Hello readers, good day to you. I had a fabulous couple of days off in Chester last week, and am now raring to go with the Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall. It would appear that there are quite a few stalls, and it ought to be fun. I've drafted in the help of a couple of ladies at the hospital one of whom has agreed to help me on the stall. The other had a bridal shop in town a couple of years ago and still has a lot of the fittings and furnishings and I'm hoping to scavenge some from her. Here's the blurb for the shopping village at the fair.
Chester is an ancient city, which still has the original Roman wall encircling it's centre. One of the entrances to the wall was right by our hotel, and we spent a half day walking around on it. As it was a lovely day, tourists and children were out in full force and we watched as a crocodile of little uns walked around on the 'Roman Tour' all dressed as centurions, complete with shields. There were also older kids in blazers and boaters, congregated around an old fashioned sweet shop that looked like they had strayed from a Harry Potter film set in Diagon Alley. The cathedral was beautiful, but they wouldn't allow too many pictures inside it as the choir was practising. We sat in the courtyard in dappled sunlight listening to the angelic voices of the choristers filtering out to us. Here are some pictures of Chester for you.
I hope my pictures made you want to go and visit Chester, I'd certainly reccommend it for a weekend out.
We got back and picked up the cat from the cattery where he had spent the night, no doubt cussing and swearing at his humans, who dared to go off and leave him in prison. And then almost seamlessly, I slipped back into beads and wire, happy as a pig in muck!
Nicole Hanna was running a 'Finish It' competition and I had only a couple of days to enter. As usual, she gave out part of a tutorial and the entrants had to finish it without changing more than one component. All the entrants received the whole tutorial for our pains and there is now a Pinterest page with all the entries. I already constantly challenge myself by remaining solder-free, torch-free and casting-free but it's nice to have a ready made challenge to help push the envelope of what's possible in wire jewellery by engineering, layering and weaving ever more complicated and intricate sculptural pieces, using fine-gauge wire for embroidering and beading my 'sculptures'.
One of the midwives at work had a donut that she wanted zhooshed up and I made a little bail like contraption for it in copper wire. I tend to prefer the non tarnished, shiny look. I know that loads of people like bare copper, and oxidise it with Liver of Sulphur and ammonia fumes and even boiled eggs to bring out the texture, but I'm quite happy with shiny - I wonder if it's a throwback to my youth where gold was the only thing I wore as my mother turned her nose up at base metals including silver.
An Oshun is a Yoruba Orisha of the sweet or fresh waters. She is widely loved, as she is known for healing the sick and bringing fertility and prosperity, watching over the poor and bringing them what they need. As Orisha of love, Oshun is represented as a beautiful, charming and coquettish young woman. In some tales she is said to be a mermaid, with a fish's tail. I made the pendant with an ancient block of faux ivory cane. It cracked beautifully over the core of the bead, and when antiqued, the pendant looked like authentic aged ivory.
I added some tassels to signify braided hair, and pulled together beads I had made earlier. I had red rugby ball shaped wooden beads that I'd embellished with strips of clay, gooseberry shaped polmer clay beads and wooden discs I bought in India. I'd been saving a pack of rustic ceramic beads I brought back when on holiday in Greece and I thought they went well with the beads in this necklace.
And then, spring sprang - the sun shone, the top came down in my little Miata, and the Snakeshead fritillaries and bluebells made an appearance. I began to imagine in pastels, pale pink or green floaty dresses, scarves, walking by the sea barefoot in the sand and a completely different vibe developed in the second half of the week. It's amazing how our outlook on life is governed by a tiny bit of sunshine, in the Northern Hemisphere. I dug out all the labradorite beads I had in my stash and put them together with a beautiful abalone clasp and large baroque pearls. I apologise for the photographs, but labradorite is very difficult to picturise, it flashes with movement, but the beautiful flashes of colour seem to hide when photographed.
I know that small business advisors say that one ought to develop a brand identity and make similar pieces, so that people know when they are looking at a piece of jewellery that it has been made by Caprilicious. I'd be bored to death with this strategy and so I'd like to think, would be my Caprilicious women. This is my particular design ethic - to make different styles of jewellery to suit the ever changing personalities and moods of a woman. The two designs from this week are poles apart, but I would wear both of them on different occasions, and be equally happy with them.
That's me for this week folks. Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello again, readers, how are you all today? Britain is in a frenzy of anticipation - Team GB is not doing so badly at the Olympics in Rio and people are glued to their television sets. We are not that into sport and have taken advantage of the sunshine to relax in the garden and I made a few pieces of jewellery.
