I hope you have all had a good week - I had the week off from work and decided to use it productively - was meant to drive to Shrewsbury, an hour away, to take an enamelling class, but snow and ice precluded that enterprise, and we had to reschedule. So I was forced to stay at home, and play on my own with my baubles and beads, and my computer.
I entered Ariel onto a colour palette design challenge and bloghop hosted by Bonnie Coursolle of Jasper's Gems from Ontario, Canada. http://www.jasper-moon.ca/JaspersGemsBlog.htm
She posted three colour palettes, and Ariel was made in the colours of the first one she gave the participants to work with. It is nice sometimes to accept a challenge and work within its confines - it gives the mind a focus.
Just after I posted last week, I found out that I had won a £10 voucher from a trade magazine called Beads and Beyond - I had submitted a picture well before Christmas 2012 to their inbox, and quite forgot about it - in fact, I had to ask members of a jewellery forum if it was true that the picture had been published when I got the email that I had won the voucher, I thought it might be some sort of pre April fool prank. One of the ladies sent me this picture - I should really go out and buy the magazine now.
I entered Glacial Fantasy in a 'Jewellery Design Star' competition on Artbeads.com - this is a company in the USA that sells jewellery making supplies. I don't usually have time to hunt down competitions, and enter my jewellery, so it was nice to be able to do it this week.
I sent Pearl Blay, the author of The Beading Gem's Journal a picture of Glacial Fantasy. She writes a daily blog http://www.beadinggem.com/ where she posts
'the best Free Jewelry Tutorials Tips,Trends & More'. I have been following this blog since the day I started to make jewellery, and have learned a lot from her writings. Her blog lands in my inbox with a 'ping' every afternoon - she is in Canada-her advice is sound, and she has an archive of tutorials on almost everything to do with handmade jewellery making. I have approached her twice in the past, and only got as far as being allowed to submit a picture of one of my necklaces to her 'Readers Gallery of Inspirational Designs', but Glacial Fantasy piqued her interest and she wants to do a feature on Caprilicious Jewellery sometime in April. She contacted Manish, who took the picture of the glacier in Ladakh, and will put his picture on the blog as well. It is a big deal for Caprilicious, as her blog is extremely zealously curated, and I am suitably thrilled and grateful to Pearl. I will keep you posted when the feature comes out - it is fabulous to have one's work recognised by one's peers, especially someone who has been there, done that and seen it all.
I had a vague idea of what I wanted to make, so I made these little pieces - I embellished black clay with real gold leaf from Thailand, and made a few faux bone elements. I wasn't sure how I was going to connect them, till I remembered a roll of hemp tucked away at the back of my supplies cupboard. While I pondered this weighty question, I was thankful that there wasn't much clearing up to do - this was a clean technique and my table didn't look like a bombsite at the end of it.
I watched a late night movie, with subtitles, from Senegal - I watched the griot sing his soulful song - the Mandinkas pass on their history from generation to generation through songs sung by griots, accompanied by a kora-a stringed instrument. The marabout (and the protagonist visited quite a few in this movie to help restore his potency) was laden with bones and cowrie shells, and all I could think about was how this scene could be incorporated into a piece of jewellery. I think this necklace was conceived that night - there has to be some benefit to being an insomniac .
Cowrie shells were used as currency in Africa . Their symbolic qualities and beliefs led to them becoming a popular and valued object of currency for hundreds of years. During early colonial times, many Africans preferred being paid with cowrie shells over gold coins- which was a surprise (and an unexpected windfall) to the first Europeans who went to trade in Africa.
Cowrie shells are also tagged with a mystical quality, and have played a role in West African fortune telling, and are an integral part of music and indigenous instruments, as well as gambling games. They are also used as fertility symbols and brides wear them in a waist belt. One of these found its way into my hands, but it was all broken and tattered, so I rescued the cowrie shells from it - reuse and recycle - that's my motto!
I was trying to replicate the mood of the music, and the picture above in my photograph. I was clearly underemployed this week, so I played with my little camera - I lit a joss stick and tried to take a picture inside my light box, with the smoke wafting over the necklace - but I soon found out that this was easier said than done - smoke just doesn't do as it is told - I discarded a whole bunch of pictures - thank goodness for modern technology - imagine how expensive all this would have been if I had to develop all those pictures to find one that I liked!
My most recently ordered leaf skeleton pendants arrived, and I wasted no time putting the aspen leaf into a necklace of lemon quartz and pyrite. The pale gold of the quartz contrasts with the dark gold of the pyrite - Lemon quartz is so pretty, it reminds me of the weak first rays of the sun, the first thing in the morning - a wistful light, yet so beautiful. My husband liked it so much, he even wore it for a couple of minutes - yes, I got a picture, but I am not allowed to post it ( thank goodness, you say?? - you are absolutely right).
