Hello readers, thanks for coming back to the Caprilicious blog today. I have made absolutely nothing this week as I have had to reacclimatise to the day job and the weather. I spent most evenings snoozing in front of the TV and going to bed early, the jet lag compounded by a head cold I brought home from India and generously shared with my husband.
Last week I promised to show you my booty from Jaipur, and I took some pictures even though it was snowing in Nuneaton and my body was going 'Eek!'. I found the origin of the word 'Bootylicious' amusing - it is attributed to a group called Destiny's Child - do you know them?? I thought not, but you might have heard of their most famous member, Beyonce Knowles. No?? Then you have truly been living in a cave all this time, and it is my pleasure to introduce them to you.
I'm not quite sure what these lyrics mean -
"I don't think you ready for this jelly
I don't think you ready for this
'Cause my body too bootylicious for you babe"
And now that I've woken you up with the music, let me show you my booty from Jaipur which exciting though it is, cannot compete with Destiny's Children and their derrieres.
I am a clasp junkie - I just love to complete a statement necklace with a pretty clasp, so I decided that a treasure hunt for clasps would be at the heart of my search. While I looked for clasps, I allowed other beautiful things to distract me and ended up spending a day and a half in the wholesale silver market.
I hunted high and low until I found these beauties - and now I love them so much, I may never use them. I couldn't possibly share them with anybody, I want them all for myself!
I pounded the streets of the drab Chameliwala market working the shops one by one to see what I could find. Each one of them was tiny with space for only a couple of customers, the shopkeeper and his assistant. The bustling, colourful ambiance I had grown to expect in Jaipur was completely missing here - it was all about the grim business of commerce. The word 'Chameli' means Jasmine and if ever there was a misnomer, it was in the naming of this dreary place.
I'd open the door and peer inside - if there were too many people, I'd stick my head back out of the door like a turtle and move on to the next shop. If it seemed relatively empty, I'd slip my shoes off and go in - a lot of them have mattresses on the floor and expect you to sit on them to look at your beads and silver and make your choices. The shopkeepers seemed quite surly and unhelpful until they realised I wasn't a time waster and then out came the goods. By the end of the visit, they were quite animated, calling out for tiny plastic beakers of tea that held about 50 mls of disgustingly sweet milky brown liquid and shouting to their assistant to bring out stuff from the back of the shop. I thought 'what back??' until I saw a little boy on all fours appear clutching a packet of beads out of a hole in the wall that had hitherto been covered by a wall hanging.
The streets were narrow and cars couldn't get onto them, thankfully. There were even narrower side streets that led to little guest houses - I was amazed that anyone would consider walking down those dangerous little streets, festooned with naked wires where people had probably hijacked electricity from someone nearby. There was even a Western Union on one of these streets and the reason for this soon became apparent - there were a load of Dutch, American and French people in the surrounding streets buying gemstones and beads, living in cheap accommodation and generally having a grand old time. I got talking to a couple who were walking around the market. Dirty, unwashed, in baggy Indian trousers with filthy fingernails, and festooned with beads and silver bracelets, they were actually serious buyers and had the respect of the traders in the market for driving a hard bargain.
These are just a few of the bits and bobs I bought, and by no means an exhaustive catalog. I wanted to pick my own labradorite and moonstone so that I could find the stones with the best 'flash', and found the bumble bee jasper in black and yellow irresistible. Solar quartz cabochons in ice cream colours, faceted lapis lazuli and hollow silver beads filled with wax were some of my other finds.
The shopkeepers and tuk tuk drivers seemed to have learned their facial expressions from the ubiquitous camel - while bargaining with them, if I mentioned a price that they thought was derisory, they looked down their noses at me and snorted 'Harrumph!' - and we took it from there, with regular snorting, punctuated by head shakes, eye rolls and then, finally the smiles, out came the beakers of vile tea; and the transaction was sealed. I know they probably got the better of me on a few occasions, but by the end of the day, I was going like a goodun!
A few pendants found their way into my stash, along with some strings of carnelian, tiger eye and amazonite and I was done. I took a tuk-tuk to Johari bazaar and walked around for a while, but my little legs were exhausted and I couldn't get into the spirit of bargaining with the traders, which I knew was fatal, as they would soon sense this and close in on me like a pack of wolves.
