A worker may be the hammer's master, but the hammer still prevails. A tool knows exactly how it is meant to be handled, while the user of the tool can only have an approximate idea.
Hello readers, nice to catch up with you again. There are now about two and a half weeks to go till the Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall, and I approach it with mixed feelings. Excitement and a frenzy of preparation is combined with dread and anxiety. I think it is every makers secret fear that nobody will come, nobody will like their creations and that it will all be for nothing - indeed, less than nothing as there's been a load of cash spent on this venture. Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained! Let's go for broke, and all those other cliche's with which I have been fortifying myself.
I've found a fabulous helper to see me through the setting up of the stall - Gabby Armstrong is the daughter of one of the midwives at work. She has a degree in visual merchandising and works in retail for a clothing store in Coventry, arranging their displays. She dropped by to take a look at the jewellery, and is going to do me a visual story board. She has been to the show at Hampton Court on previous occasions and knows how it works, so that's an added bonus. Gabby was quite enthusiastic about my jewellery, and had a whole load of ideas to share. And bless her cotton socks, she has volunteered to meet us at Ragley Hall and help me set up - amazing luck that I happened to have a conversation with her mother and she mentioned what her daughter did for a living!!
I thought I'd show you some of my arsenal of tools - if you've seen them before or even used them, I apologise if you find this bit boring- just scroll down a bit further to get to the jewellery.
This one is called a Chain Sta' - I saw in a brochure from the USA, and found it so quirky, I sent off for it. The two arms come off and it lays flat (this is important for storage) - each arm has a clamp at the top, and a chain link bracelet or necklace becomes ever so easy to make. The horizontal bridge at the bottom has a ruler and ensures that beads can be added at regular intervals.
I make my beetle wing necklaces using this tool, without which the chain would twist and the jump rings attaching each wing to the chain would be all over the place. I'm sure one of these can be rigged up using an aubergine, two soda cans and a spear of asparagus, but hey, I like my tools and love ones that work even more.
The next one - a pair of ceramic tipped precision tweezers - it makes it easy to pick up and set little cubic zirconia into metal clay with these babies. If they were a bit longer they could have been used to stabilise solder when using a flame as the ceramic tips would be fine at high temperatures.
And finally this weeks purchase, the bracelet bender tool. I have been making bracelets with soutache and beadwork in leather, lined with ultrasuede. Between the leather and suede is a layer of aluminium to hold the shape of the cuff without adding any weight to the piece. The last load of aluminium blanks were imported already curved into cuffs from the USA and worked out to be very expensive. I've recently found a vendor in the UK who is prepared to cut sheets of aluminium to my specification which is so much cheaper, but the aluminium strips are sent out flat. I got this tool to bend the metal over and voila! a cuff bracelet blank. What a fun tool!!
These are some of the pieces I made this week - I have'nt put them on the website, but will do so if they remain unsold after the Handmade Fair.
Branches of bamboo coral and Moroccan silver beads - simple, but very exotic. I'm reading a book about Rumi the poet, and Shams of Tabriz, who by all accounts was a very charismatic man. I went on line to read a bit more about Tabriz and what an exotic place it sounds like. The Bazaar of Tabriz, an UNESCO site in particular, sounds fabulous - I thought the Kapali Carsi in Istanbul was beautiful, but this one sounds like it would be a closely run race. A charismatic necklace, for a charismatic woman, methinks.
Yin is the Chinese female principle of the universe, characterized as sustaining and associated with earth, shade, and coolness. I made this necklace with some of the beads I bought in the Chinese quarter in Kuala Lumpur. The beads are huge, about 3cms across and carved by hand. I teamed them with Greek beads from a holiday in Santorini - they are ceramic and heavily electroplated with gold and lustre, and strung them on a piece of Brazilian leather. I tied knots between the beads as spacers, but it looked wrong, so I undid the necklace and remade it without the knots. I added a handmade chain and clasp with an extension on the back so that the necklace can be worn fairly long if necessary.
I wanted to show off my new jewellery beetle wings, and do something very different with them - when combined with gaily dyed marabou feathers echoing the colours of the wings, they look very 'carnival'.
Here's the soutache and leather cuff for which I needed the aluminium insert mentioned earlier .
I spent all weekend making this flower from bronze clay and then wrought a clasp for the necklace, from a design by Kristine Schroeder. When I looked in my stash, this string of amethyst beads called to me and I accented them with a couple of carnelian beads and a pyrite bead.
