Hiya folks, I hope you have as much sunshine in your life as I'm getting out here in India. I've been chilling and relaxing so much that it seems impossible to believe that only a couple of weeks ago I was running around like a headless chicken, tying up loose ends before I flew out to visit with my family.
Every year since 2014 Caprilicious comes with me to India, and I have a little show at Raintree, which is the ideal venue, right in the middle of town, in a sprawling Raj bungalow, with loads of parking space and a cafe'. This year, unfortunately, I was forced to cancel my show at Raintree at the last minute.
I'm not sure if you know about the monetary situation in India. In a nutshell, there isn't any! Well, in an effort to wipe out the black economy, the authorities suddenly withdrew all bank notes in the larger denominations and replaced them with brand new ones.
Unfortunately, India is a cash economy and very, very large. The Reserve Bank of India could not keep up with the demand for the exchange of old for new, as they couldn't print the notes fast enough. Baffled citizens were rendered cash-less overnight and have formed serpentine, disgruntled queues at banks and ATMs ever since.
Eventually, the ATM's ran out of money and cash from them was rationed to about £25 a day per person. Citizens are reduced to looking for alternative ATMs, and don't have the time to do a days work to earn the money they aren't allowed to handle! No one wants to use the small cash reserves they have as one never knows when it will be needed.
The rich get by, (as they always do) by using their credit cards, but the poor people who cannot get or do not have credit cards suffered, and are still in a lot of pain.
To be able to accept credit cards, one needs a card reader, and I was unable to get one for love nor money as Caprilicious is not registered in India and basically operates as a pop up shop once a year with me as sole trader.
My mother who is 89 this year, stepped in. She had a little gaily coloured marquee set up on the terrace outside my room, and I sent out invitations to a small number of people from whom I could accept cheques with no fear of them bouncing. I brought only a limited number of pieces with me as I did not have to fill an entire room with jewellery, just a little alcove.
These pictures were taken before people turned up in a steady trickle. A lot of the folks who came are Caprilicious enthusiasts from earlier shows and new soon-to-be-regulars who have waited for me to come to Bangalore, having seen their friends wear Caprilicious designs. I am pleasantly surprised by the response to my invitations on Facebook and email.
Once the show is done and dusted tomorrow, I have another adventure planned - I have been gifted a holiday to Sepang, a resort in Malaysia. The person who was meant to go was unable to due to personal circumstances and I was offered a four night stay in a Gold Coast Resort.
I will catch up with you when I get back from Malaysia, next weekend. Have yourselves a fabulous week, and I'll catch you soon,
Hello readers, thanks for coming by the Caprilicious Blog. This week has been coloured in blues and greys as we attended the funeral of a much loved friend at the weekend. I wasn't in much of a mood to make anything after the funeral, but I conditioned a load of old polymer clay, and the physical effort of moving that plasticizer around helped to put things in a better light.
So, how does one buy jewellery from a person who has identified herself as the designer and maker? During my shows in India, I am in attendance for the two days, walking around, smiling until my face aches, helping people try on pieces of jewellery, greeting people as they walk in and straightening out displays as they get mussed up by enthusiastic customers.
I try to be unobtrusive and let them wander around, just mentioning to each of them that they should give me a shout if they have any questions, but moving in quick smart to help, when it looks like they need help undoing a clasp.
I don't sit around chatting with friends, scrolling through messages on a telephone, chewing gum or generally behaving as if I don't care - because I do, I care very much. My friends who come along to help all take my lead and get with the programme. So what happens? Let me tell you the story of a few pieces I sold at my shows.
There was the lovely pair of earrings in the picture. I followed this couple to the display when it appeared that they might have an interest in them and the gentleman was turning the earrings over in his hands.
He asked 'silver?' and I go 'yes'. And that was all. He said 'I'll take it', while the lady stood by with dead eyes and an unsmiling face. I was about to launch into an explanation about the earrings, but he just pushed past me and went to the counter to pay for them. I wondered whether he was buying them for his girlfriend with the wife standing by ( or the other way around)! Surely not? But why then was she so disinterested? I wasn't expecting her to clap her hands together like a seal, but a smile, and a casual 'they're pretty' wouldn't have choked her.