I decided to call it a day and go back to the hotel to rest my weary legs and rifle through all the stuff I had bought. Fighting my way back to the hotel was a mild form of kamikaze warfare where I had to bargain with the tuk tuk drivers who deigned to stop, while I dodged the other vehicles on the road that were doing their best to annihilate me. I know I was overcharged in the end, but didn't care, all I wanted by then was a nice hot shower, so I got in and that was the end of my shopping expedition.
So readers, that's the story of my amazing adventures in Jaipur. I did have a day dedicated to sightseeing and found a couple of non jewellery items to buy. Mike got a lovely Pashmina scarf and I got some colourful reversible waistcoats and then it was time for the flight back. I hope you enjoyed my little travelogue and I'll be back next week, same time, same place,
Hello all you Caprilicious women out there, I hope you are all relaxed and ready for the weekend, ready to go partying in your statement jewellery.
I have some exciting news this week - Caprilicious is due to have a second exhibition in January 2015. I am negotiating with the good people of Raintree, where I had my first exhibition, to find us a suitable weekend at the end of January when I am due to be in Bangalore visiting with my mother.
Lipstick on your Collar
That's right, I've made this necklace before - last time, I used the jasper I acquired from my friend BN with a coral pink howlite - I happened to have some pale, blush pink howlite lying around and a few black veined jasper beads left over from last time and they just seemed to cry out to be put together. I am by no stretch of imagination a 'pink' person, but I just love the combination of pink and grey/black - very cool and sophisticated. You wouldn't catch me in a pink outfit though - one has to draw the line somewhere! There are plenty of greys, blacks and whites in my wardrobe that could be accesorised beautifully by this necklace when I take it out for it's test run.
For the longest time, I thought seahorses were mythical creatures, like unicorns, phoenix', dragons, dinosaurs and pixies - only kidding, honest. I love the little critters, they are the cutest and I am always on the look out for them. I found an aventurine carved into a seahorse, so smooth and shiny - an instant love affair. With a little wire bail, and the addition of agates and glass beads as well as pearls, it was transformed into a cruisers necklace - or for someone going on a holiday to an island paradise. I used the colours in this photograph to make this necklace.
Do you know the story of Salome?? It is from the New Testament - Salome, who by all accounts was a raving beauty and a femme fatale, who is hailed as the embodiment of female seductiveness and an icon of sensuality , did the Dance of the Seven Veils at her step fathers birthday bash - he offered her anything her little heart desired, and Salome, being as thick as two short planks, looked to her mom for an answer.
Her mom had dumped her first husband, and married his brother - she was extremely put out that John The Baptist had denounced her marriage as unlawful; and he didn't just say it once - he raved and ranted and denounced her from the rooftops, unfortunately prophets just don't
seem to know when to stop - to silence him she decided to get her daughter to demand that John be beheaded.
Salome could have asked for anything - gold, diamonds, pearls - but being a bit sweet and unworldly, she said 'what shall I ask for mommy??' and chose to obey her mother. The king had no choice but to behead the hapless John and present her with his head on a plate.
But on Herod's birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them: and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath, to give her whatsoever she would ask of him. But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist. And the king was struck sad: yet because of his oath, and for them that sat with him at table, he commanded it to be given. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.
My necklace is named Salome - I'm sure it wouldn't have looked out of place during the Dance of the Seven Veils - men will lose their heads over the wearer - but hopefully in a nicer way than poor old John. I've tried to put nuances of sensuality and fiery desire into this magnificent necklace and the haematite gleams brightly in contrast to the hand carved black jade and the paisley howlite beads in the second strand of this piece.
Her face is hand carved of ox bone, she wears a sterling silver and marcasite helmet, her helmet straps are fastened and she looks calm, yet resigned, as if off to do battle for a cause she believes in, wearing her regalia. A beautiful faceted citrine teardrop dangles below her chin - she is The Warrior Princess.
I teamed her with citrine and carnelian freeform nuggets, pearls and blue goldstone beads to make this piece.
Now that I've decided that there will be an exhibition, a bit of anxiety has started to creep up on me - yes, I know I'm being silly, and that I have five months to go - but I'm just a ' have everything ready ahead of time' type . So, I made some earrings - they will go on the website, and eventually make their way to the exhibition, or not, as the case may be - but at least I will have them ready in time.
