Hello readers, and lovers of unusual handmade statement jewellery, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog this week. It will be three years this week since I started Caprilicious Jewellery as an entity, although I had been dabbling in jewellery making before, gifting away all the pieces I made to my friends (most of whom have remained friends in spite of this). These are the first pieces I made for the website - I hope the ladies who bought them are still enjoying them.
It is because of your support, readers, that Caprilicious exists, and I thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart.
My photography skills have certainly improved since then, and my wire work has got more and more complex. I have worked tirelessly in every direction, be it making the piece, blogging, making components, improving my wire work, varying designs, and improving and promoting my website - as well as doing my day job.
People ask where I find the time - I cannot answer that question - I think if you love to do something, time magically makes itself available. Of course it helps that Mike and I live a fairly quiet life, I couldn't have dealt with the rigours of a massive social whirl as well as all that I already do.
I've always loved the peacock and usually have one or two on my books. The last one was called Scherezade and now, I present Pavo - Pavo is the Latin name for Pavo cristatus or the crested peacock.
I spent a couple of evenings weaving the torque without knowing how it would end and what it would become - but as time passed, it became clear that the piece would be my next peacock feather. I had just finished it and put it away when I saw a picture posted on Facebook on one of the jewellery groups I belong to - I almost fell off my chair! This one is a diamond, opal and pearl necklace set in platinum, from Boodles - Oh well!
The one above is mine, and I'm just as proud of it as if it were made of diamonds and platinum!
The Face that Launched a Thousand Ships (Not)
Helen of Troy was the original face that launched a thousand ships - they were launched into a bloody battle, and all because she left her husband and ran off with Paris, her handsome young boyfriend. If I were her hubby Agamemnon, I'd have let her go and found myself another woman - Helen was obviously a mental lightweight who went for a pretty face. Instead, a thousand ships and men were launched into an all out battle where everyone was the loser.
My face cane was made under instruction from Layle McDill - when I bought the tutorial I didn't realise that quite so much clay would be involved - by the time I finished the cane weighed a couple of pounds. I now have a cane that is going to last me ages and ages, unless I can find things to do with it. Here's a little peek into the making of my face cane.
First, I made the lips and eyes - a bit scary, cos it looked like a duck face when I put them together. I had to speak sternly to myself, just to soothe the anxiety away - sometimes I have to give myself a pep talk, or I wouldn't get anywhere.
I added a nose and cheeks and a sheet of clay to outline the lot, et voila! a face - but this one was scary enough to frighten little children - it certainly wouldn't have attracted Paris, or even launched one single, teeny weeny boat!
'What's done is done', I said to myself, eerily echoing Helen of Troy, so I started to reduce the cane between my work tile and a sheet of perspex - and Hey! the face that emerged in the centre of the cane ain't half bad - not a ship launcher, I'll grant you that, but good enough for the purpose I have planned for it.
The other ends of the cane look like the saying - she has a 'face like a slapped a%@e', but the bit in the middle that I am concerned with, looks just like Layle intended when she wrote the tutorial, so well done me!
At least it doesn't look like the mask out of Scream - although it might have been fitting as it is Halloween week. So now I have to go away and think of a million different things to do with the cane. You'll find it cropping up all over the place, I suspect - I am quite proud of it.
I made the cane in order to use my latest toy - a cane slicer, which I think is a fabulous tool - if I can manage not to cut off my fingertips! It works like a guillotine - I shall refrain from making the 'let them eat cake' jokes that spring so readily to mind! Penny Vingoe who sold it to me talked a good talk when she demo'ed it, so that by the second day of a two day meeting, I was convinced that I wanted it - no, make that needed it. There was even a choice of a pink or blue one, and 'if you're feeling rich', an all chrome one, for 'just a few quid more' (no, I wasn't feeling rich, thank you very much, guilty was what I was feeling). I brought it home in my hot little hands, but unfortunately it took a while to assemble, with a few bits missing from the box that needed to be sent on, and a few mystery bits in the kit that weren't required - it is now fully operational and ready for action on my new face cane! Of course, I haven't told hubby how much I spent on it - I wouldn't be able to give out to him self righteously when he wastes money on unnecessary purchases then, would I??
As it is party time, I thought I'd refill my Bling album. These trapezoid shaped crystals had been sitting in my cupboard, waiting for just such a moment and were quite pleased to be let out of confinement.
