Hello folks, and how are you today?? I am so glad you stopped by to take a look at the goings on at Caprilicious. This week I've been busy with an old friend who visited me from India with her daughters. Most of the week was taken up with entertaining them and I didn't have too much time to spend with my beads.
Before they arrived, Mike and I went to a jazz evening at Kilworth House, a stately home converted into a hotel not far from us in Leicestershire, and as usual I took the opportunity to wear Caprilicious. Pearl Hibiscus, one of my favourite pieces went down a treat, I think. I love wearing my own jewellery - it is one of the perks of the job!
I thought I'd try to make a piece of jewellery with a colourful dyed howlite donut - the plan was to incorporate wire into the design, but halfway through, my design consultant (Mike) said he didn't like it so I ripped the wire out and started again. Ideally I wanted the central hole in the donut to be visible and edged with wire lace, but eventually ended up filling it with a blister pearl once I agreed with Mike that the wire work wasn't working. My friend suggested I used crystals in the final necklace and this is the collaborative effort I eventually came up with.
I think the piece came good and looks vibrant and interesting. The name Caribbean Queen came flying out of the ether and attached itself firmly to the necklace.
We went for a walk around Warwick castle. In their peacock garden, we found.....peacocks! surprise, surprise! They were in full mating mode and all of them fanning their tails and doing their mating dance to try and attract the couple of drab peahens that didn't seem to care, paying the tourists more attention than their prospective boyfriends. If only it worked that way in the human world! I've never been so up close and personal to a peacock - they are ever so beautiful.
The peacock is my favourite bird and those who know Caprilicious know that I have made loads of peacock related pieces of jewellery - that plumage is to die for and it seems unfair that so much beauty should be concentrated in one creature.
That's a wrap for this week, folks. I'm working at the day job all weekend and hope that it will be quiet enough to play with my beads and clay. If the weather heats up of course, the garden beckons and there's plenty to do in it before summer hits us. Have a fabulous weekend and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hiya readers, how nice to find you here again. I have finally recovered from the Artisan Fair at The Old Slaughterhouse and thought I'd tell you all about it.
I thought it was time to give Caprilicious some more exposure in the UK - hand out a few business cards, a bit of banter with a few new customers, and a chance to do something different and step out of the comfort zone of the anonymity of the website - that was the aim of the exercise.
The day dawned cold, raining hard, with gusts of wind at 23 miles/hour. However, I am made of stern stuff, and once committed to something, will make a valiant attempt to see it through. My friend had come up from Cambridge the night before, and we made up a picnic basket with ham sandwiches, boiled eggs, crisps, and cans of pop, and by God we were going to have that picnic, even if it was more than slightly soggy.
Wrapped up like Eskimo mummies in fleece lined Ugg boots, many layers of clothing, scarves, wrist warmers and mittens, we resembled Michelin men bouncing off one another in the tiny marquee - and thank goodness we took these precautions as the temperature in the 'heated' marquee was abysmal on the first day. They had a few electric heaters that kept cutting out, and within a few hours we were frozen to the marrow and my poor hands were turning into claws worthy of the metal birds on the stall to my right! The ambient temperature was 4 degrees C, but with the 23 mph gusts of wind, it felt more like minus 4! I thought I could hear Mike muttering 'another fine mess.....', but no, he manfully helped me set up, and then went off for a brisk walk to warm up, pouncing on unwary people innocently wandering around Stratford town, handing out leaflets advertising the artisan market.
Next to my little stall was a tiny woman, all of 4'6", who made metal sculptures of animals. She had about six pieces on display, and she said she didn't expect to sell anything. She sat there, smiling serenely, attracting a lot of attention - her birds were beautiful, although the two large hares in her display looked extremely malevolent and had scrawny necks, as if they had been wrung in preparation for the pot. Each hare cost £2000 and she said she mainly sold her stuff through galleries, and was only there because she had a commission from the Old Slaughterhouse to make them a life sized metal cow.
Then there was the chap who had brought his girlfriends wares to the market as she was unwell - she makes mixed media figurines with lace and fabric soaked in an acrylic medium. The fabric is draped into position and fashioned into angel's wings, headgear and clothing for various figurines. When the acrylic medium dries, it goes stiff in the position in which it is placed. The figurines were elongated which gave them a look as if they had been tortured on a rack and consequently a bit of a tormented, lugubrious air, but he was a hardy soul - he remained standing for the whole of the two days, and stayed reasonably cheerful even though he made very few sales.
