Welcome, readers, to the Friday Caprilicious Blog, where I diarise my romance with statement jewellery. To me, it is not enough to make jewellery - that would make me merely a technician - I want to design, make as many of the components as I can myself, weave a story around the finished piece, and produce a degree of romance, which engulfs the wearer of jewellery by Caprilicious. I know that some people conceptualise their jewellery and send their drawings away to artisans to have them made up - but oh no, that's not for me, I like to do all the making myself.
Romance is at the essence of every piece of my jewellery, be it from me falling in love with the stone or beads, and telling you a tale to make you love it enough to want it, or even each time you pick it up out of the box with a smile on your face and wear it to embellish your beautiful self.
Rose tinted spectacles?? Yes, my muse has them on this week - I have been reading By Grand Central Station I sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart - I read a review on the dust jacket that said the book was like Madame Bovary on speed - I felt like I was walking through a thick fog, my feet mired in the swampy syrup of love - this is not me at my most pragmatic, normal self, and I am sure the effects will wear off by next week. Why was I reading the book?? I've no idea, it just seemed like a good idea at the time.
But, while I felt this way, my muse has been infected by the virus of romance and these are the results ..................
"Kashmiri Song" is a song by Amy Woodforde-Finden based on a poem by Laurence Hope.
Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar,
and it ends, all romantically morbid, and lovesick ( I assume this chap is still talking to the 'Pale Hands')..........................
I would have rather felt you round my throat,
This was a poem/song written in 1901, and you can just imagine the gentleman pining for his lover, who by all accounts seems to be a bit of a goer - leading men down 'Raptures roadway' before discarding them and moving on quickly to her next victim. This necklace, named after the Shalimar gardens, built in Kashmir by the Mughal emperor Jehangir for his wife Nur Jahan, was made for such a mood - romantic and seductive, worn at night to bring a glow to the complexion.
The mother of pearl pendants and little amethyst nuggets complement each other and convey romantic wistfulness to the observer.
For some reason, my muse has decided to go festive this week - perhaps she senses the 'C' word - yes, there are only 103 days left........bring on party time!! Opalite beads glowing gently are teamed up with clear crystal, coated with an Aurora Borealis sheen to make another pretty and romantic necklace.
I recently picked up some beautiful agate cabochons - the depth of colour in these stones is amazing - they are a deep purple, with veins of orange and blue, and I fell in love with them instantly. I wrapped each one in miles of copper wire, two of them went on organza ribbons, and the other two into necklaces. Although all four of the stones are cut from the same rock, I gave each of them their own treatment, taking into consideration their shapes and the pattern on their faces. Handmade lampwork beads in a deep shade of crimson complemented the colour of the stones.
At this point, I decided that I had had an overdose of romance - so I put my foot down with a firm hand and gently led my muse away, before she made a complete fool of herself, the soppy thing!
My little kittens are very keen to help in my jewellery making - they especially love wire, and their teeth are so sharp, I could probably use them as wire snips if I ever ran out, provided I could train the cats to cut the wire where I needed them to. They also have a very short attention span and fall asleep on my bead tray while I am working, so it is a wonder that I have actually produced anything at all.
The Promise of Autumn
The lampwork beads in this pendant are handmade and came from a stall at the Newmarket Bead fair - I went there last year with my friend BN and found these really pretty handmade beads. The beads are in a pretty green, with a stripe of red/orange and yellow running through the centre. The design is by Nicole Hanna and meant for earrings, but I felt that the piece was too heavy for earrings so converted it into a pendant.
Heavy Earrings and how to Wear Them
This is for people who feel they cannot wear earrings because their earlobes are too fragile, or torn from many years of ear lobe abuse - yes, there are many of us around, missing out on the old danglers - well, now, here's help - there is a product called Lobe Repair - a tiny skin coloured adhesive patch you put on the back of the ear lobe and pierce with the stalk of your earrings or ear wires. I have tried it and it does work, provided you do not wear the earrings for too long - just enough to party for a few hours, perhaps. They aren't very expensive and are invisible, if anyone wants to give them a go. I have ordered some and if anyone wants a few to try, do let me know.
This is along the same principles as the Indian chains used to hold a heavy earring up into the hair or even around the ear. These perform a dual function in being ornamental as well as suspensory, but obviously cannot be used with contemporary styles or ear wires.
So, there you are, Cinderella shall go to the ball in her beautiful danglers!