The golden yellow crystals were teamed with other gemstone beads in the same colour spectrum -and the resulting necklace is called Ambrosia - Food of the Gods - there is a lot of debate whether ambrosia and nectar are one and the same - some say nectar is the liquid, while others seem to think that ambrosia is liquid food, like soup - I have no idea what the gods eat or drink - or whether they should be doing such mundane things in the first place ( In Hindu temples, they have ceremonies where the Gods are woken up, dressed, breakfasted - conveniently leaving out inconvenient bodily functions that us mere mortals have to put up with to survive).
Another Peacock - Mayuri
Pavo flew away to a new home, so it was imperative that another peacock had to be made - this one has a peacock feather on a faceted shell pearl necklace - simple, but effective. Blue dyed jade beads and green enamelled beads give the piece added interest. I made a couple of these with a peacock feather pendant earlier, using freshwater pearls and quartz crystals - you can decide which one you like best.
And finally..drumroll........ the last piece I made - a bit at a time, over the entire week until it was finished just as I finished writing the blog............
A serene handcarved bone face was teamed with a slice of shell - it looked like a picture of someone meditating. I knew what I wanted to make and had the elements picked out - but I had no idea how I would put them together. The face was from Indonesia and probably a Buddha - it wasn't difficult to imagine that the piece of shell was a sun/ chakra. Making this piece was almost a form of meditation - I let the wire take me where it would and this is what emerged.
I was really pleased because it was picked up off G+ even before I posted it on the website - I do love it so when someone displays enthusiasm for my efforts.
That's it for this week folks. Do come back next week - it is Caprilicious' birthday week and I will be posting a giveaway on my Facebook Page. Catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, and lovers of unusual handmade statement jewellery, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog this week.
Here it is again, Diwali, the mother and father of all Indian festivals - the entire subcontinent of India comes to a standstill - in fact the country hasn't really recovered yet from the previous big festival of Dussehra, which is celebrated twenty days before Diwali.
The very first Diwali started on the night of a new moon when lamps were lit to show Ram and his entourage their way back from exile in a forest - electricity hadn't been invented yet - and if it hadn't been for the kind people who used the last drops of their oil in a lamp, instead of in their cooking, Ram's exile might have lasted another fourteen years as he blundered about looking for the road to his home town ( maps and compasses hadn't been invented either and there had been quite a few changes in that area in fourteen years).
Indians like a nice long holiday, and Diwali is 3 days long, with a second day to pray to the Goddess of Wealth tagged onto the Ram story, as well as a third where we celebrate yet another demon being slayed (there were loads of them in those days apparently). Some people even have a 5 day celebration, but everyone knows that's swinging the lead a bit!
Ram was a very nice chap by all accounts, he agreed to go into exile without a whimper when his nasty step mom emotionally blackmailed his dad into sending him away. He took his wife and brother with him, and they had a fair old time, fighting demons, and making friends with monkeys - my grandmother told me these stories often, and my only response was a howl of outrage that Ram agreed to go without a fuss (I would have kicked and screamed and made such a racket that my step mother would have willingly left the country, just to get away from the noise).
Anyway, as the story goes, his wife is so beautiful that a demon lusts after her and abducts her. Ram is forced to go and fetch her back from Sri Lanka, using monkeys, bears and vultures as allies and the day he kills the demon is celebrated in the festival of Dussehra.
He then comes back home on Diwali day, gets his throne back and proceeds to annoy his wife by doubting her virtue (well, she had been abducted and imprisoned by a demon for many days - what's to doubt?? - a gentleman wouldn't have even gone there ) his wife leaves him and goes back to the jungle with her twin sons, which seems like the better option - I can't say I blame her. So, a not so happy ending then!
If you want to know more after this potted history, I recommend a book by Ashok Banker called The Prince of Ayodhya, it is really well written and a lot of fun to read.
I spent some time with my kiln at the weekend - here are a few pictures I took as I went along.....
This is my little kiln, the beautiful Paragon SC2 - not so pretty when the door is opened, though. The black dust is from the charcoal in the container used to fire bronze and copper clay.
The dry pieces of bronze are fired in a lidded stainless steel container in activated charcoal to prevent oxidation. Once cooled, the charcoal is sieved to remove the ash and find the sintered bronze.
The bronze pieces are put into a rock tumbler with water, liquid soap and stainless steel shot and rotated for an hour, while my assistant Wilfred watches over it carefully.
