Share and share alike - that's what a good marriage is all about, right?? Well, if that's the case, ours must be solid - or Mike is being too literal - he generously gave me a good lashing of his cold. Oh, the muzzy head, the aching joints, the stopped up sinuses (and now I sound just like Mike - minus the Tarzan-esque thumping of the chest)- I just crawled into bed on Saturday afternoon, and stayed there all day, every day till Thursday. The weekend was all nice and sunshiny, but I couldn't go out - nor did I have the energy to play with clay - I knew all my efforts would turn into mud!
Sitting in front of the telly of an evening, I picked up my pliers and an oxbone face - I thought I'd make something from an idea I had earlier - it took me two days to wrap the face and give it a head dress - and I just couldn't see how to take it further - a complete constipation of ideas.
I took a photograph of the half finished piece and put it on a couple of wire - worker's forums on Facebook, and posted that I was planning to cut it up to salvage the beads. It was almost as if I was punishing the little piece of jewellery for my cold - childish?? - of course, but I was way beyond rational at that time. A very gratifying hue and cry went up - after that, I had to save her from the knacker's yard and make something halfway decent with her, if only to justify comments like these -- 'you were going to cut that up are you mad, it's stunning, must be the cold, hope your feeling better', and 'This piece of art is beautiful. Please don't cut it up. It would be a crime. xx'.
So, onward I went!
This is a mask I bought last year when in Venice - everywhere you turn, it would seem that there are masks for sale - at first I said I would absolutely not buy one, but, by the end of the holiday, I had got so used to seeing them around I felt I would miss the damn things if I didn't have one of my own!
The history of Venetian masks goes way back to the fourteenth century, and there are many types, with names of their own. Colombine is the type of mask that fits over the eyes and is held on by a baton or with ribbon - probably because the first woman who wore one was too vain to hide her face in it's entirety. One can only imagine the intrigue and skulduggery that went on behind the mask, not to mention the bad hair days that were hidden by the wigs which were part of the ensemble.
I like the colours -the carnival effect is played out by the colours that my hands chose instinctively - I say that, cos I sure didn't do it consciously with that muzzy head, no way!
I slept most of Sunday and Monday away, and on Tuesday, feeling only a little better, stayed off the day job for yet another day.
While idly surfing the web, I found this image of Barbie in India - actually this is the least hideous one I found - all the others are even more over the top - I found myself wondering whether the designers at Matel had been dropping acid when they put together these caricatures of Indian womanhood. And then I remembered blue eyed, blond haired, Barbie - yes, of course they are on acid - they probably live on LSD fuelled dreams of what their dream woman/ Stepford wife would be like, and go through later life in a permanent fog of disappointment, not being able to find her when reality bites.
I decided I'd design a piece for Barbie - if she actually came from Bollywood.
Maybe I should change the name - to Pink and Pretty (using the 'say what you see' rule), rather than associate Caprilicious with Barbie ? Oh well, it's not her fault, poor thing, that she has an image problem - would you agree??
The Bollywood Barbie Earrings
Wednesday rolled by, and by now we were both deaf as well as anosmic, coughing and spluttering in tandem. The house stank to high heaven - Mike poached smoked haddock in milk - that's what his mother gave him as a lad when he was sick - normally I protest at the smell, but this time I was blissfully unaware.
The Modern Victorian
I learned a new weave called the Kokkocik weave from a wire worker in Poland and thought I'd use it to make up a little pendant. Using a beautiful labradorite cabochon, which flashes the most fire of any I've ever seen, I made a little pendant with seed pearls, copper wire and ruby quartz.
Seed pearl jewellery was especially popular from the last quarter of the 18th century and throughout the nineteenth century, when the burgeoning middle-classes of Europe and the United States grew fascinated with pearls and had the money to purchase them. The Victorians favoured the look of these delicate, almost lace-like pieces against the skin and often associated seed pearl jewellery with purity. They were especially fashionable as bridal gifts and refer to natural pearls that are 2mm or less in size.
Drilling holes into pearls of any size is difficult enough - imagine how difficult it was to drill into a pearl that was as small as a seed before the advent of lasers and other aids used today. I don't suppose the Victorians really cared too much about the eyesight of the people involved in the making of their intricate jewellery.
Each week, I tend to make three different kinds of jewellery - with polymer clay at weekends, a piece or two with beads and gemstones, and have a bit of a play with wire. With Mike and I having the dreaded lurgy, it has meant that I have almost exclusively stuck with making small pieces of jewellery with wire for two weeks - and this is the result - wire worker's thumb nail! This comes from scooching the wire along while weaving it with my right thumbnail, rather than using pliers which might mar the wire or break it. I wonder if I should submit this picture to the British Medical Journal, to the column entitled Minerva on the last page - after all, we have 'pigeon fanciers lung','malt worker's lung' and even 'hot tub lung' - I now present 'wire-worker's thumb nail'!!!