That's all I have for you this week, catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello good people, here's your weekly dose of statement jewellery from Caprilicious. Once I have posted this, I am off to Hamburg, to visit with a friend and have a few days away by the Baltic in her lovely bungalow by the sea - not that I'm rushing or anything, just saying.....
My muse capriliciously tripped along from one style of jewellery to another, seemingly without a cohesive thought in her head, and I followed, led by the nose - I just do as I am bid and see what transpires (hubby often wonders why I won't follow him in quite the same way).............................
I blame my mother for my lacemania.
She was/is a true lacemaniac, and in my childhood dressed my sister and me in imports from around the globe - she turned up her nose at what was produced in India. Every outfit we had was edged with a hint of lace (imports were expensive, thankfully), and that has left it's mark on us - both of us drool over lace when we see it, but today I would combine it with other elements to detract from the 'girly' effect. Chunky jewellery, leather waistcoats, boho bracelets, trilby hats, slouchy boots, 50's sunnies (not all at the same time, admittedly - the gangsta rap look doesn't suit me either) - these are what I wear 'for badness', a word learned from Gabrielle, an old Irish friend!
I learned this style of wire work from an Indonesian friend - in her country these wire medallions are made into brooches to pin back their headscarves and it takes hours to painstakingly coil fine wire around a thicker wire, and then curve and coil the thicker wire into shape, embellishing it with beads as one goes along, without the use of any tools other than a pair of wire snips - but the final effect is so pretty, it is most definitely a labour of love.
Chantilly lace has been made since the 16th century - handmade in France and Belgium and worn by fashionable ladies in Europe and America - and much loved by brides even today.
If my mother could have laid her hands on Chantilly lace when we were growing up, who knows what damage she would have inflicted on our psyches - todays little hints of 'badness' would have become a deluge, to counteract the Little Miss Muffet-ness of my childhood - Phew!
Whilst I love the colour that polymer clay and beads have brought into my life, it is no secret that wire is my first love.
I make this pendant time and time again - inspired by the work of Nicole Hanna , and I love it. It's asymmetry draws me to this design. The markings on the matte blue agate complement the wire work.
And as I went about my business, pottering about the house and going back and forth to work, my muse caught sight of a polymer clay faux bone medallion I made earlier, meaning to eventually turn it into a tribal piece - she decided the medallion had waited long enough and clicked her fingers -lo and behold, Zanzibar came into being!
A silk, vaguely Chinese looking silk choker was unearthed, my stash raided for colourful wooden beads and Cowrie shells, and they were all put together using waxed linen.
I think the necklace is fun and can be easily worn in summer with T shirts and linens, as well as in winter over jumpers.
I have always wanted to go to Zanzibar which is an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, once a Portuguese and then a British protectorate, a Spice Island that sounds warm and exotic - one day perhaps.
Just now, I shall have to make do with the necklace.
The Sarayu is a river that runs through the north of India and is a tributary of the Ganges. The turquoise beads in this necklace carrying the conch shell pendant, and the flow of the necklace, reminded me of a river - I used the 'stare hard at it and call it the first name that jumps into your head' technique. This technique works well when I like a piece of jewellery - Bang, a name jumps up and bites me on the nose - if, however, I don't feel any rapport with it, I could go cross eyed and anoxic from holding my breath and concentrating hard with no results. Needless to say, such pieces end up on the scrap heap.
The pendant is a black and gold disc from Indonesia - one I made earlier was red, black and gold and equally beautiful.
Earlier on in the year I made a pair of earrings I called The Bollywood Barbie Earrings - what I imagined Barbie would wear if she went to Bollywood. In the process of researching this for my blog, I came across Rachel Chitra's blog - she had written a post about the scarcity of dolls in India. We had quite a few virtual conversations, and I thought no more of it. Rachel is an Indian journalist and blogger and sent me this link today - she very kindly wrote a little blog post about Caprilicious Jewellery.
That's me done before my little mini break in Hohwacht. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same place same time
P.S - I know more of you read me than you let on - go on, put your heads above the parapet and leave me a comment, show me some love darnit, I deserve it - wouldn't you agree?? - the app might ask for your email id, but don't be frightened - it is just to make sure you are human and not a robot selling snake oil from Outer Mongolia
This lovely piano solo by Kevin Kerr expresses the emotions I have tried to capture in this necklace. To me summertime is all about butterflies and dragonflies, mellow sunlight, tinkling music and flowers - I don't think about the slugs and snails and weeds and rain that are such a nuisance - I must be a romantic at heart, although I would deny it hotly, if someone said that about me.