Spanish Eyes - Juanita
As one of my friends said - red and gold - what's not to love?? - the coral complements the last pendant of the 'Spanish Sisters' series.
The dark blue in this necklace is a colour that is long associated with Egypt and Cleopatra. Teamed with tiny gold beads, the sea sediment jasper is very pretty.
The pendant was originally made with bronze clay and had empty space within. I decided that I would experiment with a sheet of polymer clay and fill up the space with colour. I think it looks rather attractive, especially with the blue and green Czech glass beads.
All of these necklaces will make interesting gifts, and once you've sorted out your gift list, you will have more time to spend on yourself and your loved ones - take the pain out of gift giving with Caprilicious.
While I waited for the kiln to do it's stuff and the pendants to be made, I played with a design by Nicole Hanna and made this little key. I am leaning towards sculptural pieces made with wire and you will see more of these in the coming months.
The Wings of Love
This necklace was made from the wings of the Jewel Beetle. I've made jewellery from these before and found that a lot of people were squeamish to begin with - but once they got over the initial shock, the colours in those wings were enough to draw in the most resistant individual.
I sent for more wings and added a wire wrapped smoky quartz teardrop to the pendant, and on a chain at the back of the necklace.
I think this certainly qualifies to go into the Bling album, don't you??
The next necklace does too - the blues and silvers in Nocturne are evocative of moonlit nights on a beach, a light breeze in your hair, holding hands with your loved one.
Wire lace was applied to the two impression jasper connectors on either side, and I made all the connectors and bead caps myself. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to make as many elements of my jewellery as I can - in my opinion it elevates my jewellery from being merely beads strung onto wire to individual pieces of art which are definitely one of a kind, and can only rarely be replicated.
That's my lot for this week folks. It struck me that in November, it will be three years since Caprilicious Jewellery came into existence. I have enjoyed every moment of this journey, and must thank you all, my supporters, for it. I shall have to think of some way to mark the occasion, but in the meanwhile thanks for being by my side. Have a fantastic week and catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, and lovers of unusual handmade statement jewellery, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog this week. It is party time again - and of course as the days draw shorter and the weather gets colder, what we all want to do is cheer ourselves up, enough to be able to wait out the winter months until everything comes full circle and we can go out into the garden again.
I've been making evening wear most of last week - I had almost forgotten what fun it was to throw lashings of crystals and other shiny stuff together and see what occurs.
She was made with clear crystal teardrop beads, coated with an AB sheen - I thought I'd add a favourite colour - turquoise - to act as an accent, and I think any of you angels would look fabulous with it decorating your decolletage, the teardrops dripping into the neckline.
Malaika is one of the best known Swahili songs originating from Tanzania, sung here by 'Mama Africa' herself, Miriam Makeba.
I bought six strands of orange crystals last year, but when I got them out this week, I felt that perhaps the colour was too flashy. In an attempt to mitigate the psychedelic, sun-glasses requiring effect of the orange, I teamed them with a piece of labradorite. The labradorite was wrapped in wire to form a connector, and I made all the other bead caps and connectors myself - all except the toggle clasp - the necklace is long enough to slip over the head, but I added the clasp only to indicate how the necklace should be worn, for someone who isn't used to the asymmetry that has become the norm in pieces from Caprilicious.
This particular piece of labradorite is very flashy - if I aimed to dull the orange with it, perhaps it wasn't the best choice of stone - but I do think they go well together.
Nicole Hanna set us a challenge - she published a small part of one of her designs and asked us to take it as far as we could - we weren't allowed to change the 'ingredients'.
Here is a Pinterest album of the 50 pieces that went in, including mine. The one on the left is her piece, as she designed it, and the one on the right, Unfinished Symphony, is mine.
Nicole's pieces are all neat and tidy - I obviously like a few more curlicues and embellishments- they happened quite unconsciously as I allowed the wire to take shape and flow where it would.
Her piece is called 'The Evil Eye' and I suppose it does look rather wicked, mainly because of the 'eyebrow' which seems to be set in a scowly frown - mine is also an eye, but it is a benign eye, probably from a dancer at the Moulin Rouge, all wide eyed and high kicking, with false eyelashes and sequins - apologies if that sounds too fanciful to you.
I belong to a wire wrappers group on Facebook and they set a challenge to make a piece of jewellery using 12" of fairly thick wire, which can be difficult to manipulate, being quite stiff. I like to take part in these challenges - it shakes those grey cells out of their torpor - and this pendant is what I made...............
