I don't believe it - no sooner had I declared that I LIKE COLOUR last week, that I received the most colourful gift in the post. My cousin Priya in Vancouver sent me this beautiful red saree with gold flowers in the body and peacocks dancing all over the leading edge. I just love the colour - it is a bright scarlet ( she thought it was too bright and didn't want to wear it) - now, I have to find somewhere to wear it to. The festive season is upon us, and I am sure it's ship will come in, one of these days. I have some pictures for you, draped over my settee - but that is obviously not the best way to display it, so my apologies - I will post a picture when I do actually wear it.
This week has been mostly about polymer clay - a friend of mine requested some jewellery customised for her, and a red cuff bracelet for her friend, who had a very small wrist - my wrist is only 5" in diameter, so that was easy - all I had to do was to make one for myself, and though it looks like a childs bracelet, I am sure it will fit her perfectly.
She also asked me to make two necklaces - she said 'I want a black chip necklace, as big as potato chips and around 25" ' and she also wanted a necklace with beads that looked like distressed wood and iron - I was most excited - at last, someone wanted a contemporary necklace, and I had carte blanche to go (almost) as wild as I would like. I had to use a lot of restraint, to keep from throwing every technique I knew (which are still pitifully few - but I am very proud of them) into the pot and made a load of beads using the fabulous Ronna Sarvas Weltman as inspiration.
At the weekend, I went on a photography course in a little village called Smeeton Westerby in the back of beyond, in Leicestershire. I stupidly got the dates wrong and turned up a day early ( let's spare my blushes and say 'over enthusiastic' rather than plain stupid) - actually 23 hrs too early, because I got lost and spent an hour looking for the place and panicking about it - I needn't have bothered - there was no one home, and it was only when I looked at my watch, I realised that it was the 21st and not the 22nd! So I went back home and played with clay, and set out again the next day. Glen Tillyard, who runs the course, is an ex press photographer, and he patiently took us around the basics of a digital SLR camera, and gave us advice on which camera to buy to suit our purpose and budgets. Here are some of the pictures I took in the practical session in and around the village of Smeeton Westerby - I have to tell you that all I have ever used is my little Canon point and shoot before this...
Absolutely enthused, I have now ordered my new Nikon 5100 - soon, I shall have sooper - dooper pictures on these pages - soon!
My friend Gerrry bought a sterling silver wire pendant from me earlier on in the year, and requested a pair of earrings to go with it - here's what I made to complement Paisley Daisy....
This was the first necklace I made with the 'chips', adding some large focal beads. My friend decided that she wasn't too keen on so many focal beads, so I took them out and remade it for her. I like the focal beads, but can see why she preferred the necklace with a few of them taken out. They will appear on these pages in other pieces I make, I don't mind.
The beads were strung onto black leather with an integral polymer clay clasp in antique gold.
The second necklace my friend ordered was looking more and more like it was going tribal - 'make me a long necklace with beads that look like distressed wood and iron' was the remit. I made copies of spindle whorls from Mali - they are light as they are hollow, but are quite work intensive - they need to return to the oven to be cured at least twice. The 'iron' was going to have to be copper wire, patinated black and varnished to hold the patina. A hollow 'faux' bone element would be the central piece, and I wrapped it with blackened copper wire to give it a rustic look. Unfortunately, when I wanted to make the necklace using waxed linen cord - my house had eaten the ball of cord! That stopped play for a while, until another load of cord was sent for hurriedly, and arrived in the post.
The necklace was strung on white leather, festooned with waxed linen cord and cowrie shells. The clasp was made with patinated copper wire - I love the look of this necklace - denim jeans and a white tunic, or my favourite harem pants and a tunic, this necklace, and Bob's your uncle. I love it so much, I think I will end up making one for myself when I have a moment, it is soooo cool!