Happy Friday, readers and thanks for joining me today. This week, I've written two posts - the last one about Statement Jewellery, posted on Wednesday will be a guest post on a friend's blog later on in the year - but you caught sight of it first, right here. I didn't want to add this weeks pieces of jewellery to the guest post and decided to write a separate one instead.
My muse see sawed wildly this week from the conventional and pretty, to the wild and crazy. I kick started the weekend by making wire and resin dragonflies. The problem with this was that each coating of resin took at least a couple of days to set - this gave my mischievous muse time to draw my attention to all sorts of other ideas - I was a bit overloaded on the ideas front and my mind was spinning out of control!
And while I waited for the resin to set, off Ms Muse trotted dragging me in her wake, this time in the direction of Cubism and Pablo Picasso. A few lessons ( quite a few, actually - because I cannot draw) off the internet in drawing a face from two different perspectives and I set about making this piece, which in the end was made into a brooch by the addition of a pin.
It was an awful, grey and rainy weekend, which might have sparked the need for bright colour.
I love it, but I do feel the need to offer apologies to Pablo.
In my defence, it is more difficult than one would think, especially for someone who cannot draw in one perspective, let alone two at the same time! - try it and see how you go - and then, once it has been drawn, to successfully convert it to a polymer clay piece - eeps! not sure I'll be doing this again any time soon.
This is a gift for a very wacky and fun friend of mine - we are to visit her in Hamburg soon, I hope she will love it as much as I do.
And the dragonflies showed no sign of being ready yet, so on we went, my muse and I, plodding on with another piece.
Images from the Subconscious - Mind Games!
While I was researching the making of the 'Picasso' pin, I looked at a whole load of stuff on the internet that set my mind a buzzing - among others, the art of Romero Britto, and the South American god of Fertility - the Kokopelli - colourful images that seemed to stay with me in my dreams. No wonder then, that my next piece was shaped by them.
This is Kokopelli, a Native American fertility deity. He is usually depicted as a hump backed and feathered flute player, and he takes care of both the harvest and fertility - which in the end mean one and the same!
I was looking for a colourful piece to replicate in Polymer clay, but passed him up in favour of the cubist face - another time perhaps, I thought.............
And the dragonflies were still wet........sigh! Oh well!
Conus snails are venomous though beautiful and are the species of snail whose shells are seen in most collections.The species most dangerous to humans are the larger ones which prey on small bottom-dwelling fish; the smaller species mostly hunt and eat marine worms. They have a venom gland and a hollow tooth like a harpoon or proboscis through which they inject and paralyse their prey before eating it.
This pendant came from Indonesia and is set with cross sections of conus shells in coloured resin, and I added faceted onyx, and pyrite nuggets which gleam in the light - they aren't called 'Fools Gold' for nothing!
'Zehr' is the Arabic word for poison - although Zehra means beautiful! Either way, I think the name fits this pendant - would you agree??
This peacock feather pendant came from Indonesia as well - I was quite taken with the way the edges of the feather had been beaded like a Rastafarian's dreads - hard work, and done so neatly - I have a great deal of admiration for the artist who made it. It can't be fun to play with feathers and glue and beads - just imagine the mess at the end of it.
Together with a string of freshwater pearls and a couple of enamelled Indian beads, bought during my last trip home, a simple, but elegant necklace was born.
Of course the word Mayuri really means a peahen and is a misnomer - the poor peahen hasn't been born with the elegance of the male bird - but hey, let's not quibble, eh!
At last, finally, the dragonflies were ready to be used - and about time too!!
The Dance of The Dragonfly
I think it was worth the wait, don't you?? As a bonus, I have a few leftover dragon flies, which will eventually work their way into other pieces, later on.
That's a wrap for this week folks, I'll catch you again next week, same time, same place. Have a lovely week
Hello, and thanks for stopping by. Let's start with some music while you read on ................
This is Kevin, my latest model.
I bought her on ebay - she is a polystyrene dress form on a pedestal. In this picture, she has just been given a decoupaging (is there such a word?? - Francophiles are wincing at my poor usage of the language).
