Good day readers, I trust you are well today. I have some exciting news to tell you this week. Over the last year I've been trying to get Caprilicious into a bricks and mortar venue in the UK, rather than being exclusively available online. This has proved to be a lot more difficult than it sounds. For one thing, I do not live in London where I imagine all the action is, and secondly, I have a full time day job which precludes me from spending large amounts of time contacting people and visiting prospective outlets. Despite this, I have tried my best, phoning people nearby and emailing boutiques and galleries within easy driving distance of Warwickshire without much luck.
And then one day, Mike was out and about as is his wont, and met a lady who was the manager of an art gallery in Warwick. He got talking to her and told her all about my jewellery. Although they don't usually stock jewellery at the gallery, she gave him her card (either he impressed her with his impassioned plea on behalf of Caprilicious, or she was trying to get rid of him before a casual chat turned into The Rime of the Ancient Mariner). I didn't really think anything would come of it, but left it till after Christmas to shoot her an email with a photo of one of my pieces.
OMG, you could have knocked me down with a feather, she mailed back saying she loved my work! After a couple of phone calls, we drove down to Warwick with a selection of my nicest necklaces. Toni Ballard, the manager of the Mitchell Gallery is a painter herself and has had a number of successful exhibitions. She and her partner Tom Mitchell, also an artist, run the gallery with a great deal of enthusiasm. Being creatives themselves rather than simply business orientated, they understand the need to create beautiful things and the pride I take in what I produce.
We arrived dragging a suitcase behind us, like a pair of gypsies selling pegs from door to door and Toni must have wondered if we were planning to move in. I had all the necklaces boxed up and that necessitated the suitcase, although I did feel a bit awkward, turning up with it in tow.
She got me to open the case up in the front room of the gallery and settled herself on the floor on a kilim, rooting through the contents. Tom hovered over us, obviously uncomfortable that his front room had turned into a souk, but she was unrepentant, picking one, and then putting it back and picking another, with a great deal of excitement and pleasure.
She was gratifyingly enthusiastic about the jewellery and picked ten of the best necklaces. I'm sure we will do well together, her enthusiasm has to rub off on people and I know she will do her best by Caprilicious, because she loves the jewellery I make.
I had these luscious fluorite teardrops in my stash for about four years, as well as the hand carved pumpkin shaped beads. I had no idea what I was going to do with either strand until it came to me one night to combine the two with a lacy Moroccan bead. When the necklace came together, it looked like a bunch of ripening grapes and I called it Grappa after the sweet liqueur served as a dessert wine in italy.
This one never made it to the website, I took it in to the gallery and Toni pounced on it almost immediately.
As I was putting this edition of the blog together, I had an email from Toni. She has already put the necklaces out and sent me photographs of the display. I love her enthusiasm!
That's me for this week, folks. I have a couple of days left before I fly out to India. I will of course catch up with the blog while I am there, but it might be a couple of days late.
Have a lovely week and I'll catch you sometime next weekend
Good morning, and how nice it is to have you stop by. How are you today? We have had a mixed bag, weather wise, in Britain (what a cliché - a blog from the UK mentioning the weather in almost the first sentence!), and our collective moods have been up and down with the vagaries of the elusive summer sunshine.
I spent the week preparing frantically for the jewellery party at my friend's place at the weekend - cleaning and polishing stuff I tried to chose carefully to match the demographics of the people who are likely to be there.
I am determined to put on a decent show - both for Caprilicious, and for my friend, who has bigged me up and invited all her friends - Gerri and I have known each other for ages, having been at school together. These good folk will be driving for up to an hour to get there and will be expecting a decent show for their effort.
I will tell you all about it next week, when I have recovered my equilibrium. Just now, I am wandering around the house muttering and shaking my head, looking for stuff the house appears to have eaten - a bit like Gollum and his 'Preciousssssssssssssssss'.
These stones landed on my doorstep earlier this week, bought from a vendor in India - 342 carats of carved cabochons in Labradorite and rose quartz, 73 carats of prehnite teardrops, and best of all, 233 carats of a labradorite slab.
You might well wonder why I would want to buy a large flat grey stone - enlarge the picture, and you will see a fine tracery of blue, that resembles lightening bolts running through the stone.
This is what happened when I tilted the stone so it got some light shining on it from the living room window - the flash of Schiller is unmistakeable.
When I tilted it further towards the light, the flash was so brilliant, I almost needed my sun glasses to look into it directly.
I have put these stones away, deep in my stash, and will bring them out periodically to look at, and stroke, until one of them speaks up and demands to be used. The large slab will remain with me, until I can be certain it will go to a good home, it is so beautiful, it deserves preferential treatment.
Beads Unlimited are a bead company in Brighton. I occasionally submit designs to their website, for their readers gallery, and Jo Porter went along to the Caprilicious website to take a look at my other designs - she loved them so much, she offered to feature me on her Bead Barmy Blog - and here's a screen capture of what she wrote.
To read it for yourself, here's the link - http://www.beadbarmy.com/2013/06/hobby-to-business-caprilicious-jewellery/
Thank you Jo, and Beads Unlimited, for your kind words and your little gift of beads and wire.
Flutterby from last week was a hit, and sold even before the blog was released on Friday. I had one more cloisonne butterfly and I decided that it too, should be allowed free - and so Flutterby (2) was born. I used amethyst, fluorite and emerald nuggets, so that the two of them wouldn't be identical.
With my foot still poorly, I gave it a fighting chance by resting it as much as possible - this meant that I could not work with polymer clay, as this meant treks back and forth from the oven to my work room. So I played with my kiln and fired some silver clay, and for the first time, bronze clay as well. Silver is now so expensive, I had to make sure I got it right- here are the pieces I made.....