That's a wrap for this week folks, have a fab weekend, and I will catch you next Friday, same time, same place
My sister often turns her nose up at my taste in clothes - I'm too gaudy for her liking, which runs to whites and pastels and quiet elegance. I too was brought up to be ladylike, quiet and retiring - a 'speak- when- spoken- to' kind of a person. Unfortunately, I outstripped my upbringing - or is that fortunately? - and have grown into my own skin and personality at long last - and I am happy to shout it out loud - I LOVE COLOUR - there, I've said it now in print, and there's no going back - sorry Mona, and mum!
I saw these displays in a store on holiday in Berlin - which one would you pick?? I really want to pick the pretty grey asymmetrically shaped set - it would fit what I was brought up to like - however, I know that I would almost certainly come home with the yellow and terracotta set.
In the same store I saw the most beautiful enamelled animal figurines made by Tom Hoffman - they are in a collection known as 'Tom's Drag' - the animals are highly coloured, with false eyelashes, diamante earrings - pretty, extremely kitsch, and very expensive - I took some pictures, but that's as much as I did - I have run out of display space for curios in my little house (and there is nothing but empty space in my wallet!). I have a link to Tom's website here if you want to look at some more.
I spotted these earrings made like tiny chandeliers in a little boutique - cute and quirky - and they even have tiny bulbs in them. A lot of Berlin is still being rebuilt, with cranes everywhere. The existing buildings, hastily rebuilt after 1945 to rehouse the folk, look uncannily like they belong in a suburb of Moscow. I wondered whether the colourful accessories I saw in the shops was a reaction to this general drabness all around.
The display in the window of the shop reputed to be 'Berlin's version of Harrods' was a combination of quirky and utilitarian - see what you make of this display of clothes and kitchenalia on the same models...
Two out of the three 'Dancing in the Dark' necklaces I made last week flew out of my hands to a new home - I have a few more tribal pendants, and will add to the collection of 'Tribal Bling' gradually. The lady who bought this one said she didn't care for the spikes, so I offered to remove them for her - in my book, the customer is always right and I love that she wants to wear what I have made. What do you think - which version do you like? The spikes, I thought, made the necklace different - I suppose I can use them in another piece.
I made no jewellery this week, but have some ideas for what I want to make next. Have a great week folks, and I will catch you next week, same time, same place
G'day readers, I hope you have had a fabulous week and are getting ready for yet another cool weekend.
I myself am 'doing a geographical' - I am escaping from my problems by going away - but unfortunately as the man said, 'Wherever you go, There you are'! It will be two years since my brother died unexpectedly and I am yet to come to terms with his loss - I wander around in complete denial, but I know it will hit me eventually, when I go back to India to visit my mother and he isn't there. Just now, however, I need to get away - from being a member of a 'caring' profession, from well meaning callers, from having to be strong and comfort my family, and from having to confront the fact that I will never see him again.
The Arowana fish, also known as the “golden dragon”, because of its close similarity to an actual dragon, is said to be the most expensive aquarium fish in the world. It is meant to bring good luck and prosperity and is used by Feng Shui masters to increase personal development and money-making opportunities.
This fish apparently is so highly attuned to negative forces, that when it senses a disaster, it whacks itself against the side of the aquarium to warn it's owner. If the owner doesn't take heed and do something to repair his karma, it will leap out of the water and commit suicide, sacrificing its own life to repress negative energy for its owner. (I put this down to the concussion it suffered when it was beating itself about the head during the attention seeking phase).
Liuli crystal is made in China - a multicolour crystal, which has a very complicated casting technique - it is expensive, because 40% of the castings fail and have to be discarded. The molds cannot be reused and the firing temperatures are very high - each piece is one of a kind and multicoloured. This necklace has two strands of square Czech glass beads in a beautiful emerald green.
The success of this form of currency can largely be attributed to the high intrinsic value African people put upon decorative items, and social status was easily determined by the quality, quantity and style of jewellery worn.
The very first bead made in Africa was the ostrich eggshell bead. The ostrich eggshell was first used as a container for water after the contents were eaten, and when this broke, the remains were converted into beads. I made some polymer clay beads that resembled them. I ran out of rock salt to roll the clay in, to make the surface appear uneven and worn, so I used lentils from the store cupboard instead.
