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 deserve my halo this week, I really do - the sand from the Sahara has blown over to the UK and it feels like every grain has ( at least he thinks so) firmly settled on my poor husband's chest; making him wheeze and groan and thump his chest, in an effort to expel it.
I watched him, unmoved - and unmoving; until he began to cough like a dog - a dog with diphtheria! I had to sit up and take notice then, and thought it was time to minister to him - but now, even my halo aches with fatigue!
Mike is no different to any other man who gets 'man-flu', and he loves to exaggerate - so usually I just allow him to malinger on. This time however, the half human/ half Baskervillian-hound cough scared me (and I don't scare easily), so I bestirred myself with inhalers and steam, antibiotics and rice pudding (??!!) - he's still moaning and groaning , so I've sent him off to bed for a bit, while I write this.
Betwixt and between playing an angel, I took time out to play with wire - the easiest medium to work with, as I can put it down when summoned to fetch a cold compress to soothe a fevered brow. Having pulled out a couple of glass donuts, I made a couple of pendants and connected them together to make one piece - this was inspired by a conversation between two ladies on a wire-work forum on Facebook about the difficulties people who are left handed face when they try to follow instructions written for right handed people. I thought I'd try to make two mirror image pendants and link them together - it is good practice anyway and comes in handy when making earrings. The second donut is a bit smaller than the first, and the central bead is a little faceted agate.
My friend's daughter Meg, took me out to lunch on my birthday, and she was wearing some earrings that I had made a while ago.
In this picture she is wearing them on holiday in St Lucia - the design is quintessentially Indian - called a jhumka - a sort of an umbrella or bell shaped earring worn on a hook or attached to a flower shaped post earring. I decided I'd make yet another pair using only wire and a couple of shell beads I had bought from a friend recently. The shell beads are a beautiful silvery blue, and have black squiggles on them - they are fairly rare, and very pretty. Once the earrings were made, I put together the rest of the shell beads in a necklace, along with cylindrical beads made of wire.
The hyacinths are out in the garden - this is the first time I planted some, so I am very pleased to see them pop up for me. We have some bluebells and primroses as well, and of course, the daffs are out. It will soon be warm enough to go out and do stuff in the garden - not yet, and certainly not this week, I would only be followed by a plaintive call for a cuppa and a paracetomol and a hacking cough that was feeling very sorry for itself indeed!
My house elf has been at work again - I bought some beautiful earring components shaped like little orchids - and they have been spirited away, never to be seen again. I wonder if there is a little dead letter office-like space in my house where this elf is secreting all my lovely stuff - if so, I am in for a fabulous surprise one of these days. I only hope my stuff hasn't gone into one of our 'circular filing cabinets' and thence to the tip!
That's all I've had time for this week folks. I'd better go and fill the hot water bottle, twitch the blankets, plump up some cushions, and generally soothe the fevered brow - honestly, this angel lark isn't a barrel load of fun.
Have a good week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello, I hope all of you reading this are having a good summer - in the UK, we are about six weeks behind the rest of Europe, hopefully we will be paid back in October when it lasts six weeks longer than it does on the Continent - but, somehow, I don't think so, do you??
I made a necklace with graduated coral heishi beads and a single fog quartz focal - I loved the idea of a fog contained in a bead - I wish we could do that, come winter. A load of people liked it - and thank you to those that did. However, one lady put a comment under the picture 'Gaudy!', she spat! I chose to think she got the spelling wrong and actually meant 'Gaudi'! People are the strangest creatures - if they don't like something, they seem to have a compulsion to make sure the designer knows it - I wonder why?
They could vote with their feet, or fingers in this case, and just click over to something that suits them better. One lady saw fit to comment that my little flight of fancy about a pendant I had made was 'pure BS' and that I should 'cut it out' - a lesson in good manners was in order, I think. At the end of the day, all designs are born from somebody's flight of fancy - I just verbalize mine, is all! Anyway, let me show you some pictures of Parc Guell in Barcelona, designed by Gaudi - I say vibrant, some say gaudy......................
I think she meant Gaudi - don't you???
If not, I invite her to use her finger..........
Ammonites are cephalopods that lived 240 - 60 million years ago, and are now extinct. They are related to the cuttlefish and octopus, and are thought to have lived in shallow water, as the predator of the day. Many specimens found in Madagascar and Alberta display iridescence. These iridescent ammonites are often of gem quality (ammolite) when polished - ammolite is very, very expensive. I just love the little critters, and buy them whenever I can - I do not understand my fascination with them, as I usually look for highly coloured objects. I decided to make some up as earrings in polymer clay, using a faux Raku pottery technique - this involves the use of real gold and silver foil, alcohol inks and layers of transparent clay - so I played, and these are what I made.......
The little elongated shapes were from left-over veneer, and I shall make earrings out of them. I made so many ammonites, that I offered them up for a swap on a jewellery makers swap shop on Facebook, and got a string of coral in return for four beads - a win, win result!
The last little critter was turned into a pendant with a bit of wire work to one side, and a wire embellished leather thong - very now, I think.
Charis is a Greek word for grace - and specifically relates to the three Charities - goddesses of beauty and were Aphrodite's attendants. When Aphrodite rose from a cushion of foam in the sea and reached the island of Cythera, where the Graces were, they dressed her in jewels, placed her in a chariot, and led her to Olympus, where Aphrodite became one of the Olympians.
They were Aglaia (Beauty or Splendor), Euphrosyne (Mirth) and Thalia (Good Cheer), the daughters of Zeus and the nymph Eurynome. Considered the embodiment of grace and beauty, they brought joy to gods and men and inspired artists. This story inspired artists like Botticelli and Rubens, and I thought this necklace could easily be worn by one of the Graces in the painting below - it is simple, and elegant.