So, as you see,I have been working hard this last couple of weeks to have enough stock for three days at a fair full of handmade enthusiasts. It is Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK and it will probably rain. Have a lovely week people, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello dear readers, how nice of you to stop by this week to take a peek into the goings on at Caprilicious. We've been hanging on to the lazy, crazy hazy days of summer by our fingernails as it is still warm enough to wear our summer clothes, and pretend that autumn is not just around the corner. We peer at the long term forecast worriedly, muttering to ourselves, and this year have been lucky to have fairly decent weather in September. I've even got the most beautiful double begonias flowering in a pot, providing a brilliant splash of colour in an otherwise dull corner of the garden.
However, I know this isn't going to last very much longer and our jumpers and cardigans will have to come out of the closet sooner or later.
This must have been deeply ingrained on my subconscious as all my jewellery had a floral theme this week. I am preparing a few simple, inexpensive necklaces to go into a couple of stalls I have agreed to set up at charitable events in October and November. They aren't on the website and will only go on should they remain unsold at the end of November.
Daisy, a necklace with four pretty jade flowers and black glazed terracotta beads, was born as I rummaged around in my stash. A pair of jade and onyx earrings with pyrite teardrops dangling from them add a fabulous finishing touch.
This is my last turquoise clasp - I've been hoarding it for three years and finally decided to let it go. The pearls are cultured in fresh water and once I started on the necklace, the tiny daisies jumped out of my findings basket onto my work surface and demanded to be used. So, here we have a very sophisticated pearl necklace, with a whimsical touch - I love it!!
So there we have it folks - my subconscious is obviously desperate to hold on to the last vestiges of summer, and has pushed Ms Muse in the direction of florals all week. That's me done for now, have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers, and a very happy Friday to you.
Have you ever played those games on Facebook - you know the ones that ask 'Which Cocktail are you?' 'Which Colour are You?' 'What does your Name say about You?' 'What Flower are You' and even more ludicrous, 'Who were You in a Former Life? '!!!
I have often wondered what makes people I have previously regarded as fairly sane play these games - and having played them be crazy enough to admit that they have actually wasted so many precious moments of their life on drivel. Perhaps they ought to see a psychiatrist and be told what they seem to be desparate to know - "you are crazy, Toc ! Toc ! Toc !."
We all live slightly schizophrenic lives, me more than most, and these days I'm beginning to wonder whether I ought to consult an Oracle of sorts, or even a shrink - I suppose a prerequisite of trying to find out about the future should be a baseline measurement of who or what you are at that very moment. The problem with that is I'm a bit afraid of the final answer.
So, here I am, born in the UK, brought up in India, having now spent nigh on thirty years of my adult life in the UK, married to an Englishman, and a gynaecologist and obstetrician who designs and makes jewellery. I have done my utmost to integrate into the community in which I live, but have not lost that core of my being from whence I came. (from whence I came? who talks like that?)
And now I have got involved in making Soutache jewellery which is mainly an Eastern European specialty, although it's concoction is originally attributed to an Israeli, Dori Csengeri. It is a fairly recent art form and new techniques are evolving all the time and while this is happening, I am really enjoying the ability to inject colour and movement to my jewelery.
Anyway, enough about the crazies, here's the piece I made this week.....
This is one of my favourite old black and white movies about Norma Desmond, an aging drama queen from the silent movie era who's career is over though she refuses to accept it. This piece is for drama queens everywhere, who enjoy a touch of the theatrical and revel in being highly visible. I can imagine Norma standing at the foot of that beautiful staircase, wearing this necklace.
I think the amethyst slabs set the pendant off beautifully, don't you?
I sent a couple of pieces of jewellery to a lady who was buying them as a gift and as I was writing this, I had an email from her - I thought it was worth sharing on this page. When people are so fulsome in their praise, it really makes my day.
That's me for this week, folks. Thanks for coming back and spending some time with me. Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
It's Friday, and we meet again. Hello, readers, I am so glad to see you. This has been a busy week at the day job and consequently I am tired and exhausted at the end of it. The weather is slowly warming up and I spent a bit of time in the garden, weeding and clearing out the detritus from the winter and feeding my plants. People who aren't used to seasonal changes in the garden cannot understand how miraculous the regeneration of the garden feels like in the spring and how much it uplifts you. I thank goodness for my garden and Caprilicious this week - they are a balm for my soul.