To my left was Anya, a painter who makes fantasy paintings from pictures of her holidays and sells signed and framed giclee prints. She went to great lengths to tell me haughtily that she didn't do fairs really, only sold at galleries, but she just thought she'd come along to this one. I of course, was suitably humble as befitted someone who was a new entrant into the artisan market enterprise and metaphorically kissed the hem of her jeans. Her son was a lovely young lad, and by the end of the second day, we were chatting away like good friends.
Anya's prints are very colourful and a bit Lomoish and if I had any space left on my walls, I might have considered buying one. I have linked the picture to her website in case you want to see more of her work.
There was also a lady who made pretty pots and another who had paper lanterns, a woman who sold knitted necklaces made of T shirt fabric, a photographer of landscapes, and an art gallery that was exhibiting a medley of wares with a bunch of stuff that seemed to have no connection to one another - possibly because they were all by different artists, in varying media!
It was cold, readers, it was very, very cold, and just when it felt like I was going to pass out, a bunch of musicians arrived to play Christmas carols. They started off well, until a flautist joined them, and then everything went to pot. The flute and the violin fell out with one another, and the sounds the violin made were approximately two and a half notes (and three beats) behind the flute. One of the ladies in the marquee took both her hearing aids out with a flourish, my friend went off for a long walk into Stratford town, Mike went out for a cuppa, and I collapsed in a fit of hysterical silent laughter behind my display.
My cats could have put on a more creditable performance and indeed, they do from time to time, just not to the putative tune of Good King Wenceslas. The poor deluded band leader had a smile plastered on his face, ( I wondered whether he had turned his hearing aid off too) and when they had finished (Hallelujah!) he asked if they could all have a coffee and a free mince pie, and off they toddled to receive their wages of sin.
I sold quite a few bits and bobs, chatted to a whole load of folks, handed out business cards and helped a lot of people chose Christmas presents for their loved ones. I met a Jesus lookalike in a beret, who was originally from Melbourne. He bought a pendant from me after asking for a long explanation as to how exactly it was made. By the time I'd finished my potted tutorial, he could have probably gone home and made one himself!
I asked him who it was for and he told me that he was separated and dating again. He was buying the pendant just in case he got lucky this Christmas. "Who knows??" he said, hopefully. I added a beautiful Indian cloth bag with a gold paisley border so that he wouldn't need to spend any time searching out festive packaging and could concentrate all his energies into finding and wooing a lady friend. He was a nice chap, and I wish him all the best in his endeavours.
Day two was much better, the heating had been sorted out, the wind that howled around the marquee threatening to lift it off it's moorings had died down, and we could even take some of our swaddling clothes off.
We had had to pack everything away overnight and put it all back up again, which wasn't much fun as I had loads of earrings to set out, but it was all done in record time and I was good to go by eleven o'clock. I sold a couple of pairs of earrings in the first ten minutes, so it was worth the effort.
The flautist returned, this time sans flute, but with a harp and gave a good account of herself, and even better the violinist stayed completely shtum while she played.
All too soon, it was time to pack up and I realised that I had quite enjoyed myself, despite the cold and the caterwauling. I had to get ready to go back to work on Monday morning, to a two hour IT training session first thing and I was exhausted and slumped in front of the TV every evening for most of the week.
Since then, a couple of people who bought jewellery from Caprilicious have emailed me to say that they had originally meant the pieces to be presents, but had decided to keep them for themselves as they had fallen in love with the jewellery, which is nice to hear.
I should have done a craft fair earlier on in the year, well before Christmas. Indeed, I did book a show in Leamington Spa with IK Events - the lady who ran the event company, Isobel Newport, disappeared with the money we paid her and closed her company. I now find that she has set up yet another company to run a carnival in Worcester in 2016 - if she repeats her performance with IK Events in her new venture, I predict egg on a lot of faces in the Worcestershire region. Anyway, that's another story.
This is the only piece I made this week - I called it Purple Reign after the amethyst beads, and the purple Czech glass rectangular beads. The electroplated quartz needles are a dull gold, so the whole piece has a muted bling factor, rather than being 'in your face'. Garnets and paler amethyst beads give the necklace added interest and the pendant is a hand carved black jade Buddha - he was once a prince called Siddhartha, who renounced all his worldly goods to seek Nirvana.
