As a child, my excuses for work not handed in on time were extremely inventive to say the least - but now, I have surpassed all my previous efforts, and then some! My inner child is alive and well, having survived standing behind the blackboard for most of my chemistry lessons, and learning all of The Merchant of Venice off by heart as a form of punishment - so well, that I can rattle the whole play off today, a hundred years down the line.
It took me an entire evening to mold, cut out, dry, and sand my latest effort - Oh, I was mighty proud of my beautiful creation!
The next day, I was ready to fire it - but, I couldn't find the bl@@~y sheet of paper with the instructions - I hunted high and low, but in the end, with a sense of deja vu, conceded to myself that 'The house ate my instructions'.
I went back to my computer and downloaded a fresh set of instructions and followed them accurately, and guess what?? This time, 'The kiln ate my pendant'!
All I had left to show that I had actually put anything in the kiln (apart for the photographic evidence above - thank God for technology) were a few tiny pieces of sintered metal, and on scrabbling through the carbon particles, I found the little stone I had set into the pendant.
I think I went a bit hysterical at this point - well, it wasn't worth crying over, and that seemed to be the only other possible course of action. So, I sat there, on my haunches in a red towelling robe, clean and fresh from a prolonged soak in a hot bath while my kiln had been chomping away at my pendant, scrabbling around in carbon particles with blackened, dirty hands and a smudge on the side of my nose, laughing as if my sides would split - Mike thought he'd phone the men in white coats to take me away, but I escaped incarceration in a padded cell in the nick of time!
Inspirational Beading is a blog written by Mortira vanPelt of Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island. She makes the most exquisite beaded jewellery and likes to support her fellow artisans. She published an interview with Caprilicious Jewellery on her 'Inspired Beader' page and sent me a link - http://inspirationalbeading.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/inspired-beader-caprilicious-jewelry.html
Mortira likes to make eco friendly jewellery and says 'I often try to put a bit of a green spin on things, while also appealing to every type of beader. I also hope to create discussion and debate, so comments are always welcome, no matter how old a post is' - so do head over and leave a comment on her blog, if you are reading this.
Avatar was made in 2009, and is possibly the highest grossing film of all time. Neytiri was a Na'vi princess of the Omaticaya tribe and the female protagonist of that movie. She was portrayed as brave and fearless, and had a strong sense of loyalty. The entire movie was shot in shades of the most beautiful cobalt, turquoise and ultramarine blue.
I fell in love with the dyed jade medallion in this next piece, and teamed it with opaque turquoise crystals. The pendant is strong, and almost masculine, with the dragon motif, but it's colour is very feminine. Not entirely happy with the lack of movement in the piece, I added a turquoise teardrop bead, wire wrapped with shiny blue crystals. It is a very striking piece in Neytiri's colours, and it sits on my 'Oriental Inspirations' page on the website. The dragon motif seems to embody Neytiri's strength of character.
I love the colours, and the addition of a bit of wirework finishes it off beautifully in my opinion - what do you think? Leave a comment at the end of this post and tell me, why don't you??
Running With Scissors - as usual!
As if I wasn't despondent enough with the bronze clay fiasco, I decided court yet more failure by attempting to make canes using polymer clay.
Canes are cylinders of clay or glass that have a design running through them, and when the cylinder is sliced, each cross section contains the design. Each one is made up in a large cylinder so that it can be managed easily, and once the process is finished, the cane is reduced to the size required, and then a cross section made - lo, and behold (hopefully) a design appears. This is the theory, but.....
I find it very difficult not to cut it open and peek midway through the process - you need a the patience of Job (whoever he was) to make a cane without slicing it open every two minutes, and it has to be accepted that a whole load of clay might end up on the scrap heap. Added to this, once the cane is made, it has to be 'rested' overnight before it is cut open, or it smears and distorts and generally looks like rubbish - even more patience.
Can you see why this might not be a suitable endeavour for yours truly??
I decided to try out some tutorials by Marie Segal of Art From My Heart at http://mariesegal.blogspot.co.uk/_
These tutorials were probably written for someone more experienced than me (that's almost everybody) and involves the use of extruders and other implements - but I was going to die trying, and in actual fact, it wasn't so bad - have a look at my attempts - I think they are quite acceptable for a first time.
I only wish I was less annoyingly ambitious - most people make bullseyes and little flowers to start with - but no sirree, not me, I have to try out the daddy of all the canes available. Anyway, I now have five canes - next, to make something with them - probably next week.
You can see on the bottom right that I didn't wait to rest the cane before cutting it open - it is meant to be heart shaped at the centre.