The kitchen is the tool shed of a polymer clay person - pasta machines, extruders modified from icing guns, even a potato peeler to shave thin slices of clay, blenders, cookie cutters, ovens, baking sheets, kitchen foil, parchment paper, spoons, soda cans, rock salt - and lentils - all of these have been pressed into use, with the proviso that they cannot be reused in the preparation of food - all except the oven, of course!
I really love the idea of making a lot of the components that go into my jewellery myself - and mixing media excites me - the sky's the limit with this type of jewellery. And just as I finished making the beads and wondered what I was going to do with them - these pendants arrived in the post - it doesn't take a genius to spot that they go together - and the necklaces have a name already - Dancing in the Dark - probably because of their high visibility! Somebody who likes the bold, the bright and the different will love them - if you are that person and are reading this - read on............
Hermes is a Greek God, the son of Zeus and Maia - Zeus seems to have spread himself around - I suppose that is permissible if you are the father of all the Gods!
Hermes moved freely between the worlds of the mortal and divine, as emissary and messenger of the gods, and is protector and patron of travelers, orators, poets, and sports. Winged sandals are one of his symbols, but his main symbol is the herald's staff, a short staff entwined by two serpents, sometimes surmounted by wings. The silver pendant in this necklace reminded me of this symbol - it is very similar to the staff of Asclepius, which is the medical symbol - this, though has only one snake and no wings.
A silver 'window druzy' stone, flanked by wings and garnets was enhanced by the addition of two strands of little garnet beads, and silver plated glass tear drops. The necklace turned out dainty and delicate, and I was quite pleased with the effect.
Dancing in the Dark
Anyone who has been to Prague will have heard of their famous Black Light Theatre - the stage, set, and theatre are all painted black, and with the use of fluorescent costumes and UV lights, the performers are able to produce spectacular contemporary illusionary dance forms.
I named the next few pieces of jewellery after this beautiful spectacle - they are so highly decorative and visible, that they will probably be at their best against the backdrop of a little black dress, although I'm sure some improvisation around that theme will be just as stunning. The pendants came from the Silk route area, and are rather heavy, so rather than give the wearer a pain in the neck, I teamed them with light weight beads. I made some of the beads myself, as you will no doubt have read earlier.
I couldn't make just the one, I had to put them all together - they are definitely statement pieces, and I just love the colours and the 'in your face-ness' of them - not for the timid then, eh?? I am sure the person(s) who get them will love them.
That's all I had time for folks, catch you next week, same time, same place
As a child, my excuses for work not handed in on time were extremely inventive to say the least - but now, I have surpassed all my previous efforts, and then some! My inner child is alive and well, having survived standing behind the blackboard for most of my chemistry lessons, and learning all of The Merchant of Venice off by heart as a form of punishment - so well, that I can rattle the whole play off today, a hundred years down the line.
It took me an entire evening to mold, cut out, dry, and sand my latest effort - Oh, I was mighty proud of my beautiful creation!
The next day, I was ready to fire it - but, I couldn't find the bl@@~y sheet of paper with the instructions - I hunted high and low, but in the end, with a sense of deja vu, conceded to myself that 'The house ate my instructions'.
I went back to my computer and downloaded a fresh set of instructions and followed them accurately, and guess what?? This time, 'The kiln ate my pendant'!
All I had left to show that I had actually put anything in the kiln (apart for the photographic evidence above - thank God for technology) were a few tiny pieces of sintered metal, and on scrabbling through the carbon particles, I found the little stone I had set into the pendant.
I think I went a bit hysterical at this point - well, it wasn't worth crying over, and that seemed to be the only other possible course of action. So, I sat there, on my haunches in a red towelling robe, clean and fresh from a prolonged soak in a hot bath while my kiln had been chomping away at my pendant, scrabbling around in carbon particles with blackened, dirty hands and a smudge on the side of my nose, laughing as if my sides would split - Mike thought he'd phone the men in white coats to take me away, but I escaped incarceration in a padded cell in the nick of time!