Then there was a necklace made of white coral and fire polished Czech glass beads. I carry most of my stock to my shows on the premise that if no one sees it, no one's going to buy it. This one was making it's second appearance at a show.
And along came this couple. He picked up various pieces of jewellery and turned them over in his hands, peering at them through thick bottle top glasses. She followed two paces behind like a good Indian wife, obediently trying on the ones he liked so that he could see them on a 'real' person. She didn't say a word through the entire time, not even a nod or a squeak, as far as she was concerned the lights were on but no one was home.
He leaned towards me and in a loud stage whisper 'give me a good price and I'll buy it', he said. I am no good at this game. My prices are fair, and I even lower them a tiny bit to compensate for the money I will save from not having to make a Paypal transaction. But in India, bargaining is a sport, and I had to learn quickly how to play the game. I asked him what he thought was a 'good' price, and then moved up from there.
'Ha,ha, haaa,' I laughed 'I can't do that!'. 'How about .....' and so on - after all I have been brought up by my mother who is a champion at the art. I probably would've been too, I've just lived in the UK too long and lost it.
And all the while, the lady stood by, looking vacantly around, completely uncaring whether her husband actually bought the damn thing or not.
The Gypsy in Stilettos is a statement piece made using large, colourful beads, and I love it. My friend Sheela was standing by it when a woman walked in, looked at it in disgust and said 'this necklace should have had just the one bead, these beads are too large'. Sheela, who is one of the best salespeople I know, and can talk the hind leg off a donkey and make sense while she's doing it, was nonplussed - after all the customer's always right (allegedly). Was the woman accepting that she had no personality? Amazing!!
There is no answer to such an inane statement, but I am happy to report that the necklace was bought by a lady with bags of 'personality' who wore it home with a big smile, and allowed me to take a photograph of her wearing it as she walked out the door.
There were the seemingly enthusiastic ladies who tried on everything, moving jewellery from one table to another, leaving us to put them back and then walking out with nothing.
And an old classmate who said 'why is the necklace you are wearing so expensive - look at what I have on, it's only ......' and then conceding that her necklace was made of glass beads, and mine of semiprecious gemstone beads and an Ethiopian Coptic Cross which is expensive, but beautiful and irresistible to someone in the know.
And the lady who said that her older daughter had an art jewellery shop herself and she was looking for a birthday gift for her. Unfortunately, according to the mom, said daughter "didn't wear 'junk', only gold and diamonds, although she displayed it in her shop". I said "perhaps I ought to contact your daughter, maybe she'd like to put some of my 'junk' in her shop" and she had the grace to look shamefaced at her laissez faire usage of the word. 'No, no no', she said 'I didn't mean your jewellery was junk, just that it wan't gold and precious stones'. The younger daughter who was with her tried on a load of stuff, and looked great in them but wouldn't buy any, even though her mother offered to pay - who knows what that was about.
So, thus far, I've told you how not to do it. If this was the norm, it would've been a soul destroying experience and I wouldn't have gone back again. However, I've been back for not just a second, but a third helping, so it can't have been all bad.
These ladies put their pieces of Caprilicious on as soon as they bought them and had a picture taken at the show. It was such a nice moment and it felt so good to be appreciated. These are just a few of the ladies who make it a pleasure to carry my jewellery all the way to India. I am happy for people to come home and look through my cases after the show if they couldn't make it on the day and I never mind taking them out and putting them away over and over again - it feels like a privilege when I find people who like Caprilicious.
I found this meme on Mortira Van Pelt's blog, Inspirational Beading and thought I'd share it here.
At the tail end of the week, I received proofs for my tutorial in Bead and Jewellery Magazine. The editor is working flat out through Easter to get the magazine on the shelves for the 9th of April, and it is looking good, isn't it? I thought I'd give you, my readers a sneak peek. It perked me up no end!
That's me for this week folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place. Oh, and Happy Easter!