A handmade chain with a hook clasp means that the necklace can be adjusted into the neckline, and has a leeway of about four inches. Wear it long or closer to the neck, this one's a goodun - I know many a lady who will look fabulous in it.
That's it for this week folks. I need to wrap all my Christmas presents this weekend - I've been too busy with the show to do any of it apart from the little tree we have up in our porch - I do like to make an effort, albeit small. Mince pies need to be baked (Oh, the calories, groan!!) and I still have to unpack the boxes from the fair. Oh well, it ought to keep me out of mischief for one weekend at least!
Catch you next Friday, same time, same place. have a wonderful pre Christmas week
Hello readers, and lovers of unusual handmade statement jewellery, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog this week. All of last week I was blinging up my shelves in preparation for the party season and this week I decided to make the last one for a while - overdosing on bling isn't good for the eyes!
Tyrian was a purple dye used to colour the robes of kings in Phoenician times - it was extremely expensive as rather than fading with time and weathering, it got brighter and deeper. The dye came from the secretions of a sea snail and was extracted by milking the snail (how does one milk a snail?? - the mind boggles!) only tiny amounts were collected by this method, which was probably another reason why Tyrian was so expensive.
By the time I put this necklace together, I began to feel as if my eyes were dropping out of my head - I had overdosed on bling.
My reels of wire were getting really annoyed at the inattention they were subjected to - and I was getting withdrawal symptoms due to the prolonged break from wire.
I was looking through the website, and I saw a picture of a blood stone cabochon I had photographed for the magical components page about three years ago. When I bought it, I thought it had a masculine vibe and wrote that I planned to put it together with copper and possibly coral. I forgot all about it until I found it by accident the other day when looking for something else on the website and had an 'Aha!' moment.
Mellow Yellow is a colour very close to the colour of the citrine beads I used in this necklace (there is also an 'unmellow yellow - don't believe me?? - then go on and google it ) and the title of a song by Donovan in the 60's. According to legend, Mellow Yellow was about the feeling one gets when one smokes dried banana skins - I am not sure whether that is the case or not - and am not about to test that theory.
Colourful oriental components went into this necklace - porcelain beads , cinnabar, coral and black agate - I just love the vibrancy of it.
Old cinnabar beads had hundreds of layers of lacquer which contained a sulfate of mercury applied to them, which were then carved into beautiful shapes.
Today, the toxic mercury/cinnabar is replaced by combining layers and layers of colored polymer lacquer, which are then hand-carved (or in some cases, machine carved) into intricate patterns.
Caprilicious is doing a globe trotting act this week - we haven't been on a holiday for a while and I am doing it through my jewellery - a bit like leafing through travel brochures or Trip Advisor! I've been saving these beads (Ok, hoarding, really - I just love shiny, pretty things) and I thought this was as good a time as any to use them. Faceted smoky quartz - faceted beads are my favourite, the extra shine appeals to the magpie in me - and a beautiful Moroccan bead went into this simple and sophisticated necklace.
I bought three of these beads a while ago - the first couple were made up into a bright and exciting necklace called Berber Sunrise, and this one is smoky and sophisticated in a completely different style - which one do you like? Or will you be a Caprilicious Woman and match each of them to a different mood?
Jazz in The Park
These buttons were made a while ago and I sanded and buffed them as and when I had the time. Buttons are the simplest and least expensive way to embellish a garment, and these are vibrant enough to brighten up a dull outfit. They were cut from a polymer clay cane I made using a technique pioneered by Alice Stroppel. I used my fabulous cane slicer to cut even slices of the cane, and was well pleased with the result.
The Boho Babe - back to Morocco
Another Moroccan bead - this time a large one, teamed with green and black agate nuggets. I wanted the piece to be long and the bauble sized bead to sit low on the chest to avoid looking like a cow bell. I strung the beads on cream coloured genuine leather, with knots between each bead and macrame knots all the way to the clasp. I am not a fan of large nuggets and beads sitting high in the neckline - perhaps you feel differently - do tell...
The beads in this necklace came to me in the post only the other day and I had to find some way of using them immediately, they were too beautiful to put away in a drawer. Golden Obsidian is formed from cooled lava - the silica inclusions deep within the rock and patterns formed by gas bubbles lined up within the molten lava give it a golden sheen. The same post brought me a book by Lisa Barth, and in it I found a design, which when modified to suit the shape of a black and white agate pendant stone, would make a perfect focal point. I hung it on the obsidian necklace with Chinese black quartz embossed with dragons in gold, as accents - a beauty straight from the Stygian depths of the earth.