As it gets dark later and later on in the day, it is wonderful to be able to sit out in the garden with a cup of tea and watch the cats (yes, they are now just over one year old now and not kittens anymore) play in the greenery that is only just breaking free of the ground. Once it gets too cool for that, we go indoors and then I get to play with my beads and wire while Mike idly flicks through the channels looking for something on the TV to round off the day. I am completely addicted to these two entities that keep me sane and punctuate my day with pleasurable moments that make it all worthwhile.
I fell in love with all things Moroccan a long time ago and even made an effort to import one of these tiled Moroccan Zellige fountains for my garden. Unfortunately, the deal fell through. Oh well, it was simply not to be - but isn't it ever so pretty?? It has a tap in the mosaic wall from which water pours into the trough below and is recycled by a pump - not good if you have bladder problems, which, fortunately, isn't a worry, for the moment anyway!
The beauty of the distinctive pink walls of Marrakesh which are made of a red clay and chalk is the inspiration for this necklace. The slab nuggets of quartz have been electroplated with titanium and a couple of gaily enamelled Berber beads are accents that are reminiscent of a Bedouin tent.
A tassel from Istanbul with an opulent bead cap, decorated with Hamsa hands and cubic zirconia arrived last week and went straight into a necklace of amethyst beads. The pendant calls forth memories of beautiful Byzantine architecture conjuring up the Aya Sophia on the banks of the Bosphorus. I attempted to get the necklace to match the opulence of the pendant, using pyrite, shiny crystals and a couple of bronze clay beads I made in my kiln, as well as a baroque crystal dangling from a chain at the back. Tassel necklaces are extremely fashionable at the moment and never let it be said that Caprilicious hasn't got its finger on the pulse. The gemstone beads in the necklace are pretty too and are in the colour I call 'Iced amethyst crush' rather than the usual deep purple that is the norm.
Steel and Rust
I bought the stripy lucite focal bead in India a couple of years ago and had it stashed away. I brought it out and fondled it regularly like a worry bead, without any idea what to do with it - just knowing that it was pretty was enough for the time being.
And then, I set eyes on this picture - a picture of rust growing on a steel door and that was it, like a thunderclap, I suddenly knew what to do with it. The fabulousness of the mouldable colour of polymer clay swung into action and I made the beads in order to create this necklace in the colours of Steel and Rust.
Birds Do It, Bees Do It.......
This lampwork glass bead is almost translucent. Heart-shaped, with a sprig of blue flowers on it, and wrapped in about twenty-five feet of wire it makes a very pretty addition to the series.
That's me for this week, folks. I did start a wire dragonfly, but I soon realised that it was going badly when it began to resemble a cow, with wonky wings at that. Note to self: Don't try to make anything when mentally exhausted. It only turns into a mangled lump of rubbish. I have had to cut it up and rescue the bead, which was rather pretty. The wire went into the bin.
Thanks for dropping by, it means a lot. Have a lovely week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers and lovers of statement jewellery, thanks for joining me this week. If this is your first read, welcome - if it isn't and you are a regular reader, may I request you to please support the blog by following it on Bloglovin or Networked Blogs - the link is in the sidebar. Do also take a moment to leave me a comment - it's nice to know I'm not talking into thin air and there's someone in the ether out there, actually looking at my work.
I put all the polymer clay beads I made over the last week, using various faux effects together, and I found that I had filled the lid of a shoebox - rather a lot of beads! I did so enjoy making them though - a week away from the day job just passed by in a gentle haze. And yet, I felt compelled to make even more, trying out techniques and tutorials I have been collecting on my Pinterest boards for ages and haven't had the time to try.
I once saw some glass drawbench drizzle beads on a website and loved the look of them so much, that I decided to try and replicate them in polymer clay. Researching how to do this drew a blank, so I decided to give it a go myself.
I photographed the process as I went along, and by the end, I had a mini tutorial for anyone who might want to follow in my footsteps and also as an aide-memoire - these beads are so pretty, I will most definitely make them again.
I know it is a very simple tutorial and describes a technique that most polymeristas can carry out with their eyes shut, but I would have given a lot to find something like it when I first started and is aimed at beginners.
