Hello good people, here's your weekly dose of statement jewellery from Caprilicious. Once I have posted this, I am off to Hamburg, to visit with a friend and have a few days away by the Baltic in her lovely bungalow by the sea - not that I'm rushing or anything, just saying.....
My muse capriliciously tripped along from one style of jewellery to another, seemingly without a cohesive thought in her head, and I followed, led by the nose - I just do as I am bid and see what transpires (hubby often wonders why I won't follow him in quite the same way).............................
I blame my mother for my lacemania.
She was/is a true lacemaniac, and in my childhood dressed my sister and me in imports from around the globe - she turned up her nose at what was produced in India. Every outfit we had was edged with a hint of lace (imports were expensive, thankfully), and that has left it's mark on us - both of us drool over lace when we see it, but today I would combine it with other elements to detract from the 'girly' effect. Chunky jewellery, leather waistcoats, boho bracelets, trilby hats, slouchy boots, 50's sunnies (not all at the same time, admittedly - the gangsta rap look doesn't suit me either) - these are what I wear 'for badness', a word learned from Gabrielle, an old Irish friend!
I learned this style of wire work from an Indonesian friend - in her country these wire medallions are made into brooches to pin back their headscarves and it takes hours to painstakingly coil fine wire around a thicker wire, and then curve and coil the thicker wire into shape, embellishing it with beads as one goes along, without the use of any tools other than a pair of wire snips - but the final effect is so pretty, it is most definitely a labour of love.
Chantilly lace has been made since the 16th century - handmade in France and Belgium and worn by fashionable ladies in Europe and America - and much loved by brides even today.
If my mother could have laid her hands on Chantilly lace when we were growing up, who knows what damage she would have inflicted on our psyches - todays little hints of 'badness' would have become a deluge, to counteract the Little Miss Muffet-ness of my childhood - Phew!
Whilst I love the colour that polymer clay and beads have brought into my life, it is no secret that wire is my first love.
I make this pendant time and time again - inspired by the work of Nicole Hanna , and I love it. It's asymmetry draws me to this design. The markings on the matte blue agate complement the wire work.
And as I went about my business, pottering about the house and going back and forth to work, my muse caught sight of a polymer clay faux bone medallion I made earlier, meaning to eventually turn it into a tribal piece - she decided the medallion had waited long enough and clicked her fingers -lo and behold, Zanzibar came into being!
A silk, vaguely Chinese looking silk choker was unearthed, my stash raided for colourful wooden beads and Cowrie shells, and they were all put together using waxed linen.
I think the necklace is fun and can be easily worn in summer with T shirts and linens, as well as in winter over jumpers.
I have always wanted to go to Zanzibar which is an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, once a Portuguese and then a British protectorate, a Spice Island that sounds warm and exotic - one day perhaps.
Just now, I shall have to make do with the necklace.
The Sarayu is a river that runs through the north of India and is a tributary of the Ganges. The turquoise beads in this necklace carrying the conch shell pendant, and the flow of the necklace, reminded me of a river - I used the 'stare hard at it and call it the first name that jumps into your head' technique. This technique works well when I like a piece of jewellery - Bang, a name jumps up and bites me on the nose - if, however, I don't feel any rapport with it, I could go cross eyed and anoxic from holding my breath and concentrating hard with no results. Needless to say, such pieces end up on the scrap heap.
The pendant is a black and gold disc from Indonesia - one I made earlier was red, black and gold and equally beautiful.
Earlier on in the year I made a pair of earrings I called The Bollywood Barbie Earrings - what I imagined Barbie would wear if she went to Bollywood. In the process of researching this for my blog, I came across Rachel Chitra's blog - she had written a post about the scarcity of dolls in India. We had quite a few virtual conversations, and I thought no more of it. Rachel is an Indian journalist and blogger and sent me this link today - she very kindly wrote a little blog post about Caprilicious Jewellery.
That's me done before my little mini break in Hohwacht. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same place same time
P.S - I know more of you read me than you let on - go on, put your heads above the parapet and leave me a comment, show me some love darnit, I deserve it - wouldn't you agree?? - the app might ask for your email id, but don't be frightened - it is just to make sure you are human and not a robot selling snake oil from Outer Mongolia
Hi readers, hope you've all had a successful week, and are in the process of getting ready for a fun weekend. We have friends arriving to stay with us, and thankfully Mikes 'project' is almost finished. The garden is looking close to normal again - but only just. Turf may have to be relaid a bit later on as it looks like it has been trampled on by a herd of rampaging bull elephants, but at least there isn't one big churned up pit of mud in the middle of the lawn.
As the 'girly' one in the family, I always wore jewellery and makeup, loved lace and pink (shudder), perfume and stiletto heeled shoes - thankfully, I am no longer a pink person, and comfort has won over vanity. Jewellery however, remains a constant and my taste for it now veers towards the outrageous and wild. Even the simplest piece, in my hands will go slightly off kilter to produce a very different look from what one would expect normally - I see the puzzlement on some peoples faces - they either get it and are fans of my stuff - or they hate it for being odd and having dog legs where canine limbs are not meant to be!