These are sweet, and helped me watch one of my favourite movies 'The English Patient' for the n'th time as my pliers moved rhythmically along with the soundtrack. And then, with mental calm restored, now that I have enough earrings, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the truly righteous. Now all I have to do is to remember to carry them along - one time I did a jewellery party at my friend Gerry's house, and I left all my earrings and other little bits behind in the cupboard at home.
That's all for this week, folks, I hope you have enjoyed looking at my bits and bobs - if you have, do leave me a message - I'm beginning to think I'm talking to myself.
One of my kittens, Wilfred has found a spool of wire and is chasing it around the room, whilst Charlie has bumped into a wall and got a huge bruise on his nose - £50 to the vet and a clutch of tablets later ( I'm so in the wrong profession), he looks like a rugby player after a particularly violent scrum. Thankfully he is a kitten and not a child, or they would have had me up for non accidental injuries!
Catch you next Friday, same time, same place
The oldest child always has it bad - conformity, and the setting of a good example are phrases one hears ad nauseum. So I conformed, people, I did as I was bade, until I was sick to the back teeth - but yet, somehow, I didn't fit in - wherever I went and no matter what I did, I couldn't put my finger on it, but I just didn't fit the mold. Of course, I soon tired of the quest to conform - I do what I do, in my own way - take it or leave it - I guess that's what's called growing into your own skin - or even growing up!
The magic of making my own jewellery has allowed me to be non conformist in glorious technicolour - now, my quest is to find other people, who like me have gone with the flow in their murky past, but are ready to shake their bootees and sing! C'mon out people, wherever you are................. let's have some fun!
One of my role models is a woman called Kat O'Sullivan - she makes and markets upcycled sweaters - they are snapped up within minutes of being posted on ETSY, and I am the lucky owner of a couple of them. She owns a house called Calico, otherwise known as 'The House That Sweaters Built'. She is most definitely a non-conformist par excellence. She is only a young thing, and I admire her self assurance and insouciance.
The Grow Your Blog Party Giveaway
Jennifer LaVite wins Jungle Drums - a bangle, earrings and pendant set. I hope she reads this and contacts me with her address so I can send it on to her.
I bought these beautiful hollow beads from a shop that sells Moroccan artefacts. The first piece I made was with rough cut black tourmaline nuggets fuchsia pearls and agate beads, and I called it Some Like It Hot. My friend Sheela picked it up while helping to arrange the display for my exhibition. 'Just to save you from finding somewhere to display it' is how she put it - not that space was at a premium, but we didn't argue the point too strenuously. She wore it to the exhibition, 'as a walking advertisement' she said - and then halfway through the day, she found other things she liked, and changed into them instead.
Now that the first bead had found a home, I decided to use a second one from my stash - but this time make it as different as possible from the first. It is always a temptation to make the same thing over and over again - but, that is laziness, and no longer a 'one-of-a-kind' endeavour. I have two more beads, and will endeavour to make each necklace as different from the last one as possible - a challenge! - I love challenges!!
Here's Sheela looking very pleased with herself for snafu-ing Some Like it Hot, and beside it is Mountain Mist, the second necklace I made using the Moroccan bead.
I made this necklace using some of my collection of 'vaseline glass' beads. The colours are very soothing - the pale blues and greens in the original African vaseline trade beads came from uranium mixed in with the glass - these beads of course are contemporary, and thankfully they have no uranium content - you will not glow in the dark!
The Kiss of the Dragon
An ox - bone carved Chinese dragon was the focal point for this piece. Embellished with antiqued copper wire and red howlite beads, it was ready to be hung on a necklace, which I made using fire agate - it seemed appropriate to have a dragon on a fire agate necklace.
I spent a pleasurable weekend, wallowing in clay making scarf jewellery for my friends at Look in the Bag. It has been fun translating my friends ideas into my work - a learning experience for me as I usually make my jewellery to my own specifications. It is nice to have a focus, while I am having fun creating something pretty.
Before I go, let me share this with you - a friend of mine who couldn't come to the show sent a couple of her friends instead - this is what her friend had to say about Caprilicious - I was deeply touched.