The week went by in a truly Caprilicious manner. One minute I was making a sweet and serene necklace and the next time I looked in the mirror, there was a riot around my neck!
Coin pearls, and gemstone beads in shades of blue went into this necklace inspired by the bright blue of the sky. I made this necklace long but added a Mabe pearl clasp, so that it could be doubled up into two rows if necessary.
Holi is the Indian festival of colour, marking spring. People buy coloured pigments and a free-for-all carnival of colours ensues, where participants chase and colour each other with dry powder and coloured water. There is music and laughter and everyone has a riot of a time. They end the day looking terribly bedraggled - well, everyone knows that if you mix more than three colours together, you get a muddy brown - but by then, nobody seems to care a jot.
This necklace is a riot of colour, with the bright red of the coral and the colourful cat's eye beads. The cat's eyes have a fibre-optic element embedded into them and they catch the light to provide that extra glint. The colours of the cat's eyes match the colours in the brightly enamelled Moroccan bead which is the focal point of this piece.
Shibori is a Japanese tie-dye technique. This next piece was inspired by a Shibori scarf I saw on Pinterest and an orange and grey gown I saw on someone's Facebook page. I remembered the beautiful carnelian slab nuggets I've had in my stash for ages - they are waxy and in a delicately shaded orange. They are a perfect match for a string of rutilated quartz beads. I would wear this necklace of an evening and feel very sophisticated in it, indeed!
Every time I walked past my shoebox lid full of beads, the faux drawbench beads called out to me. I couldn't resist them anymore and teamed them with a couple of nuggets of coral - red, black and silver is always irresistible, see for yourself. We were re-watching Some Like it Hot and Running Wild was the song that was being played as I put the necklace together.
The Peacock in Park
One of my favourites, the peacock is such a beautiful, irresistible bird. I sat down to make this wire torque, and it took me simply ages to decide how to finish it - and it took a week to make. This is probably one of the most labour intensive pieces I have made and I will almost certainly never be able to remake it.
A swirly wrap of both sterling silver and fine silver around a pleasingly hefty ombré chunk of amethyst with a little pewter dragonfly wired onto it was then hung on a lilac organza ribbon. Fine silver is tarnish proof because it is an alloy of silver and germanium, rather than silver and copper, which is sterling silver. It is the copper content of sterling silver or 0.925% silver that causes it to tarnish by being oxidised. Fine silver is also easy to manipulate and doesn't break - a pleasure to work with especially in the higher gauges of weaving wire.
The tracks made by the sterling silver over the amethyst describe the flight path of the little dragonfly wired onto the pendant.
And last, but not least.................. drumroll.........
I brought these little beauties back from my holiday in India - they are little carnelian and amethyst briolettes, and they took simply ages to string. I made the necklace one string a day until all the beads were used up - and then I didn't like what I had made so I restrung them three times until I was finally satisfied.
Well, readers, you can see that I have been having a lot of fun in my time off from the day job. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and so it came to pass that I had to go back to work on Wednesday. Oh well, it was great while it lasted and I feel refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to face any curveballs that come my way.
That's it for this week, have a lovely week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Welcome, readers, to the Friday Caprilicious Blog, where I diarise my romance with statement jewellery. To me, it is not enough to make jewellery - that would make me merely a technician - I want to design, make as many of the components as I can myself, weave a story around the finished piece, and produce a degree of romance, which engulfs the wearer of jewellery by Caprilicious. I know that some people conceptualise their jewellery and send their drawings away to artisans to have them made up - but oh no, that's not for me, I like to do all the making myself.
Romance is at the essence of every piece of my jewellery, be it from me falling in love with the stone or beads, and telling you a tale to make you love it enough to want it, or even each time you pick it up out of the box with a smile on your face and wear it to embellish your beautiful self.
Rose tinted spectacles?? Yes, my muse has them on this week - I have been reading By Grand Central Station I sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart - I read a review on the dust jacket that said the book was like Madame Bovary on speed - I felt like I was walking through a thick fog, my feet mired in the swampy syrup of love - this is not me at my most pragmatic, normal self, and I am sure the effects will wear off by next week. Why was I reading the book?? I've no idea, it just seemed like a good idea at the time.
But, while I felt this way, my muse has been infected by the virus of romance and these are the results ..................
"Kashmiri Song" is a song by Amy Woodforde-Finden based on a poem by Laurence Hope.
Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar,
and it ends, all romantically morbid, and lovesick ( I assume this chap is still talking to the 'Pale Hands')..........................
I would have rather felt you round my throat,
This was a poem/song written in 1901, and you can just imagine the gentleman pining for his lover, who by all accounts seems to be a bit of a goer - leading men down 'Raptures roadway' before discarding them and moving on quickly to her next victim. This necklace, named after the Shalimar gardens, built in Kashmir by the Mughal emperor Jehangir for his wife Nur Jahan, was made for such a mood - romantic and seductive, worn at night to bring a glow to the complexion.
The mother of pearl pendants and little amethyst nuggets complement each other and convey romantic wistfulness to the observer.
For some reason, my muse has decided to go festive this week - perhaps she senses the 'C' word - yes, there are only 103 days left........bring on party time!! Opalite beads glowing gently are teamed up with clear crystal, coated with an Aurora Borealis sheen to make another pretty and romantic necklace.
I recently picked up some beautiful agate cabochons - the depth of colour in these stones is amazing - they are a deep purple, with veins of orange and blue, and I fell in love with them instantly. I wrapped each one in miles of copper wire, two of them went on organza ribbons, and the other two into necklaces. Although all four of the stones are cut from the same rock, I gave each of them their own treatment, taking into consideration their shapes and the pattern on their faces. Handmade lampwork beads in a deep shade of crimson complemented the colour of the stones.
At this point, I decided that I had had an overdose of romance - so I put my foot down with a firm hand and gently led my muse away, before she made a complete fool of herself, the soppy thing!
My little kittens are very keen to help in my jewellery making - they especially love wire, and their teeth are so sharp, I could probably use them as wire snips if I ever ran out, provided I could train the cats to cut the wire where I needed them to. They also have a very short attention span and fall asleep on my bead tray while I am working, so it is a wonder that I have actually produced anything at all.
The Promise of Autumn
The lampwork beads in this pendant are handmade and came from a stall at the Newmarket Bead fair - I went there last year with my friend BN and found these really pretty handmade beads. The beads are in a pretty green, with a stripe of red/orange and yellow running through the centre. The design is by Nicole Hanna and meant for earrings, but I felt that the piece was too heavy for earrings so converted it into a pendant.
Heavy Earrings and how to Wear Them
This is for people who feel they cannot wear earrings because their earlobes are too fragile, or torn from many years of ear lobe abuse - yes, there are many of us around, missing out on the old danglers - well, now, here's help - there is a product called Lobe Repair - a tiny skin coloured adhesive patch you put on the back of the ear lobe and pierce with the stalk of your earrings or ear wires. I have tried it and it does work, provided you do not wear the earrings for too long - just enough to party for a few hours, perhaps. They aren't very expensive and are invisible, if anyone wants to give them a go. I have ordered some and if anyone wants a few to try, do let me know.
This is along the same principles as the Indian chains used to hold a heavy earring up into the hair or even around the ear. These perform a dual function in being ornamental as well as suspensory, but obviously cannot be used with contemporary styles or ear wires.
So, there you are, Cinderella shall go to the ball in her beautiful danglers!
That's all I have for you this week, catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, thanks for stopping by - it is a great pleasure to meet up with you again, albeit virtually.
It gives me a great thrill to announce today that I have a new collection - a 'Luxe' collection for you, made using silver pendants I have sourced on my travels, and semi precious gemstone beads. I did a lot of shopping for Caprilicious from the earnings of my first ever exhibition in January, and it has taken me a couple of months to work away at them patiently, so that I would have a coherent body of work to display on the website.
I strive to keep my jewellery interesting, one of a kind, and affordable - the 'Luxe' range will perforce have to be at the higher end of 'affordable' - but I promise to always do my best by you, my Caprilicious ladies.
It is my birthday this weekend, and I decided that this date would be the deadline ( I like working to a deadline - although I'm usually late! ) to place before you...... (drumroll) the Silver Seduction page on the Caprilicious website.
I play this piece of music for you for no reason - other than because I love Django Reinhardt and Stephan Grapelli - they are fabulous together and this swing interpretation of J'attendrai is something else - enjoy it while you read on.
J'attendrai translated means I will wait - as do I, with bated breath to see how my Luxe collection will be received by you, my readers. I love to hear from you, so do drop me a line in the comments section and tell me what you think.