The Ancient and the Modern
A prayer box, Gau (also spelled Ghau or Gao), is a Tibetan Buddhist amulet container made of metal and worn as jewellery. They incorporate a small container used to hold and carry powerful amuletic objects such as chunks of coral, turquoise and a written prayer, or sacred mantras such as the Kalachakra. I love the secret compartment and have made a few necklaces using Ghau boxes over the years. I have made them with simple necklaces, and sometimes with outrageous wirework that none but the boldest woman would wear. The two that I have here are both inlaid with turquoise and coral - the one has been put into a simple necklace with turquoise and the second, into a necklace made of multi coloured shell beads.
You can see I have been busy all this week - but now, I have to call it a day - that's as much as I had time for - 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.
Today, it is three years since Caprilicious was born.
To thank my supporters, I had a giveaway of six pairs of snowdrop earrings - And the winners of the Caprilicious Jewellery Birthday giveaway are - drumroll.......................
Eilidh Webster, Lorraine Szymanski, Lucy Sampson, Isobel Neilan, Luisa Heaton and Gillie Mayer - congratulations and thanks for entering the giveaway.
I hope all those who entered found something to treat yourself with, using the Promo code - everyone's a winner at the Caprilicious Birthday party!
I would appreciate it if you ladies would follow the Caprilicious blog using either of the links in the sidebar, and I will send you some pretty pictures on the blog each week.
Staying with the party theme, I celebrated by making some Blingcandescent necklaces - I was on a roll this week! I bought some beautifully shiny trapezoid shaped crystals - you saw some of them used last week- and spent a considerable amount of time separating the loose crystals and putting them in colour coded boxes so that I could get to them easily, and picking out gemstone beads to go with them.
I drew my inspiration from the pictures above, mixing colours with gay abandon - a pinch of this, and a drop of that, a bit of Bling, and loads of colour.
Of course one man's Gaudi, is another man's gaudy, not everyone is happy to wear so much colour - I wait to see how these pieces are received with interest. From what I have seen, colourful pieces are eye catching, but then some people seem to mentally shake their heads, drop the piece and move away from it quickly, as if it is going to rear up on it's hind legs and bite them. I am keen to start a colour revolution - Up With Colour, I say!
Colour blocking is a trend that creeps in and out of fashion and is very 'in' at the moment. It is the technique of using blocks of several different solid colors together in one outfit or accessory in a simple, yet extremely interesting look. Of late I have been using this technique a lot, in my effort to make my jewellery colourful. Colour blocking never looks dated as it seems to come back in fashion just as you think it is going out!
Colori is the Italian word for colours, and that seemed like a good place to start.
The pale gold of the crystals seemed to be begging for an injection of colour, so I gave in enthusiastically - agate, quartz, and cats eye glass were all mixed in to give this necklace a multicolour appeal.
The name for this necklace was lifted from a song from one of my favourite shows - Chicago. Here's a little clip from the movie...
Sodalite and dyed green howlite beads were combined with deep blue crystals and Czech glass for maximum Blingcandescence.
Silk Road - Tribal Bling
The Silk Road is a trade and cultural transmission route through regions of the Asian continent, serving traders, pilgrims, monks, soldiers, and nomads. It stretches from China and India to the Mediterranean Sea. Besides a trade in silk, paper and other goods from 206 BC, the Silk Road which stretches over 4000 miles, carried another commodity - it was the vehicle which spread Buddhism through Central Asia.
I recently took delivery of a package containing pewter Buddha beads and just had to use some of them. The rest of the necklace was strung using polymer clay beads that I made myself in an attempt to keep the necklace light, rather than use gemstones which would give the wearer a pain in the neck through sheer weight. The faux lapis nuggets contrast well with the yellow and black 'trade beads', and tassels of sari silk were added to the pendant.
A migraine inducing overdose of Blingcandescence meant that the crystals had to be put away for a while and I made a necklace using what the traders call 'Rain Flower Stone' - which on further research is actually dyed white jade with pretty splotches of colour. Sometimes the beauty of the bead outweighs it's perceived value - I don't care what they are called, as long as they are not being passed off as genuine precious stones.