I started out designing for myself - the rationale was that if nobody liked it, at least I would have jewellery I wanted to wear. I have indeed found a lovely bunch of like minded people, who share my enthusiasm for wild things and we are very happy with one another. This next piece is for one of them....or me!
Worn To Be Wild
I just love this necklace and can't wait to test drive it. It is all be-silked and beribboned with sari fabric ribbon as I thought the black and faux bone could do with being zhushed up.
I have the attention span of a gnat, and a low boredom threshold - I need to make different things to hold my interest. Each week I might start out as I did, with a tribal piece, then make a sweet and simple one, and then play with clay for a day or two, and then some wire. Just the one genre, churning out the same old, same old, would bore me to tears.
A couple of fibula brooches for Look in the Bag appeared mysteriously one morning - I must have made them while watching telly or it was the house elf! I have a malign elf in the house normally - all I have to do is put something down and look away - count to five - and it's gone - completely vanished, never to be seen again.
I had myself a load of fun playing with an extruder and making some brooches - I couldn't believe that the strings of clay wouldn't all stick to one another when they were forced out of the extruder - I spent a whole lot of time separating the strings and hanging them over my pasta machine, till in the end, once I realised that it wasn't necessary, I was putting them together like a pro! The brooches are for Look in the Bag, of course, and Neelam will unveil them properly once the time is right for her - this is just a sneak peek, just for you, my readers.
I realised that my little collection of silver had dwindled considerably since the exhibition, in fact, there were no earrings left at all. I picked up a solar quartz pendant set in sterling silver and teamed it with Peruvian opal nuggets and seed pearls - very evocative of the deep blue sea, which one assumes is teeming with mermaids. Solar quartz is a transverse section of a stalactite, and is usually cream coloured - this one is dyed blue, and is particularly vibrant. This is a sweet little necklace - a complete volte face from Worn to be Wild!
I have been hoarding these stylish ear wires for just such a moment - vibrant and pretty dyed jade beads dangle from sterling silver ear wires. I love the colours of these beads - just wish my ear lobes were strong enough to support earrings.....sigh!
South Western Sunset
This picture was taken a long time ago during my travels in the USA. The colours of the sunset are so pretty, although muted and I decided to put them together in a necklace. I admit, this is an unusual combination and I turned it over in my mind for a couple of days before deciding that I would go all out to make an eclectic piece that would be truly one of a kind.
Now that I had given myself the go-ahead, I made some faux amber and faux sea glass beads, and put together a necklace. A vintage Indian pendant was hung on a Tibetan bead, and dangled from a filigree wire woven circle that resembles a dream catcher - in keeping with the South Western theme. I have liberally mixed East and West, and I think they go well together - this necklace has extremely eclectic origins, and is most definitely one of a kind.
I like the way the necklace is showy, without being completely over the top - do you like it??
That's as much as I had time for folks, catch you next week, same time, same place. Have a great week
I have recently begun to scour blogs with tips about photography in the time when I am not working or making jewellery, and found a blog post called " Thirteen Things Your Camera Wishes You Knew" and found out that apparently, I have let my inner chimp roam free - I will have to talk sternly to myself from now on!
I have spent a lot of time wishing I knew more about my camera, sometimes getting a bit annoyed with it because it seems so complicated - I never thought how I might be offending it by my ineptitude.
"Photographers call it “chimping” when someone looks at every shot on the LCD after it is taken. The name comes from people looking at the camera and repeatedly saying “oooh” like a chimpanzee."
This photograph is from Zambio.
This is a limited edition archival print by Kalyani Ganapathy, an extremely talented painter from my home town, Bangalore. Her paintings are filled with whimsy, and they speak to my funny bone - she says, sometimes my work reminds her of her own - obviously a kindred spirit thang going on here! I am the proud possessor of one of her original paintings.
I thought about what happens when gossip becomes vicious, and how rumours are born - and my next piece was conceived right there. I made some triangular flat bangles from polymer clay and added bits of coloured spots in different shapes and sizes on one side, spilling over and through the centre, turning into a completely different coloured spots on the other side - this is how Chinese Whispers work - they are converted into quite something else by the time they spread far and wide - the dark side of a good gossip.
I like the idea of quirky jewellery which is contemporary at the same time - something that makes you smile while making you look good, don't you??
We went to the German Christmas Market in Birmingham over the weekend - unfortunately, there wasn't a single thing that was German in it! Even the sausages were Lincolnshire and Cumberland - the burgers were made from kangaroo, ostrich, reindeer and Aberdeen Angus meat - not really known for hailing from Germany - the whole thing defied the Trade Descriptions Act! But I took some pictures - and here are some for you to look through.....
Meet Coral, the Goth - she is actually a pharmacist who has a degree in Infectious diseases and comes from Mauritius - I saw her in an otherwise empty Jazz club, and was blown away by her pizzazz - I overcame my natural reticence and went in to chat to her - she most obligingly posed for me - and once again, with her friend when they came out of the club. Isn't she fabulous?? - she says she doesn't feel the cold!!
This flower blooms obligingly in the dead of winter, through the snow and frost, and comes back faithfully every year - it grows in shade, so I grow it under my evergreen trees in the shade of my garden fence and I can see it from my bedroom - it is probably the only colour in the garden in winter.