This is a sneak peek at some of the stuff I will have up on the website tomorrow...............................
There will be lots of pictures on the Caprilicious Facebook page and of course, on the website page, Silver Seduction. Mike is taking me on a short mystery theatre break to London for my birthday (I just happen to have seen the tickets as I know all his hiding places - but we wont tell him) so I will be posting these on the website a day earlier than I originally announced - on the 29th of March, before we take the train down.
That's it for today - have a great week, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello all, I hope you have all had a good week and beat the pre Christmas anxiety bug by getting it all ready beforehand. If you haven't, don't forget, Caprilicious offers a free gift wrap service and your gifts can be sent straight out to your friends from here.
Last week was all about bracelets - Neelam Modi, of Look in the Bag kick started this orgy of bracelet making by buying one that I had tucked away somewhere, and almost forgotten about. She sent me this lovely collage, and I decided straight away that I ought to make some more in a similar style, it looked so good on her (she is a graphic designer who conjures up the most beautiful silk scarves with her own designs on them, paired with a little piece of jewellery, all presented in a bag that can be used as an accessory, as well as packaging for the scarf - what a fab gift idea).
So I looked around for stuff I could incorporate into this sort of bracelet, and here's what i came up with. The first one is a blue agate geode - not dissimilar to the one on Neelam's wrist - except that one was green. I also used an amethyst flower, and a bronzite flower that I got off my friend BN, in a bead swap. I sat in front of the telly the whole week making nets out of wire - I hope you think all that effort wasn't wasted.
Then, I had a phone call from my sister in law who suggested I make some more bracelets in the Chinese Whispers mode - out came the polymer clay and these rolled off the table a few hours later.....
Sisters go to Tea
I played with the face cane, made a week ago and under instruction from Alice Stroppel, I manipulated the cane so I got three different faces from the same cane - I wouldn't say these ladies are beauties - not by a long chalk, but their faces have character ( is that one way of saying they look like old boots!) and they look like they are related to one another - so, 'Sisters go to Tea' was the title of this little offering - since I still have some face cane left, there may be a 'Sisters...' series forthcoming. I think the bracelet is whimsical and fun, and my sense of humour ensures that I will wear it - what do you think? - do you think it's a fun bracelet or do you prefer you jewellery to be more ornate and conventional/sedate?? I think there's a place for both kinds.
For some reason, I was a busy little bee and felt like making a few more pieces - every time I took a break from the wire netting, I made a necklace!
Kyanite and opalite in different shapes and sizes carry the last of my leaf skeletons. Dyed red and blue jade teardrops were added to the leaf with a wire flourish. I love kyanite, which resembles shards of blue cracked ice, with a shimmer deep inside the stone. The molecules are arranged in sheets or layers, which give the stone it's distinctive shimmer - to me it resembles a mirage.
The main colour in the Majorelle gardens in Marrakesh is a cobalt blue, which is vivid and cheerful. At the entrance however, as if the architect wanted to ease you into the brightness, is a restful pond in a very different shade of blue. I named this necklace after the gardens, the blue chalcedony in it is such a restful colour. The yellow agate and creamy jasper provide a calm counterpoint. I know these colours are very summery - but the very drabness of winter makes me want to create in Technicolour - and these days people follow the sun for holidays, so there's no such thing as a seasonally inappropriate colour.
A song from my youth - Rose Garden!
I made some roses for the Caprilicious birthday giveaway a couple of weeks ago - and I made these two fairly robust, so that they could be used in a necklace - much like the wedding garlands worn by the main protagonists in Indian weddings. Along with an Afghani pendant, the necklace looked pretty festive - I test drove it one evening, to rave reviews!
I love that I made almost all the elements myself - in fact all the elements except the pendant and the crystal beads and clasp.
This weekend, I will bring out the tree, and put up all my decorations, get all my presents wrapped up and ready to go, and work at the day job - HELP! At least I've posted off my Christmas cards, so there's one thing crossed off the list.
Have a good weekend, and I'll 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.
'Clasp my love around your neck,The windows in our house and light playing on the carpet
Wear my heart on your finger.
My soul will be your pendant:
I live to adorn you -
You're the precious one'.
~ Grey Livingston, Genuine Adoration.
I found this poem quoted by various people on one of my random browsing sessions - but cannot for the life of me find out who Grey Livingston is - even Google doesn't know! If you are a reader of poetry and know, please drop me a line.