Why Kevin?? Well, it may sound silly to have an obviously female model with a male name - but I recently read an article about gender and sex (in my other avatar as gynaecologist) - and suddenly it felt necessary to give my model a gender inappropriate name. In the famous words of Simone de Beauvoir, “Women are not born, they are made.” At the end of the day, the making of a man or a woman is a never-ending process that begins well before birth. And the ritual announcement at birth that it is in fact one or the other instantly transforms an “it” into a “he” or a “she” assigning it to a lifetime as a male or as a female.
This attribution is made public and lasting through the event of naming. Mike said, why not Mabel, or Lucy - but Kevin she was named and Kevin she shall remain!
This is what Kevin was like when she first arrived and I decided to make her a bit more interesting to look at.
Decoupage was what I decided on - it has been a long time since I played with paper, glue and scissors, and a long weekend at the Bank Holiday seemed to be the best time for it. I researched it thoroughly on the internet - there is a lot of information out there, but it seemed that a lot of it was incomplete - so, I took photographs as I went along - perhaps decoupage virgins like me might be pleased with the info in my little mini tutorial.
Amit was made from a little Balinese hand carved bone Ganesh. Last week, I made Mushika and his Master, and the Ganesh in that pendant was in profile - when I was looking at images of these, I couldn't choose between the two, so bought both. In Sanskrit Amit means 'Boundless, Limitless or Infinite'. It is one of the 108 names of Hindu God Ganesh - although how one manages to have 108 names (and why one needs that many??) without a severe crisis of identity simply beats me.
These beautiful pendants from Afghanistan came to me in the post - I loved them so much, I set about making new beads to go with them straight away. It would be easy enough to just string them with beads from my hoard, but I just love the thought of hand made rustic looking beads that bring a sort of magic to a piece of jewellery.
The weekend was spent pottering away at my craft table, conjuring up some pretty beads, polishing them and getting them prepared for stringing. Here they are in the oven, curing. My poor oven hasn't seem too much food in it since I started making stuff with polymer clay. It is used on a weekly basis, almost exclusively for crafting purposes, unless Mike bungs a cottage pie in it on the odd occasion. Since we are always on a diet and our house is an almost carbohydrate free zone except for high days and holidays, polymer clay is king in our oven!
And here they are - pendants and handmade beads put together into new, one of a kind necklaces..................
The word "Arya" itself is a Sanskrit and Avestan/Old Persian word that means "noble". I strung this one with seed beads wound with wire, adding old coins studded with red glass.
The word Karishma means a 'miracle' or someone saved from an inevitable doom. This necklace has my own colourful polymer clay beads - I added little bead caps of red and blue to go with the pendant.
I seem to want to make flowers all the time - perhaps it is that time of year! These beads are flower shaped discs stacked one on top of the other, with some faux ostrich beads to provide contrast. I used every piece of leftover clay on my table, so there is a multi colour feel to this necklace, and the beads seem to be happy to be together, in spite of their disparate origins. Kareena is a name that can mean 'Flower', or 'Innocence' and I thought it would go well with this necklace. Readers who are into Bollywood will know that Karishma and Kareena are sisters from a famous Bollywood dynasty - India does seem to go with the dynastic concept and the cult of personality, right from politics, down to Bollywood.
I do love the peacock - you cannot ask for better colours that nature put into that beautiful bird, and I always have one or two pieces of 'peacock' jewellery on my books. I started this pendant a few weeks ago, and added to it bit by bit until I was ready for a reveal. I added a handmade necklace so that it would hang just the way I wanted - given my penchant for asymmetry.
The little teardrop shaped blue agate druzy glints in the light, but unfortunately, I am unable to capture that in a photograph.
That's it for this week folks, catch you next week. I have plans to use my kiln this weekend as I am on call and it promises to be dull and pi**ing down with rain. Hopefully it is better for you, wherever you are.
See you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers, thanks for dropping by. We've had some wonderful weather in the UK and the garden is coming along nicely, although it is way away from being at top dead centre. I have been out and about with my camera, recording what is for us, spring in full cry.
This is my neighbours Laburnum tree - it is beautiful in spring, and then fades away into obscurity for the rest of the year - but isn't it just so beautiful??
My muse decided that I would go back to my roots this week. The first piece I felt compelled to make was with the last of my Nepalese pendants - that reminds me, I really ought to go and hunt down some more.
I found the pendant in my hoard, and teamed its coral and turquoise inlay with bronze shell pearls, blue dyed jade and red agate - the birth of Zeenat, which means decoration, or adornment in Arabic.