Hello readers, I'm back home in the UK after an eighteen hour journey from India, including a four hour stopover in Dubai. A stinking head cold, a sore throat, and jet lag have turned my brain into mush. Yet, I feel this strange compulsion to talk to you - I've got this blog is well and truly under my skin.
So, what shall I tell you about? I've already talked about the show and the pre show viewing at mum's place. Here are a few more pictures.
I lost a load of my usual friends and clients to coughs and colds and travels, but new ones soon took their place. Sheela, Rachel and Aishwarya came to help and stayed as long as they could to help show the jewellery off. And then, all of a sudden, it was done and the rest of the holiday loomed before me.
After a few days of resting up, I flew to Jaipur. I've always wanted to visit the land where semi precious stones are cut and polished, and silver wholesalers supply the rest of India. Having been let down by my sister who was meant to be accompanying me but had other fish to fry (or is that other cakes to bake??) I went on my own, armed with gen from my friend Rashanta. My mother was terrified, but didn't dare say a word - she must have kept her fingers crossed all the time I was away.
I stayed at the comfortable family run Umaid Mahal, and tramped around the wholesale jewellery bazaar for a couple of days until I found what I was looking for and even made some new friends to go sightseeing with.
I met the lovely Mark Hampshire, an energy therapist from Drumkeeghan, Donegal Town, who helped while away the time during the long evenings and dinners in the hotel terrace restaurant.
That's me for this week folks. I'm off to get my head down and hopefully will be fit to go to work on Monday. I have yet to unpack all the stuff I bought in Jaipur. While we were sat in the airport waiting for our flights, I said to Mark, my energy therapist friend, 'let me show you my booty from the jewellery stores' and he looked at me quizzically. 'Booty has another meaning these days', he said - I hope he didn't think I was about to show him my bottom - that would certainly have been a shock to his system!
I will show you my booty next week when I've had time to take some pictures- and I absolutely do not mean my bottom! Have a great week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place
Dear readers, it is done now - my third show at Raintree, my own personal little battle of Agincourt, and hard work it was too. This time around, Mike cheered me on from afar as he stayed in the UK, but I was ably supported by my friends Aishwarya, Rachel, Sheela, my sister in law Anu and my mother, and I am exceedingly grateful to them for all their help.
As usual, the main fly in the ointment was my inability to accept credit cards - card readers have only just become available in the UK but unfortunately the UK readers cannot be used internationally. Alas, India has a way to go to catch up, although it won't be long now.
I had a great time meeting a whole load of people and will have to keep the stories till I get back to the UK.
Here are a couple of pictures from the event.
One of the ladies who bought a necklace from the exhibition did me the honor of wearing it the next day to a party - the inimitable Rubi Chakravarti. She is a "Theatre Afficianado, International Stand-Up Comedian & Performing Artist, Actor, Columnist, Writer, Corporate Nuturer and Activist. Internationally Validated by BBC as one of the Top 100 Women to have made a difference in the year 2014 and selected by Salt magazine as among the 100 of the greatest female change agents of 2015".
I enjoyed looking at that picture especially as the necklace is called 'Forever in Blue Jeans' .
As soon as the exhibition was done with, I flew out to Jaipur to buy some supplies which is why the blog is out later that usual. I am due to go back to Bangalore tomorrow and have spent the day combing the back streets of the Chameliwala market where the jewellery wholesalers live and work. I will tell you all about it later when I get back t the UK at the end of next week.
Until them, have a great week and I'll catch you next week, perhaps a bit later than usual,
Hello readers, I am now in sunny Bangalore and today is the day of the exhibition. I've set out my stall and now it remains for me to wait and see who turns up at Raintree. I got to Bangalore on the Saturday and had no time for jet lag. My sister in law had kindly agreed to me having a pre exhibition viewing at her place on Sunday for a couple of hours as some of her friends had requested it.
It was meant to be just a couple of hours of work. However, all the jewellery had to be displayed as best as possible in the space that was available. I took over the living room and dining table for a few hours and set out my stall. It was nice to see old friends and make new ones, and the ladies who dropped by were very enthusiastic about this years selection of jewellery and I made enough sales to cover my expenses for the show at Raintree.