I tried to write 'Caprilicious' - but I'm not sure what to do about the pesky 'I' - but I will work it out one of the days.
See what I mean??
I went to 'Polydays', a polymer clay weekend a short while ago and learned a fabulous technique from Loretta Lam who makes the most interesting, one of a kind beads. The beads are reversible and having made one necklace for myself, I made a second one using the same technique. People love these beads - they've been telling me so all week - I wear my necklace all the time and love it. Here's the second Autumn Concerto. The beads are light, being made with an ultralight clay, and the two round beads on the end are actually hollow.
That's another week accounted for folks - thanks for stopping by - I see some new blog followers in the last few weeks - welcome to my new readers, it always gladdens my heart to see a new reader notification, otherwise I feel as if I'm burbling on to myself. I know more people read the blog than are subscribed - I'm not sure why this is - perhaps you are anxious about spam? It is easy enough to subscribe, all you have to do is click on the Bloglovin or Networked Blogs link on the sidebar and follow the instructions. I promise not to hand your email id out to scammers and spammers, honest, cross my heart and hope to die!
I am working at the day job this weekend, but if it isn't too busy, I shall put a few things in my kiln, unless Mike has other plans.
Have a fantastic week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers, and lovers of unusual statement jewellery everywhere, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog. A couple of weekends ago, I played with bronze clay and made a few bits and bobs that I loved so much, I wanted to use them straight away. I've written about Precious Metal Clay before and I have to say it is great fun to play with when it turns out right - I've had a few hit and miss results, but this time it was most definitely a 'hit'. These are the pieces that came out of the kiln and were shined up in a rotary tumbler. They acquire a heat patina which goes from silvery to copper in the same piece which is quite lovely.
The Spanish Sisters
I am so used to picking up a focal element and tailoring the piece of jewellery to it, that making a focal element seemed to be like designing the necklace backwards - for instance, how many holes did I want in each pendant? - would it be a pendant, or would I change my mind and regret putting in too many/too few connection holes? - I really found it hard to make a decision so early in the conception of a piece, but gave myself a brain ache and forced myself to make those decisions as I went along.
The Spanish sisters, Bonita, Rosita and Jovita came out all shiny and bright eyed and went into little necklaces.
The three girls look wide eyed and up for any kind of mischief, what with those flowers painted on their cheeks, and instinctively I put them into colourful pieces of jewellery. Now that the season for brown ( perhaps I should call it russet to make it sound better) is here, one needs to counteract the reduction in daylight hours, the cooler temperatures and rain/snow by wearing cheerful clothes and accessories - in my book, that's called making your own sunshine.
A fourth Spanish sister awaits my attention, but she has to wait till later. Instead, I turned my mind to wire wrapping a little face cabochon I made from the last bit of clay in the packet - I cannot waste even the tiniest scrap, I'm just made that way. I quickly pressed it into a mould I made some time ago - I made a Sleeping Goddess last year inspired by a sculpture in Angkor Wat, but this time, I made a smaller piece inspired by a Carnival Queen. Since I had named the Spanish sisters, I didn't want her to feel unloved, so I called her Marina, the Carnival Queen.
Hung on a leather necklace from a hidden bail, I am confident that Marina will be loved by her owner, she is rather pretty even though I say so myself.
The other pieces of bronze also went into necklaces and a pair of earrings, and I daresay the rest will follow in a couple of weeks.
Anatolia is the Asian part of Turkey, and was once called Asia Minor. The pendant from Afghanistan used in this necklace seemed to evoke the images of the belly dancers from Istanbul - the rustling bells in the fringe make a sound that is most definitely Eastern. The beads are made of polymer clay - the green ones were made to resemble Chevron Millefiori beads. The necklace would look great in the open neck of a white shirt, worn over blue jeans - a very stylish and effective though simple ensemble. Add hair gel, dark glasses and knee high boots and look like someone attending a film festival in Cannes! Equally wear it with an Eastern ensemble - this is definitely a piece of tribal fusion.
I have a new page 'Gifts' on the website which over time, I intend to fill with fairly inexpensive but pretty items of jewellery specifically meant for gifting away (or for yourself, if you have been good and feel you should keep it). Of course, a lot of the stuff on the 'Mini Statement' pages are priced so that they too could be gifted away - don't forget to look into those pages.
And, don't forget, I will be happy to gift wrap them and send them on to an address your choice if you require that service - make it easy on yourself.