What's that you say?? - stick to gynaecology and wire work and stop this madness ?? - OK, right you are then - it must be the head cold making me go doolally!
That's all for this week folks, catch you next week, same time, same place
That's another Christmas done and dusted, and it will soon be 2013. I hope all of you had a fabulous time with friends and family, and that Santa recognised all your efforts to be good in 2012 with loads of nice things in his sack for you.
I have been requested to lay on a Boxing Day sale by my junior doctors at the hospital - now that Caprilicious is a commercial venture, they don't see why I shouldn't fall in line with the rest of the commercial world post Christmas - so, if Santa has been particularly forgetful (or mean), you can always indulge yourself here.
All this being new to me, I did not have the time (or the know how) to set up a slick system with a code at checkout and an automatic discount, so I have requested people to contact me with the names of the items they want and I will send out an invoice - apologies for this cumbersome way of doing business in advance.
I had a few days off at Christmas, and took over the kitchen to play with polymer clay. I could see my husband wincing, every time he walked into the room and saw my stuff spread out all over the counter tops - but he bore it manfully - a tiny shudder shook his frame, and was the only sign of what he was thinking! Of course, I made sure Santa rewarded him well for his forbearance - I will elaborate no further!
I cleared up to cook our turkey on Christmas day, but other than that, the kitchen looked like it had been hit by a cyclone.
This is a photograph taken of Einstein's office in Princeton, just as he had left it, within hours of his death. Now, I'm no genius, creative or otherwise, but I am quietly proud that my kitchen looked worse than this for a few days!
That's my excuse, and I stick to it!
I made a few bits and bobs, but mainly played - wallowed, really, in clay - I pulled out all the tutorials I had collected, either paid for, or freebies found on the internet and stored on Pinterest for a rainy day - and how it rained! I didn't really want to produce anything - just to know that I could, if/when I wanted to, if you know what I mean. I ended up with more scrap clay than I started with, from abortive attempts, as well as some pretty cool stuff, but that's the way it goes.
Polymer clay artists are predominantly women, and kitchen implements, and other items around the house are press ganged into service in the name of art. Thinking outside the box is the name of the game - I even used the metal tube around Mike's cigars as a form, for a faux bone/ivory tubular bead! The dinks made in the piece to distress it and give it an aged look are from rolling it in coarse and fine salt, and washing it away once the clay is cured - got that from a tip off Pinterest, and it worked well - hooray!!
Unfortunately, once used the implements cannot be reused in the preparation of food - indeed, they are quite ruined by the plasticisers in polymer clay - the surface goes all dull and horrid - Oh well, that just means one more implement taken out of commission from the kitchen, into my craft cupboard.
This is a necklace made of faux ivory made while I was playing with clay. I made a tubular bead, and few others, and had a lot of fun antiquing the pieces, and polishing them on the buffing wheel. They were teamed with onyx, lava beads in different shapes, black onyx, haematite, a hefty chunk of coral and a few jasper beads. A single turquoise nugget provided an extra splash of contrasting colour.
I love tribal inspired jewellery and this one is definitely African - the look and feel of it is rugged, chunky and interesting, and it is for someone who likes the avant garde, and is not afraid to experiment - girly girls, look away!!!
Chunky coral and lava beads add texture and colour, contemporary jewellery is all about drama, contrast and vibrancy, and I have tried to bring all of these to this piece.
A few more presents were required, and I made a couple of bracelets and earrings to be gifted to some of my favourite people at work. My pliers mysteriously jumped into my hands as I was walking past, so I made a few pairs of earrings so as not to hurt their feelings, they were feeling a bit put out when I was playing with clay.
I saw these beads on a website, and they were so colourful and pretty, I had to buy them. They are called rainbow jasper and it may be that they are a mosaic of different types of jasper - nevertheless, they were just too nice to pass up. I teamed them with ceramic electroplated spacers and turquoise and made this pretty necklace.
Once I had cleared the kitchen in time to cook Christmas dinner, I was informed by Michael that he would do it all - my presence was not required - sweet!
I sat down in front of the telly to watch Ben Hur - again - with a roll of wire and and a bloodstone cabochon. Bloodstone is a dark green, almost black coloured stone, and to my mind needs brightening in some form - you might not agree with me on that - but I am sure the pendant I made was worth the effort - it took simply ages to form all the curlicues and swirls - this is my favourite pattern from a tutorial by Gailavira, from whom I bought the tutorial originally.