I have been busy producing little earrings and pendants - a friend of mine up in Cheshire has offered to invite her friends round to a jewellery party for Caprilicious - my very first! I am anxious that I must get the mix right, and have something for everyone - I don't want anyone to go away disappointed, since some of them will be driving a fair distance to see what I have on offer.
These lovely ceramic flowers and donuts are in pretty summer colours, and I hung them on suede cord that can be tied around the neck - the donuts have contrasting suede tassels and lamp work beads, and look like Chinese lanterns.
Miles and miles of wire has been wrapped this week, and my hands are quite tired and sore. If you want to have a closer look at the pieces I have made specifically for the party, here's the link :- https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.512787555442719.1073741880.171880539533424&&l=fc852cbf61
I am at work at the day job all weekend, and hopefully it will remain quiet enough for me to make a few little bits and bobs - I want to make some butterflies and dragonflies in wire - I just love them and they are so right for summer.
Catch you next week, same time, same place - have a lovely week in the meanwhile
I bought a couple of tutorials previously from Nicole Hanna, who is a young woman, (well, compared to me she is a littl'un - unfortunately, these days a lot of people fall into that category) who has got the 'wire world' weaving - one by one she has infected people with this bug, and I am a recent infectee (??). She is also incredibly generous, and set up a competition where she put out an unfinished tutorial on her blog, and the competitors had to finish the piece in whatever way they saw fit. I resisted the urge for the longest time, and finally, made a couple of three pieces which I submitted - not to win really, but just because I could! As I said, I am new to wire weaving, and I'm sure there are plenty of worthy people who will make the most beautiful stuff. Also, the half tutorial was a starting point, and I was kinda testing myself to see how many ways I could use it - I might just carry on, well after the competition is over.
It reminded me of the books I read as a child, where a tattered piece of a map has to be deciphered to claim a lost treasure, and hundreds of people are fighting over this torn and tattered, barely decipherable piece of paper in the hope of getting to the treasure first.
Named for the God of the Sea - this pendant has a rather masculine brown picture jasper bead, with beautiful splashes of red, and I added swirls of wire, and turquoise beads for femininity. Too much wire, woven too closely together, in my opinion detracts from the femininity of a piece - I like the embellishment of negative space, and although not a 'girly' person, and like my jewellery large, I tend to appease my feminine side more.
So, this pendant is meant to represent Neptune rising out of the waves - what do you think??
My second piece was called Through the Moon Gate - I saw them in China - they are circular openings in a garden wall that act as a pedestrian passageway, a traditional element in Chinese gardens. Moon Gates have many different spiritual meanings, depending on the tiles on the gate. The sloping roofs of the gate represent the half moon of the Chinese Summers and the tips of the tiles of the roof have talismans on the ends of them.
I put scroll like imaginary dragon heads on either end of the 'roof' - Chinese dragons are symbols of power, strength and good luck, and used by Emperors as the yang that complements the yin, which is the phoenix.
I raised the degree of difficulty by using a turquoise doughnut - I had to figure out a way to hold it in, without it having a bead hole through which the wire would pass, and then work out how to finish off the ends of the wire. Since the doughnut is encircled by bead encrusted wire, it spins around inside the bezel, and the tactility of that unexpected result pleased me - I like nice surprises!
I eventually used eight and a half feet of the thicker wire, and miles and miles of the finer wire to weave the pendant - and it took me an entire day - but what fun it was. My fingers were sore and my joints creaked in protest, in the wire workers equivalent of writers cramp. But, here it is, and I think the pain was worth it in the end.
Through The Moon Gate
I had one more day left to submit a piece with Nicole's unfinished tutorial if I wanted to - she allowed multiple pieces - by this time, I felt I could make the first half in my sleep - so I did, but this time, I upped the degree of difficulty yet another notch - I decided to make earrings - with a smaller bead than specified in the tutorial, with two pieces that had to match, and mirror one another - which is more difficult than you can imagine. Both earrings have to be made simultaneously, as a difference of a millimeter will look terrible when they are set down together.
Now to figure out what to do with it - the rules allow more beads, more wire - in fact, more anything - hmmmmmm!
The upside down tear drop shape flatters the face, and the perfectly matched carnelian beads are dramatic and dressy. I didn't add any more wire in the end - the earrings would have been too heavy. At 2.8 inches long from the top of the bail to the tip of the freshwater pearl dangle, they are bound to be easy to wear, and Barbara, who got to model them (it) certainly likes them.
Oh, Happy Day!
I wanted a pretty and colourful piece to take on holiday with me - polymer clay jewellery is ideal for travelling with - the jewellery is light, and relatively inexpensive - no one will attempt to steal it or mug you for it, and it looks fab in the holiday pics. Lotions are not a problem, and the pieces travel well, just thrown into a case - not like metal/wire which might bend or break, and all in all it is a win, win, win situation. This necklace was inspired by Donna Kato's squiggle beads from her book, but as I wanted it to be as colourful as I could make it, I made a rainbow blend using a tutorial from Polymer Clay Central - I just love the colours and the way the necklace looks - it makes me want to sing - Oh Happy Day.....
That's it for now, folks - I will write again when I get back from my holiday in gay Paree - catch you next week
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.
Follow me on Pinterest
I would love to hear from you - please leave a comment on the blog or send an email to jewellerybycaprilicious(at)gmail.com
What's in the Store
Look for them by their names in the search box
Free Mini Tutorials