Hello folks, thanks for joining me once again. I do so enjoy this weekly chat I have with you, my invisible friends. It would be nice if you posted back at me occasionally - are you sure I can't persuade you to leave me a comment?? I read them all and respond, I promise. We are soon to go on a short break to the Cote d'Azure, so I'll be telling you all about that next time. It will be nice to get some R & R for a short while and we are looking forward to it - except WIlfred the cat, who will have to go to prison for the duration.
I was only sixteen when this song was all the rage, in the Indian equivalent of a sixth form, or pre university college. The songs of Abba always make me shudder slightly as they bring back memories of the late seventies when I was young, diffident, and in a co-ed environment for the first time.
The boys at the college were extremely gauche and unsure of their reception should they make a move on the girls. I know the same is true of teenage boys everywhere, but especially and markedly so at this place, where the boys were in a co - ed environment for the first time themselves, in a fairly repressive society where the segregation of the sexes is the norm.
I was in a group of three girls, and there was this lad who followed us around carrying a portable cassette player in bright red plastic playing 'Nina, Pretty Ballerina' on a loop. We didn't know his name and he was known to us as 'Red Cassette'.
Mind you, at the time, in common with most teenage girls, I was conscious of my weight and felt more like a galumphing elephant than a ballerina.
This lad got on the bus with us every evening and walked 5 paces behind me all the way from the bus stop like a good Indian wife, till I reached my mother's house and went in past the huge iron gates - there was never a word between us in two years and this went on for the whole time that I attended the college. Today, it makes me laugh, but then, at the age of sixteen, it was a bit scary, as I had no idea how this saga would end - as it happened it was a damp squib, but at the time it seemed a lot like harassment. In hindsight, I should have turned around and asked him what the hell he wanted and he'd have probably slunk off, but he could have just as easily got his friends to follow me around making my life hell for the duration, so I was probably wise to leave him alone to his madness.
I have a confession, this was originally two necklaces - one with a single strand of feathers and the second, with three strands of nugget beads and Nepalese spacers. I just felt they went together and Ummmed and Aaahed all evening - I went to bed and woke up ready to remake the necklace - I cut them up before I could change my mind. I find that it is often difficult to make the decision to undo my work at the end of an evening when I am tired. I spend time telling myself that it is fine, and that it will be OK - but 'OK' is not what I'm aiming for and I always end up redoing the piece. I ought to know better and not bother wasting time trying to talk myself out of it. I hope that when it finds it's forever home, the woman who wears it feels like a Dancing Queen.
I've been playing with folding metal, fire, soldering, and patinas with some degree of success. I forgot to neutralise the piece I had left in an acid bath and absent mindedly wiped it on a skirt I was wearing only to find later on in the day that the acid had burned a big hole in my skirt - a bit more respect for the acid pickle is warranted, I think.
And no, I didn't make the flowers, they were bought pre made and I practiced sweat soldering them onto the copper circles that I cut with another of my new tools - I love new tools!!
I received a copy of Bead and Jewellery magazine, vol 80 in the post with a tutorial I wrote in it. The beads I submitted will be back soon and I will have to make something interesting 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 readers, I hope you are well and looking forward to the onset of spring. Having spent the whole of February in warmer climes, my winter has been foreshortened and it is with delight that I find that the days are getting longer and it is no longer dark when I leave the hospital to drive back home.
When I got back home, the first thing I saw in the mountain of mail waiting for me was a copy of Bead and Jewellery magazine with a tutorial written by me in it. To my eternal surprise and possibly secret shame, I've turned into someone who loves flowers and makes them at every opportunity. I always associated a love of flowers with being rather girly and a bit soppy, neither adjective really being applicable to my persona. Who knew??
I took a short break from jewellery this week. Most of my time has been spent working at the day job and sleeping off the jet lag. However, since I've now come clean that I am a soppy girl at heart, I thought I'd show you some pictures I took in a wholesale flower market in Mysore, India.
This is the Dufferin Clock Tower, built in honour of the British Viceroy to India, Lord Dufferin who visited Mysore in 1886 at the invitation of the Maharaja. The clock tower stands in an open courtyard in front of the Devaraja market, which is a covered wholesale market for flowers and fruit.
My parents went to medical school in Mysore in the 50's. Whenever we visited Mysore as a young family, dad used to stop the car outside this market and nip out to buy my mother a jasmine flower garland to wear in her hair. I didn't really think anything of it then, but much later on realised that they were reliving the romance of their medical school years, when they were young and in love. Apparently dad used to buy her a foot long string of fragrant jasmine wrapped in a leaf to wear in her long black hair when he came a-courting. Not one to put her emotions on display, my mother used to unwrap the flowers and put them in her hair and say nothing, but I'll bet there was a lot said later on when we weren't around.
Devaraja Market was built over 100 years ago and is a wholesale market with rows of shops radiating from a central courtyard. The flowers there are sold by the bushel to make garlands for religious rituals, adornments for idols, and garlands at weddings for the bride and groom, who exchange them when they have tied the knot.