That's all I have had time for folks, have a great week, and I will catch you next week, same time, same place
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
Hello all, thanks for stopping by the Caprilicious Blog. The temperature is dropping like a stone outside and soon it will be winter. My poor garden is going to suffer, all frozen and laid bare - but we still have a few flowers in the garden - for a few days more, until the frost kills them off. I have tried my best to prolong the season by making a necklace inspired by the last flower left standing in the garden.
The flowers were made with amethyst and green quartz fragments and the necklace lasted all of ten minutes on my pages - I was so pleased it found a home!
The lady who bought it sent me this message - I am so glad she liked it, hope she sends me that picture.
The Pearl Princess
A face set in sterling silver from my stash was combined with luxurious peacock coloured Biwa pearls in this piece. The pendant was sold to me as 'Smithsonite' - I thought it was so pretty and different, I bought it and then went on an expedition to research the stone - sometimes I wish I hadn't - it turns an object of beauty into something so prosaic - Smithsonite is Zinc carbonate - ZnCo3 apparently! - nothing to get excited or to write home about - but yet - so different, and so pretty. It was discovered by and named after Smithson in the early 19th century and occurs as a secondary mineral in the weathering or oxidation zone of zinc-bearing ore deposits. I suppose this is as unromantic as a pearl being an object that came from a grain of sand surrounded by oyster spit! Yet, from such humble beginnings, inexplicably comes this beauty.
This one lasted on my shelves for about twenty four hours!
Smoke on the Water
Spectrolite is black labradorite - According to an Eskimo legend, the Northern Lights were once imprisoned in the rocks along the coast of labrador, and then a wandering Eskimo warrior found them and freed most of the lights with a mighty blow of his spear. Some of the lights were still trapped within the stone however making labradorite - one of my favourite stones. The black ones in this necklace are faceted and graduated, with beautiful flashes of blue grey in their depths, the colour of smoke when light shines through it. I teamed them with an electroplated maple leaf and hung a wire cage containing a red jade teardrop on the pendant bail - and here we have Smoke on the Water.................
After being so restrained with my colour choices, I felt the need to splash out a bit. I picked an artisan created pendant from Tibet in my favourite colours of turquoise and coral and matched it with citrine flat beads, coral pillars, and turquoise - a bit more colourful than the last three.
Jewel from the East
A few years ago, we spent time in Copenhagen, at the jazz festival in the Tivoli Gardens. The gardens are lit up at night, and this illumination was the inspiration for what are now known as Tivoli Lights - Mr Ben George from Tustin Ca, had the idea to use up a supply of automotive miniature incandescent lamps he had been selling. He put them inside plastic tubes to create decorative light strings, and The Tivoli Light was born. Tivoli tubes now contain LED lights and have been incorporated into building facades, aisles and steps and one finds them everywhere.
My necklace was inspired by the illuminations at the Tivoli Gardens - the Czech glass dagger beads glow with a blue iridescence, reflecting the colours in the picture above.
And that's a wrap for the week - hope you enjoyed looking at my pictures - do post me a comment, I'd love to hear from you. Take care now, and have a good week, catch you next week, same time, same place
G'day readers, I hope you have had a fabulous week and are getting ready for yet another cool weekend.
I myself am 'doing a geographical' - I am escaping from my problems by going away - but unfortunately as the man said, 'Wherever you go, There you are'! It will be two years since my brother died unexpectedly and I am yet to come to terms with his loss - I wander around in complete denial, but I know it will hit me eventually, when I go back to India to visit my mother and he isn't there. Just now, however, I need to get away - from being a member of a 'caring' profession, from well meaning callers, from having to be strong and comfort my family, and from having to confront the fact that I will never see him again.
The Arowana fish, also known as the “golden dragon”, because of its close similarity to an actual dragon, is said to be the most expensive aquarium fish in the world. It is meant to bring good luck and prosperity and is used by Feng Shui masters to increase personal development and money-making opportunities.
This fish apparently is so highly attuned to negative forces, that when it senses a disaster, it whacks itself against the side of the aquarium to warn it's owner. If the owner doesn't take heed and do something to repair his karma, it will leap out of the water and commit suicide, sacrificing its own life to repress negative energy for its owner. (I put this down to the concussion it suffered when it was beating itself about the head during the attention seeking phase).