I was watching reruns of Series 3 of Absolutely Fabulous. Jennifer Saunders wore a beautiful necklace through most of the show and I fell in love with it - it is bright, bold and colourful, and big! So very Caprilicious! I decided to have a go at trying to make it out of polymer clay. I looked for a still picture of the necklace but could find nothing that was remotely of any use, it was as if the bloody woman moved on purpose just to keep me from getting a good look at it - I had to watch the recorded show over and over, making drawings to help me - my lack of drawing skills are legendary and even the simplest shapes elude me. I eventually decided to make it from memory in colours that caught my eye and when I went to hang it, I found a Nepalese thread work necklace that seemed perfect! An international effort, if ever there was one.
I asked Lorena Angulo, a Mexican artisan jeweller from San Antonio in Texas, whether she knew if the cascade of hearts signified anything and she replied that it looked very much like a Milagro heart - Milagros are religious folk charms that are traditionally used for healing purposes and as votive offerings in Mexico, southern Spain and in other Latin American countries. They are frequently attached to altars, shrines, and sacred objects found in places of worship, and they are often purchased in churches and cathedrals, or from street vendors.
Milagros come in a variety of shapes and dimensions and are fabricated from many different materials, depending on local customs. A lot of Lorena's work is influenced by her origins and she often makes these Milagros (or would that be Milagra?? who knows??), beautifully carved from precious metal clay.
I'm playing this on the blog today - just because..... It's a fabulous song and I love Alison Moyet, enjoy!
The Little Miss Collection
I bought these silver pendants with the most beautiful semi precious stones in Jaipur during my last holiday in India. I had no idea what I wanted to do with them, so they just sat in a box until one day, suddenly, Ms Muse remembered them and seemed to know how exactly how to string them. I used the three butterflies to make pretty necklaces which would be ideal for young ladies, and of course older ladies who are young at heart! The gemstones in these pendants are really pretty a Little Miss would look lovely in her first piece of heirloom jewellery.
Roger Hargreaves was an English author and illustrator of children's books, best remembered for the Mr. Men and Little Miss series, intended for very young readers. The simple and humorous stories, with brightly coloured, boldly drawn illustrations, have been part of popular culture since 1971. The stories are set in a fictional universe called "Misterland", which is inhabited by the Mr. Men and Little Misses themselves, as well as some ordinary human characters such as shopkeepers, doctors and postmen. There are also various animals and Walter the Worm appears frequently. The characters are human in their behaviours and attributes. After Roger's death, his son wrote a few more books in the series and in April 2004, his widow Christine sold the rights to the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters to UK entertainment group Chorion for a reported £28 million.
Little Miss Sunshine
Ametrine pebbles carry the butterfly pendant which has the most beautiful topaz and citrine gemstones and a few left over ametrines went into earrings to match.
Little Miss Fabulous
The butterfly is made in two colours of topaz and an amethyst. I strung it simply on a silver chain, and added little dangles in peridot, apatite, jade and amethyst on either side of the pendant. A little pink jade butterfly finishes the pendant, dangling from the extension chain at the back.
Little Miss Moonlight
There isn't really a Little Miss Moonlight in Hargreaves's series, but who knows, they might just make her up after this. This butterfly has iridescent moonstones as well as amethyst and turquoise and is strung on a necklace of square labradorite beads, with tiny pale pink seed pearls between the labradorites. I even made some earrings to go with the necklace. The box clasp, enhanced by a little moonstone also came from Jaipur and is very, very pretty.
I see these worn to a prom, or at a first dance, gifted to a bridesmaid or even worn by the bride. It is nice for young girls to develop an appreciation of fine things that they need to take care of and cherish, and a simple piece of heirloom jewellery may be one of the best ways to start.
That's me for this week folks. Have a fabulous weekend and I shall catch you next Friday, same time, same place. Until then
Dear readers, thanks for stopping by this week, it is always a pleasure to have your company. As I mentioned last week, I've had a few days away in Edinburgh, both sight seeing and attending a reunion to which I was invited. Of course, I took the opportunity to showcase Caprilicious Jewellery - I take any opportunity to showcase my jewellery! and I was gratified that so many people came and took a look and picked up some pieces.
I never know how much or what to carry and consequently end up taking too much - however, after a few of these events, I am now an expert at packing and unpacking and can do it all without help in the space of twenty minutes.
The display of course, never satisfies my aesthetic sensibilities, but as I usually show far away from home and am unable to carry too many display items, I have to make the best of what is available.
As you can see from the pictures above, Edinburgh is a fairly masculine, sombre city built in sandstone, not without the occasional pop of colour and a whimsical sense of humour. The reunion was at a school, where the men played cricket and the ladies chatted, drank tea and shopped at Caprilicious. There was a raucous party that night at a club overlooking the estuary with the Firth of Forth in the distance, and we all had a great time dancing to the sounds made by the Madivala Cockroaches! These stalwart gentlemen all come from St John's Medical College in Bangalore and practice in the UK. I have to say their musical skills were impressive and extremely professional, for all that they are busy doctors scattered around the UK and have very little time to play together.