I had three days off to rest and relax with my mother ( and to allow the jet lag to catch up with me in all its viciousness) before I had to gear up for Raintree.
This will be my third show, and I know the place well enough. However, I do confess to some butterflies in my tummy - I just hope there is a good turnout and that people are in the right frame of mind to like my jewellery. Here are some pictures of my initial set up which I shall tweak tomorrow and prettify it a bit. I was more concerned with getting all my stuff onto the tables with price tags on every piece today and the aesthetics of the set up was the least of my worries. In spite of this a few people walking by the room popped in and a couple purchases were made - I'd best not over publicise this or I might be charged for a three day show by the good people of Raintree!
Last year I made a friend called Aishwarya at a beading class I taught at Itsy Bitsy and she came by to help me set up. Once everything was out of the box and on the flat, we amused ourselves by taking a few selfies before we locked up for the evening.
I'm off now to the show, keep everything crossed for me won't you, and I'll tell you all about it next week. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, how are you today? Hasn't January just flown by? It is already the 22nd, and in two weeks I will be back in India in the sunshine, having escaped from the miserable cold weather we are experiencing recently. I've started packing stuff in boxes for my show and making the last few pieces I intend to take with me. I've decided to call it a day now, and pack a few things every day - to stay away from my jewellery altogether would give me the DTs.
And now I have a small favor to ask. (Don't worry, it doesn't involve lending me money.) All I'm asking is, if you have the opportunity, that you help me get the word out about the exhibition on any social media platform you happen to participate in. It can be something as simple as a tweet, or a mention on Facebook, or Tumblr, or Pinterest, or Instagram, or even Google+.
Anything to raise awareness would be great! Please tell your friends - and of course come yourself, I'd love to see you.
It even managed to snow this week, and although it didn't last long and melted away in a couple of days, it messed up my weekend as we had planned a little shopping trip on the very day it snowed and my credit card heaved a sigh of relief.
The Tuareg Oasis
This year, it feels like I've thraped the Tuareg theme to death - but I love the tribal motif and it gives me a great opportunity to play with colour and shapes - to me the word 'colour' instantly calls for polymer clay in some form. As the Tuareg amulets and pendants came strung simply on black braided thread or black glass beads, there was no limit to where my imagination could take me and no precedent to block my flights of fancy.
I totally agree with the Rajasthani tribal people - the desert they wander is so sparse, and well, sandy, that their clothes have to be colourful to light up their lives. If I had my way, I'd get the Tuareg people walking about bedecked in bright colours too.
The green of this pendant though pretty, is not one that I would generally pick - I like the brighter green of the parrot, or even the chili - this one is a gentle leaf green, which is soothing to the eye, but not really vibrant. Prehnite is a vaseline green colour, with inky black random smudges and goes well with the pendant to give it a soft, sophistication which isn't 'in your face', which is usually my wont. Just to vary the shapes, I added a tribalistic imitation spindle whorl bead made of polymer clay in a silvery black.
I played with clay at the weekend and made these Shibori Seashell earrings designed by Carol Blackburn - love the icecream colours, don't you? A bit fed up with the cold weather, I also made some snowdrop earrings. Where are you, spring??
I did a happy dance - I entered a giveaway on the blog written by Pearl Blay - 'The Beading Gem's Journal' and won! I won a free webinar on how to photograph jewellery. I spent Sunday rushing around the house finishing all my chores to free myself up for seven pm which was the time allocated. I have a Canon point and shoot as well as a dslr, and have been to a couple of lessons on how to use my camera - but not with jewellery specifically. She managed to talk to dslr users, point and shooters and camera phone users all at the same time and made sense to all of them.
I wasn't sure what exactly I hoped to gain, but I know that product photography is of the utmost importance and any help with this is welcome. I wanted to learn how to get a clear white background, and how to keep shiny objects looking shiny - in my opinion, silver and pearls are very difficult to photograph. Pearl gave us some really great tips on this and what sort of lighting to use. I took loads of notes and am having a lot of fun experimenting with my new-found knowledge. Before I knew it, two and a half hours had flashed by - time does fly when you're having fun!