The Purple Rose of Cairo
Another necklace with solar quartz set in sterling silver, the stalactite this time dyed purple, looking just like a purple flower, so I named it after one of my favourite movies. Teamed with amethyst teardrop nuggets, a few peridot, crystal beads and pearls, it turned into a delicate, and elegant necklace - very understated, but yet, making its own quiet, sweet melody. A little silver flower toggle clasp I had been hoarding for just such an occasion came in handy to finish this necklace off to perfection.
I know that many of you read this blog regularly - certainly more than the twenty three kind people who have publicly declared their affiliation by pressing the 'follow this blog' logo - can I ask you to please click on it
- make a poor artisan who is doing her best happy, eh?? and rack up some points in heaven!
I promise it won't rear up out of your computer and bite you - all that will happen will be that the blog will drop into your inboxes each week, with a silent 'plop' , and there will be a smile on my face - it is safe, I promise - please, pretty please..... I've even put the link on the end of this sentence for you - you won't even have to scroll back up to the top right of this page, where it normally lives.
Them's my shenanigans for this week folks, thanks for stopping by. Catch you next week, same time, same place.
I have never been to sub Saharan Africa, but have increasingly been seduced by the beautiful imagery from that continent.
This recently came to a head when I bought a copy of the eye wateringly expensive book 'Africa Adorned' by Angela Fisher - with page after page of colour and vivacity leaping out of it. It brings to mind the jewellery and colours in the desert lands of Northern India - the women wear large jewellery and head dresses, and bright colours, almost as if to combat the drab brown of the sand and scrub land surrounding them. Tribal sophistication is bold and dramatic, calling forth of the fierce nature of our human spirit to overcome all obstacles. That's what jewellery was originally worn for in ancient cultures ....to remind the wearer of her strength and purpose. Jewellery never was just about baubles and beads. It had purpose. And power. And beauty.
Clothes and accessories should be as bright as you are comfortable with - if you want to be noticed - the key however, is to be comfortable.
Sweet little gemstones on tiny chains are lovely, in their own way - but the statement they make is completely different from what the Caprilicious Tribal woman is all about. I have some of these 'little sweeties' in my own little collection, mainly bought for me by my mother, who is into pastel colours and whites - get the picture? - but as I grew older, I realised I had to find my own style, and dress to project the image I have of myself in my minds eye - and that image is bright colours and stand out jewellery (sorry, mum).
I am a strong believer in that old adage (or have I just made it up?) - you are what you wear - ergo, if you dress well and feel confident, you walk tall and are undaunted by the curve balls that are thrown at you during the course of the day.
I set up a new section on my website and Facebook page - Out of Africa - the intention is to make urban - contemporary pieces influenced by tribal jewellery to sit on those pages - and hopefully on you. This section is all about big, bold and eclectic mixing to complement the romantic patchwork of chunky knits, flowing attire and a bohemian Lagenlook. I am keen to make these at affordable prices so that all my readers are inspired to try them out - I am sure they will go down well. Tribal style is more about attitude than a place. So whenever you want to show off your fun and free-spirited side, tribal jewellery is the way to do it. This collection will be full of vibrant pieces to add a whimsical and artistic touch to anyone's wardrobe
I have been gearing up to this for a while now - I made some chevron beads, faux bone and this week, faux amber which will fit in with this, my new venture. The necklaces are meant to be bright, bold and in your face, some more so than the others - to the ladies who model themselves along the lines of heroines from the novels of Jane Austen, I say - perhaps you might want to look at my other pages.
As you can see, the beads gleam in the light - no varnish was involved - each bead was buffed with my trusty bench buffer, 'Buffy' - I would never have imagined that I could love a rotary, fast moving tool so, I am usually girlishly afraid of them - but, I couldn't do without my darling Buffy now. Mike's task this week is to find me a little table and a box to house Buffy so that the dust is contained, a la Melanie Muir, not to mention catching the beads that sometimes ping around the room like bullets - Oh, that Buffy - he likes to keep me fit, diving after those beads!
I made a Hamsa pendant out of wire and hung it on a necklace made using a few Chevron beads, a couple of faux amber beads, with glass millefiori beads and real carved bone beads, reminiscent of Berber jewellery from Morocco. The Hamsa is a stylised hand - if you want to read about it, here's a link to a post I wrote earlier - http://www.capriliciousjewellery.com/3/post/2012/11/where-i-keep-calm-and-play-with-wire.html
It is called Flower Power because of the Millefiori beads - which is Italian for a thousand flowers - and also because Marrakesh was on the hippie trail in the seventy's and eighties. It is bright and colourful and is bound to brighten up your day - who says the desert in the only place where one needs cheering up - look outside - the rain and slush and snow is just as dreary.
Is that a Gauntlet (or are you just happy to see me)??
I have been issued with a challenge by one of my customers - if you can help, do feel free to drop me a line. I am required to take the beads from the first picture below and turn them into a piece that will evoke the feeling of being in the second picture - which is a frozen river in Ladakh.