Mushika and his Master
Ganesh, the Elephant God has the head of an elephant and the body of a man. The story my grandmother told me about this was that one day Ganesh's mom was bathing and she had asked him to mind the door against intruders. Halfway through her bath, his dad wanted to come indoors, and was refused entry by the lad - his insolence irritated his dad ( who was well known to have anger management issues) so much, that he cut off his head in a fit of pique ( he did much worse things when he was really riled! although in the picture he looks like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth). There were no social services in those days, unfortunately or dad would have been in BIG TROUBLE.
Mom then gets out of the bath, humming to herself, and is horrified when she sees what has happened to her darling, obedient son - she threatens dad with murder and mayhem, and following a ding-dong row, he agrees to put things right and is issued with a high decibel deadline .....'or else'.... - he sends someone out for a new head - the half blind idiot who went looking (the calibre of servants was shocking in those days) brought back an elephant's head - the deadline was upon him and dad thought he'd just stick the head on and hope for the best, maybe even hide mom's glasses so she couldn't see too well........and the rest is history! Ganesh is known to love his food - well, you would comfort eat too if you were a cute little boy one day and this happened to you - and besides, he is half elephant, and everyone knows elephant's eat a lot (that's his excuse and he's sticking to it).
As for Mushika, he was once a beautiful and vain celestial being, who got on the wrong side of a sage and was turned into a mouse for his pains! He made such a nuisance of himself with his bad behaviour (everyone knows that mice are ill mannered), that eventually Ganesh caught him and decided to sit on him much like other children ride on their dogs. Poor Mushika was in deadly danger of being squashed to death by this portly elephant/child, and begged him to loose some weight - but we all know how hard that is, so by a sleight of hand, the elephant god made himself lighter (wish I knew how to do that) whenever he rode the mouse, and they lived together happily ever after.
I managed to run through approximately 2 Kilos of wire and had to send off for new supplies - this is in addition to the fine weaving wire, and the silver wire I have used over the last year and a half.
I brought this piece of glass back from Murano - it looks like someone has dropped a pebble into a body of water and made a SPLASH! Embellished with miles of wire, it makes a beautiful pendant.
I am now officially the jewellery designer for Look in the Bag's new collection of silk scarves. They are a small company, founded by a graphic designer and her husband. She draws and paints the designs and then transforms them magically into silk scarves - well it is magical to me, because I have no idea how it is done - probably child's play to her! They market the scarves, each with it's own little bag and a piece of jewellery to match, on their website - I have bought some as gifts myself, and am proud to be associated with the brand. Andrew, has some fantastic tales to tell about the 'models' who wear their scarves ( He's definitely a budding novelist), and Neelam designs the scarves and draws all the illustrations - I just love the whimsical way they present their wares.
Here they are, worn by Neelam's models - my photographs are from the ones I sent out for approval as I went along making the collection to her specifications.
I made them up one design after another earlier on in the year, with Neelam abroad having the scarves made up to her satisfaction. I must acknowledge 2good claymates for the fabulous tutorial they posted on their website, from which I took some of my ideas for the scarf jewellery.
The photographs of the prototypes went back and forth, till we agreed on the design, and I made the requisite number up for her. Each time I made one of the pieces, I fell in love with the scarf and decided that I was going to have to buy it - until the next one! Fickle, huh??
That's it for this week - hope you've enjoyed the read - have a good week, and see you next week, same time, same place
When I first started to make jewellery, I was given a piece of advice which has stayed with me - a pretty clasp lifts a simple necklace to greater heights, like nothing else can. Since then, I have been a clasp junkie, spending prodigious amounts of money on store bought clasps. When I had the exhibition over in India, I watched ladies walking around the room, and to a (wo) man they all noticed the clasps. In fact, one woman chased me around the room asking me where I had got them from, and would I please sell her some, forgetting that this was an exhibition of jewellery, not jewellery findings, and that I was highly unlikely to be carrying extra clasps in my suitcases!
My love affair with the clasp has continued to the extent that I am now making clasps for myself, in an effort to make them one of a kind and different from the ones that other jewellery makers use. Tutorials from the likes of Nicole Hanna and inspiration from Sharon Solly have helped, as well as a book by Denise Peck in my latest endeavour. I sent a sample to my friend BN, and she used the clasp in ten different ways and sent me photographs to show me what she had done with it - she still hasn't told me which one of the ways was her final choice for the necklace she made!