Inspirational Beading is a blog written by Mortira vanPelt of Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island. She makes the most exquisite beaded jewellery and likes to support her fellow artisans. She published an interview with Caprilicious Jewellery on her 'Inspired Beader' page and sent me a link - http://inspirationalbeading.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/inspired-beader-caprilicious-jewelry.html
Mortira likes to make eco friendly jewellery and says 'I often try to put a bit of a green spin on things, while also appealing to every type of beader. I also hope to create discussion and debate, so comments are always welcome, no matter how old a post is' - so do head over and leave a comment on her blog, if you are reading this.
Avatar was made in 2009, and is possibly the highest grossing film of all time. Neytiri was a Na'vi princess of the Omaticaya tribe and the female protagonist of that movie. She was portrayed as brave and fearless, and had a strong sense of loyalty. The entire movie was shot in shades of the most beautiful cobalt, turquoise and ultramarine blue.
I fell in love with the dyed jade medallion in this next piece, and teamed it with opaque turquoise crystals. The pendant is strong, and almost masculine, with the dragon motif, but it's colour is very feminine. Not entirely happy with the lack of movement in the piece, I added a turquoise teardrop bead, wire wrapped with shiny blue crystals. It is a very striking piece in Neytiri's colours, and it sits on my 'Oriental Inspirations' page on the website. The dragon motif seems to embody Neytiri's strength of character.
I love the colours, and the addition of a bit of wirework finishes it off beautifully in my opinion - what do you think? Leave a comment at the end of this post and tell me, why don't you??
Running With Scissors - as usual!
As if I wasn't despondent enough with the bronze clay fiasco, I decided court yet more failure by attempting to make canes using polymer clay.
Canes are cylinders of clay or glass that have a design running through them, and when the cylinder is sliced, each cross section contains the design. Each one is made up in a large cylinder so that it can be managed easily, and once the process is finished, the cane is reduced to the size required, and then a cross section made - lo, and behold (hopefully) a design appears. This is the theory, but.....
I find it very difficult not to cut it open and peek midway through the process - you need a the patience of Job (whoever he was) to make a cane without slicing it open every two minutes, and it has to be accepted that a whole load of clay might end up on the scrap heap. Added to this, once the cane is made, it has to be 'rested' overnight before it is cut open, or it smears and distorts and generally looks like rubbish - even more patience.
Can you see why this might not be a suitable endeavour for yours truly??
I decided to try out some tutorials by Marie Segal of Art From My Heart at http://mariesegal.blogspot.co.uk/_
These tutorials were probably written for someone more experienced than me (that's almost everybody) and involves the use of extruders and other implements - but I was going to die trying, and in actual fact, it wasn't so bad - have a look at my attempts - I think they are quite acceptable for a first time.
I only wish I was less annoyingly ambitious - most people make bullseyes and little flowers to start with - but no sirree, not me, I have to try out the daddy of all the canes available. Anyway, I now have five canes - next, to make something with them - probably next week.
You can see on the bottom right that I didn't wait to rest the cane before cutting it open - it is meant to be heart shaped at the centre.
The Purple Rose of Cairo
Another necklace with solar quartz set in sterling silver, the stalactite this time dyed purple, looking just like a purple flower, so I named it after one of my favourite movies. Teamed with amethyst teardrop nuggets, a few peridot, crystal beads and pearls, it turned into a delicate, and elegant necklace - very understated, but yet, making its own quiet, sweet melody. A little silver flower toggle clasp I had been hoarding for just such an occasion came in handy to finish this necklace off to perfection.
I know that many of you read this blog regularly - certainly more than the twenty three kind people who have publicly declared their affiliation by pressing the 'follow this blog' logo - can I ask you to please click on it
- make a poor artisan who is doing her best happy, eh?? and rack up some points in heaven!
I promise it won't rear up out of your computer and bite you - all that will happen will be that the blog will drop into your inboxes each week, with a silent 'plop' , and there will be a smile on my face - it is safe, I promise - please, pretty please..... I've even put the link on the end of this sentence for you - you won't even have to scroll back up to the top right of this page, where it normally lives.
Them's my shenanigans for this week 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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