Hello readers, how are you? I am writing to you from sunny Nice, the sun is shining here and all is well in this part of the world. We were here a couple of years ago, and I wrote about it then - you will find that post here, if you fancy a quick recap.
My lovely nephew just qualified as a dentist and this trip is a little treat from his aunt and uncle for having kept his nose to the grindstone for so many years. We are at Le Negresco on the Promenade des Anglais and have had a really fun time for the last few days. It will soon be time to return home, we go back to the UK in a couple of days, and he goes back to India with his mother, in time to start his first post as an intern.
We took a trip to Monte Carlo, and went to the Casino - fortunately, we got there at around midday, and were allowed to take photographs as the gambling only starts at 2pm after which photography is not allowed. I am not a gambler at heart, and that was fine by me, although I think the other members of the party would have been happy to chuck a few pennies at the tables - after all, the House always wins! I enjoyed the ambience, and took loads of photographs. One needs photo id and to pay 17Euros to be allowed in and once I'd paid up, I wandered around, clicking away happily.
We did all the usual things, walking into the old town, wandering the antique market, a drive to Eze, the little village outside Nice perched on a hillside, and walked miles and miles around the Côte d'Azur. I know I shall need another holiday to recover from this one and have taken the precaution of booking a couple of extra days off work when I get home.
I took some of my unisex jewellery out to Nice and got my nephew to model the pieces for me - I always think a live model is best, but unfortunately cannot always find one to wear my jewellery when I require it. I even tried it out in black and white - which ones do you prefer?
Have a lovely week, folks, I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello readers, tantarrararraaaa! I can finally unveil the silver earrings I made in my kiln - it took me ages to psych myself up into making them, and then I had to steel myself into soldering on jump rings so that I could hang them - but in the end, they are pretty, and I am pleased with them.
This was a song made popular at the time of the Second World War by Vera Lynn and Marlene Dietrich, although it was written well before this. It is a beautiful love poem set to music, sung here by June Tabor. I have always loved the song and as it will soon be Rememberance day, I decided to name the earrings after this haunting song.
The earrings are asymmetrical, held together by the floral motif and the orange Cubic Zirconia. Asymmetrical earrings, I am assured by the pundits from fashion glossies such as Vogue magazine are extremely 'in' now! - and anyway it is always nice to be a bit different, wouldn't you agree? Anyone and her grandma can wear ordinary, boring stuff.
Al - Kahina, or Dahlia
Al Kahina was a Berber warrior princess - she lived in the 600's AD and was a Byzantine Christian. She was tall and beautiful and charismatic, with long black hair, and huge dark eyes. She was wise beyond her years, and was probably the world's first feminist.
To her disgust, her given name was Dahlia - she didn't think that was a fitting name for a warrior princess at all. She hated her name so much that if there had been deed polls in those days, she'd have used one to change it. As it stood, she had to be more fierce than any man in her father's army and wore a permanent scowl, just to live down the dreadful shame of being named after a flower.
Legend would have it that when she was a young woman, a chieftain who wanted to marry her terrorized her tribe. He thought this was the way to woo this woman who had a reputation for being fierce. They clearly hadn't heard of candlelight and flowers in 600AD or maybe he thought they were inappropriate for her, who knows? Dahlia went into hiding for some time but eventually agreed to the marriage. On the wedding night, she slew her new husband by smashing his skull in with a club - she obviously didn't believe in amicable divorces.
That act set her on a path to ruling her clan and she consolidated all the major Berber tribes under a common purpose - driving out the invaders. She had of course learned her strategy from the success she achieved in dissolving her marriage - beat all invaders about the head with a club and they will disappear instantly!
I've recently been fascinated by arrowheads and I bought the pewter ones in this necklace around the same time. The Moroccan bead is from my little stash - I love the simple beauty of these beads. I thought Dahlia might have worn it as a novel way to store her arrowheads while she strode about the place, barking out orders to her men.
Shubha is a Sanskrit word that means auspicious. The tiny little talisman hollow box pendant from Afghanistan in this necklace combined with the turquoise nuggets and little Afghani coins is meant to confer luck on the wearer.
Argos was a hundred eyed giant from Greek mythology, who was set by the goddess Hera to guard what he thought was a sacred cow. The cow was actually Io, a nymph who had caught the roving eye of Hera's hubby Zeus. Hera, in a rage of jealousy had turned Io into a cud chewing bovine creature so that she could corralled in a field and her every movement watched by Argos' hundred eyes.