The Saga of the Caprilicious Rose Giveaway
I pulled out some polymer clay and made a bunch of pretty roses in the orange, yellow and red combination on the Caprilicious logo - and then I thought, wouldn't it be nice to give them away as a birthday gift from Caprilicious - so that's what I did - a bit ( a lot) of confusion ensued from this one single light bulb moment - I didn't realise how hard it was to give things away.
I did say at the start that people would have to pay for the postage - just the jewellery was free. One of the ladies took exception to having to pay for postage - and then it ensued that she thought I was asking for payment for the pendant - too late, I had offered it to someone else by then.
Paypal began to play me up and charged people double the amount, so I had to cancel and resend the invoices, one person asked for earrings after they had all gone - but as she is a bit of a favourite, I will make more for her.
I posted news of the giveaway on the jewellery forum I belong to on Facebook, thinking to give something back to the ladies who offer constructive criticism, and stroke and soothe the old ego (stroking is always welcome) when I post my pictures on the forum, but the administrators deleted the post - no giveaways allowed! - PHEW! - it began to look like the proverbial badly organised p**s up in a brewery!
Anyway, all but one lot have been posted out now - I worried that they might be too fragile to go in the post, so had to put in a load of wadding - which in turn made the postage costs go up - remind me please, not to do this again - or to do it with more robust, easily posted items - I ought to think things through rather than acting on a light bulb moment!!
Made of the Mist
Silvery quartz points were interspersed with Czech glass teardrops that seem to glow in the light. One of the points was wrapped with enamelled copper wire and Japanese rectangular glass beads and used as a pendant - I think the silver of the quartz resembles the gray mist - there's something mystical and magical about them - it was as if sorceress had imprisoned the mist and hung it around my neck. The necklace is both delicate and substantial at the same time and deserves a good home...... any takers??
That's all I had time for this week folks. Have a good one, and I will catch you next week, same time, same place
Last weekend was Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, a three day festival which is the start of a new year in India - a lamp is lit to guide the Goddess of wealth Lakshmi, into the house, some more are lit to show Ram, the exiled prince, the way back to his kingdom, and even more, to celebrate the death of a pesky demon - the myth of the triumph of good over evil - the stuff of good Hollywood/Bollywood movies!
My mother phoned me to make sure I had lit the lamp she gave me - so here's proof, mom!
And then in the UK we had Bonfire night, where we celebrate either the execution of Guy Fawkes, or honour his attempts to do away with the government, or exult over the safety of the king/monarchy with a bonfire and fireworks - depending on your take on it.
Whatever the excuse, it is a lovely time of year - the leaves are gold and brown and crunchy underfoot, the air is clean and crisp, and the fireworks scent the air with their own sharp aroma. Time to bring out the warm clothing, sweaters, UGG boots, gloves, scarves - and jewellery needs to be large and bright, and necklaces longer, to go over winter woolies.
To go with the theme of 'lights' i made a pair of wire filigree earrings that I called 'Candelabra' - they are curved gently into the shape of the face to give a three dimensional effect.
If you read my blog last week you will know I was blown away by the stuff I learned at Polydays - I just couldn't believe that I had actually made these complicated designs - so I decided to try them out again, just to convince myself that is was possible, and it was indeed me at Polydays.
These are the pieces I made - not bad for a day spent playing, huh? Pendants and earrings and even a bead rolled off my craft table - I was most excited!
While I was in the mood to play with clay, I made a sheet of coloured clay, graduating from a forest green, to a beautiful dull gold, and I made wafer beads from it. Together with a gold coloured pod shaped bead I made earlier, The Fruit of the Forest necklace materialised in my hands as if by magic.
The tiny seed beads between the wafers make the necklace very flexible and comfortable, ideal for wearing over a cardigan. The depth of the shades of green in the necklace is just splendiferous.
A Touch of Frost
In keeping with the weather, I came up with a winter white necklace of mother of pearl shell fragments, wired on to a torque - the centerpiece being a trio of clear AB coated crystal flowers and one single red rose.
Winter white is a creamy white, richer than the glaring whites of summer, and the mother of pearl casts a beautiful glow upwards onto the wearer's face.
These pictures were taken with my new all singing and dancing Nikon 5100 - isn't it a shame that I cannot sing and dance with it - but soon, real soon, I will get the hang of it and then, watch out, my photographs will sizzle!
The Peach Blossom Pendant
Last week I made this pretty necklace, but I had a few rough quartz needles left over. I used one of them in my next little pendant, which I wound with sterling silver wire. Antiqued and polished, it looks sweet on a silver snake chain. An easy piece to wear of a daytime, for someone who has a quiet statement to make.
Work has been pretty busy, so I haven't had time to do much else. It will soon be two years since I set Caprilicious Jewellery up and we have come a long way together since then, thanks to you all - I am very grateful.
Have a great week, and I will catch you soon, same time, same place
Hello readers, thanks for stopping by. This has been a productive week, made difficult by the lack of a camera. I realised how important a camera was to Caprilicious when my little Canon IXUS went to the 1st Aid Centre (no, I'm not joking - it is called just that) to have it's LCD screen replaced. I have no camera phone, and so was unable to take a single picture all week.
