it, whether it heals or not.
When I hold and look at solar quartz it immediately draws my eyes towards the center of the stone, like diving into a beautiful pool of water - it is almost hypnotic. Non-traditional elements are gaining in popularity and I embrace the use of wild & rough-cut gemstones in my designs.
These little silver amulets came from India. Amulets are meant to preserve magical contents in the form of sacred texts written on a leaf, or paper. They are usually worn close to the skin and hidden away from the eyes of onlookers who might decrease their powers.
The Romans definition of an amulet was a bit broader; they did not have to wear the object for it to be considered an amulet. A bat carried around a house three times and hung up side down in a window was considered an amulet. The gallbladder of a male black dog was used to protect the home from magic.
This, then, is the necklace I made with four little amulets or reliquaries, and the solar quartz pendant.
Many years ago, I read the story of the Alhambra by Washington Irving - this book was written by this American author who lived in the palace of the Alhambra while he wrote about it in a semi historical, semi fantasy manner. I was really keen to see the palace that inspired those fabulous stories, and on a holiday to Malaga, managed to travel to Granada on a day trip. The Alhambra was described as a 'pearl set in emeralds' and its grounds are filled with the most beautiful plants. It looks fairly forbidding, as the exterior is very plain sandstone, but once inside, it is lavishly decorated with swirling Arabic script and arabesques, fountains, courtyards, lace like carved windows, column arcades, pools - it is easy to sense the aura of romance that emanates from it.
Zayda, Zoraida and Zorohayda were the three daughters of king Mohamed IV, also known as 'Mohamed the Left handed' according to Washington Irving.
The king kept them imprisoned in the Tower of the Princesses to guard their virtue, but the two older sisters escaped with a couple of Spanish cavaliers. Zorohayda, however, was too timid to leave, and spent the rest of her life in the Alhambra, and then became the resident ghost, singing sweetly and playing a silvery lute, until she managed to get a young maiden to sprinkle her with water from one of the fountains. She bequeathed the maiden her silvery lute.
As the story goes, over the years, the lute was melted down for it's silver content, but its strings were used in Paganini's fiddle - from which of course, sprang the most beautiful music, once again.
This web edition of Washington Irving's book 'The Alhambra' is published by eBooks@Adelaide.
The pendant in this necklace reminded me of the lace work in the windows of the Alhambra palace, and teamed with green jade and brushed silver tone beads, this necklace is redolent with the romance of that beautiful palace.
I'm sure the romantics amongst you will appreciate this little tale, and the necklace that goes with it - the story is well worth reading, and the Alhambra, and Granada are most definitely worthy of a bucket list.
I hope you have enjoyed my little flights of fancy - that's it for this week, have a good one, and I will catch you later, same time, same place
Hello, and welcome to this weeks blogpost from Caprlicious Jewellery. The week has been busy at the day job, with the annual August changeover of all the junior doctors in the hospital and I have had very little time to indulge myself with beads and baubles. However, I did have time over the weekend to play with polymer clay and I decided to make beads to put into a concept for a necklace I had in mind, which is unusual for me. I usually make random items, using one technique or another that catches my fancy, and hold on to the beads as part of my stash, until inspiration strikes.
Leafing through the wonderful African imagery in Africa Adorned by Angela Fisher, a tribal piece - a large Nepalese pendant, on a necklace of faux amber, coral chunks, turquoise and lapis lazuli came to mind.
Amber is a natural polymer made of resin from pine trees - it is prehistoric, and contains the remains of little insects who literally met a sticky end trapped in the resin, millions of years ago. Authentic amber is very, very expensive, and is sometimes called the 'Gold of the North', and there are many websites devoted to ways and means to distinguish between real and fake amber. Experts at the British Natural History Museum recently discovered that a bee preserved in amber, believed to be one of the oldest known examples of this particular species was in fact a fake, and probably no more than 150 years old. To add to this confusion, there exists beeswax amber, butterscotch amber, and copal - none of these are considered 'real' amber, but they are sold as such.
There are many ways of making counterfeit amber, with glass, resin and polymer clay being used most commonly. I found websites that talked about what real African amber should look like, while I researched what I should aim for, to try and make my beads as authentic looking as possible.
African amber beads are copal amber - which is actually real pine resin, but very, very recently formed - as in 'only' 150 years ago! Real copal beads are in different colours, with variations in colour within the same bead. They are semi transparent, with both shiny and matt areas, and are distressed and stained with age.
Amber doesn't come from the Sahara of course, due to a paucity of ancient pine forests there. Amber traded to Africa was found on the shores of the Baltic Sea in northern Europe and shipped across, bundled with Venetian glass beads and sent across the Mediterranean to Tunis or Tripoli by European traders who used them as currency. The beads sometimes broke with age, and were repaired using wire.
Armed with this research, I embarked on making the beads that went into 'Urban Tribal' with polymer clay and alcohol inks. After all, isn't it better to have faux amber, labelled as such and made by me with a bit of honest toil, than buying 'amber' and then finding out that it isn't the real thing?