I contrasted the yellows and greens of the rain flower stone with mint green chrysocolla lentil shaped beads - it reminded me of the cool colours and taste of mint chocolate. This is a necklace that is cool and screams sophistication for the 'ladies who lunch' - I see it worn in the neckline of a white shirt at a venue with tinkling fountains and perfumed interiors, cool as the mint in mint chocolate.
The spicy warmth of wooden beads that resemble cinnamon sticks, with muted crystals that gleam gently against the skin - another one for the lunchers, easily taking them to an evening do from their luncheon party. I can almost taste the spicy mulled wine one would drink when wearing this piece - very evocative of Christmas mornings and the unwrapping of presents.
Over The Rainbow
I restrung opaque crystals in four colours with contrasting agate teardrops and added a hand carved aventurine clasp - you couldn't ask for more colour blocking than this! This necklace is named after the famous Judy Garland song in The Wizard of Oz, although the colours are bright, it is a very sophisticated piece of jewellery.
Smoke on the Water
Smoke on the water was inspired by an image for free wallpaper I found online - the blues and greys in the picture are echoed in the crystals.
Fire in the Sky
Anyone who knows their heavy metal will recognise the names of the last two necklaces as lyrics from a song by Deep Purple. We listened to a lot of Purple in my misspent youth - a touch of nostalgia here. The colours for Fire in the Sky came from a picture of an afterglow at sunset.
That's as much as I had time for this week - my muse was obsessed with Bling, and neglected the spools of wire that were waiting sadly on the sidelines. I love those trapezoid shaped crystals and have a few more to make up next week. In the meantime, have a great weekend 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 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. 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
This lovely piano solo by Kevin Kerr expresses the emotions I have tried to capture in this necklace. To me summertime is all about butterflies and dragonflies, mellow sunlight, tinkling music and flowers - I don't think about the slugs and snails and weeds and rain that are such a nuisance - I must be a romantic at heart, although I would deny it hotly, if someone said that about me.
Happy Friday, readers and thanks for joining me today. This week, I've written two posts - the last one about Statement Jewellery, posted on Wednesday will be a guest post on a friend's blog later on in the year - but you caught sight of it first, right here. I didn't want to add this weeks pieces of jewellery to the guest post and decided to write a separate one instead.
My muse see sawed wildly this week from the conventional and pretty, to the wild and crazy. I kick started the weekend by making wire and resin dragonflies. The problem with this was that each coating of resin took at least a couple of days to set - this gave my mischievous muse time to draw my attention to all sorts of other ideas - I was a bit overloaded on the ideas front and my mind was spinning out of control!
And while I waited for the resin to set, off Ms Muse trotted dragging me in her wake, this time in the direction of Cubism and Pablo Picasso. A few lessons ( quite a few, actually - because I cannot draw) off the internet in drawing a face from two different perspectives and I set about making this piece, which in the end was made into a brooch by the addition of a pin.
It was an awful, grey and rainy weekend, which might have sparked the need for bright colour.
I love it, but I do feel the need to offer apologies to Pablo.
In my defence, it is more difficult than one would think, especially for someone who cannot draw in one perspective, let alone two at the same time! - try it and see how you go - and then, once it has been drawn, to successfully convert it to a polymer clay piece - eeps! not sure I'll be doing this again any time soon.
This is a gift for a very wacky and fun friend of mine - we are to visit her in Hamburg soon, I hope she will love it as much as I do.
And the dragonflies showed no sign of being ready yet, so on we went, my muse and I, plodding on with another piece.
Images from the Subconscious - Mind Games!
While I was researching the making of the 'Picasso' pin, I looked at a whole load of stuff on the internet that set my mind a buzzing - among others, the art of Romero Britto, and the South American god of Fertility - the Kokopelli - colourful images that seemed to stay with me in my dreams. No wonder then, that my next piece was shaped by them.
This is Kokopelli, a Native American fertility deity. He is usually depicted as a hump backed and feathered flute player, and he takes care of both the harvest and fertility - which in the end mean one and the same!
I was looking for a colourful piece to replicate in Polymer clay, but passed him up in favour of the cubist face - another time perhaps, I thought.............
And the dragonflies were still wet........sigh! Oh well!
Conus snails are venomous though beautiful and are the species of snail whose shells are seen in most collections.The species most dangerous to humans are the larger ones which prey on small bottom-dwelling fish; the smaller species mostly hunt and eat marine worms. They have a venom gland and a hollow tooth like a harpoon or proboscis through which they inject and paralyse their prey before eating it.