I generally take pictures of almost everything I make as I go along - it's amazing how minor flaws, like a wire end going awol, or a crookedly placed gemstone show up clearly on camera, but cannot be seen when I eyeball them. The camera hospital were kind enough to return it in three days time - phew! and I was off and away again. While I waited for the return of the invalid, I played with wire and made some earrings - wire filigree is so much fun.
This is not a colour I would generally pick - but I fell in love with the delicacy of the iridescent peachy pink of these quartz needles. I sent off for glass teardrops to put in between them - I think this is such a pretty piece of jewellery - I might even wear it myself, and sit down demurely sipping a cup of tea, and nibbling on a cucumber sandwich, just so I can suit the necklace, as I do love it. I am sure it will find a home with someone who is a bit more ladylike than me.
This next necklace was inspired by my crab apple tree, and made with wire and Czech glass beads. Why Rula?? - well, Rula Lenska is an English actress of Polish origin - in the late eighties she was in a TV commercial, and her line was "My hair is a brilliant red, my eyes a dazzling green and if you're not seeing that you're not watching on an RCA television"... besides, the piece is so theatrical, I could see Rula Lenska wearing it.
I think this most definitely qualifies as an Explosion of Colour!
For those of you who celebrate it, a Happy Diwali to you, and I'll see you again next week, same time, same place
Welcome, readers, to the Caprilicious Blog. Wandering around the garden centre last weekend, I fell in love with the most beautiful statue of Kwan Yin. We have a small garden, and didn't quite know where I would put her - but she simply had to be brought home. I have never felt so strongly drawn to an inanimate object, and with a few surprised glances in my direction, Mike dutifully trotted off to order the statue and pay for her delivery. The serenity of her face is almost infectious - and of course, we could all do with some of that - serenity, not an infection!
Last week, I made some squiggle earrings - they were tacked on at the end of the blog. They were very difficult to make, and of course, it is always a nightmare to get free form earrings to be equal and opposite and mirror one another exactly.
However, the degree of difficulty was a challenge, and it seemed to work out - more or less - they are light and pretty, but don't accurately reflect the amount of work that has gone into them, or the degree of difficulty. Perhaps, that's as it should be!
My friend BN tried on a pendant I had made earlier - Bluebells - and said it was a bit big for her at 2" in diameter. She wondered if I could make a smaller one - once again a challenge, as most of my pieces are on the larger side. Both of them are here for you to compare - Bluebells, and Baby Bluebells.
I do so enjoy rising to a challenge, and with both pendants patinated and the patina preserved with micro crystalline wax, I cannot decide which one is best - can you??
At this point, I should have given up wire work, and gone on to something less onerous on the hands, but instead, ploughed on with a Ssssssserpent! With four lengths of copper wire, each about 2 feet long, the serpent slowly but surely wound its way around my neck, with frequent stops to rest my fingers. It took over ten hours to wrap and shape this necklace, and finish it to my satisfaction. When presented to a Wire Workers group on Facebook, the notifications on my page went wild for a couple of days - they understood the work that had gone into it, and were gratifyingly enthusiastic.
The legend of Nagina, remembered from my childhood was that snakes partner for life, and if one of a pair is killed, the image of the 'murderer' stays on the retina of the dead snake, which only another snake can see. The female of the species being deadlier than the male, and all that, Nagina would hunt out the murderer of her spouse, and from then on, his days were numbered. Perhaps the male snake just goes off and finds another spouse and does not bother with all this exhausting avenging of the beloveds death jazz ( or am I being sexist here??).
This legend was made into a Bollywood movie in the late eighties, with Nagina transmogrifying into a beautiful woman ( of course!) who sang and danced and swayed like a snake, every time a flute like instrument was played, with many costume changes, including pale grey contact lenses when in snake/woman form, and writhed orgiastically, morphing back and forth from snake to woman in order to wreak her revenge. The song is on You tube - she came over all peculiar and unnecessary as soon as she heard this instrument and looked like she was about to do herself a mischief! If you want to see it, you will have to find it on You Tube - I refuse to have it on the blog - type the word Nagina into a You Tube search, and voila!
I foreswore wire for a while after this, my hands and wrist hurt so much, Mike had to massage them to get the circulation going again.
One of Gerry's friends at the jewellery party gave me a box of beads from a necklace she had loved, but had sadly broken - some of the beads were missing, and she asked me to replace them with coral and turquoise, and make her a symmetrical necklace, about 18" long. Symmetry is not my strong point, but hey, the customer is always right! So, here goes.....
These pictures were sent out to her and I was gratified to find a message in my inbox saying she loved them.
The Wings of Love
These earrings were sitting forlornly in a box, waiting patiently for a new home. Their chance to shine came the other day when one of my old friends walked in with her son, looking for a gift for the son's teacher. Gratifyingly, the young lad fell in love with so many of my pieces - he is about 11 years old, and he oohed and aahed over the pieces I was showing his mother - he was the best salesman I could have hoped for - he got his mom to buy a couple of items for herself, and just flipped out over the colours on these wings.
I showed them the remaining wings in my stash, and pictures of the stuff made earlier, and his mother ordered a pendant to go with these earrings - all I can say is, K can you come work for me?? and what a lucky teacher!