The term Urban Tribe was coined by Ethan Watters, an American journalist - describing a group of individuals, usually young professionals living in large cities, sharing common interests (that were in general different from the interests of mainstream culture) that form communities to provide the emotional support of an extended family.
I do so like that idea - with the semi breakdown of the extended family, especially for people like me, who live so far from their putative home, it is nice to think there is a 'tribe' of people out there, all rooting for me.
Song of the Desert Traveller
This necklace is inspired by Tuareg jewellery. The Tuaregs are a nomadic tribe in Mali, Libya, Senegal and Niger. They are semi matriarchal, and their artisans make the most beautiful silver jewellery. Young girls are given little necklaces of black beads called Tchatchat necklaces, usually glass, with multiple silver pendants and cylindrical silver spacer beads called Ismana beads. A hawk eye pendant set in silver, and some silver cylindrical beads from India were used in a necklace made with blue goldstone 'Sitara' beads to resemble a Tchatchat necklace.
Hawk eye is a blue/grey version of Tiger eye, which of course, is golden yellow. There is a chatoyance deep within this beautiful stone, which is visible on movement in the light. This pendant is set in an ornate sterling silver crown, and the Sitara beads, which are a deep navy blue, with flecks of copper show it off beautifully.
The Three Ghostessess
During one of my sessions spent browsing the internet, I came across this poem - it was so cute, I decided I simply had to share it with you - I hope you like it. I wrote it on a Halloween cartoon of ghosts for maximum effect - enjoy!
That's it for this week folks, catch you later, same time, same place, enjoy the week in the meantime
Hello, and a warm welcome to you, wonderful readers. Four weeks of sunshine - probably the best summer we have had here in the UK for a long time, ended with a crashing thunderstorm - and exactly at the wrong time, for us, anyway. We had a barbeque planned, and it started to pelt it down half an hour before we were due to light up - fortunately, we outsmarted the malign party - pooper gods by taking the simple precaution of reading the weather report - and moving the barbeque under cover - Ha Ha Ha! Put that in your collective pipes and smoke it, malign party - pooper gods! And a good time was had by all - no doubt it could have been better, but no one complained, and we just got on with it, the way we are wont to do in this country.
I had some beautiful pearls, in pastel colours - cream, lavender and peach - they had large holes, and could be strung onto leather - they are quite difficult to find, as pearls usually have the tiniest holes that do not allow for stringing onto anything but the finest material. I wanted to make an unconventional pearl piece for the non Audrey Hepburn woman - not everyone wants to look like a tea dance is imminent on their schedule for the day. I love these two necklaces - fifteen strands of black leather with a pearl on each strand, with a magnetic clasp - who says that the words 'pearls, lavender, peach and leather' weren't meant to be in the same sentence - eat your words, people!
I loved them so much, I even wore one to the barbeque.
These are Himalayan Goji berries - much has been written about them being super fruit with whole websites devoted to their antioxidant and nutrient value, claiming that they are the next best thing since sliced bread (what's so wonderful about sliced bread, anyway ?? - it dries out so quickly - anyone who has eaten an unsliced French crusty loaf will attest it's superiority).
Tibetan beeswax amber beads, capped with sterling silver that arrived on my doorstep a couple of days ago looked so much like these berries, that once the necklace was made, I had to use the word 'berry' in the name - I couldn't think of anything more befitting.
I teamed the 'berries' with aventurine, dyed jade, malachite, red howlite and iridescent Czech glass to make two strands of a fairly long necklace.
The Emerald Isle
This is a picture of an island in the Maldives - why is it on a blog that deals in the main with jewellery??
Well, I bought these beautiful slabs of green agate - and the markings within the stones reminded me of the atolls of the Maldives - the serenity emanating from the depths of these gemstones is amazing. These were teamed with frosted clear quartz chunks, which reminded me of the breakers when the waves hit the shoreline, and The Emerald Isle was born from these thoughts.
When I modelled it for my husband, he sort of chuckled - I was a bit taken aback at this - I didn't see the joke, until he explained himself - he said whoever wears this one is most definitely making this statement, 'look at me, look at what I am wearing' - well, I don't see anything wrong with that, do you? The Caprilicious woman is no wee, quaking, timorous beastie - she is most definitely visible, and what's more, enjoys and revels in that visibility!
Anyway, in my opinion, what's the point wearing something that says 'don't look at me' ?? One might as well save one's money and wrap up in a chador.
After all, your clothes, jewellery, your home and garden all make a statement about you - people make judgements about you on looking at them - nondescript outfits are a bit like wearing camouflage - a cover up of the real you.
I will leave you with that thought this week, I am off to play with polymer clay in my craft room this weekend. Have a fab week and I will catch you later, 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.
Follow me on Pinterest
I would love to hear from you - please leave a comment on the blog or send an email to jewellerybycaprilicious(at)gmail.com
What's in the Store
Look for them by their names in the search box
Free Mini Tutorials