As I walked around the market, I realised that it services the 'religious industry', selling flower garlands and fruits and other items essential to the rituals practised in India.
When it is festival/ritual time, people buy flowers, fruit, joss sticks, camphor, dried coconut halves, banana leaves, coconuts, mango leaves, betel leaves and nuts as offerings to the Gods amongst other things (most of which are snaffled by the Brahmin priests who are brought in to intone the prayers deemed necessary for that particular festival - a kerching! bonanza time for them). The ladies buy new clothes, glass bangles to match, and flowers to wear in their hair.
All of these, apart from clothing are sold wholesale here. There isn't a long stemmed bloom in sight!
Here are some pictures for you to enjoy.
The main business takes place early in the morning - a siesta is essential by midday.
I hope you enjoyed my little wander around Devaraja Market. There was so much colour, and the flowers so fragrant, that I was overawed by the experience, and so were my friends Rekha and Arvind who only came along to humour me to begin with.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hello dear readers and lovers of statement jewellery, how are you all this fine Friday in January? I am in all of a tizz, picking out my best pieces and packing them carefully so that they arrive intact for the show - have I mentioned this show before?? I'm sure I have (once or twice - at least!), but just for good measure, I've included an invitation for people who might not have been paying attention, have had an outage of their internet facilities, been living in the Outer Hebrides, meditating on one foot in the Himalayas or simply not caught up with the blog these last few weeks.
I've talked to you before about my friend who makes the most exquisite bowls out of wood. Indeed, I have a couple of them for sale on this website, right here. He brought this beauty around to ask if I would be able to make a central insert using a polymer clay mosaic. He brought along a design for a yellow mosaic flower which I faithfully reproduced. It was sanded and buffed to within an inch of it's life and then handed over to be inserted into the bowl. When it was finally finished, he brought it to me to be photographed and here it is in all it's glory.
My contribution to this beautiful work of art is but paltry in contrast to all the woodwork, but Shekhar seemed to think it 'lifted' the piece - and who am I to argue with a free compliment?? He obviously liked the way it turned out as he has brought me another bowl, and this time, I am to have a free hand in the design of the central insert.
Bead and Jewellery Magazine Project
I woke up to this - I'd been waiting for ages for this announcement, and here it was - Bead and jewellery magazine No 68 will be on the stands on the 1st of February with my very first project published in it. On the basis of the job I did with writing this tutorial, the editor has agreed for me to contribute two more projects this year, one of which is already completed and sent in. I really enjoyed writing up the project and taking step by step photographs. I hope there is good feedback from the readers as I would love to do more of them.
These are the original beads I submitted and the necklace I made with them.
I played with beads and wire to make a few pairs of earrings - it didn't feel right to sit in front of the TV without a pair of pliers and a few beads in my hands, and herein lies the makings of an addiction.
I don't really need any more stuff to carry to the show, but I just can't seem to stop myself reaching for the wire and the beads.
These little bowls were made from a tutorial by Melanie West. I made them over a wet weekend in December, but they needed sanding and buffing to bring out the colours and shine on the outside. They are great fun to make, and just over 2.5" in diameter and about 2" in height. They will hold a couple of rings or a pair of earrings - I've actually got a sample piece which didn't quite turn out perfect, and I've been using it to hold tiny seed beads on a little tray in my lap.
The BLue Lotus
A pendant set of three chrysocolla stones has been sitting in my stash, reproaching me for not showing it any love for ages. I bought it waaay back, when I was commissioned to make a rainforest necklace by one of my customers - I bought three sets of multi stone pendants and used two of them in the necklaces above. It was great fun making dragonflies and ants and other little beetles which were supposed to look as if they were supping at a pool made of these stones in a clearing in the rainforest. Obviously there's only that many bugs one can make so the third set of stones got tucked away until their piteous wailing was heard even with the lid tightly shut. Out they came, but I was completely stumped for ideas. Not wanting to make yet another rainforest necklace, I was scratting around at the bottom of the barrel for ideas. When a piece of jewellery that is so evocative is conceived, it is difficult to move away from it and make something completely different. That probably explains why jewellery designers often make variations on the same theme over and over again in a series.
I decided I was going to try and make a peacock - much like an old favourite piece I made a couple of years ago, with the stones fanning out into the peacock's tail. By the time I finished, a couple of days later, I realised it would be impossible to balance the stones in such an awkward position, so after a hurried rebranding, we now have Blue Lotus! I enjoyed making this pendant - the original inspiration was a design by Lisa Barth, but I made the whole thing more difficult by weaving the frame for all three stones with the same length of wire - did I ever tell you that I love wire work? - I thought I might have let it slip once or twice!
The necklace arrived from a vendor in Tibet and I thought it was robust enough to carry and enhance the pendant.
I had been trying not to make any more jewellery before my trip to India, but unfortunately, I cannot sit still without a pair of pliers and a bit of wire in my hands, it seems almost criminal and a terrible waste of time - oh well, C'est la Vie! If something pretty comes from it, who am I to stop myself?
That's all I have for today folks, have a lovely week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place before I board the plane to India.
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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