On Golden Wings
I found a vendor who had Jewellery Beetle's wings that have a golden tinge to them. I simply could not resist them and just had to make them up for the show - they are not freely available in India (or if they are, I've never seen them) and I thought it would be nice to offer something exotic. I've made jewellery with Elytra before, so I tried to do something completely different with them on this occasion, using earring connectors to give them a unique look.
I couldn't resist showing my pictures to my teacher - 'Look miss', I cried. And she was suitably pleased with my homework and sent me to the top of the class, which is more than I've ever achieved at school!
"Can do better," my report cards always said, which I took as a compliment - at least they didn't say "DUNCE".
Indian schooling is very competitive and my entire childhood was spent looking crestfallen at being made to feel a bit of a duffer. When I got to the UK, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that children were not put through the mill with hundreds of exams each year. If I wasn't such a resilient character, I might have believed that I was stupid.
Happy Dance No 2
At the end of last week, HOLY S*1T ( I mean WOW!), I HAD MY FIRST SALE IN MY ETSY SHOP !!! Pardon me for shouting, but I was so excited, all of it could have been in capitals, and we all know how annoying that can be. Anyway, it turned out that my first Etsy buyer is an artist called Julie Dumbarton who won Visual Artist of the Year in 2013 and 2014 and is totally in love with colour. OMG, pressure, or what?? I chewed my nails until I couldn't wait any more and sent her mail asking if she'd received it. Eventually that day it reached her in Scotland and I had an email from her to say she loved the piece - Phew! I can breathe again.
That's me for this week, folks. Here's a picture of my boys having a snooze on my bed - aren't they sweet? Have a fabulous weekend and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hiya readers, how nice to find you here again. I have finally recovered from the Artisan Fair at The Old Slaughterhouse and thought I'd tell you all about it.
I thought it was time to give Caprilicious some more exposure in the UK - hand out a few business cards, a bit of banter with a few new customers, and a chance to do something different and step out of the comfort zone of the anonymity of the website - that was the aim of the exercise.
The day dawned cold, raining hard, with gusts of wind at 23 miles/hour. However, I am made of stern stuff, and once committed to something, will make a valiant attempt to see it through. My friend had come up from Cambridge the night before, and we made up a picnic basket with ham sandwiches, boiled eggs, crisps, and cans of pop, and by God we were going to have that picnic, even if it was more than slightly soggy.
Wrapped up like Eskimo mummies in fleece lined Ugg boots, many layers of clothing, scarves, wrist warmers and mittens, we resembled Michelin men bouncing off one another in the tiny marquee - and thank goodness we took these precautions as the temperature in the 'heated' marquee was abysmal on the first day. They had a few electric heaters that kept cutting out, and within a few hours we were frozen to the marrow and my poor hands were turning into claws worthy of the metal birds on the stall to my right! The ambient temperature was 4 degrees C, but with the 23 mph gusts of wind, it felt more like minus 4! I thought I could hear Mike muttering 'another fine mess.....', but no, he manfully helped me set up, and then went off for a brisk walk to warm up, pouncing on unwary people innocently wandering around Stratford town, handing out leaflets advertising the artisan market.
Next to my little stall was a tiny woman, all of 4'6", who made metal sculptures of animals. She had about six pieces on display, and she said she didn't expect to sell anything. She sat there, smiling serenely, attracting a lot of attention - her birds were beautiful, although the two large hares in her display looked extremely malevolent and had scrawny necks, as if they had been wrung in preparation for the pot. Each hare cost £2000 and she said she mainly sold her stuff through galleries, and was only there because she had a commission from the Old Slaughterhouse to make them a life sized metal cow.
Then there was the chap who had brought his girlfriends wares to the market as she was unwell - she makes mixed media figurines with lace and fabric soaked in an acrylic medium. The fabric is draped into position and fashioned into angel's wings, headgear and clothing for various figurines. When the acrylic medium dries, it goes stiff in the position in which it is placed. The figurines were elongated which gave them a look as if they had been tortured on a rack and consequently a bit of a tormented, lugubrious air, but he was a hardy soul - he remained standing for the whole of the two days, and stayed reasonably cheerful even though he made very few sales.