Last week, I made a dark and brooding black and white necklace, but Ms Muse got going this week with an explosion of colour. I made some hollow beads earlier as a prototype for a tutorial I am writing for Bead and Jewellery magazine later on in the year. The beads are gaily coloured with oil pastels and doodled on, giving a carved effect. They are about 2 inches in diameter, but very light as they are hollow. I showed them to a friend and he looked dismayed. 'Who on earth would wear beads this size?' he asked, with a shocked expression. I didn't know what I could make with them either, until something went 'Whirrrrrr.......click' in my head and I suddenly knew exactly how to string them.
The Doodlebead Necklace
Knotted together with ultrasuede, showing off the carving on the beads to great effect and a length of Kumihimo braid at the back, this is a cheerfully colourful necklace.
It would seem that Ms Muse hadn't finished with colour yet. I picked out a beautiful flashy blue labradorite cabochon and beaded around it. Soutache embroidery comprises of a few different elements that are repeated over and over - the difference between one artisan and another are in the colours and beads used and the layout of the various elements.
I don't often plan the design before I start or the colours I want to use, and tend to rummage in my box of braid and beads, picking out those that catch my eye in a random manner. What emerges is as much of a surprise to me as it is to anyone who watches the piece evolve. I sometimes post pictures on the Caprilicious Instagram account of work in progress when I finish up for the night, and I have no idea what is going to happen to the piece when I next pick it up. This one ended up colourful, with blues and greens, yellow and orange. I wanted it to be a smaller piece that could be worn both day or night and hope I have succeeded. I hung it on a copper torque necklace that has been coated with a non tarnish finish.
There is something extremely Middle Eastern about this pendant and the flashy azure blue of the labradorite inspired the name. The colour Persian blue comes from the blue of Persian pottery and the tiles used in mosques and palaces in the Middle East.
That's me for this week folks. We have been re bonding with our cats who were put into the cattery when we were in Edinburgh - they weren't too pleased about it, and let us know in no uncertain terms. They are being spoiled and pampered to attempt to make up for it.
Have a lovely week and I'll catch you next weekend, same time, same place.
Hello readers, and thanks for joining me in wishing Caprilicious a very happy fourth birthday. Every year I have made Ms Muse a special necklace with my most favourite pendants and beads. This year, I decided to celebrate Caprilicious' fourth birthday by learning a new technique and use it in making a birthday necklace for my muse.
I purchased a tutorial by Barbara Becker Simon to make the hibiscus flower clasp and spent a week carving and embellishing it. To do this, I needed tiny wood carving gouges and I spent a while surfing the net to find them in the UK. The clasp is made in bronze clay and is large and showy. The central 'stick' part of the toggle is a stamen and was a lot of fun to make. I looked for the perfect beads to go with it, and my eyes fell on a beautiful strand of stick or Biwa pearls in my stash.
Stick pearls are made by inserting long strips of shell or a nucleus into the mantle of the mollusc. This allows an elongated pearl sac to form quickly. Once they have been nucleated, the mussels protect their flesh from the irritants by secreting nacre, the calcium-carbonate compound known more commonly as mother-of-pearl. Over the course of 2 to 7 years, the mussels deposit layer upon layer of nacre around the central nucleus. It is from pairs and groups of closely-spaced stick pearl sacs merging together that more or less flat pearls reaching an impressive size are harvested.
Lake Biwa in Japan produced pearls like these regularly for some years, so it is possible that a technique learned from there is being acknowledged by calling these pearls Biwa pearls. You can read more about it in this article.
The pearls in the necklace are V shaped and have a pale peach lustre. The clasp can be worn to one side - or at the back with the hair up, to display it to its best advantage - it most definitely warrants displaying. It is set off by a couple of enamelled beads from Rajasthan and little garnet beads between the pearl sticks.
Mini Tribal Necklace
Here's one more in the mini tribal series. I added a little crescent shaped pendant to tiny green seed beads to make a vibrant necklace.
The little paisley beads of blue howlite are set off by the lost wax bronze African beads. The peridot beads are just the right shade of green and go perfectly with the howlite.
I love labradorite - at first glance it is a pale grey insignificant stone - only when it is moved in the light does it come into it's own. The flash of colour that emanates from deep within the stone are like mini fireworks. I teamed labradorite with pale pink beads - the colours are so sophisticated together.
The pendant for this necklace came from the Banjara people in India and I teamed it with colourful beads in lucite, gemstones and polymer clay to make a vibrant necklace. The coins dripping from the lower edge of the pendant rustle pleasingly when moved.
And that's a wrap folks, in this, the final week of Caprilicious' fourth year. I am going to celebrate Diwali this weekend with a few friends. Have a great weekend and I'll catch up with you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers, nice to see you here again. Ive had the strangest weekend - I was all ready and prepared for a fair which was postponed at the last minute. It was just as well it was cancelled, I cannot imagine that there would have been too many people out and about in such awful weather. But it was weird to be faced with an empty weekend, where I had no plans and nothing to do.