For those who haven't seen them before, these are the wings of an Indonesian beetle - the wings are collected after it dies, and made into jewellery - they are not coloured or varnished - this is nature in all her beauty - no wonder they are called 'Jewel Beetles'. The beautiful iridescence of the beetle wings will endure and remain splendid for many decades - examples survive from India that are over one hundred years old, including use as decoration in Victorian tea - cosies.
This week has just flown by and the weekend is here again - I am down to work at the day job on Saturday, and hopefully it isn't raining on Sunday as we have plans to go to the Upton on Severn Jazz Festival. That's all I have time for this week, have a great weekend, catch you same time, same place
I hope you have all had a good week - I had the week off from work and decided to use it productively - was meant to drive to Shrewsbury, an hour away, to take an enamelling class, but snow and ice precluded that enterprise, and we had to reschedule. So I was forced to stay at home, and play on my own with my baubles and beads, and my computer.
I entered Ariel onto a colour palette design challenge and bloghop hosted by Bonnie Coursolle of Jasper's Gems from Ontario, Canada. http://www.jasper-moon.ca/JaspersGemsBlog.htm
She posted three colour palettes, and Ariel was made in the colours of the first one she gave the participants to work with. It is nice sometimes to accept a challenge and work within its confines - it gives the mind a focus.
Just after I posted last week, I found out that I had won a £10 voucher from a trade magazine called Beads and Beyond - I had submitted a picture well before Christmas 2012 to their inbox, and quite forgot about it - in fact, I had to ask members of a jewellery forum if it was true that the picture had been published when I got the email that I had won the voucher, I thought it might be some sort of pre April fool prank. One of the ladies sent me this picture - I should really go out and buy the magazine now.
I entered Glacial Fantasy in a 'Jewellery Design Star' competition on Artbeads.com - this is a company in the USA that sells jewellery making supplies. I don't usually have time to hunt down competitions, and enter my jewellery, so it was nice to be able to do it this week.
I sent Pearl Blay, the author of The Beading Gem's Journal a picture of Glacial Fantasy. She writes a daily blog http://www.beadinggem.com/ where she posts
'the best Free Jewelry Tutorials Tips,Trends & More'. I have been following this blog since the day I started to make jewellery, and have learned a lot from her writings. Her blog lands in my inbox with a 'ping' every afternoon - she is in Canada-her advice is sound, and she has an archive of tutorials on almost everything to do with handmade jewellery making. I have approached her twice in the past, and only got as far as being allowed to submit a picture of one of my necklaces to her 'Readers Gallery of Inspirational Designs', but Glacial Fantasy piqued her interest and she wants to do a feature on Caprilicious Jewellery sometime in April. She contacted Manish, who took the picture of the glacier in Ladakh, and will put his picture on the blog as well. It is a big deal for Caprilicious, as her blog is extremely zealously curated, and I am suitably thrilled and grateful to Pearl. I will keep you posted when the feature comes out - it is fabulous to have one's work recognised by one's peers, especially someone who has been there, done that and seen it all.
I had a vague idea of what I wanted to make, so I made these little pieces - I embellished black clay with real gold leaf from Thailand, and made a few faux bone elements. I wasn't sure how I was going to connect them, till I remembered a roll of hemp tucked away at the back of my supplies cupboard. While I pondered this weighty question, I was thankful that there wasn't much clearing up to do - this was a clean technique and my table didn't look like a bombsite at the end of it.
I watched a late night movie, with subtitles, from Senegal - I watched the griot sing his soulful song - the Mandinkas pass on their history from generation to generation through songs sung by griots, accompanied by a kora-a stringed instrument. The marabout (and the protagonist visited quite a few in this movie to help restore his potency) was laden with bones and cowrie shells, and all I could think about was how this scene could be incorporated into a piece of jewellery. I think this necklace was conceived that night - there has to be some benefit to being an insomniac .
Cowrie shells were used as currency in Africa . Their symbolic qualities and beliefs led to them becoming a popular and valued object of currency for hundreds of years. During early colonial times, many Africans preferred being paid with cowrie shells over gold coins- which was a surprise (and an unexpected windfall) to the first Europeans who went to trade in Africa.
Cowrie shells are also tagged with a mystical quality, and have played a role in West African fortune telling, and are an integral part of music and indigenous instruments, as well as gambling games. They are also used as fertility symbols and brides wear them in a waist belt. One of these found its way into my hands, but it was all broken and tattered, so I rescued the cowrie shells from it - reuse and recycle - that's my motto!
I was trying to replicate the mood of the music, and the picture above in my photograph. I was clearly underemployed this week, so I played with my little camera - I lit a joss stick and tried to take a picture inside my light box, with the smoke wafting over the necklace - but I soon found out that this was easier said than done - smoke just doesn't do as it is told - I discarded a whole bunch of pictures - thank goodness for modern technology - imagine how expensive all this would have been if I had to develop all those pictures to find one that I liked!
My most recently ordered leaf skeleton pendants arrived, and I wasted no time putting the aspen leaf into a necklace of lemon quartz and pyrite. The pale gold of the quartz contrasts with the dark gold of the pyrite - Lemon quartz is so pretty, it reminds me of the weak first rays of the sun, the first thing in the morning - a wistful light, yet so beautiful. My husband liked it so much, he even wore it for a couple of minutes - yes, I got a picture, but I am not allowed to post it ( thank goodness, you say?? - you are absolutely right).