Ten Ways to Use a Clasp, by BN
I also made some faux lamp work glass toggle clasps out of polymer clay and wire using a tutorial written by Amber of Caterpillar Arts and inspiration from work by Sharon Solly - these are colourful and playful and I will need to find the right beads for them.
Another toggle clasp inspired by Nicole Hanna was used in a necklace made of wood grain jasper and gold coloured crystals - I tried to break up the browny - golds of the necklace with blue crystal beads and dichroic glass.
Dryads are tree nymphs in Greek mythology, each one looking after a particular tree in the woods, punishing thoughtless mortals who injure their trees.
This necklace was named after the beautiful mystical, serene, angelic face in this pendant. The Archangel Ariel, predominantly in Hebrew writings, is thought to be the angel of nature - had she been Greek, she would probably have been closely related to a Dryad, as she too guards nature and trees and punishes humans who harm them.
The quartz needle points in the necklace have been heat treated and coated with titanium and gold vapour, and teamed with green crackle quartz.
I made the wire accent beads myself out of yards and yards of fine wire wrapped over a frame.
It was a beautiful weekend, the sun was shining, the peonies were out and we went to the pub for Sunday lunch. These hollow faux ebony and ivory focal beads in my hoard were just right to wear with white linen summer clothes - I strung them on waxed linen cord, with bone beads and cowrie shells - summer necklaces for the boho chick!
Spirals are a compelling shape and have universal appeal - I'm not sure why this is, perhaps because they are the most natural shape seen by our eyes and enter the subconscious right from the very beginning. The spiral shows up often in nature - in the pattern of seeds in a seedhead, in the growing tips of ferns, in the pattern that leaves grow on a stem, in the shape of a nautilus shell, and imprints itself deep into the subconscious mind, so that when seen again the shape is familiar and pleasing to the eye.
I too love spiral patterns, and made these faux bone hollow beads with spirals of bright coloured 'zippers' wound around them. Teamed with faux ostrich egg beads and a large chunk of sponge coral, they make a light but chunky necklace - another one to go with the summer linen outfits.
I found these two shell pendants in a most unlikely place in the house - I think my house elf got fed up of hiding them from me and tossed them out for me to find - I quickly turned them into pieces of jewellery, before he pinched them again. I asked my Facebook fans to help name the one and Minerva's Prize was the name bestowed on it. I called the second one the Whirly Shell Pendant. With both, I have echoed the pattern and shapes in the shells with the wire.
I hope you've enjoyed looking at this weeks 'makes' - catch you next week, same time, same place - have a fabulous week
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
Hello readers, and thanks for dropping by the Caprilicious Blog. I hope you have all had a good week - we have rising temperatures here in the UK, and this has naturally turned our thoughts to the summer that is so tantalisingly near, but yet,..............
But first, I took on a couple of challenges this week - I do so love a good challenge. To my mind, it sets the creative juices flowing, and focuses ones mind on a task, rather than thoughts aimlessly milling around like a swarm of ants.
I spotted the first challenge on Facebook - it was a 'finish this' challenge by Nicole Hanna - she published half a tutorial for a piece of wire-work jewellery, and the competition was open to anyone who cared to join - I saw the notice only two days before the competition ended, so I set to work almost immediately. I'm aiming for the completed tutorial that she is offering to all the participants, that's prize enough for me.
The Unfinished Symphony
We were given a recipe for the ingredients, and weren't allowed to make more than one substitution, or add any others. The results will be shown in an album on Flickr, and when I have the whole tutorial, I will make the pendant accordingly and am most interested to see how different it will be from mine.
I played with clay all last weekend, and made up a bunch of scarf jewellery for my friends from Look in the Bag. Once I had finished, my workspace looked like a bomb had gone off over it and I despaired of ever tidying it. I find it hard to work in a messy environment, and when I saw the next challenge, it inspired me to try and clear my table of all the stuff I had on it.
"Clean-up, Fix-up" your workspace BLOG HOP
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson of Sharyl's Jewelry and Reflections challenged us to clear up our workspace and blog about it. She has a long list of participants from all around the world - jewellery making, chronic untidiness and the internet, have brought us together. If you clink on the link above, you will find the list of the other participants in this challenge.
