Hello people, I hope you are all enjoying your summer. We are in the middle of a heat wave in the UK and roasting gently - it doesn't last very long so it is important to wring every possible moment of enjoyment out of every day. Summer in the UK is fabulous when the weather is good. Because of all the rain we get, the greenery is lush and intense. Most everyone has a garden and those that don't, grow stuff in pots. The owners of the local garden centres are laughing all the way to the bank as the queues at the till grow longer and longer, but we don't begrudge them a penny - do we?!?
We went to the Upton on Severn jazz festival last weekend and I wore an Indian gypsy necklace I found in a shop on Ebay - it was from a vendor in the USA and I had it sent to my friend's address and carried it back home with me. By the time it arrived, the glass in the central motif had shattered and I replaced it with polymer clay and embellished it with a couple of bindis I had in my collection - they were bought when I was about fourteen, and they came with a glue with which they were meant to be attached to the forehead. The glue perished a long time ago, but the bindis remained with me only because I am loath to throw away pretty things, and I think I put them to good use. I tried the necklace on - one look at my friend's face and I knew she was thinking "what th........?", but was too polite to say it out loud - well, this picture is for her - yes, it can be worn - well it was worn, and I loved it.
Here's a little clip from the morning parade - Mike and I were in the crowd and the dancing was impromptu (although the girls appeared to have a routine practiced and set up) and free for all - down at the end you will find the delightful chap in the red waistcoat - he was a hoot!
Christianity in Ethiopia dates to the 1st century AD. The largest and oldest Christian group is an Oriental Orthodox church that was part of the Coptic Church. Ethiopian Coptic Crosses are worn by Christians in Ethiopia, and all around the world. They are cast using the "lost wax method", and bring together a variety of historical influences including Egyptian and Celtic design styles.
The Ethiopian Empire also known as Abyssinia, spanned a geographical area covered by present-day Eritrea and the northern half of Ethiopia. It existed from approximately 1137 until 1975 when the monarchy was overthrown in a coup d'état.
This necklace was made with a vintage coptic cross - being a heretic/infidel type who would once have been burned at the stake for her beliefs has not made me shy away from beautiful objects, even if they have religious symbolism written into their DNA - and I truly believe that these crosses are the most beautiful I have seen in a long time. I wanted to make a necklace worthy of this pendant and I put together glass, shell, polymer clay, ceramic, haematite, rose quartz and jasper beads in four strands with a beautiful mother of pearl clasp - most definitely a statement necklace worthy of any Caprilicious woman.
Birds do it, Bees Do It......
I have a number of these beautifully crafted, handmade heart shaped lampwork beads which I plan to turn into pendants. I started with a design in the style of Nicole Hanna, and the design has become embellished and ornamented more and more with each time I have remade it. This time I used bare copper wire to bind tarnish-free enamelled copper, so that when I antiqued the pendant in a chemical bath, the bare copper wire turned black and showed the weave up to it's best effect. I also added a wire coil in tarnish -free silver plate, which I wound around with bare copper - this too turned dark in the chemicals and when polished with steel wool, the whole thing had a contrasting effect that pleased me greatly.
Clarice - another bracelet
Last weekend, I sliced the remaining pieces of the leaf cane I had made, cured the leaves and varnished them to a high shine. I had about 14 'leaves' by the time I was done making holes in them with my Dremel, so I decided to make a little bracelet with a few of them in a free form wire style.
I made wire leaves for the back as the polymer clay leaves might be too fragile to withstand repeated injury and the effect is delicate and pretty.
I received a substantial slice of labradorite in the post, all the way from Rajasthan. It is at least 3.5" x 2.5" and at first look, I was so disappointed with it. It was only when I took it into the sunlight and moved it about and the labradorescence shined through that I was happy - no wonder the Inuits thought that the Northern Lights were imprisoned in this stone. It reminds me of the silks in India when two different colours are used in the warp and the weft and one can only see the colours with movement.
That's all I had time for this week for folks. The sunshine, the garden, the day job and the cats have kept me so busy (although not necessarily in that order) that I have had very little time to play. We have been going out at night picking off slugs and snails with a torch, guarding my Hostas zealously and I have been rewarded by pristine, un-nibbled edges on the lovely leaves.
What are you doing this summer, do tell - whatever it is, I wish you all a great time. Catch 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, thanks for joining me. Finally the frantic preparations for the big day are at an end - every last parcel wrapped, every last one mailed out. Thank goodness for that!
Now I can look forward to my Christmas meal - we're having roast beef this year with all the trimmings, especially as I'm not working this year - if Mike ever get's over the man-flu he's had for over a week. The sighs and groans emanating from his corner of the room have been getting louder and more piteous all week and he must have developed bruises on his chest from all the thumping he's been giving it. 'My chest, my chest' he moans while I steadily go about my business, handing him pills and potions as I keep a wall eye on him and I carry right on with whatever I am doing.
Another one of the pendants from Afghanistan went into this necklace along with handmade polymer clay beads. The beads were made a while ago and it was about time I put them to good use. I saw a picture of a tribal necklace worn with a mini dress and boots and it struck me that there are no boundaries any more - only those we apply in our own minds. 'East is East.....' and all that jazz is just that.... a whole load of Jazz!!
Although you might not want to wear a piece of jewellery that jingles to work - teamed with leggings and a T shirt, a loose cardigan and slouchy boots, Boho tribal jewellery is an excellent choice for a casual evening or lunch with friends down the pub.