This pendant came from Indonesia and is set with cross sections of conus shells in coloured resin, and I added faceted onyx, and pyrite nuggets which gleam in the light - they aren't called 'Fools Gold' for nothing!
'Zehr' is the Arabic word for poison - although Zehra means beautiful! Either way, I think the name fits this pendant - would you agree??
This peacock feather pendant came from Indonesia as well - I was quite taken with the way the edges of the feather had been beaded like a Rastafarian's dreads - hard work, and done so neatly - I have a great deal of admiration for the artist who made it. It can't be fun to play with feathers and glue and beads - just imagine the mess at the end of it.
Together with a string of freshwater pearls and a couple of enamelled Indian beads, bought during my last trip home, a simple, but elegant necklace was born.
Of course the word Mayuri really means a peahen and is a misnomer - the poor peahen hasn't been born with the elegance of the male bird - but hey, let's not quibble, eh!
At last, finally, the dragonflies were ready to be used - and about time too!!
The Dance of The Dragonfly
I think it was worth the wait, don't you?? As a bonus, I have a few leftover dragon flies, which will eventually work their way into other pieces, later on.
That's a wrap for this week folks, I'll catch you again next week, same time, same place. Have a lovely week
Hello readers, nice to meet you here again. Last week we talked a bit about statement jewellery. This week we talk about why people wear jewellery in the first place - the potted story of jewellery, if you like.
People originally began to cover their bodies with skins from the animals they hunted for food to shelter themselves from the elements - but jewellery doesn't appear to serve any such purpose - so why then has it become an important part of our psyche??
These shells, coated with red ochre are the oldest known ornaments - thirteen of them were found in a cave in Morocco, dated to 82,000 years ago by archeologists. They are thought to have come from Tunisia where the snail that once lived in these shells originated. They were probably used as beads as they have perforations to indicate this.
Picture from National Geographic News.
Decorating and beautifying the body with jewellery made of animal hide, leather, bones, shells, feathers and berries are well known early forms of jewellery.
However, simple adornment may not have been the only reason for the wearing of jewellery - advertising wealth and status, hoarding wealth in the form of precious metals, and using jewellery as coinage to make purchases has been described in many societies.
Procreation and the perpetuation of our gene pool is a basic human instinct - and jewellery aids in the 'plumage' factor - something bright and attractive that flashes and glints, drawing attention to the wearer.
Amulets to provide protection - Gods and Saints, hopefully appeased into working away furiously in the background to protect us from all manner of evil are often worn as charms and pendants. This one is St Christopher - patron Saint of travellers.
These are Ghau Boxes - worn in Tibet and Nepal - they are decorative portable shrines, and are ornate boxes holding prayer scrolls, miniature idols and lucky turquoise and coral nuggets worn as pendants - now that's getting closer to the kind of statement jewellery we know and love.
When times are hard, people are willing to try anything to make them feel better. With the 'belt and braces' approach and mysticism from the East raising its head and bringing words like 'Chakras' and crystal healing into our collective consciousness, there are reams (or Mega Bytes) written about the power of various minerals and gemstones.
Initially, 'tumble stones' used to be carried in pockets and pouches, but then it seemed to become important that the stone was in contact with the skin of the wearer. Jewellery makers found a niche market for believers, and prettified them to be worn as a statement. These wands have been made so that the points are free of metal, to allow the energy to flow out of them into the wearer.
Expression of Self
Today jewellery is used more as a means of self-expression. How do you feel when you wake up? - delicate or bold, colorful or subdued, happy and exuberant or fed up - your subconscious will pick out your clothes and jewellery to reflect your mood.
Have you ever thought about why you pick one set of clothing or accessories in favour of another on any given day??
Next week I will visit 'How to Wear Statement Jewellery' - in the meantime, lets take a look at some of the pieces I made at Caprilicious this week.
I made a necklace I called A Circlet of Stars - it was the first piece I made this year and my sister fell in love with it and bought it from me. I decided to make a similar piece, but this time the fire polished beads I used to embellish the piece were in dark tones.
'Dark star I see you in the morning
I played with polymer clay and made some beads - of course playing with clay entails a whole day of fun, what with the curing and sanding and buffing - only then are the pieces ready to make up into jewellery - and so, the weekend vanished in a twinkling, making these, amongst other beads. They look like the rings around a planet to me - what do you think??