Metal clay is made from powdered metal mixed with water and a substance called "methyl cellulose" to create a clay-like dough.
Metal clay handles similar to traditional modeling clays, and when dried is transformed into a solid, metallic object through a firing process. During firing, the methyl cellulose binder is burned away and the metal particles "sinter" into a solid form.
The montage below shows some of the story. I managed to make quite a few pieces, and only one of them broke in the heat of the kiln, probably because the imprint of the design was a bit too deep - Oh well, I can live with that.
The whole thing was fired for an hour in an oxygen depleted environment, buried in carbon particles in a lidded stainless steel container and left to cool in the kiln overnight. And then, I held my breath as I opened up the container and scrabbled around in the charcoal for the pieces of bronze that I had buried the day before - would they be OK, or would they be rubbish????
It's amazing what a bit of soapy water in the tumbler can do - the stainless steel shot works its way into every crevice and shines and hardens the metal - I love my little tumbler, it makes the metal so pretty - I forgot to put a couple of pieces in the tumbler, and you can see the difference straight away. I couldn't wait to add some pretty gemstones and turn them into danglers.
Daffodils Daffodils lining the road to Coombe Abbey
............Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
One cannot imagine an English Country Garden without daffodils - I found this beautiful set of brass stampings on a site in the USA and bought a few of them - this is the second one I have used, with a woven copper frame and loads of Czech glass. I meant to put a beaded necklace on it, but in the end decided to give it a more modern look with a leather thong. A blue chalcedony tear drop finished the piece off with elegance.
That's it for this week, thank you for stopping by. Must go and pack the car now and see how many things I can forget! Catch you next week, same time, same place with the story
p.s. for those of you who read the Caprilicious blog each week, to the side of the title is a logo that reads 'Follow my blog with Bloglovin' - this will ensure that it lands in your inbox without fail, so you don't need to be connected to Facebook to get it. Alternatively, below this is the Network Blogs link - this will do the same - you can take you pick
see you soon
Hello all, hope you are having a better time of it than us in the UK - it is freezing outside with plenty of snow on the ground, ice underneath and more blizzard conditions predicted. The supermarket shelves were empty as Britain prepared to hunker down and stay warm in siege conditions - fortunately, I was off during the worst of the bad weather, and stayed home to play with my beads and wire and clay - what more could a girl ask for??
This is our little effort to keep the fauna outside fed .....
and this is Frosty the snowman's table - look at the undisturbed cake of snow on it - all in one morning!! - The pictures are grainy because the snow was still falling - it was cold enough for icicles to form on the edge of the car door.
I received a package in the post with some weather appropriate items - I had collected some leaves and had their skeletons electroplated and made into pendants - I found a fabulous company in Scotland who will electroplate anything - even a human being if they stand still long enough! They do a good line in plating babies' first bootees and suchlike items. They made these most amazing pendants for me, and I shall be making them up into jewellery in the coming weeks. The leaves were all picked up during walks in and around the grounds of Coombe Abbey in Coventry - I just love that ex Cistercian monastery (who said there's no money in religion??), and the hotel now attached to it. Each leaf is only tiny - about one or two inches long - I wasn't sure how it would look and this was a trial run - I think they did a fabulous job, don't you?? Next time, I shall get a mix of tiny and larger leaves so I can make earrings as well.
I shall call this series 'The Leafy Glade' - just so they can be found easily on the website, and on the Facebook page.
I made my first piece of the Leafy Glade series with a silver birch leaf and fluorite cubes in grades of colour - the deepest purple to a pale sea green, with lucite Miracle beads in between - these beads are coated on the inside with a special substance, and this seems to make them glow in artificial light - amazing stuff!
Various crystals and garnets were wired to the bail, to provide some movement to the piece.
Tiny, 0.5" long bead caps were fashioned out of wire - and turned three dimensional by bending the petals outwards - hung on extra long stainless steel kidney wires - these are an hypoallergenic alternative to silver, and Hey Presto! Snowdrops! They are pretty, though I say so myself - I would wear them, except my ear lobes cannot take even the slightest weight and tear ever so easily - how I long to wear the chandeliers I make - but instead, just have to look at other people in them and drool over the loveliness of it.
The snow meant that we were voluntarily housebound for four days - well, the weather was so awful, we just stayed in and kept warm. That meant I could hit the pasta machine and play - with clay. I made some 'potato chip' spacer beads - these look like what it says on the tin - potato chips - or for those in the UK - crisps, especially since I made them in a dull gold colour. Just to make it a bit more complicated, I imprinted a stamp on them (and practised what is known as 'Mica Shift' in the polymer clay world), and then figured out how to shine them to a glassy finish without using varnish - I love this medium - so many challenges. I was quite pleased with them when I finished, and put them into a necklace with some roughly faceted black tourmaline.
Apparently, ruffles are the way couture is going in spring ( and now I am a Fashionista?? - is there no end to my madness?? - no, don't answer that!!) and this necklace fits the bill - the polymer clay 'chips' look just like golden ruffles.
Kyanite is such a beautiful, ethereal blue, almost pearly - when put into silver tone jewellery, it has a cold, almost icy effect. I thought I'd try it out with the warmer tones of a copper maple leaf.
As I put the necklace together, I was transported back in time, walking in the grounds of the Abbey, picking and discarding leaves to bring back home to dip in chemicals to bring out their skeletons - and I remembered the bee that had been buzzing around on that sunny morning - almost the last bee of that year, so I decided to add it to the necklace - a wire bee, of course, with gauzy copper wings, that I eventually attached to the bail of the pendant, and threw in a few pressed glass flowers for good measure - a bit of whimsy - and of course I couldn't resist the pun - the necklace is called BEE HAPPY - sorry!
That's me for this week, catch you later, 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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