I was asked to make some earrings to go with Glacial Fantasy - I decided to have another look at Manish's pictures from Ladakh for inspiration - I found a couple that set me thinking of icicles, and I made these for the ladies who had commissioned necklaces from me.
Zahra - the Luminous one
The pearls I chose for this necklace, brought the word 'luminous' to mind - when I looked for a translation in Arabic/Persian, this flowery language came up with 'Zahra'.
We have some large holly bushes in front of the house, and I boiled up some leaves - I thought that their skeletons would be an interesting shape - but in the end, it was all 'Bubble. bubble, toil and trouble' for no reward - man, those holly leaves sure are tough! Eventually I gave up, and when I rang the lady who electroplates the leaves for me, she said she had the same problem, so she just electroplated the entire leaf as it was. I cheated, and bought this pendant from her - I was fed up with the whole holly debacle by then.
Being used to the delicate skeletons I am now accustomed to, I was a bit surprised by how substantial the holly leaf was, but in the end, I think it came good and I love the way it turned out.
I ended the week with a birthday, my colleagues from work threw a surprise lunch party for me, and some of them even wore their necklaces from Caprilicious, as did I. It was a lovely thought, and a really nice afternoon - thank you to all the ladies who turned up and made me feel special.
And, that was the week that was! Catch you next week, same time, same place, take care and have a great Easter break
It has been a bitter sweet year - in the effort to take my mind off the loss of my brother, I ended up creating a monster that has taken me over - what has now become my passion - the reason I wake up every morning - I now dream, sleep and think jewellery when I am not at my day job, and have to tear myself away from my jewellery making to go to bed at night. It is official - Caprilicious is my obsession!
I have learned to bead, make wire jewellery, use a kiln, enamel, and overcome my fear of power tools to now become comfortable with my Dremel, and even a bench buffer! Who would've thunk it!
It is very difficult at a certain stage of competence in one field (not to mention a certain age), to try and learn an entirely new skill and become a beginner - all fingers and thumbs, being told off by the teacher for making a basic mistake, and feel like a complete fool. I now have a lot of sympathy for my juniors at work - indeed, I have become a much more patient teacher, as a result of revisiting my learning skills!
I am used to learning in a class and by following a teacher on a one to one basis, so I chose this route - and I think I benefited from it - although expensive this way, I cut to the chase and learn the little tips and tricks that click into place when I fly solo - especially with quality control!
I had no idea I could be creative - but the ideas seem to come - and people seem to like what I make - I even surprised my mother - getting a compliment from her is like extracting hen's teeth ( and you have to catch the dratted hen first!) - and she has volunteered her approval - WOW!!
Michael, my long suffering husband, has been very supportive throughout, but I tend not to take his compliments too seriously - he gives them to me easily, and I can't help thinking that his vision is a bit rose tinted where my endeavors are concerned - sweet man, but I don't want to make the mistake of believing my own hype!
I have been on a crazy-mad spending spree at my Nepalese artisan's shop, and bought a few bits and bobs. Having used up the last of the previous stash in the weeks before, I felt I could justify buying more. I have some truly beautiful pendants, and have promised myself that I will make a necklace using the Ghau box as the focal for Caprilicious' birthday this week, and have bought loads of little turquoise beads to this end. As this ghau box is a bit more expensive than the other pieces, I have spent a lot of time designing the necklace in my mind - it will have to be as spectacular as the box deserves.
While mulling this over, I made a necklace with coral, free form lapis lazuli nuggets and a turquoise and coral pendant - very colourful and bright.
A real winterberry on a bush
Winter months can be so dark and dreary, rain and snow, mist and fog - enough to drive the most hardy soul demented - my necklaces are designed to raise the spirits and drive all vestiges of Seasonal Affective Disorder out of the wearers consciousness - that is my raison d'etre.
I picked some colourful crackle agate beads - they have such beautiful markings, and are gently faceted - smooth and cool to the touch, and ever so pretty. These were teamed with crystals in many colours and shapes, and silver tone spacer beads in a seemingly random manner - the whole time, the gemstones reminded me of berries and it was all I could do to restrain myself from trying to eat them - they look so very edible! This, then, is ..............................
I love beads that aren't round - if they happen to be round, I like them to be faceted, or marked beautifully - in other words, I just like them a bit different to the general idea of a bead being round, with a hole running through it. Imagine my surprise and pleasure, when I started making jewellery, when I discovered that anything with a hole running through it is classified as a bead - it doesn't have to be round to qualify - Hooray!!!
I bought these graduated pale pink sponge coral rondelles - now, I am not a pale pink person, but the texture and the shape of the beads appealed to me. I thought long and hard about how I was going to brighten the necklace - and then - in an 'Eureka!' moment, I teamed it with a clasp inlaid with lapis lazuli and coral from my favourite Nepalese artisan - I set the clasp so that it was to one side of the graduated beads and added stardust gold tone beads and a few lapis beads to tie in with the clasp - I think it looks Very Elegant
For the last two or three months, I have been slowly accumulating a stash of bling - both vintage and new items, to assemble into a Tom Binns inspired necklace - after all it is party time, and in my youth (!) I would have given anything to own one of these. I made two last year, and thought I would do the same again. Michelle Obama is a dedicated follower of Tom Binns, among others.