Will the real Grey Livingston stand up and take a bow, please.
Well hello, readers, how have you been? It has been a good week here in sunny Warwickshire, at work, in the garden and making some fun pieces of jewellery.
Stained glass has long been a favourite in our house, and we have had a couple of window panes replaced with a Frank Lloyd Wright design. Mike and I often watch the colours from the window inch across the floor on sunshiny days.
I have been trying out a new technique, and am having so much fun, I don't want to stop. I once bought a pair of earrings from a little boutique in Stratford on Avon, and always wanted to learn how to make them - and now I have. It is liquid resin painted onto a metal frame, and a bit fiddly, but with fabulous results. The transparent resin lets the light through like stained glass, but of course, the pieces are very light, and suitable for earrings. I think they might just be a bit too fragile for heavier wear in necklaces etc. There is also an opaque resin, which is meant to give a porcelain effect. Have a look at the earrings made using wire shaped into dragonflies, butterflies and flowers - they are so very pretty .
These flowers are more robust than 'the real thing' and have allowed me to manipulate the wire underneath into various shapes after the resin was applied and dried. However, they are made with a thin film of resin suspended over a wire frame, and will need to be treated with a degree of delicacy. They are so pretty, I hope people will find it worth their while to look after them.
This piece is made from a dendritic opal pendant and aquamarine nuggets offset by baroque pearls, blue agate, and silver crystals.
The prosaic explanation for a sea breeze is that the warm air overland rises in the daytime, and is replaced by the cooler air from over the sea - well, what a killjoy explanation that is!
When I imagine a sea breeze, it is something light and frothy, bringing the scent of the sea, and a taste of salt to the lips, fluttering white clothes, and flying hair, walking hand in hand on a beach, with perhaps a little dog running on ahead - am I a romantic at heart?? or have too many romantic movies addled my brain - you might think so; I couldn't possibly comment. I grew up loving books like Summer of '42 by Herman Raucher, and perhaps this has coloured my rose tinted spectacles a deeper shade of pink!
Dendritic opal is not really an opal, as it has no shimmer to it. The manganese oxide which is the black part of the stone is an excellent balance to the white. The stone is popular because of the black and white contrasting colours that go with many outfits and other gemstones, and the patterns are amazing and strikingly realistic. 'Dendritic' refers to the tree or fern like patterns in the stone. This pendant is set in sterling silver, with pale blue aquamarines, and I loved the contrast between the milky white opaque 'opal' and the transparent aquamarines that look like droplets of water.
Thank you very much, thank you very very very very much....
This necklace was bought as a birthday gift for her friend by one of my customers - both she and her friend were pleased with the service they received from Caprilicious - its nice to get thank you notes, and for both the customer and her friend to 'love love love' it.
I love free form nuggets - all the little shapes and sizes mean that somebody hasn't tried to tame the wildness of nature. Druzy and geodes appeal to me similarly - I don't believe that everything must be cut and trimmed into shape by human hands, which is what we tend to do to give us that feeling of superiority - we ought to be able to revel in natural beauty. These amethyst nuggets reminded me of little grapes, so I hung a bunch of green Czech teardrops in front of the leaf skeleton, and named it after my favourite wine.
This beautiful pendant deserved a beautiful necklace to go with it - three strands of blue gold stone beads were press ganged into action - coral and turquoise accents tied them in with the blues and reds in the pendant.
Blue gold stone looks black at first sight, but in the light, it is actually a dark navy, with little glints of gold deep inside. The gold glints are from copper particles in the stone, and are very pretty.
The word Maya comes from Sanskrit and means magic, illusion or deception, a veil draped over the eyes of the beholder so that they are unable to perceive the truth. The gold stone beads certainly deceived me - I bought them thinking they were black! but on reflection, I like the deep blue just as well, or even better - and the flash of gold is fabulous - here's one time an illusion has served me well!
For readers in the UAE, pieces of jewellery from Caprilicious are being sold online and in store by Farhat Khan of Ehtnic Couture - contact her here https://www.facebook.com/writetofarhat to find her in Abu Dhabi.
That's it for this week folks, catch you next week, same time, same place. UK readers will definitely have a fabulous weekend - according to the weatherman, the summer is finally here - probably for all of four days. Enjoy, and I will catch up with you later
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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