Now that we can actually use the 'C' word, it is time to get ready for the holidays, and the most sensible thing to do, I find (in my rare moments of being sensible), is to spread out the buying of presents over a period of time so that the finances balance out. I'm certainly always broke come Christmas, and it is a real pain because I want to go to the sales on Boxing Day and bend that poor credit card entirely out of shape. Every year, I say I will be good and every year, I do it again - no more resolutions, I say, this time around.
I shall work on the Bling! section of the web over the next week or so, in time for the office parties. That's it for the week folks, catch you next Friday, same time, same place, have a lovely week in the meantime
Hello readers and lovers of statement jewellery everywhere, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog. Sun?? What is she talking about? I hear you ask - well, the UK has had the most beautiful September and we cannot believe that winter and Jack Frost will soon be here. But the real raison d'etre for the title is the solar quartz I recently acquired.
Solar Quartz is a slice of agatized stalactite, with mossy inclusions. It is usually pale grey or white, and can be dyed in brilliant colours. The radiating central core of the stalactite, with the mossy inclusions makes the cut section resemble a flower, or if you want to use your imagination a bit more, the sun. If you believe in the metaphysical qualities of gemstones, here's a little snippet for you...
These were the two pieces I got from a vendor in Jaipur - they were so irresistibly beautiful, I had to put them into a setting straight away. I used sterling silver wire for one of them, and copper for the other. They were quite hard to wrap, considering all the wavy edges I had to contend with, but a bit of perseverance, a lot of grunting and growling, muttering and mumbling, sweating and swearing, and hooray! two pendants appeared.
The quartz reminds me of a cocktail served at a restaurant I once went to in Drogheda, Ireland - it is called Paradise and contains light rum, Malibu, Blue Curacao, Pineapple juice and Grenadine. The way the liqueurs are layered makes the cocktail visually appealing though quite disgustingly sweet (that's just my opinion) - drink two of them and everything (one) becomes appealing!
I own one of these torq necklaces, and they are fabulous especially when travelling - one just needs to pack a bunch of pendants and there's an instant change of jewellery and a very contemporary necklace that no one else is likely to have.
These faux 'lapis' beads were made from polymer clay - with this necklace in mind. The pendants from Afghanistan are on the heavy side and when teamed with gemstone beads ( they aren't called 'stones' for nothing) the weight of the piece could become unwearable, especially with the larger slab nuggets I wanted to use.
I wasn't prepared for how beautiful the Afghani pendant and the 'lapis' nuggets would look when put together in a piece of jewellery - I was astounded and the only way to describe it was 'Lush' - hence it's name.
I made a trek up to the Cotswolds for a two day polymer clay workshop - this is the third year running that I have gone to it - we carry our own selection of tools, including pasta machines - everything but the kitchen sink, in the boots of our cars, and stay at hotels, pubs and B&Bs around Broadway. We were around 40 of us this year, who came and went over 3 days, and it was a lovely atmosphere of camaraderie and sharing of ideas and techniques.
We had teachers from France and the USA this year and although I didn't actually finish any of my pieces while I was there, (too busy gassing and looking around in awe at the other students - if one of my teachers from school was reading this, she'd ask 'what's new?' ) I came back home and was sufficiently enthused to complete the most colourful piece I had begun.
There is a second piece that I will probably finish this weekend - it is pale and contemporary and interestingly beautiful - but I plump for colour, every time!
The inspiration for the colours in the piece below came from this picture - Loretta Lam, our teacher, got us to mix the colours in the right proportions, and make the beads for the necklace out of Ultralight clay - which is just as well for such large beads which otherwise would have felt like the heavy bells around a cow's neck - I don't fancy making jewellery for the bovine!
This necklace has strong sculptural shapes and is hard work to make - the beads are first shaped and cured, then segments of veneer, made beforehand in the colours required, are applied piece by piece, and cured as they are applied one at a time - the beads spend almost a whole day in the oven being cured - and then of course they need to be sanded and buffed to a shine. The necklace is reversible and I love it for being so colourful and modern. I've even made a second one using some left over beads and veneers I transported home carefully between sheets of deli paper.
Challenge - Wire Bracelet
The challenge allowed us three beads and three pieces of wire, 10" long each, and an unspecified amount of fine wire or solder to bind them with. I used non tarnish enamelled copper and made this bracelet.
That's this week's shenanigans folks, have a good week and I'll 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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