Liuli crystal is made in China - a multicolour crystal, which has a very complicated casting technique - it is expensive, because 40% of the castings fail and have to be discarded. The molds cannot be reused and the firing temperatures are very high - each piece is one of a kind and multicoloured. This necklace has two strands of square Czech glass beads in a beautiful emerald green.
The success of this form of currency can largely be attributed to the high intrinsic value African people put upon decorative items, and social status was easily determined by the quality, quantity and style of jewellery worn.
The very first bead made in Africa was the ostrich eggshell bead. The ostrich eggshell was first used as a container for water after the contents were eaten, and when this broke, the remains were converted into beads. I made some polymer clay beads that resembled them. I ran out of rock salt to roll the clay in, to make the surface appear uneven and worn, so I used lentils from the store cupboard instead.
The kitchen is the tool shed of a polymer clay person - pasta machines, extruders modified from icing guns, even a potato peeler to shave thin slices of clay, blenders, cookie cutters, ovens, baking sheets, kitchen foil, parchment paper, spoons, soda cans, rock salt - and lentils - all of these have been pressed into use, with the proviso that they cannot be reused in the preparation of food - all except the oven, of course!
I really love the idea of making a lot of the components that go into my jewellery myself - and mixing media excites me - the sky's the limit with this type of jewellery. And just as I finished making the beads and wondered what I was going to do with them - these pendants arrived in the post - it doesn't take a genius to spot that they go together - and the necklaces have a name already - Dancing in the Dark - probably because of their high visibility! Somebody who likes the bold, the bright and the different will love them - if you are that person and are reading this - read on............
Hermes is a Greek God, the son of Zeus and Maia - Zeus seems to have spread himself around - I suppose that is permissible if you are the father of all the Gods!
Hermes moved freely between the worlds of the mortal and divine, as emissary and messenger of the gods, and is protector and patron of travelers, orators, poets, and sports. Winged sandals are one of his symbols, but his main symbol is the herald's staff, a short staff entwined by two serpents, sometimes surmounted by wings. The silver pendant in this necklace reminded me of this symbol - it is very similar to the staff of Asclepius, which is the medical symbol - this, though has only one snake and no wings.
A silver 'window druzy' stone, flanked by wings and garnets was enhanced by the addition of two strands of little garnet beads, and silver plated glass tear drops. The necklace turned out dainty and delicate, and I was quite pleased with the effect.
Dancing in the Dark
Anyone who has been to Prague will have heard of their famous Black Light Theatre - the stage, set, and theatre are all painted black, and with the use of fluorescent costumes and UV lights, the performers are able to produce spectacular contemporary illusionary dance forms.
I named the next few pieces of jewellery after this beautiful spectacle - they are so highly decorative and visible, that they will probably be at their best against the backdrop of a little black dress, although I'm sure some improvisation around that theme will be just as stunning. The pendants came from the Silk route area, and are rather heavy, so rather than give the wearer a pain in the neck, I teamed them with light weight beads. I made some of the beads myself, as you will no doubt have read earlier.
I couldn't make just the one, I had to put them all together - they are definitely statement pieces, and I just love the colours and the 'in your face-ness' of them - not for the timid then, eh?? I am sure the person(s) who get them will love them.
That's all I had time for folks, catch you next week, same time, same place
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
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see you soon
Hello readers, I hope you are all enjoying the weather, which is slowly showing signs of getting warmer. It is so nice to be able to shed the heavy winter gear, and wear fewer clothes - can't wait to get to the point where the sandals come out of the cupboard and onto my feet.
My mother went on a little tour of South India with her niece, and very kindly brought back some beads for me. I had asked her to look out for a string of Rudraksha beads - more about them later. The ones she sent are about 20mm in diameter, and I was a bit intimidated by their size, I had really wanted them a bit smaller. However, no one puts Caprilicious in a corner, and I decided to rise to the challenge. I made some polymer clay ruffle beads from a tutorial by Christelle Van Lingen, in a blend of red and gold, and put a necklace together with a copper electroplated oak leaf skeleton.
Rudraksha is a large evergreen broad-leaved tree whose seed is traditionally used for prayer beads in Hinduism. The seed is borne by several species of Elaeocarpus. Rudraksha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the name Rudra ("Shiva") and akṣha ("eyes").