Her last challenge was to request a necklace evoking a stark cold mountain scape, snow capped, with sunlight hitting the mountain tops. I created Meluhan Dreams for her with wire, crystals and druzy - she sent me this picture, and is clearly delighted with it. She even phoned me all the way from Delhi to say how happy she was and to have a chat with me about Caprilicious - I was so thrilled. I have to make sure I rise to this challenge as well.
I have a couple of months to decide how I am going to work this miracle!
From The Vineyard
I found this string of almost perfect amethyst nugget beads while sorting out my bead box - each one looked like a grape - the gems in this string are almost edible. Teamed with some peridot beads and the tiniest freshwater seed pearls, they went into this necklace with a gold plated birch leaf. I hung a bunch of crystals, pearls and amethyst on the front of the bail to resemble grapes. I know it should have been a vine leaf, but this is England and vineyards are not so plentiful out here - so please indulge my poor muse here.
A lentil bead, made with polymer clay
I love the idea of making my own beads and components, and fashioning my pieces from all the images floating around in my head - mixing polymer clay with gemstones and crystals - Mixed media jewellery is the way forward, I am convinced of this. I made Aloha with this bead, and a string of sea sediment Jasper. It was named by Mike, who said it has a Polynesian feel to it - who am I to argue??
Om is a mystical Sanskrit sound of Hindu origin, sacred and important in various religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It occurs at the beginning of every prayer or invocation and can be used repetitiously in a mantra for meditation. I acquired this conch shell pendant, inlaid with a turquoise Om - It sat in my collection for a while, until, the beads that go into this necklace fell out of a box into my hands - if I believed in mystical stuff, I would say that was really weird!
That's a wrap for this weeks jewellery folks, have a fab week and I will catch up with you, same time, same place, next week,
Good day everyone, I trust you had a good week. I have been very rested, as I took some time off the day job, and found I had no pressing matters to attend to, so could chill, and make as many pieces of jewellery as I like, with little or no interruption.
This week, I tried out a new technique - chainmaille.
Chainmaille is the practice of linking rings to create interesting patterns, or more traditionally "sheets" of flexible metal for the purpose of armor or decoration. The name comes from the French word maille, derived from the Latin macula, which means a 'mesh of net'. The basic weaves use jump rings, which are open rings not intended to be soldered. For decorative use, the supportive structure of the weaves is enough to ensure the rings don't pull open.
I bought a rhodochrosite carved pendant a while ago - rhodochrosite is a reddish pink stone - the pink color of rhodochrosite is caused by the element manganese and it is formed when manganese is dissolved by ground water and combines with a carbonate material, then drips off the ceiling of caves and crevices deep underground. It is commonly found in the form of stalactites and stalagmites in the caves of Argentina. The Incas, who called it Inca Rose, believed that rhodochrosite is the blood of their former kings and queens that was turned to stone.
I am by no stretch of imagination a 'pink lady' - but I had to have the pendant - the carving called out to me - 'buy me Neena, buy me' it implored. I searched for a suitable way to tone down the pinkness - I bought Morganite - too pink, tektite - too black, rose quartz - even more 'too pink', and finally, after my bead stash was swollen with unsuitable (!) elements, I found frosted red agate - orangey pink/ red beads, smudged with inky black, and frosted over like the bloom on a grape - lovely!
The Mermaid's Song
This necklace just grrrrrew - couldnt stop it - I made a seahorse, a couple of starfish, and a 'fisherman's net' around the mermaid with fish and other shells caught up in it - and then thought I would try the chainmaille techniques out here to link the beads together - well, easier said than done - it is ever such a fiddly technique, and certainly not suited to sitting in front of the telly with a tray in your lap. But, I persevered and in the end, I am glad I did.
Love knots are very basic chain maille links, with three rings linked together, rather like a Russian wedding ring, and the individual bead links leading off the centre of the knot. All was well till I decided I didn't like the placement of one or two of the elements - it has to be just so for me - and for you - and everything needed to be taken apart and redone - but in the end, I liked the effect - a little more ornate than using just the one ring between elements, I may try this again, and who knows, one day, I might surprise myself with a bracelet made of chainmaille links (don't hold your breath, Neena!).
Diamond White is a necklace made of clear quartz needles with pewter coloured vintage focal beads from another necklace I cannibalised. It is also a cider with a hight alcohol content (12.5%) here in the UK and it had a certain following amongst my friends when I was young. I decided that I would use the name of an old favourite for this rather nice necklace. One of my friends said it made her think of winter - but hey, our non summer is almost over - and we have to face a bleak winter - what better way than to wear nice jewellery - wearing pretty stuff puts a smile on my face, anyway.