Of course, Tom makes his necklaces from scratch, although he was known as the 'King of Junk Jewellery' and why ever not?? - his necklaces start from about £500. Caprilicious brings you a toned down version with vintage diamanté (always more plentifully available at Christmas time) - a sort of Tom Binns meets Desperately Seeking Susan, they fall in love and run off together - a happily ever after kinda story.
A couple of weeks ago, I offered to take the pain out of Christmas gift giving - a gift wrapping and delivery service - this was accepted with alacrity by one poor chap, who confessed to being all fingers and thumbs when it came to tying his own shoelaces, let alone a package for his special lady. He bought a pretty piece of Bling! and I wrapped it for him in boxes I have in for this purpose - it is now under his bed - or wherever he hides his presents, waiting for the big day.
'All earrings in the Caprilicious shop reduced by 10% - have a browse and send me a message with the name of the piece you want so I can invoice you correctly and take it out of the shop.'
I have a birthday week offer running in my Facebook store, with 10% off all the earrings in store, and am happy to extend it to the website as well - if any of you reading this fancy a pair of earrings as a treat, or to buy for friends as a gift, send me a message via the contact page with the name of the earrings you like and your email id, and I will sort it out for you.
I know I am a bit early with this weeks blog, but I wanted to post on Caprilicious' first birthday. I have some ideas about what I will make today with the Ghau box, and I will post them later on, at the week end, as usual.
Once again, thanks for all your support, and the wishes I have had on the Facebook page today - couldn't have done it without you, catch you soon, wonderful people,
Hello all, have just got back from a fabulous short break in Rome - the weather was fantastic, and the sun shined on us throughout, allowing us to cafe hop between trudging wearily from monument to museum - watching the world go by - checking out what people are wearing, the way they walk - women seem to walk differently from the rest of the world in Europe - little staccato steps, on tottery high heels, in tight short skirts. The cobbled streets of Rome are particularly suited to clickety - clacking along in stiletto heels, the women so chic, in artfully draped scarves, long dangling earrings and bracelets stacked up halfway up the arm.
Exhausted, feet hurting, and happy to be back, we rescued the cat from the cattery, and now, back to real life - at least I have a couple of days to relax and get the feeling back in my feet, before getting back to the day job - thank goodness for that!
Before I went, I spent a lot of time on the internet researching a way to use my collection of Swarovski squares - these are either square, or with rounded off corners, and boy, do they shine! The only problem is I had to find some way of connecting them - unless I gave up and used them singly in earrings. I do not do bead weaving, which is the most common way to connect circles or square elements - sewing with beads is hard on the eyes, and excruciatingly time consuming - really, the artisans who work with tiny seed beads are to be commended - and good luck to them!
After all that, I found I had to learn a few simple tricks with seed beads to make this next piece or I would never have managed it - just connecting them with jump rings would never be an option for me - too easy! I set out to Square the Circle - an euphemism for an impossible task - the original was a geometric challenge to construct a square with the same area as a given circle using a finite number of steps, which was proven to be impossible in 1882!
Squaring The Circle
I managed to connect the squares - but found that the necklace was too light, and twisted on itself - it needed a focal point to add weight to the centre, and so, the little 2" square pendant of wire and knot less netting was constructed - it also gave the piece some added colour, and plenty of Bling! I used some pretty chainmaille knots between the beads - I have more of these Swarovski rings, and there will be more on these pages, as time goes by.
I got some new tools this week - a new dapping block and doming hammers - working round blanks into gentle dome shapes raises the game just that little bit and allows them to catch the light - I would like to use this technique before I apply enamel to the copper blanks I have earmarked for earrings - they will catch the light every time the wearer moves their head - pretty!
Of course, I had to have a play - I had some Chinese coins and got them out for a good bashing - I'm afraid I smashed some of them by hitting too hard - but, when I worked out all it needed was a light touch using the wrist, rather than the shoulder, I got some pretty good results. Notice the silk cushion I am using as a way to soften the blows on my dining table - I really need a work table - and am coming round to that way of thinking, fast. A few more hammering sessions on the old dining table, and Mike will rush out and buy one - see, there's method in my madness!
The gypsy queen was made from the coins - I punched holes in the dapped and domed coins, patinated them using a proprietary patina, buffed and polished, applied a sealant, and made a couple of pairs of earrings.
I liked the effect, so I patinated the rest and attached them to a hand woven copper collar. I liked it so much, I wore it in Rome - it did attract quite a bit of attention - and strangely, while walking around the Pantheon, I saw a shop displaying earrings just like these - these were copies of Roman artefacts found in the archaeological digs around the area . I must try this with other coins from my travels - not Euros, though - I need those!
The Soleil D' Orient was a vessel that set sail from Siam in 1681, owned by the French East India Company, it is one of the three richest shipwrecks in the world. There were 60 crates of presents to Louis the Fourteenth and probably sank off the coast of Madagascar following a cyclone. It has been looked for by treasure hunters fruitlessly over the years - but it is thought that the treasure is now spread out over many miles - maybe I have a piece here?? - The coins were antiqued by rubbing with sandpaper after being patinated, and then sprayed with a varnish to prevent loss of the rest of the patina - I really like that effect.