Last week I made earrings with the offcuts from a polymer clay cane I constructed, attaching them to a wire framework. With a few more offcuts left in my stash, I made a wire torque to match.
I enjoy the versatility of polymer clay and that through this medium, I am making jewellery that is definitely one of a kind - even I cannot make another - similar, perhaps, but never the same. Making a lot of the components myself gives me a lot of pleasure - it is great fun to string beads and make a piece of jewellery, that is all about style, and the ability to put colours and shapes together- however, it is so much more satisfying when you have made the beads yourself, in the colours you want, and the clasp, and perhaps even the pendant! Flower Festival was an absolute pleasure to make.
Now that all the presents have been handed in, I can show you what I made for my juniors - Pixie People necklaces. I give them something I made each year - it seems so much more personal than handing out smellies or chocolate - unfortunately the men on my list got chocolate, I haven't got around to making man jewellery - yet.
These cuties were made with little polymer clay elements I made a while ago - they seemed to fit together. In shades of froggy green, the little shield shape seemed to be sitting under a floral umbrella - I am quite taken by these earrings, they are certainly unusual.
The postman delivered a hank of coloured freshwater pearls - and I just had to make this necklace with every colour in the package. They looked so perfect, all twisted into a hank of multi colored beads and I didn't have the heart to separate them when they were playing together so nicely. There were seven colours of teardrop shaped pearls, but the seven strands looked extremely bulky at the back of the neck. Replaced with a string of colourful agate beads, the necklace was less bulky and sat comfortably around the neck.
Well, here we are, the weekend before Christmas. Have a fabulous Christmas with your families and I'll catch you next week. I hope Santa brings you all you wished for - provided you have been good - I of course have been an awful good girl and I'm expecting to be rewarded amply for that!
Catch you next week, same time, same place,
Hello readers, here's this weeks bulletin from Caprilicious for lovers of statement jewellery everywhere. Twelve shopping days left to Christmas - I love the festive cheer in the shops. Mike and I don't celebrate a religious festival, but the homemade (no, not by me) mince pies are safely in the freezer waiting patiently for Christmas dinner. I've just braved the cold wind and rain and brought in some ivy to replenish our wreath for the front door and Mike's on starters orders to fetch the rest of decorations in from the garden shed this weekend.
For those of you who don't like the crowds in the shops, you have time till the 20th of December to shop online - Caprilicious will post your parcel to the recipient of your choice with a Christmas card from you. If the recipient will feed me a mince pie and Mike a carrot, we will even drop down their chimney with their present on Christmas Eve.
Let me do the packing and posting for you while you put your feet up with a glass of mulled wine. Here are the Christmas dates from the Post Office for inland mail in the UK:-
Thursday 18 December 2nd Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
I had time to make a necklace and a pair of earrings with Indonesian Jewellery beetles wings. The necklace is very simple, and the colours in the wings are so gorgeous that the set was snapped up straight away. I happen to have another length of chain left as well as the earring findings, so I thought I might try and make up another set - I adore that colour.
The WIngs of Love
The most written about asp was the one that Cleopatra used to commit suicide - she clasped it to her bosom when she thought she had been deserted by Marc Anthony - she chose this method because its bite was said to cause sleep and a feeling of heaviness without pain, and because the asp could be smuggled into her chambers easily in a basket of fruit.
This necklace is made of 3 lengths of wire, with a fourth, fine wire used to weave them together. A few crystals later and Hey Presto! Alakazam! - an asp snaking around your neck.
My neighbour gave me a broken string of pearls to repair for her - I was required to knot them to match a second string in the necklace. I sent away for some silk for it, the remnants from which I used in these delightful pieces. I got an opportunity to use some very pretty clasps in my stash and I really enjoyed making them.
These are my favourite statement pieces - because they pose a conundrum at the very end - how to finish them neatly and professionally. Each one of these throws up it's own particular challenge. These silk used in these necklaces allows them to drape well around the neck.
These necklaces can be worn in many ways, depending on where the clasp is positioned.
Peaches and Caramel
Pretty peach pearls and toffee coloured carnelian nuggets held by a hand carved rose made of black lip shell.
These rose quartz teardrops are extra special because they are translucent, and the clasp is also pink quartz - the focal agate is in a luscious shade of raspberry.
To my tiny mind, this is what the surface of the moon looks like - I love the Mabe pearl in the clasp - a blister pearl with part of the nacre from the freshwater mussel in which it was cultured - seriously stunning.
By the time I finished these, I could knot a necklace with my eyes shut.
A beautiful solar quartz cabochon was set in a wire and seed bead surround in a necklace of opalite - three lampwork flower beads strewn around the necklace and a dragonfly clasp placed eccentrically turned it into a party - the lampwork flowers are rustic and remind me of the little blue flowers that grow in the sand on beaches everywhere - that is why this particular soirée had to be located at the seaside.
Last week I made a flower cane - I cut the ends off, but was loath to throw them into the 'scrap pile'. I sliced them further, cured, sanded and buffed them, and inspired by an Italian who has a website she calls Alkhymaeia, I made a couple of earrings using wire and slices of flower cane. You have to agree that I was right not to throw these bits of clay away.
That's me for this week folks, have a fabulous weekend and I will catch you next week, same time, same place
I'm Neena Shilvock, and I'm crazily addicted to jewellery. I've been designing and making quirky and interesting statement necklaces for the last five years and my passion hasn't cooled off one little bit - in fact it has got worse, such that I'm even dreaming jewellery.
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I would love to hear from you - please leave a comment on the blog or send an email to jewellerybycaprilicious(at)gmail.com
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