One of my regular customers saw Clarice and asked if I would make her another piece, this time with a bracelet to match and I decided to use the 'empty weekend' to make these pieces. I didn't have too many of the leaves I used in the original 'Clarice' but I did have a couple in my stash that were a close colour match. I made the larger leaves last year and the two resulting pieces I made with them couldn't have been more different from each other.
I made a few smaller leaves for the cuff bracelet and covered the with resin I mixed for another project. I love the sheen resin gives to a piece of polymer, but one has to be careful, as it is a very tetchy medium - one little mistake and it will refuse to set, or get air bubbles and misbehave to the extent that it seems simpler to throw away the piece and to start afresh. Also, patience is not my strong suit and I have a tendency to test whether the piece is dry by putting fingerprints all over wet resin (I also drove my parents mad in the car on long journeys).
The new owner just received her jewellery as I write this, and here is the lovely message she sent me
Hi Neena, it arrived today, gorgeous as always!! Its so nice to have the set, bracelet fits perfectly and is beautifully made. Thanks so much, again ! x
When I send a piece of jewellery out, I worry - firstly that it gets to the recipient, and second that she likes it - it is lovely to hear that all is well, and I can relax.
Here's the original Clarice - just so you can compare the two. I think they are both lovely in their own way.
I had never really noticed the afterglow, growing up in India - twilight is but short, the closer you get to the equator, and as it occurred early on in the evening when I was usually busy getting home or studying, or engaged in another such mundane activity it never entered my consciousness. In fact it was when I met Mike and he pointed it out to me, that I began to appreciate the colours of the sky after the sun sets below the horizon.
The clay beads in this necklace reminded me of the orange of the sky, they are touched here and there with a silvery grey, and shimmer with a pale pearlescence. I added lapis beads and a couple of ceramic triangular beads to make this pretty daytime necklace that will go with a lot of summer gear, and can be worn well into the autumn.
The butterfly in this piece is made using a technique called polymer clay embroidery and was inspired by a polymer clay and wire butterfly made by Daniela D'Uva of Alkhymeia. Made in bright primary colours, it reminds me of Hungarian Magyar embroidery. A strange technique which requires the precise placement of tiny pieces of polymer clay on an uncured, soft base, it is not really my cup of tea (once again the patience factor is my downfall), but once I'd got used to it, I had a lot of fun embellishing the pieces that went into the butterfly.
And finally, as if that wasn't enough wirework for one week, I made these two pairs of earrings from a design by Lisa Barth.
The labradorite is hand carved with butterflies on the front of the stone - I think someone with short hair, or hair that is put up to allow light to play on these earrings to bring out the beautiful flashes of labradorescence would love these and of course, turquoise and copper are a beautiful combination that would look good on anyone.
That's as much as I had time for this week folks. The weekend promises to be sunny and we have plans to go to the Upton on Severn Jazz Festival on Saturday. The garden is looking good and we made our annual pilgrimage to the garden centre to open our wallets and allow them to take our cash with impunity - if we didn't make this trip each year, the garden spirits would frown on us and bare patches would grow and spread in the garden rather than flowers and greenery, and that wouldn't do at all - Oh no, it wouldn't. The cats were most unimpressed - they quite like the bare patches in the flower beds, where they can sit and wait to ambush unwary mice and frogs that happen by.
Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello readers, and lovers of unusual handmade statement jewellery, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog this week. It is party time again - and of course as the days draw shorter and the weather gets colder, what we all want to do is cheer ourselves up, enough to be able to wait out the winter months until everything comes full circle and we can go out into the garden again.
I've been making evening wear most of last week - I had almost forgotten what fun it was to throw lashings of crystals and other shiny stuff together and see what occurs.
She was made with clear crystal teardrop beads, coated with an AB sheen - I thought I'd add a favourite colour - turquoise - to act as an accent, and I think any of you angels would look fabulous with it decorating your decolletage, the teardrops dripping into the neckline.
Malaika is one of the best known Swahili songs originating from Tanzania, sung here by 'Mama Africa' herself, Miriam Makeba.
I bought six strands of orange crystals last year, but when I got them out this week, I felt that perhaps the colour was too flashy. In an attempt to mitigate the psychedelic, sun-glasses requiring effect of the orange, I teamed them with a piece of labradorite. The labradorite was wrapped in wire to form a connector, and I made all the other bead caps and connectors myself - all except the toggle clasp - the necklace is long enough to slip over the head, but I added the clasp only to indicate how the necklace should be worn, for someone who isn't used to the asymmetry that has become the norm in pieces from Caprilicious.
This particular piece of labradorite is very flashy - if I aimed to dull the orange with it, perhaps it wasn't the best choice of stone - but I do think they go well together.
Nicole Hanna set us a challenge - she published a small part of one of her designs and asked us to take it as far as we could - we weren't allowed to change the 'ingredients'.