That's about all I had time for this week - now to get ready for the New Year. I am working at the day job on New Year's Eve, and New Years Day - clearly, I drew the short straw this year, but somebody has to be at work, while all the rest of you have a good time partying. Catch you in 2013, have a lovely time on new year's eve if you are out and about, and stay safe.
Speak to you soon,
What terrible weather we've had - rain, rain, and more rain - floods in parts of the UK, though luckily we haven't been affected too much around where I live. The whole of the UK has been covered over by a blanket of cloud - even the weather girl on the TV has lost her perky smile - she has a squeaky, high pitched, chirpy, birdie voice and usually ends with a 'bye bye' - now she slinks off apologetically, having delivered her message of doom with a semi grimace - more of the same!
Anyway, the rain has kept most people at home, and out of the hospital, so the worried well have kept dry and snug. This meant that I was free to play with my kiln all weekend, while on call - I made some pendants and focal toggle clasps with copper clay, and tried to enamel them in cheerful colours - or at least that was the plan.
These are the pretties I made, after I scrubbed the fire scale from them and cleaned them up, all ready for enamelling.
The bottom two are 'Hamsa' hands -
The Hamsa is a palm-shaped object popular throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and usually made into amulets for jewellery and wall hangings. Depicting the open right hand, the Hamsa is believed to provide defence against the evil eye. The symbol pre dates Christianity and Islam. In Islam, it is also known as the hand of Fatima, so named to commemorate Muhammad's daughter Fatima Zahra. Christians call it the hand of Mary, for the mother of Jesus, and the Jewish community calls it the hand of Miriam.
In the Middle East, the Hamsa has been adopted as a symbol of hope for peace, and the Hamsa prayer goes
Let no sadness come
to this heart
Let no trouble come
to these arms
Let no conflict come
to these eyes
Let my soul be filled with the blessing of joy of peace
and I concur with this sentiment!
As far as I am concerned, of course, it is a pretty object - I don't actually care whose hand it is! I saw some beautifully coloured ones in Morocco, and I thought I'd make some with brightly coloured enamels.
Unfortunately, I proved unequal to the task of enamelling them - I have successfully enamelled onto silver clay and copper sheet metal - but just couldn't get it right this time around. Fortunately, I only ruined two of the pieces - I will do it someday - just have to get a bit more research in - reminds me of the years where my sister and I used to attempt to bake cakes and end up with pancakes - she is now a fabulous cook, and knocks out cakes at the drop of a hat, and I can too - if and when I want to (very rarely).
So to cheer myself up, I made some simple pendants with wire -at least wire wont talk back and give me cheek! I made three little pendants, and an ear cuff - bending and twisting away my irritation with the enamelled pieces ( or more correctly, non enamelled rubbish).
I'm usually a bit of a hoarder, and like to keep pretty things for a while, but I have realised that this strategy is pointless - if, indeed, one can call it a strategy. Now that I have all this coral and turquoise in the house, I decided to make up the rest of the pendants I bought from E. Limbu, the Nepalese artisan - they were too pretty to languish in a cupboard till I felt like sharing them with somebody. So I made one with teardrop shaped coral and pyrite slab nuggets. As soon as Mike saw it he said how Russian it looked - and I did a double take - Russian??
But when I looked at it again, I saw what he meant - the sponge coral looks decadently opulent, so I called it Czarina.
Eastern Promise - Czarina
Eastern Promise - Carnival
The second pendant was a bit more ornate, so I put it into a fairly simple necklace with chunky coral and turquoise nuggets, and Mother of Pearl heishi beads - these tiny, flat little beads came strung in a jumbled up mass of vibrant colours, and I spent some time separating the colours - this worked well, and the necklace looks as exuberant as a carnival - hence the name. I used some pretty brushed silver tone flowers as well, and they set the carnival beads off perfectly.
Sweet Jade Orchid
I had this beautiful clasp in my stash for over an year - and I felt so mean for ignoring it, in spite of its piteous cries. When made up into a necklace with aventurine nuggets to match, it was too heavy - felt like a yoke around my neck - I was unable to raise my head after a few minutes. I was so annoyed, I had to cut the necklace up - and then I had to bag all the elements up - I try not to lose any beads if I can help it, as I always plagued by the thought that I might end up needing just that one that I was careless with some day in the future - and that would seriously exasperate me. So there I was, on my hands and knees, chasing beads around the room, - when I finally finished, it was back to the wire, to sit down, manically twisting and tweaking away, weaving the vexation out of my system. When I felt better, I had five little pendants with green jade beads, and I remade this necklace using them. The pendants remind me of the inside of an orchid, and that's how this necklace got its name.