I was asked to make some earrings to go with Glacial Fantasy - I decided to have another look at Manish's pictures from Ladakh for inspiration - I found a couple that set me thinking of icicles, and I made these for the ladies who had commissioned necklaces from me.
Zahra - the Luminous one
The pearls I chose for this necklace, brought the word 'luminous' to mind - when I looked for a translation in Arabic/Persian, this flowery language came up with 'Zahra'.
We have some large holly bushes in front of the house, and I boiled up some leaves - I thought that their skeletons would be an interesting shape - but in the end, it was all 'Bubble. bubble, toil and trouble' for no reward - man, those holly leaves sure are tough! Eventually I gave up, and when I rang the lady who electroplates the leaves for me, she said she had the same problem, so she just electroplated the entire leaf as it was. I cheated, and bought this pendant from her - I was fed up with the whole holly debacle by then.
Being used to the delicate skeletons I am now accustomed to, I was a bit surprised by how substantial the holly leaf was, but in the end, I think it came good and I love the way it turned out.
I ended the week with a birthday, my colleagues from work threw a surprise lunch party for me, and some of them even wore their necklaces from Caprilicious, as did I. It was a lovely thought, and a really nice afternoon - thank you to all the ladies who turned up and made me feel special.
And, that was the week that was! Catch you next week, same time, same place, take care and have a great Easter break
Smile - easier said than done today - I should have been wishing my brother a Happy Birthday - Oh well, one foot in front of the other, I plod on, as one does.
The Scapular Bangles
The faux bone was made using instruction from Lynda Moseley of Diva Design ( http://www.etsy.com/shop/SCDiva )and the bangles themselves from an idea taken from a tutorial on Vicky Turner's blog post Claymagination
( http://claymagination.blogspot.co.uk) - a big thank you goes out to both these artists. I imagined a camel fair, with the traders wearing these made out of camel bone in the middle of the desert. I have been a bit heavy handed with the distressing, but, if these bangles were worn in that particular situation, surely they would look as ancient and distressed as these. The secret to being able to make them so thin ( they are only 2 mm thick) and yet, durable, is to reinforce them with a piece of card between layers. I was amazed at how easy this was to do, and how much fun.
I sourced the beautiful quartz needles in my next piece all the way from Russia - they come from a mine just outside St Petersburg. They have been treated to a titanium vapour coating which makes them iridescent in beautiful shades of blue, violet and gold. I could not wait to use them and made this necklace immediately - I did not have to do anything to embellish the beauty of the stones - just hang them on a beading wire with violet tear drop shaped beads as spacers - the teardrop shape helps the quartz to spread out more easily. I did hoard a couple of them - one perfect crystal for a 'point' pendant, and two little ones for earrings - I just couldn't bear to part with them all at once.
From Russia With Love
I was asked to turn the beads on the left into a statement necklace reminiscent of this glacier in Ladakh on the right.
The stones are Blue Ice Quartz, and I have seen them on many occasions all strung in a row in a choker. I bought some blue agate geodes, and each of these has beautiful markings - shards of white surrounded by blue.
The picture of the glacier in Ladakh was taken by Manish Lakhani - visit his pictures on Flickr for more pictures of this desolate, but beautiful place at .
and his blog on
This is what I came up with - Glacial Fantasy.
After I finished that, in my spare time, and just for a laugh, I took a tutorial on making faux jade from Lynda Moseley and tried it out, made a faux bone scapular necklace, and attended a Webinar on jewellery making tools from CraftCast- sound busy, don't I - I forgot to mention that I had a few days off from work - had some annual leave owing to me, and decided to take it, and use the time productively. Here are some pictures of the faux jade and bone. Buffy truly came into his own, shining the pieces I made so that they didn't look so 'faux' any more. Anyway, all this activity kept me out of mischief, and Mike was content to let me play while he pottered around. Our dishwasher was on the blink, and it took 3 days to find the parts to repair it - I refuse to wash dishes by hand, so I lived on protein bars -until it was repaired - no cooking was done!
You must wonder why I keep raving on about 'Buffy' - have a look at this picture of faux black jade I made, courtesy of instruction from Lynda Moseley, and you will see why.