Here is a Pinterest album of the 50 pieces that went in, including mine. The one on the left is her piece, as she designed it, and the one on the right, Unfinished Symphony, is mine.
Nicole's pieces are all neat and tidy - I obviously like a few more curlicues and embellishments- they happened quite unconsciously as I allowed the wire to take shape and flow where it would.
Her piece is called 'The Evil Eye' and I suppose it does look rather wicked, mainly because of the 'eyebrow' which seems to be set in a scowly frown - mine is also an eye, but it is a benign eye, probably from a dancer at the Moulin Rouge, all wide eyed and high kicking, with false eyelashes and sequins - apologies if that sounds too fanciful to you.
I belong to a wire wrappers group on Facebook and they set a challenge to make a piece of jewellery using 12" of fairly thick wire, which can be difficult to manipulate, being quite stiff. I like to take part in these challenges - it shakes those grey cells out of their torpor - and this pendant is what I made...............
I tried to write 'Caprilicious' - but I'm not sure what to do about the pesky 'I' - but I will work it out one of the days.
See what I mean??
I went to 'Polydays', a polymer clay weekend a short while ago and learned a fabulous technique from Loretta Lam who makes the most interesting, one of a kind beads. The beads are reversible and having made one necklace for myself, I made a second one using the same technique. People love these beads - they've been telling me so all week - I wear my necklace all the time and love it. Here's the second Autumn Concerto. The beads are light, being made with an ultralight clay, and the two round beads on the end are actually hollow.
That's another week accounted for folks - thanks for stopping by - I see some new blog followers in the last few weeks - welcome to my new readers, it always gladdens my heart to see a new reader notification, otherwise I feel as if I'm burbling on to myself. I know more people read the blog than are subscribed - I'm not sure why this is - perhaps you are anxious about spam? It is easy enough to subscribe, all you have to do is click on the Bloglovin or Networked Blogs link on the sidebar and follow the instructions. I promise not to hand your email id out to scammers and spammers, honest, cross my heart and hope to die!
I am working at the day job this weekend, but if it isn't too busy, I shall put a few things in my kiln, unless Mike has other plans.
Have a fantastic week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers and lovers of statement jewellery everywhere, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog. This week I've had time to put together a few multistrand necklaces - getting ready for Bling season in the main - there are only 89 days to Christmas and it will soon be the time of year for pretty things and gifts. I hope that some of you will be sufficiently enthused by what you are looking at to pick up your gifts from Caprilicious. I am happy to gift wrap and send the parcel to an address of your choice with a little card from you, all you have to do is ask.
The Shaman's Necklace
'Shaman are spiritual guides and practitioners, not of the divine, but of the very elements. Unlike some other mystics, shaman commune with forces that are not strictly benevolent. The elements are chaotic, and left to their own devices, they rage against one another in unending primal fury. It is the call of the shaman to bring balance to this chaos.'
Labradorite is a Feldspar with a rich play of colours called Labradorescence, first discovered in Labrador, Canada. The North American Indians call it the Stone of Shamans - it is meant to aid clarity of thought, protect against negativity and from misfortune, thus bringing balance to chaos.
I love it because it shines so beautifully when moved in the light -at one angle it is a boring grey stone, but move it a bit and Wow! it flashes with such brilliant colour one is simply carried away by its beauty. Combined with rare and beautiful grossular green garnets and a copper wire surround, the labradorite is superb.
Inspired by Isabella Rossellini's shirt necklace in Death Becomes Her, this is my first 'Bling' necklace of the year. Ms Rossellini would look beautiful in a sack, but when she rose out of the water and glided over to her robe purring like a little panther, I just knew that one day I would make a necklace like hers. With plenty of crystals and hammered gold tone links, it shines beautifully, and although I haven't gone overboard, it is still pretty opulent.
Coral, freshwater pearls and an ornate clasp - my muse was in seventh heaven. A pair of earrings complete the parure which is going to be worn with a black and cream lace dress and a little black net fascinator at a wedding.
Daytime Bling - Monet
This painting of water lilies by Monet has so many beautiful colours, and I have been collecting pictures of them to use as inspiration for a piece of jewellery for the longest time - here is the picture, and the necklace - You like?? I love...
This necklace was made for a moonlit walk along the edge of the sea, the breeze blowing in your hair, scarf and skirt billowing - dancing in the moonlight. The pearls and blue jade are ethereal, lending themselves to romance on a moonlit night. If I knew the lady in the picture, I would offer her this necklace.
These two pairs of earrings are so organic, they almost made themselves - I just took the wire where it seemed to want to go and after a while, the earrings appeared as if by magic - they both started with the same material in the same quantities, but ended up being so different. The difficulty with organic designs is to know when to stop with the curls and squiggles and say "The End" !