To my left was Anya, a painter who makes fantasy paintings from pictures of her holidays and sells signed and framed giclee prints. She went to great lengths to tell me haughtily that she didn't do fairs really, only sold at galleries, but she just thought she'd come along to this one. I of course, was suitably humble as befitted someone who was a new entrant into the artisan market enterprise and metaphorically kissed the hem of her jeans. Her son was a lovely young lad, and by the end of the second day, we were chatting away like good friends.
Anya's prints are very colourful and a bit Lomoish and if I had any space left on my walls, I might have considered buying one. I have linked the picture to her website in case you want to see more of her work.
There was also a lady who made pretty pots and another who had paper lanterns, a woman who sold knitted necklaces made of T shirt fabric, a photographer of landscapes, and an art gallery that was exhibiting a medley of wares with a bunch of stuff that seemed to have no connection to one another - possibly because they were all by different artists, in varying media!
It was cold, readers, it was very, very cold, and just when it felt like I was going to pass out, a bunch of musicians arrived to play Christmas carols. They started off well, until a flautist joined them, and then everything went to pot. The flute and the violin fell out with one another, and the sounds the violin made were approximately two and a half notes (and three beats) behind the flute. One of the ladies in the marquee took both her hearing aids out with a flourish, my friend went off for a long walk into Stratford town, Mike went out for a cuppa, and I collapsed in a fit of hysterical silent laughter behind my display.
My cats could have put on a more creditable performance and indeed, they do from time to time, just not to the putative tune of Good King Wenceslas. The poor deluded band leader had a smile plastered on his face, ( I wondered whether he had turned his hearing aid off too) and when they had finished (Hallelujah!) he asked if they could all have a coffee and a free mince pie, and off they toddled to receive their wages of sin.
I sold quite a few bits and bobs, chatted to a whole load of folks, handed out business cards and helped a lot of people chose Christmas presents for their loved ones. I met a Jesus lookalike in a beret, who was originally from Melbourne. He bought a pendant from me after asking for a long explanation as to how exactly it was made. By the time I'd finished my potted tutorial, he could have probably gone home and made one himself!
I asked him who it was for and he told me that he was separated and dating again. He was buying the pendant just in case he got lucky this Christmas. "Who knows??" he said, hopefully. I added a beautiful Indian cloth bag with a gold paisley border so that he wouldn't need to spend any time searching out festive packaging and could concentrate all his energies into finding and wooing a lady friend. He was a nice chap, and I wish him all the best in his endeavours.
Day two was much better, the heating had been sorted out, the wind that howled around the marquee threatening to lift it off it's moorings had died down, and we could even take some of our swaddling clothes off.
We had had to pack everything away overnight and put it all back up again, which wasn't much fun as I had loads of earrings to set out, but it was all done in record time and I was good to go by eleven o'clock. I sold a couple of pairs of earrings in the first ten minutes, so it was worth the effort.
The flautist returned, this time sans flute, but with a harp and gave a good account of herself, and even better the violinist stayed completely shtum while she played.
All too soon, it was time to pack up and I realised that I had quite enjoyed myself, despite the cold and the caterwauling. I had to get ready to go back to work on Monday morning, to a two hour IT training session first thing and I was exhausted and slumped in front of the TV every evening for most of the week.
Since then, a couple of people who bought jewellery from Caprilicious have emailed me to say that they had originally meant the pieces to be presents, but had decided to keep them for themselves as they had fallen in love with the jewellery, which is nice to hear.
I should have done a craft fair earlier on in the year, well before Christmas. Indeed, I did book a show in Leamington Spa with IK Events - the lady who ran the event company, Isobel Newport, disappeared with the money we paid her and closed her company. I now find that she has set up yet another company to run a carnival in Worcester in 2016 - if she repeats her performance with IK Events in her new venture, I predict egg on a lot of faces in the Worcestershire region. Anyway, that's another story.