It takes literally two minutes to get that perfect sheen if Buffy cooperates and doesn't go flinging them around the room ( actually that's my fault for presenting them to him wrong, but I won't admit that). I made a couple of pairs of earrings with my faux black jade pieces, here they are -
I loved the faux bone bangles so much, I decided to make a torque necklace using the same technique. However, torques need a space in the back for the neck to go through, and I wasn't too sure the piece would be flexible enough. I made it anyway, and held my breath till it was all finished, and Buffy had had his wicked way with it, and then - it worked, wow! I love it. It sits like a Masai necklace, or a ruff - the flanges are not shaped to the neck, but it is light, only 5 mm thick, strong and flexible - the engineering works well. Now I need a really adventurous woman to want to try it out - do you know any?? - send them my way please.
Oh, and I was very pleased with myself - I made a signature stamp - C J , for Caprilicious Jewellery and there it is on the back of the necklace - the cat's whiskers - that's what I felt like when I had stamped my first piece - I have arrived!
That's a wrap for this week, folks, thanks for stopping by. Catch you next week, same time, same place,
My poor (much) better half has been reduced to scrabbling around in skips on behalf of Caprilicious. I charged him with finding a box to house Buffy so that I could take him off the shelf where he currently lived - I watched a video by Melanie Muir which showed how a casing could be made for a buffer out of a cardboard box, which collected all the fine dust, and caught the beads if they flew out of your hands. This is what Mike found for me, along with a second hand computer desk on wheels, to put it on. Buffy is quite happy in his new home, and easily accessible - I had a lot of trouble trying to reach into the shelf where he lived earlier on and almost put my back out . I was so happy, I spent the weekend playing with clay, and shone everything to a glassy finish - including the stuff that could have done with being a bit rough and ready. There is room for a dust mask on top of the box, so I can avoid breathing in particles of clay, and a towel can be attached to the back of the box, to catch the beads when they get flung away from me - Buffy has a short temper - all I need to do is glance at him wrong, he grabs stuff out of my hands and flings them as far away as he can - and sometimes right at me!
JuJu refers to talismans used in sorcery by Shamans - I had this design in my mind's eye, inspired by a picture from Africa Adorned, and made some faux bone talismans - the real ones have 'eyes' carved into them to protect against the evil eye, and I reproduced these talismans as faithfully as possible. I then strung thirteen strands of seed beads - I am told they have to be an odd number, and hung the talismans on them with individual seed bead bails. I wore it to work, and had quite a few compliments from people in my clinic - something tells me that this necklace wont last too long on my shelf.
I made this necklace with tiny faceted apatite, which is an icy blue, flat rondelles of flashy labradorite, and the tiniest of seed pearls. It was a bit difficult to make as the holes in the beads and in the leaf are tiny - I had to wear magnifying loupes to find them - and even so, the beading wire wouldn't fit through some of them. I wanted to come out of my comfort zone and make something sweet and simple - I seem to make bold and bright quite easily - this was a challenge to make, and I hope you like it. I decorated the leaf - I think it is an aspen leaf - with tiny apatite beads which look like raindrops, and to add a bit of movement - there has to be movement in any necklace from Caprilicious - I wired a tiny pressed glass Czech leaf to one side, satisfying my requirement of asymmetry. The necklace is very pretty, and a complete departure from usual, yet retaining the design elements I am so fond of.
An Orisha (also spelled Orisa or Orixa) is a spirit or deity that reflects one of the manifestations of God in the Yoruba spiritual or religious system. Wikipedia
I made some large hollow beads from polymer clay to resemble spindle whorls from Mali - spindle whorls were used to spin thread, and were made of clay and stone. I strung them with blue dyed howlite and a hollow gold coloured polymer clay bead. The necklace is very light - this has to do with these beads being hollow - it always surprises me how much a small amount of clay weighs when strung around the neck. The clay beads were constructed to be very light weight, in muted tones so this necklace is not as colourful as some of my regular offerings, nevertheless, it is pretty - dif'rent strokes for dif'rent folks.
I made a few more pieces with faux ivory and mounted them on colourful pendants, using embedded wire as both bail and decoration, using an idea from a tutorial by Barbara McGuire. The pendants are show pieces in themselves, so I hung them simply on black organza ribbon, rather than add any further embellishments. One of them has a 'signature' in Chinese lettering - this idea was born after I read that there was a large Chinese presence in Africa from the 18th century onwards - they were brought in as indentured labour by Europeans, and their descendants still live on in Africa to this day. One of juniors at work tells me they are so well integrated that they speak the language, and join in African society - however, whether they inter-marry is another question. The green of the pendant reminded me of jade, so prized by Chinese people everywhere.
That's as much as I have had time for this week - thanks for stopping by and I hope you've enjoyed my ramblings. Till next week then, 'bye.....
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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