Zeus however, was determined to have his way and wasn't about to be thwarted by the fact that he was going to have to make love to a cow! He sent his son Hermes to sort Argos out so that he could get to her.
Hermes, who was probably the world's first anaesthetist, bored poor old Argos into falling asleep with the telling of stories - one by one his hundred eyes shut, and he began to snore. He was then easily beheaded and Zeus and the cow got it together.
Hera was most upset by the loss of her favourite giant, and set his eyes in the tail feathers of a peacock, so immortalising Argos and creating the beauty of this bird's tail. She also thought she'd teach Io a lesson and created a pesky gadfly to hang around the poor cow to bite her, irritating her for as long as she should live.
The polymer clay leaves in this necklace are in peacock colours - I've used them before in a bracelet, but this time, I anchored them down with slivers of golden coral and added gemstones and shiny fire polished beads to make a facsimile of a peacock's tail. The 'tail' sits close to the chest and will fill the neckline of a LBD, adding colour and cachet.
Icicles at Sunset
I fell in love with a string of delicately pale pink quartz beads at the bead show in Newbury a couple of years ago, but had no idea how I was going to use them until I happened upon this photograph of icicles at sunset recently.
I have a set of texture hammers, and when I'm feeling particularly tetchy, I hammer the hell out of some thick pieces of wire. When I'm finished, I feel so much better, and I have components that I can hold onto for when inspiration strikes, a win win situation.
That moment arrived somewhere in the middle of the week readers, and I now present the result - Icicles at Sunset.
I've decided that I shall have a little sale to try and create some space for new stock, and to give people a chance to get their gifts for Christmas in early. It will soon be Caprilicious' fourth birthday and I shall have to think of a way to celebrate that - any ideas??
That's it for this week folks, thanks for joining me. Have yourselves a fabulous weekend and I shall catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers, welcome back to the story of my week - this week was dominated by metal clay - I put my big girls pants on and strode out into a brave new world. Well, it wasn't quite that easy, being the cowering timorous beastie that I am - but almost. Why is it that when I am in a class, everything seems to be so easy? It all flows like clockwork and bish, bash, bosh, I'm looking at a lovely piece of jewellery. Once I get home, however, everything that can go wrong, does, and I am pulling my hair out in large chunks - I just hate this part of the learning curve and need to force myself to get on the ladder.
Anyway, there I was, a-shaking and a-quaking, but determined to do it. I mentally hitched my pants up high and dove into a new packet of silver clay, having drawn a little design onto a piece of paper. This gave me hives, right at the very start as I cannot draw a straight line with a ruler, but I carried on and eventually after a few false starts, I made what I thought would be a couple of pendants, but changed my mind halfway and turned them into asymmetrical earrings. I have wanted to try out this design format for a while and had a lot of fun playing with it. Eventually, on Sunday night they were almost done, but I was exhausted and didn't put them in the kiln for fear of making an error due to tiredness.
I learned the Bargello technique from Jana Roberts Benzon a couple of years ago and made this bead using the last pieces of material I made at the class. I simply put the bead away until I could make up my mind what I wanted to do with it. Put together with hand carved jade in a pale green, black engraved onyx with Chinese lettering and dragons picked out in gold, and a few African Baule lost wax beads, my Bargello bead assumed its rightful place in a beautiful fusion necklace.
Unisex Jewellery for Eco Warriors
I've always been fascinated by arrowheads, one of the most primitive implements made by man - the ones I acquired are a bit more contemporary, and chiselled from agate in shades of cream, beige and grey. I wrapped the arrowheads in copper wire which I then antiqued and polished and hung on a leather thong. I think they are suitable to be worn by both men and women and from these humble beginnings, I have a small range of unisex jewellery.
This Maori warrior face is hand carved bone, and came all the way from Indonesia from Indounik. I have had him for ages, and think he looks rather splendid wrapped in square copper wire which I twisted with a pin vise to give an interesting curly-haired look.
And finally, the metal clay pieces I crafted so carefully were ready to go into the kiln. I held my breath, put my big girls pants on and waited with bated breath till the kiln beeped at me - 'come and have a look, don't be such a scaredy cat', it said - and I did, and it was fine - phew! I thought, as long as I still had those pants on, I might as well try out a bit of soldering, and that worked as well - OMG! I will tumble and polish the earrings and have them on the website at the weekend, and on this page next week.
I shall go now and rest my weary head. The stresses and strains of the week have almost done me in, but I shall carry on with clay, now that I've been bitten well and truly by the bug.
That's it for the week folks, have a fab weekend, 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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