The Kris Kros Pendant
This is a simple design by Lisa Barth - a bit fiddly to make, and meant to embellish the front of a dull stone. It looks extremely elegant, and this was borne out by the fact that the pendant flew out of my hands within a couple of hours. I will certainly be making a few more of these, with some variations - my boredom threshold is low and I couldn't make the same thing over and over again - which is just as well for a 'one of a kind' jewellery website! The stone here is a carved rose quartz leaf, in a pale pink. The contrast between the masculine and feminine is what makes this piece, I think.
I thought I would add hair accessories to my repertoire - I have made a few hair combs in the past, and I will add to this collection over time. Embellished hairpins and hair sticks are in fashion - and these are my effort....
Great for a Rapunzel moment and there's even a tutorial by Melissa of Tangible Daydreams on how to release your hair in a 'swoosh' movement like a film star.
I am a firm believer that it is absolutely fine to wear a bit of bling to work - and if you are meeting up with friends after, your jewellery should be perfect for that too - a dual purpose piece of jewellery is always welcome. With that in mind, I added some shiny crystals to what would have been an otherwise sedate necklace - sea sediment jasper with a brass Nepalese bead.
Temple of the Stars
With a couple of days off from work, I had time to try out some new techniques - a labradorite cabochon from my hoard was crying out for attention. The stone is hand carved, and flashes a brilliant blue in the light and I didn't want to create an over embellished setting. I worked out how to set it in wire prongs - wire workers almost feel cause to be ashamed if there is a need to apply solder or glue to anything we make - we take great pride in using cold connections. I was very chuffed when Pearl Blay of The Beading Gem's Journal said she liked the photograph on G+. The stone itself in meant to have many metaphysical qualities including a beneficial effect on the Throat Chakra, as does copper - if you are a believer, this one is for you!!
Hello, and thanks for stopping by. Let's start with some music while you read on ................
This is Kevin, my latest model.
I bought her on ebay - she is a polystyrene dress form on a pedestal. In this picture, she has just been given a decoupaging (is there such a word?? - Francophiles are wincing at my poor usage of the language).
Why Kevin?? Well, it may sound silly to have an obviously female model with a male name - but I recently read an article about gender and sex (in my other avatar as gynaecologist) - and suddenly it felt necessary to give my model a gender inappropriate name. In the famous words of Simone de Beauvoir, “Women are not born, they are made.” At the end of the day, the making of a man or a woman is a never-ending process that begins well before birth. And the ritual announcement at birth that it is in fact one or the other instantly transforms an “it” into a “he” or a “she” assigning it to a lifetime as a male or as a female.
This attribution is made public and lasting through the event of naming. Mike said, why not Mabel, or Lucy - but Kevin she was named and Kevin she shall remain!
This is what Kevin was like when she first arrived and I decided to make her a bit more interesting to look at.
Decoupage was what I decided on - it has been a long time since I played with paper, glue and scissors, and a long weekend at the Bank Holiday seemed to be the best time for it. I researched it thoroughly on the internet - there is a lot of information out there, but it seemed that a lot of it was incomplete - so, I took photographs as I went along - perhaps decoupage virgins like me might be pleased with the info in my little mini tutorial.
Amit was made from a little Balinese hand carved bone Ganesh. Last week, I made Mushika and his Master, and the Ganesh in that pendant was in profile - when I was looking at images of these, I couldn't choose between the two, so bought both. In Sanskrit Amit means 'Boundless, Limitless or Infinite'. It is one of the 108 names of Hindu God Ganesh - although how one manages to have 108 names (and why one needs that many??) without a severe crisis of identity simply beats me.
These beautiful pendants from Afghanistan came to me in the post - I loved them so much, I set about making new beads to go with them straight away. It would be easy enough to just string them with beads from my hoard, but I just love the thought of hand made rustic looking beads that bring a sort of magic to a piece of jewellery.
The weekend was spent pottering away at my craft table, conjuring up some pretty beads, polishing them and getting them prepared for stringing. Here they are in the oven, curing. My poor oven hasn't seem too much food in it since I started making stuff with polymer clay. It is used on a weekly basis, almost exclusively for crafting purposes, unless Mike bungs a cottage pie in it on the odd occasion. Since we are always on a diet and our house is an almost carbohydrate free zone except for high days and holidays, polymer clay is king in our oven!
And here they are - pendants and handmade beads put together into new, one of a kind necklaces..................