Hope you all had a good week too - I will catch up with you later
No, I haven't been slaying vampires in my spare time, or even as my main occupation - I have been playing with my Dremel - I buffed everything - if he had stayed still for a couple of minutes, I would have buffed the cat! It took me a while to actually take the Dremel out of the box - I had this irrational fear that it was going to bite me, so I did it in stages - took one whole day to charge the battery (even though it has an hour turnaround) - but, 'you've got to do these things properly don't you' - was how I rationalised my procrastination. Eventually I ran out of excuses, and then went for it. Now, of course, I am an old hand and am blithely buffing away - everything is shiny in our house now!!
I bought a tutorial by one of the teachers at Polydays 2012 - one of the ladies at the meet had made it, and was wearing hers, it looked fab, very much the stuff I want to make. A lot of polymer clay people make faux gemstones - faux coral, and turquoise and all sorts - but I would rather use real gemstones if I decide to make that sort of jewellery. In the modern jewellery I want to create - all angles and swirls and colour - I am happy to use polymer clay and be proud of it. It is such a modern material, and lends itself to all sorts of new techniques - I love the challenges it presents. I intend to combine it with wire and all sorts - the possibilities are endless.
SORBET - design credit Bettina Welker
After this, I was getting wire withdrawal symptoms! So I sat myself down in front of the telly with one of my enamel pendants I made last week- the one I like the best, and devised this necklace.
It is named Moonflower for the flower I have fused onto the centre of the pendant with glass. The Moonflower opens at night and remains shut during the day. It is an Ipomea, and grows prolifically in India. To go with the night time theme, I constructed a web of stars around one of the beads, added a ceramic owl and some grey and white ceramic beads which I bought in Greece, to the necklace. To reduce my wire cravings, I added a wire bail, embellished by a little flower.
I have a link to a website which shows a real time video of a moonflower opening which I found fascinating - I invite you to take a look - it is fascinating, and rather beautiful - http://www.moonlightsys.com/themoon/flower.html
Let me tell you about the Absinthe Fairy :-
Absinthe is an anise flavoured spirit, which is also flavoured with fennel, and the flowers and leaves of the 'grand wormwood'. It has anywhere upto 89% alcohol and tastes of licorice!
Absinthe traditionally has a natural green colour due to the chlorophyll in the herbs used, but may also be colourless, and contains 'thujone' which was thought to be a dangerously psychoactive drug - this reputation has been proven undeserved. Much beloved by the Bohemians, it was even added to ordinary water by the common folk - to purify the water - wish I could use that excuse!
The Absinthe Fairy is a green fairy, and is a metaphorical concept of artistic enlightenment and exploration, of poetic inspiration, of a freer state of mind, of new ideas, of a changing social order. Absinthe was the drink of choice of the Bohemians in Paris in the 19th century, and they called it 'La Fee Vert' - or the Green Fairy!
I made a necklace from a string of beautiful Aurora Borealis coated green crystal briolettes to which I added silver and green crystal, and I felt that the resulting necklace had to be named after her - it is exactly what an Absinthe fairy would wear.
The Blue Fairy -or- The Fairy with the Turquoise Hair
The Fairy With Turquoise Hair (La Fata dai Capelli Turchini) is the original 'Blue Fairy' as picturised by Disney from Carlo Collodis tale The Adventures of Pinnochio. Disney, however, turned her into a blue eyed blonde! She appears at regular intervals to admonish the little wooden puppet to avoid bad or risky behaviour, and guides him out of the bad habit of telling lies. Eventually, she breaks the habit, forgives him, and gives him a human form.
Turquoise blue is one of my favourite colours, and I simply love the deep blue of these briolettes, coated with the iridescent Aurora Borealis shimmer. I made a simple necklace with them, along with shiny, sparkly, 'stardust beads' - simple is not usually my style, but the crystal is so beautiful, it would be criminal to try and add other elements that distract from it - so, here we have it - the simple little Blue Fairy necklace...................
I had a few beads left over from the two strings I had bought - they were mightily displeased at being left behind - I could hear them cussing and muttering - so, (after all, who am I to ignore the need of crystal briolettes to be admired) I put them into my next piece - KINGFISHER. What better example of shiny blue and green can there be? ( a peacock, I suppose, but lets pretend that we didn't think of that ) The inspiration for this one was from the way the briolettes are sold - with plastic spacers between them, to prevent them from breaking. I used silvery tube spacers - have had them for the longest time, and always wondered what I would do with them - now I had the answer! Three strands of blue and green shimmer, separated by silvery tubes with the faintest hint of a design imprinted on them - delicious!
I had to take loads of pictures to get a reasonable facsimile - the shine from the Aurora Borealis coating, especially on the blue thwarted me at every turn - and I still feel, that I did not do justice to the necklaces. I will have to research how to photograph crystal - I am sure there is a trick or two I can unearth with a bit of diligent Googling.
I have a bit more bling in my stash, and no doubt it will all make it's way out of the box soon - after all, Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, etc, etc,
Catch you all next week, have a good one
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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