That's it for this week folks. I have to report that my kittens are pretty useless at being helpers - they sleep most of the day and when awake fight with one another or eat me out of home and hearth - I sound like my mother complaining about her 'helpers' !! I go to my third Polydays in the Cotswolds this week and am sure to bring back some fabulous ideas to Caprilicious. See you next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, nice to meet you here again. Last week we talked a bit about statement jewellery. This week we talk about why people wear jewellery in the first place - the potted story of jewellery, if you like.
People originally began to cover their bodies with skins from the animals they hunted for food to shelter themselves from the elements - but jewellery doesn't appear to serve any such purpose - so why then has it become an important part of our psyche??
These shells, coated with red ochre are the oldest known ornaments - thirteen of them were found in a cave in Morocco, dated to 82,000 years ago by archeologists. They are thought to have come from Tunisia where the snail that once lived in these shells originated. They were probably used as beads as they have perforations to indicate this.
Picture from National Geographic News.
Decorating and beautifying the body with jewellery made of animal hide, leather, bones, shells, feathers and berries are well known early forms of jewellery.
However, simple adornment may not have been the only reason for the wearing of jewellery - advertising wealth and status, hoarding wealth in the form of precious metals, and using jewellery as coinage to make purchases has been described in many societies.
Procreation and the perpetuation of our gene pool is a basic human instinct - and jewellery aids in the 'plumage' factor - something bright and attractive that flashes and glints, drawing attention to the wearer.
Amulets to provide protection - Gods and Saints, hopefully appeased into working away furiously in the background to protect us from all manner of evil are often worn as charms and pendants. This one is St Christopher - patron Saint of travellers.
These are Ghau Boxes - worn in Tibet and Nepal - they are decorative portable shrines, and are ornate boxes holding prayer scrolls, miniature idols and lucky turquoise and coral nuggets worn as pendants - now that's getting closer to the kind of statement jewellery we know and love.
When times are hard, people are willing to try anything to make them feel better. With the 'belt and braces' approach and mysticism from the East raising its head and bringing words like 'Chakras' and crystal healing into our collective consciousness, there are reams (or Mega Bytes) written about the power of various minerals and gemstones.
Initially, 'tumble stones' used to be carried in pockets and pouches, but then it seemed to become important that the stone was in contact with the skin of the wearer. Jewellery makers found a niche market for believers, and prettified them to be worn as a statement. These wands have been made so that the points are free of metal, to allow the energy to flow out of them into the wearer.
Expression of Self
Today jewellery is used more as a means of self-expression. How do you feel when you wake up? - delicate or bold, colorful or subdued, happy and exuberant or fed up - your subconscious will pick out your clothes and jewellery to reflect your mood.
Have you ever thought about why you pick one set of clothing or accessories in favour of another on any given day??
Next week I will visit 'How to Wear Statement Jewellery' - in the meantime, lets take a look at some of the pieces I made at Caprilicious this week.
I made a necklace I called A Circlet of Stars - it was the first piece I made this year and my sister fell in love with it and bought it from me. I decided to make a similar piece, but this time the fire polished beads I used to embellish the piece were in dark tones.
'Dark star I see you in the morning
I played with polymer clay and made some beads - of course playing with clay entails a whole day of fun, what with the curing and sanding and buffing - only then are the pieces ready to make up into jewellery - and so, the weekend vanished in a twinkling, making these, amongst other beads. They look like the rings around a planet to me - what do you think??
The Kris Kros Pendant
This is a simple design by Lisa Barth - a bit fiddly to make, and meant to embellish the front of a dull stone. It looks extremely elegant, and this was borne out by the fact that the pendant flew out of my hands within a couple of hours. I will certainly be making a few more of these, with some variations - my boredom threshold is low and I couldn't make the same thing over and over again - which is just as well for a 'one of a kind' jewellery website! The stone here is a carved rose quartz leaf, in a pale pink. The contrast between the masculine and feminine is what makes this piece, I think.
I thought I would add hair accessories to my repertoire - I have made a few hair combs in the past, and I will add to this collection over time. Embellished hairpins and hair sticks are in fashion - and these are my effort....
Great for a Rapunzel moment and there's even a tutorial by Melissa of Tangible Daydreams on how to release your hair in a 'swoosh' movement like a film star.
I am a firm believer that it is absolutely fine to wear a bit of bling to work - and if you are meeting up with friends after, your jewellery should be perfect for that too - a dual purpose piece of jewellery is always welcome. With that in mind, I added some shiny crystals to what would have been an otherwise sedate necklace - sea sediment jasper with a brass Nepalese bead.
Temple of the Stars
With a couple of days off from work, I had time to try out some new techniques - a labradorite cabochon from my hoard was crying out for attention. The stone is hand carved, and flashes a brilliant blue in the light and I didn't want to create an over embellished setting. I worked out how to set it in wire prongs - wire workers almost feel cause to be ashamed if there is a need to apply solder or glue to anything we make - we take great pride in using cold connections. I was very chuffed when Pearl Blay of The Beading Gem's Journal said she liked the photograph on G+. The stone itself in meant to have many metaphysical qualities including a beneficial effect on the Throat Chakra, as does copper - if you are a believer, this one is for you!!