Rudraksha beads are often worn by Indian 'sadhus' or holy men, who are devotees of Shiva.
In a complete about turn from the oak leaf necklace, I made a couple of light and pretty summery pieces to go into the English Country Garden collection - a little pendant - Primrose, and a necklace made of all the shiny, pretty floral elements I could find - The Summer Bouquet. The inspiration for this came from a throwaway comment by a presenter on last Sunday's airing of 'The Antiques Roadshow' while valuing a tiara - he mentioned that tiaras were often turned upside down and worn as necklaces in Victorian times - so I made a modern day tiara/ necklace - it is extremely light and pretty, and looks like a wildflower bouquet.
Winner - Bead Barmy Readers Gallery Competition April 2013
Linda Jones, a well known and influential jewellery designer, and author, writes a blog for the WireWorkers Guild, which is a forum for people who love wire. She offered to feature me on her blog in May, and sent me a questionnaire. I filled it out, and she emailed me back - she was so complimentary, I have had a job fitting my head through the door and am literally floating around the room. This is a screen capture of her email
What can I say - other than thank you, Linda Jones! And here it is http://wireworkersguild.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/caprilicous-jewellery.html?showComment=1366967638186#c8771846690699081699
When I finally managed to come down to earth , I finished off the last piece I made this week and took these photographs of The Spirit of Ecstasy. The art nouveau wire work surrounding the focal was behind the idea for the name.
The Spirit of Ecstasy, also called "Emily", "Silver Lady" or "Flying Lady", was designed by English sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes and carries with it a story about a secret passion between the second Lord Montague of Beaulieu, a pioneer of the automobile movement, and editor of The Car Illustrated magazine from 1902 and his secret love and the model for the emblem, Eleanor Velasco Thornton. Eleanor was John Walter's secretary, and their love was to remain hidden, limited to their circle of friends, for more than a decade. The reason for the secrecy was Eleanor's impoverished social and economic status, which was an obstacle to their love. John-Walter, succumbing to family pressures, married Lady Cecil Victoria Constance, but the secret love affair continued.
Spirit of Ecstasy
The rough cut black tourmaline gleams gently, and the severity of the black is relieved by the multi-coloured, shiny crystal spacers, and the graceful swoops of the wings of the focal. The polymer clay 'cabochon' is smooth, although its surface appears corrugated, and was made from a tutorial by Sophy Dumoulin of CraftArt Edu. I just love this technique - although time consuming, it is fabulous - and you have to wait till the absolute end, to see if the piece you have made is any good - for someone short on patience, it is a good exercise! The toggle clasp is pretty too, but this time, I put it at the back of the neck, where it should rightfully belong - when I tried to bring it to the front, as I do with a lot of pretty clasps, it fought a major battle with the focal, and lost. I consoled it by explaining that the back of the wearer is visible too, especially if she has her hair short, or swept up - or it could remain a delicious secret between the necklace and the wearer ( must be going doolally tap - I am now talking to a clasp!).
That's as much as I had time for, sweet people, I am exhausted by the repeated expansion and deflation of my head after all the accolades Caprilicious has received this week - and I know I will have to work hard to stay worthy of what has been said.
Catch you next week, 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
This week, there were some very difficult decisions to be made - I had to submit a single button to the Button Project picking for my theme 'Silk' , 'Metamorphosis' , or 'Heritage' - I could eventually add another three to a set of four to be sold off by the organisers when the project ended.
I decided to go with 'Metamorphosis' as my theme, loosely interpreted by me as the change or transformation that occurs as night follows day. I thought that there would most probably be too many butterfly/ larva buttons as the other theme was Silk- and anyway, who wants to make or wear a dead caterpillar? - not me, that's who!
I made the four buttons in polymer clay, and took my pictures, I was quietly pleased with the way they turned out. I planned to give each one a gradation from a dark blue to a pink/yellow/orange, and I added a leaf motif in the background, so the button would eventually resemble a fossil. The method I used was pioneered by Sophy Dumoulin of CraftArt Edu. However, with this technique, there is no way of telling what the piece will look like till it is cured, sanded and buffed - sanding reveals the true design, hidden inside, almost like a metamorphosis in itself - I held my breath till, lo, and behold, the buttons appeared - not entirely the way I envisaged, but near enough.