Here Comes The Sun
Confused?? - the weather here certainly is - one day it is hot and sunny, and the next it is raining cats and dogs and freezing cold - my jewellery efforts reflect that seesaw - so on this particular day, after a swim and a barbeque meal (no clearing up - yippee!), I sat down with a reel of copper wire and some peridot beads and made this.....
I love the green of peridot - wish it wasn't quite so expensive - but in common with amethysts and aquamarine, it is too expensive to buy in large amounts. Peridot is one of the few gemstones that occur in only one color, an olive green. The intensity and tint of the green comes from the iron in the crystal structure. It is also called Olivine - due to its colour, and is classed as a precious gem. I got the faceted teardrops on a visit to Capri, where they seem to have large deposits of the gemstone, and I used two of them in these copper wire earrings.
And while the barbeque was sizzling and Mike was slaving away over it, I put the polymer clay flowers I made a few weeks ago onto brooch backs and popped them in the oven to cure.
The Paisley pattern has been around for simply ages - its origins are claimed by the peoples of both India and Persia, but its Western name derives from the Scottish town of Paisley. In India, it is a common design, and thought to be a stylised mango. It was popularised in the Western world by the East India Company, and adopted by Liberty into the 'Liberty Print'. I am very familiar with this design, as it is very common in the gold thread work in South India, where I am from, originally, so I decided to make a paisley 'mango' in silver, with some delicious multicoloured tourmaline I acquired earlier, and add a fine silver daisy made from Precious Metal Clay in my kiln. I used wire netting to fill out the paisley shape with tourmaline beads, and hung it from the daisy on a silver chain - sweet!
The Wings of Love
A Hungarian jewellery maker I once bought a bracelet from posted a piece of embroidered jewellery she created around a beetle's wing - I was startled and thought then that she was joking, but not so - the naturally beautiful elytra (wings) of the Green Jewel beetle (Sternocera aequisignata) shift in color from green to hints of blue at the edges, and the surface is shiny and iridescent, giving the effect of sunlight on an oil-slick. The beetles have a short life span of 3-4 days, and when they die, they loose their wings, which are then collected up for use in various objects, and jewellery. No beetles are harmed in the making of this jewellery (phew!).
A bit more research revealed that beetle wings have been used for centuries by Indian civilizations, cut into tiny spangle shapes and sequins to adorn a range of objects, their reflective properties admired as a means to ward off evil spirits. The beetles, in beautiful colours are like living jewels, and in Victorian England it was the height of cool to have live jewel beetles tethered by tiny gold chains to your décolletage! The beetles were caged and fed, and covered with gemstones, if they weren't colourful enough, and taken on regular outings pinned to the lady's chest!
I set out looking for these wings, and found a vendor in Thailand, where these beetles are found, and am now the proud owner of a large number of these wings, this means that I will need to think up plenty of designs to use all of them, but I have no doubt that they will be liked - anyone who likes shiny, pretty things, is bound to like these. I made some earrings, just to get the feel of this new acquisition - but I just know that they will fly out of my hands real quick! I did worry a little about the word 'beetle' which does not conjure up the nicest image - but hey, if the Victorians could wear real live beetles, why shouldn't we wear the wings, beautiful as they are - just takes a bit of getting used to - and we do wear leather from dead animals all the time, don't we??
A bit more about those Victorians - they loved insect jewellery - apparently. For example, Caddisfly larvae glue together tiny stones, grains of sand, and bits of litter to form cases that camouflage and protect them from their natural enemies. When gold nuggets, shells, or semiprecious stones, were added to their cages, they incorporated these into their protective cases, which was later harvested and made into earrings, necklaces, tie tacks, and pins. Amber jewellery - or fossilised insect jewellery was also very popular, and remains so today.
Though light, the wings are quite robust. I accidentally stood on one and it didn't break (and I am no featherweight)! I will of course provide stoppers, as the earrings are very light - but the converse of that is that they can be made long as you like, without fearing for your earlobes! They make a pleasant swishing sound when they knock against each other - a sort of rustle - brings to mind long silk gowns - which is just the right mental image for these beautiful jewel coloured earrings.
The Flemish artist Jan Fabre created the ‘Heaven of Delight’ using 1.6 million of these wings! Fabre and his team of thirty people took 4 months to glue all of the beetle shells to the ceiling and a chandelier in the Heaven of Delight Hall of Mirrors, of the Royal Palace in Brussels. I would have associated the colours and the name with a more exotic place than Brussels, but Fabre really loved these beetle wings and used them extensively in a lot of his art.
I hope you have enjoyed the tale of the beetles - I really got stuck into my research about them, and found so much to talk about. The wings are truly beautiful, and I am surprised that they are not more commonly used in jewellery. I must mention Agi Kiss from Moonsafari Beads who set me off on this journey - you can see her piece here - http://www.etsy.com/shop/MoonsafariBeads
That's all for now folks. Catch you later
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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