Look into My Eyes
Happy Friday readers, I hope all of you are well this fine morning and rocking it with your statement jewellery.
This week started with my muse following one of my previous avatars and going into a mesmeric mode.
I qualified as a clinical hypnotherapist a number of years ago, and still use my skills from time to time, although not as much as I would have hoped - a girl can't do everything! But, when this polymer clay bead formed itself in my hands it reminded me of a traditional stage hypnotist's induction tool. I made two, but lost one to the process ( i.e. it was consigned to the scrap pile) but I saved this one in the nick of time. I put it into my 'orphan beads' box- and one day, my muse decided that this pendant would be made with it, using the tutorial I won from a competition on the lovely Nicole Hanna's website.
I love the way the swirls of colour go towards the centre point - perhaps it should be worn by someone trying to persuade people into following their will - or someone who is trying to keep those eyes focused at a point away from their cleavage!!
There are earrings to match and I have talked about them in a previous post.
Spellbound - The Keeper of Secrets
This jade pendant came from China - I bet you guessed that! I love the face on her - Les Dawson (the late comedian who was famous for his mother in law jokes) would have said that the face reminded him of his own MIL.
In an attempt to soften her profile a bit and make her look less like Les' mother in law, I added a frame of woven wire - I did think of adding other embellishments - but the severe lines of the face go with the straight lines of the frame - curlicues would have been out of place here - although she did get one or two - and a dangling bead, I simply couldn't resist.
Raziel is the Hebrew Archangel and Keeper of Secrets and is the ruling God of the Second Heaven - I think the face on this pendant looks a lot like a Raziel - don't you??
And finally, after all the work put into it, the necklace is a true statement piece - certainly arresting and worthy of a second look when it is worn.
Precious Metal Clay Pendants
I have talked a bit about precious metal clay before - it is a great medium that yields silver that is 99% pure, as opposed to Sterling Silver, which is only 92.5%. The heat in the kiln scared me a bit to start with, but I am rapidly getting more relaxed about it. I made a couple of pendants earlier and strung them on some extremely pretty semi precious gemstone necklaces.
This pendant has tiny feet carved into it, and I set a little red cubic zirconium into the second toe on one foot - like a bejeweled toe ring. Strung with labradorite and peridot the necklace is extremely delicate and pretty. This particular string of beads has exceptional labradorescence - it flashes every time the light shines on it from various angles.
With this little scrap of deeply engraved silver, I went a bit overboard when I was setting the cubic zirconia - I put in so many stones, that the piece twinkles like a starlit sky. I found the beautiful, tiny squares of apatite in India and when teamed together, the result is soothing and pleasing to the eye. Someone who likes their statement jewellery a bit on the small side will love these pieces from my kiln.
A couple of pairs of earrings rolled off my pliers while I was watching late night movies with Mike - there has to be some benefit to being an insomniac! These were made with inspiration from mini tutorials donated to the cause of wire workers everywhere by the very generous Nicole Hanna.
The Dragonfly's Dell
I acquired this slice of agate from my friend BN - it has beautiful striations deep within when held up to the light, but when held against the skin, it resembles the blue green waters of a still and glassy lake - the warm summer weather has brought out the dragonflies and I was reminded of a poem I read by someone who calls herself SusieA, published in Fairies World.
Down past my garden, underneath the trees,
There is a place of magic that no-one ever sees,
A little grassy clearing, plain at ones first sight;
But if you take the time to see, you shall find delight.
If you come to see this place, take heed:
you've found the Dell.
I wire wrapped the stone, and then added a dragonfly to the bail, along with some extremely shiny iridescent Czech fire polished beads - when I finally decided it was finished, I thought any respectable dragonfly worth it's salt ought to love it in this dell!
And finally, my last piece this week - drumroll................
Made with a handmade toggle clasp as the focal, and a string of graduated turquoise heishi beads. Lot's of blue air around me - I dropped the beads, and spent time scrabbling around on the floor on my hands and knees, and then reassembling them into the graduation on a bead board, swearing softly to myself all the while - then stringing them so that the focal bit was to one side with the larger beads at the bottom of the necklace.
One of my friends asked if I would write a guest post for her blog on 'What is Statement Jewellery and How to Wear it' - I began to put some thoughts together - I found that I had so much to say, that I decided to start a mini series here, on the Caprilicious Blog - each week, I'll start off with a paragraph or two on how to rock your statement jewellery - I am very excited about this little project - if you have any questions for me, do post a comment and I'll try my very best to answer them.