The Latest Trend - apparently.................
I wore ear cuffs in my early twenties - I vaguely remember a plain and simple silver band fitting snugly around the cartilage of my ear. People have been making and wearing them in the last couple of years, but I am reliably informed (!) that they are going to be the latest, must have accessory in the spring of 2013 - if we all survive beyond December the 21st! - we'll all know then how reliable my source is. While I was playing with wire this week, I made a couple of them - mainly as give away items - I found these pictures of various celebs already wearing them and a picture showing how they are worn which I shall keep for people who aren't in the know. The ones on the green back ground are mine, and they are quite comfortable to wear.
Thanks for stopping by the blog - I now know that more than ten people read it (the blog has ten official 'followers') , but a lot more have sent me comments or clicked the 'like' button on Facebook - its nice to know I'm not rambling to myself like a lunatic, but as Mike says, talking to yourself is OK, its only when you answer yourself back that you need to worry!
That's all I had time for this week folks, catch you same time next week. Have a great weekend,
Last week I posed the vexatious question - mould or mold? - and obviously more people are reading this than my counter lets on - people very kindly posted their answers to my question - there was one suggestion on Facebook that it depended on where I learned to spell - the answer is, in India, from nuns, and an Anglo Indian lady - the lovely Nora Jessie Laffery who supervised my homework as my parents were busy anaesthetists, working hard all day.
I have mentioned the different patinas I have been trying out on my kiln fired copper - there has been Liver of Sulphur, Kosher salt and ammonia fumes, salt and vinegar crisps, proprietary Patina kits from Vintaj, patinas from the USA from a lady who calls herself Miss FickleMedia (this name brings to mind a cat whip and thigh high patent leather boots - but she is actually called Shannon LeVart, from Missouri USA, and is probably nothing like my imagination has conjured up) and now a Butane torch.
To think that this jewellery making lark started with some beads, a couple of toggle clasps, a reel of Tigertail (it has 49 strands of fine stainless steel wire coated with nylon and is very strong) and some crimps to end the necklaces I wanted to make in a small storage chest of drawers!
I now have a chemistry kit, a kiln, a library of jewellery making books, two new cupboards to release my dining table for its original purpose, kilometres of wire in different gauges, three drawers of gemstones and beads, a Butane torch, boxes of polymer clay, resin, acrylic paint and alcohol inks, moulds (molds??!) - and this list grows. No wonder I spend all my waking hours thinking up ways to use all these up - and this will never happen, the way new stuff keeps finding its way back to our house - we should have shares in Royal Mail!
But I am enjoying it, so onwards and upwards I go! I have some pictures here of my journey into jewellery making over the last few years.
Girl About Town Earrings
Livin' La Vida Loca
Donna Spadfore aka Gailavira wrote this very complicated tutorial for the wirework surrounding the focal, and I have made this many times in different forms. Her tutorial was for a pendant, but I readjusted it so I could attach it to a frame and added wooden beads, the roses I made from the same clay as the face - stone roses!, and some turquoise ovals. A lot of work went into this necklace, and I am sure it will be well received - it has a mellow vibe which belies its name - La vida loca - but look into the focal and you will know where I am coming from.
The next piece came to me when I was relaxing in a hot bath, looking up at the ceiling. I painted it with stars when we first moved in, having taken a fancy to a passage from The Merchant of Venice in a conversation between Lorenzo and Jessica in Act 5 Scene 1...
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears.
Soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patens of bright gold.
We read The Merchant of Venice in school, and I knew it particularly well having been made to learn it almost off by heart as punishment for various minor misdemeanours and infringements of tiresome rules - I was always taken by the idea of the patens of gold, and I got some of my own - so some good came of all that! (ssh, don't tell those nuns!)
I made a Man in the moon which I stained with alcohol inks and studded with tiny watch parts from my Steampunk stash. Another moon shape from the same mould was converted into a whimsical sun with the addition of some brass filigree circles, these were painted and distressed in copper acrylic paint. I decided to make a necklace with the sun, moon and stars, all in one and named it Celeste after the Celestial bodies in it.
I haven't had time to make much more than these offerings this week - the rigours of the day job have overtaken me. I hope to be able to add some self made components to each piece I make and along with bought elements, like gemstones, beads etc, have pieces of jewellery on offer that are most definitely one of a kind. People who have bought from Caprilicious have commented that the jewellery they received in the post is better than in the pictures on the site - maybe that's an indictment of my photography skills - I don't mind that one little bit - my fervent wish is to put a smile on your face when you open a package from me.
Have a good week and I will catch up with you next Friday.
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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