The word "Arya" itself is a Sanskrit and Avestan/Old Persian word that means "noble". I strung this one with seed beads wound with wire, adding old coins studded with red glass.
The word Karishma means a 'miracle' or someone saved from an inevitable doom. This necklace has my own colourful polymer clay beads - I added little bead caps of red and blue to go with the pendant.
I seem to want to make flowers all the time - perhaps it is that time of year! These beads are flower shaped discs stacked one on top of the other, with some faux ostrich beads to provide contrast. I used every piece of leftover clay on my table, so there is a multi colour feel to this necklace, and the beads seem to be happy to be together, in spite of their disparate origins. Kareena is a name that can mean 'Flower', or 'Innocence' and I thought it would go well with this necklace. Readers who are into Bollywood will know that Karishma and Kareena are sisters from a famous Bollywood dynasty - India does seem to go with the dynastic concept and the cult of personality, right from politics, down to Bollywood.
I do love the peacock - you cannot ask for better colours that nature put into that beautiful bird, and I always have one or two pieces of 'peacock' jewellery on my books. I started this pendant a few weeks ago, and added to it bit by bit until I was ready for a reveal. I added a handmade necklace so that it would hang just the way I wanted - given my penchant for asymmetry.
The little teardrop shaped blue agate druzy glints in the light, but unfortunately, I am unable to capture that in a photograph.
That's it for this week folks, catch you next week. I have plans to use my kiln this weekend as I am on call and it promises to be dull and pi**ing down with rain. Hopefully it is better for you, wherever you are.
See you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers, I hope you are all feeling better than I am today - Mike and I have had the flu for nearly two weeks now - I had a week off work and spent Easter in bed. But, things are looking up now, and I am looking forward to the weekend.
This whole week I stayed warm in my armchair, making little bits and bobs with wire and beads.
The Islamic origins of these Moroccan beads are obvious - they come from a shop in Casablanca, as do these pictures of the Hassan II Mosque.
The amazonite slab nuggets in this piece are cut in such a way that when strung, it gives an illusion of there being two strands of beads - a very clever way to cut the stones, as two strands of these undoubtedly beautiful gemstones would be too heavy - and expensive!
The Butterfly's Wedding
I acquired a pendant made of a sheet of mother-of-pearl from my friend BN, and it lay around the house for a while, my house elf moved it from spot to spot - until one day, I decided to make something with it before the elf 'disappeared' it forever! I sat down with it one evening, and played with wire - I meant to cover over the brown markings on the edge of the pendant - to my mind, they marred what would otherwise be a pretty, shiny sheet of MOP. But by the time I was done, I had used the entire pendant as a backing sheet for a profusion of leaves, vines, and tendrils in a fanciful garden populated by crystal butterflies. The piece reminded me of a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen called 'The Butterfly' - you can read it if you have the time and want to find out what happened - just click on the link - it is the story of a butterfly who was looking for a bride, and the most famous quote from that tale is “Just living is not enough, said the butterfly, one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower for company.”
I've been experimenting with using donuts as focal beads, held in an asymmetric wire weave, which is harder than you might think. These donuts have no aperture where the wire may be passed vertically through them - the central hole has to accommodate the wire, which has to pass through it gracefully, and yet securely. I tried out yet another method, using approximately four feet of the heavier gauge wire, and twenty feet of the fine weaving wire - and another evening bit the dust! The stone here is a blue agate geode with druzy, which is a coating of fine crystals on the stone fracture surface, in the centre.
More Earrings and a Giveaway
Although I felt better with each day, I hadn't the strength to summon my muse and put her to work - I felt as if I was chasing her all around the room, and boy, was she eluding me.
I gave up in disgust, and made some earrings with ideas I had had earlier, but just not executed yet.
My mother turned 87 on the 22nd - she is fit and well - in fact she's fitter than I am - she walks on a treadmill every day for an hour, and takes painting lessons, to which she has to climb two flights of stairs. On that day, I felt well enough to want to play with clay, and although I didn't spend too much time in my craft room, I managed to make these little sweetpeas, and turned them into earrings that evening. I decided to host a giveaway - yes I know the last one was a disaster, logistics wise, but what can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment. So, the earrings are on Facebook till Sunday the 27th - all people are required to do is to like them and share the image on their page - I will draw the five people who win the earrings from a random number generator.
That's me for this week folks, thanks for stopping by, have a great week and I'll catch you next Friday, 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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