That's it for this week folks, have a fabulous weekend and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place
Share and share alike - that's what a good marriage is all about, right?? Well, if that's the case, ours must be solid - or Mike is being too literal - he generously gave me a good lashing of his cold. Oh, the muzzy head, the aching joints, the stopped up sinuses (and now I sound just like Mike - minus the Tarzan-esque thumping of the chest)- I just crawled into bed on Saturday afternoon, and stayed there all day, every day till Thursday. The weekend was all nice and sunshiny, but I couldn't go out - nor did I have the energy to play with clay - I knew all my efforts would turn into mud!
Sitting in front of the telly of an evening, I picked up my pliers and an oxbone face - I thought I'd make something from an idea I had earlier - it took me two days to wrap the face and give it a head dress - and I just couldn't see how to take it further - a complete constipation of ideas.
I took a photograph of the half finished piece and put it on a couple of wire - worker's forums on Facebook, and posted that I was planning to cut it up to salvage the beads. It was almost as if I was punishing the little piece of jewellery for my cold - childish?? - of course, but I was way beyond rational at that time. A very gratifying hue and cry went up - after that, I had to save her from the knacker's yard and make something halfway decent with her, if only to justify comments like these -- 'you were going to cut that up are you mad, it's stunning, must be the cold, hope your feeling better', and 'This piece of art is beautiful. Please don't cut it up. It would be a crime. xx'.
So, onward I went!
This is a mask I bought last year when in Venice - everywhere you turn, it would seem that there are masks for sale - at first I said I would absolutely not buy one, but, by the end of the holiday, I had got so used to seeing them around I felt I would miss the damn things if I didn't have one of my own!
The history of Venetian masks goes way back to the fourteenth century, and there are many types, with names of their own. Colombine is the type of mask that fits over the eyes and is held on by a baton or with ribbon - probably because the first woman who wore one was too vain to hide her face in it's entirety. One can only imagine the intrigue and skulduggery that went on behind the mask, not to mention the bad hair days that were hidden by the wigs which were part of the ensemble.
I like the colours -the carnival effect is played out by the colours that my hands chose instinctively - I say that, cos I sure didn't do it consciously with that muzzy head, no way!
I slept most of Sunday and Monday away, and on Tuesday, feeling only a little better, stayed off the day job for yet another day.
While idly surfing the web, I found this image of Barbie in India - actually this is the least hideous one I found - all the others are even more over the top - I found myself wondering whether the designers at Matel had been dropping acid when they put together these caricatures of Indian womanhood. And then I remembered blue eyed, blond haired, Barbie - yes, of course they are on acid - they probably live on LSD fuelled dreams of what their dream woman/ Stepford wife would be like, and go through later life in a permanent fog of disappointment, not being able to find her when reality bites.
I decided I'd design a piece for Barbie - if she actually came from Bollywood.
Maybe I should change the name - to Pink and Pretty (using the 'say what you see' rule), rather than associate Caprilicious with Barbie ? Oh well, it's not her fault, poor thing, that she has an image problem - would you agree??
The Bollywood Barbie Earrings
Wednesday rolled by, and by now we were both deaf as well as anosmic, coughing and spluttering in tandem. The house stank to high heaven - Mike poached smoked haddock in milk - that's what his mother gave him as a lad when he was sick - normally I protest at the smell, but this time I was blissfully unaware.
The Modern Victorian
I learned a new weave called the Kokkocik weave from a wire worker in Poland and thought I'd use it to make up a little pendant. Using a beautiful labradorite cabochon, which flashes the most fire of any I've ever seen, I made a little pendant with seed pearls, copper wire and ruby quartz.
Seed pearl jewellery was especially popular from the last quarter of the 18th century and throughout the nineteenth century, when the burgeoning middle-classes of Europe and the United States grew fascinated with pearls and had the money to purchase them. The Victorians favoured the look of these delicate, almost lace-like pieces against the skin and often associated seed pearl jewellery with purity. They were especially fashionable as bridal gifts and refer to natural pearls that are 2mm or less in size.
Drilling holes into pearls of any size is difficult enough - imagine how difficult it was to drill into a pearl that was as small as a seed before the advent of lasers and other aids used today. I don't suppose the Victorians really cared too much about the eyesight of the people involved in the making of their intricate jewellery.
Each week, I tend to make three different kinds of jewellery - with polymer clay at weekends, a piece or two with beads and gemstones, and have a bit of a play with wire. With Mike and I having the dreaded lurgy, it has meant that I have almost exclusively stuck with making small pieces of jewellery with wire for two weeks - and this is the result - wire worker's thumb nail! This comes from scooching the wire along while weaving it with my right thumbnail, rather than using pliers which might mar the wire or break it. I wonder if I should submit this picture to the British Medical Journal, to the column entitled Minerva on the last page - after all, we have 'pigeon fanciers lung','malt worker's lung' and even 'hot tub lung' - I now present 'wire-worker's thumb nail'!!!
What's that you say?? - stick to gynaecology and wire work and stop this madness ?? - OK, right you are then - it must be the head cold making me go doolally!
That's all for this week folks, catch you next week, same time, same place