This is the only piece I made this week - I called it Purple Reign after the amethyst beads, and the purple Czech glass rectangular beads. The electroplated quartz needles are a dull gold, so the whole piece has a muted bling factor, rather than being 'in your face'. Garnets and paler amethyst beads give the necklace added interest and the pendant is a hand carved black jade Buddha - he was once a prince called Siddhartha, who renounced all his worldly goods to seek Nirvana.
A handmade chain with a hook clasp means that the necklace can be adjusted into the neckline, and has a leeway of about four inches. Wear it long or closer to the neck, this one's a goodun - I know many a lady who will look fabulous in it.
That's it for this week folks. I need to wrap all my Christmas presents this weekend - I've been too busy with the show to do any of it apart from the little tree we have up in our porch - I do like to make an effort, albeit small. Mince pies need to be baked (Oh, the calories, groan!!) and I still have to unpack the boxes from the fair. Oh well, it ought to keep me out of mischief for one weekend at least!
Catch you next Friday, same time, same place. have a wonderful pre Christmas week
It is lovely to go away, but Oh so nice to be going back home. My family and friends have been wonderful, all rallying around me for the exhibition and to give us a memorable holiday. I met old friends and made new ones, saw some really interesting sights, and spent some quality time with my mother, who is 87 this year.
Bang in the middle of all the preparations for the exhibition, my mother was admitted to hospital, but like the trouper she is, she insisted that the show must go on - and so it did! It almost killed me to do all that I did, knowing that she was so unwell, but in the end, all of us lived to tell the tale. My sister in law had to bear the brunt of caring for my mom in hospital and for that I am eternally grateful to her.
Rachel, whom I met through the Capriicious Blog helped me through the exhibition - I couldn't have done it without her enthusiasm and infectious smile. She remembered the names of each piece of jewellery in my collection, and enjoyed showing people around. Here are some pictures she took, for you to look at.
My brother was missed sorely through all of this - he was always the life and soul of every party with a great big booming laugh emanating from a slim and slender frame. He is such a loss, but I suppose the only way to look at it is that we were lucky to have him for the 46 years he was with us.
I only went into jewellery making to help me cope with his loss and in the three years since, have made major strides in this, my avocation. Thank you all for helping me to take Caprilicious Jewellery forward, and I will do my best to come up with better and more interesting designs in 2015.
I need to get back and rescue Charlie and Wilfred from the cattery. This is the first time they have been separated from us and imprisoned since we brought them home in July 2014. I'm not sure how they will behave - Harold, our previous cat used to ignore us for weeks as a punishment when he was brought back from the cattery.
I shall write a more detailed report once I get back home. Have a great week and I'll catch you later, same time, same place
Hello readers, it is finally here - the date of the exhibition. I am posting this before I go out this morning to Raintree to await my public. Wish me luck, won't you, please?
Caprilicious Shall go to the Ball
People kept asking me if I had made/designed this jewellery - I wish!! This time, all that glisters WAS gold, and was borrowed from my sister in law who was kind enough to lend me anything I desired from her collection. I enjoyed dressing up - Cinderella had a good time at the ball.
Indulge, the supplement to the Indian Express, a newspaper in Bangalore printed this article about me last week. The Editor, Jackie Pinto was at school with me, although not in the same year. She loved my jewellery and was kind enough to get one of her reporters to write this little piece - unfortunately Caprilicious was misspelled, but still, it works well enough.
I ran a little workshop at Itsy Bitsy in Bangalore - one at each of two branches - the ladies who came along went home with a necklace, a memory wire bracelet and a pair of earrings. The youngest student was ten years old! They all said they had fun - I know I certainly did and would repeat the experience in a heartbeat. Itsy Bitsy has a fabulous selection of beads, and I came home with a bagful of some very exciting finds which I chose well before my students arrived - I got some really pretty ceramic beads, and have mentally designed my next necklace - I just need to get back home to find the focal bead which is already in my stash.
Just now I feel a bit like a whirling dervish, arms and legs moving in a blur, a complete one woman band. There have been so many last minute hiccups, but it is now, Showtime!!