I was now faced with the choice of button - I had to decide which one was the best and was destined to be the original exhibit, with the others sitting in a box, waiting to hear if someone loved them enough to give them a home. How bad would they feel, if they had to come back home to Nuneaton in a padded envelope - how could I put my sweet button babies through this?
And once I decided which one I liked best, should I send the required photograph on a dark background, or on white?
Having agonised over this for a long while, I gave up and decided to listen to some music instead, till the Aspirin cleared my head.
The one at the top left is the one I chose eventually, with the dark background. Now, all that is left is to wait and see whether the organisers will accept my entry.
Through Caprilicious, I met a lovely lady I shall call BN - she makes jewellery too and is like me, a doctor. She loves Caprilicious and took the trouble to come all the way to Nuneaton to see me - I was ever so pleased to meet her and we talked jewellery for hours - it was nice to find someone to chat with on a topic that is so dear to my heart, without fear of their eyes glazing over with boredom - I'm sure I do that a lot at work, and have to restrain myself, quite often, when my radar picks up the glazed expression I used to get when my mother lectured me on my many misdemeanors as a teenager. I only hope I am quicker to spot 'the look' than my mother was!
BN gifted me some beads - she said it was like a goody bag on Ready Steady Cook - I had to make pieces of jewellery using the ingredients from her bag, the only difference being there was no stipulated time limit. In return, she had some of my polymer clay faux amber and a few other bits and bobs. After she left, I made Bedouin Oasis, with some of her beads, one of my handmade polymer clay pendants, with two pairs of earrings to match.
I teamed Tiger Ebony wood bicone beads and shell segments in an asymmetric necklace and the colours so reminded me of an oasis - calm and serene - the pendant seemed to work well with that theme, its center looks like a rippling body of water to me - I wore the necklace to work, and got a load of compliments - I was very pleased with the response.
This necklace stemmed from BN's question - 'could you create small?' - I wasn't too sure that I could rise up to the challenge - Caprilicious seems to have become all about the large, flamboyant piece - but I am sure there are plenty of capricious women who want their delicious pieces small and dainty. So, I went off with my thinking cap and sat in a corner for a while ( should that be a dunce's cap you sit in a corner with??) and came up with Indigo Evenings. The iolite I picked is a beautiful deep blue, the colour of twilight in the tropics, and I looked in my gemstone stash in vain to find a green to complement it - I finally found the perfect green in my box of crystals, and added some tiny pearls to make a piece that is so dainty, it looks almost fragile in my hands - so, BN, if you are reading this, have I fulfilled your challenge?
Ariel is a fictional character and the lead protagonist of Walt Disney Pictures' film The Little Mermaid (1989). Ariel is voiced by Jodi Benson in all animated appearances and merchandise.
In the mid nineties, I used to borrow this little girl from my friends, and she and I would stay up all night, watching cartoons, eating ice cream and Jelly and crisps in bed - she loved to come and stay with me, and her parents had the weekend to themselves - The Little Mermaid was one of the movies we watched, over and over, without ever tiring of it.
I made this cuff in memory of those days, using the pen and ink technique learned from Alice Stroppel. It took simply ages to get her hair just so, fortunately, I now have a table where I can leave all the makings without feeling guilty about the mess. The place looked like a bombsite for days and days, while I struggled to juggle the demands of the bracelet, and the rigours of the day job.
Lipstick on Your Collar
BN gave me some slate grey veined jasper - the stones look like little pebbles from a river bed - initially I thought I would put them with coral ( and I might, yet) but while doing a rummage in my bead stash, I found these lipstick coloured pink dyed howlite, and they seemed to be clamoring to be let out of the box - I think they go really well together. As I have said before, I am not a particularly 'pink' person - but this necklace found its way from the light box where I photographed it, straight around my neck, and hence, to work. The grey jasper lends the piece a bit of sophistication, and raises its game. One look at it, and I don't have to say another word about how it got it's name.
The gentleman whose photograph I used as inspiration for Glacial Fantasy
( http://www.flickr.com/photos/manisholiday/ or http://kingdom-of-sky.blogspot.co.uk/ for more pictures) liked the necklace so much, he ordered another for his girlfriend! Kudos, indeed - such kind gestures make it all worthwhile!
That's all this week sweet people, thanks for stopping by - catch you next week, 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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