Keep everything crossed for me and I will tell you all about it soon. Have a great week and I will catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, thanks for stopping by. I am now back home in the UK, and have spent the day unpacking and putting stuff away. It's bad enough unpacking clothes when you come back off a holiday - this time, I had jewellery too, left over from the exhibition, and of course more beads and stuff I had picked up in the wholesale markets in Bangalore - not for the faint hearted, those markets, I can tell you!
That meant, of course that the website had to be updated, and the Facebook page - you must think jeez, this woman is never satisfied - I am, I am - you can tell by the smile on my face when I rattle the almost empty boxes of stock!
To those of you who supported my endeavour, even if it was just by rooting for Caprilicious, thank you very much, it was much appreciated. The exhibition, in my opinion was a success - the jewellery was well appreciated and most people who wandered in to take a look went away clutching a few goodies.
Mike, my other half, stood by the board, soaking up the sun and doing a 'roll up, roll up' - when he saw people walk by - persuading them to go into the shop to see his wife's 'beautiful, hand-made jewellery' - and that strategy worked - loads of them couldn't resist this gentle persuasion ( they just aren't used to Englishmen doing that any more, having forgotten their colonial past - or perhaps just too young to remember the silver tongued English that got them tied in knots, years ago), and they came in, liked what they saw and walked out holding a bag full of Caprilicious - thanks Mike!
A whole bunch of friends swung into action on my behalf in Bangalore - lending me display items, sending out my invitations to people on their mailing lists, publicising the event to their friends. My friend Sheela came to help me set out my stall, and stayed to help out at the event, so Caprilicious was ably supported by a fabulous team of volunteers. The air conditioned venue is almost a little mall, with exhibitions popping up twice a week on average, so customers tend to drop in on the off chance that they might find something interesting to buy. The beautiful old bungalow, with well tended grounds, and a little cafe serving light bites to peckish customers provides a cool haven for shoppers who are looking for that little special 'something' that sets them apart from the hoi polloi at the next party or social event - and man, do those Bangaloreans socialise!
We set up by 10 am on the first day, and for the first hour and a half, it seemed like no one was going to bother to turn up - and then, all of a sudden, there were what seemed like torrents of people flooding the little room where my stall was laid out. A lot of them were friends and relatives, who had in turn brought their friends, but there were quite a few people who had no knowledge of what Caprilicious was all about.
I was unable to carry any display aids from home, so relied heavily on stuff donated by friends. I wandered around my mother's house pouncing on unwary ornamental boxes, emptying them of their contents, so I could take them with me. One of my friends gave me some fleece like material she used in a shop she once owned - I did wonder if it would look a bit like adorning a sleeping polar bear with jewellery - but hey, beggars can't be choosers, and I accepted anything thrown my way gratefully. In the end, although the display wasn't necessarily what I envisaged, it was much better than expected.
One of my cousins arranged for her publicist to put little write ups in all the local papers, and that worked really well - quite a few people turned up saying that they had read about the exhibition that morning. Another cousin brought two car loads of her lunch group, and they all obligingly spent their money with gay abandon. As all this happened on the first day, I worried that the second day was going to be quiet - but as it turned out, just as many people came, and it was extremely satisfying to watch people I did not know make some extremely complimentary remarks about Caprilicious.
We were so tired, we went to bed by 9pm - all that smiling and chatting to strangers certainly takes a toll on the energy levels. But, at pack up time, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had significantly less than a third of my stock remaining. My sister in law did some last minute shopping, and then my sister decided to buy up a whole bunch of pieces from the left over stock!
Eventually, my suitcases came back virtually empty, and I had a huge smile on my face - yippee! Then the painful part - I had to take all the jewellery that was sold off my website, and update my Facebook page - ah! the pain that goes with being successful!
Now back, safe and sound, all unpacked and a wash on the go, website and Facebook page updated, all that remains is a long soak in the bath to wash the travel dust and weariness out of me. I have to move my mindset from being a jewellery designer to a gynaecologist within the next 24 hours, as they are expecting me at work, all bright eyed and bushy tailed tomorrow morning, well rested after a three week holiday and raring to go. I have performed this juggling act every day for the last couple of years, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Catch you next Friday as usual, 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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