Well, I have two workspaces - one for the weekends, when I have time to play with clay, and another where I sit of an evening, in front of the telly with Mike, and the beads and wirework come out to play. There is a third, in the conservatory where I have my kiln and enamels, but as it isn't very active, there isn't much point talking about it for now, although I hope this will change fairly soon.
I had just finished making the multi strand necklace with beads, and wire and polymer clay pieces you will find below, and my stuff was all over the place. I keep a limited amount of beads and some findings right by my chair, in boxes on the floor, being too lazy to get up and walk to my storage area each time I need something. Unfortunately, I do not have a 'before' picture to show you, just the 'after' one - you can see the boxes balanced precariously on each other, but all the beads went back into their respective boxes without too much trouble, and the wire was coaxed into going back onto the shelf, so the area looks relatively tidy - and that's the best I could do! As you can see, the pliers refused to move and stayed sat on one of the last naughty spools of wire in a sulk - they should have gone onto the plier holders on the top shelf - I left the refuseniks be, as I didn't have any energy left after that monumental effort.
This is the room where I play with clay - it is only tiny, and I have a trestle table to work on, a trolley with paints and stuff on it, a computer table with the buffer, all jostling for space with a filing cabinet, a cupboard that holds our coats and outdoor wear, another cupboard meant for cleaning implements which I share with my cleaning lady ( and am sneakily encroaching on when she isn't looking, shelf by shelf ), a wall that is lined with books, and shelves that hold photography equipment - a lot to fit into that tiny space. I consider it nothing short of a miracle that I can see the white ceramic tile I use as my work surface.
I took all the clay off the table and put it back into boxes under the table, all my implements were wiped down with wet wipes, and stashed in their mugs and glasses - all the mugs that get chipped in our house find their way to my work space - they know I'll give them a good home in my efforts to stay organised. A set of library steps have been encroached on - I use any flat surface to hold something temporarily - and that quickly becomes a permanent fixture, but as these steps are my husband's pride and joy, I daren't do that for longer than a day or I will find all my stuff unceremoniously dumped on my table when he goes in to look for a book!
Anyway, this is as tidy as it gets - but very far from being all shipshape and Bristol fashion. I have to tell you that before I went all 'crafty' the room was a third bedroom, converted into a sort of library for all the books Mike and I own. I used to play with clay in the kitchen, but that meant I had to clear up my clutter every evening, and projects had to be finished or binned at the end of the day - we all know, that doesn't work one little teeny weeny bit!
I made this polymer clay veneer for another project, but then ended up using it to make a few small pendants instead. I used one of these pendants in a bohemian necklace in bright colours - just right for the summer ahead. The inspiration was beach jewellery from Thailand - usually made with macrame, but I decided to use the look, and recreate it in my own way.
There were a pair of earrings to match, and I think this necklace will look great with summer whites. I used polymer clay beads, wire, African trade beads, which my sister in law kindly found for me when she was on a safari holiday, and I had a ball putting this piece together.
That's it for this week folks, cleaning up after myself has exhausted me and I need to lie down with a cold compress on my head, catch you next week, same time, same place - have a lovely weekend
The oldest child always has it bad - conformity, and the setting of a good example are phrases one hears ad nauseum. So I conformed, people, I did as I was bade, until I was sick to the back teeth - but yet, somehow, I didn't fit in - wherever I went and no matter what I did, I couldn't put my finger on it, but I just didn't fit the mold. Of course, I soon tired of the quest to conform - I do what I do, in my own way - take it or leave it - I guess that's what's called growing into your own skin - or even growing up!
The magic of making my own jewellery has allowed me to be non conformist in glorious technicolour - now, my quest is to find other people, who like me have gone with the flow in their murky past, but are ready to shake their bootees and sing! C'mon out people, wherever you are................. let's have some fun!
One of my role models is a woman called Kat O'Sullivan - she makes and markets upcycled sweaters - they are snapped up within minutes of being posted on ETSY, and I am the lucky owner of a couple of them. She owns a house called Calico, otherwise known as 'The House That Sweaters Built'. She is most definitely a non-conformist par excellence. She is only a young thing, and I admire her self assurance and insouciance.
The Grow Your Blog Party Giveaway
Jennifer LaVite wins Jungle Drums - a bangle, earrings and pendant set. I hope she reads this and contacts me with her address so I can send it on to her.
I bought these beautiful hollow beads from a shop that sells Moroccan artefacts. The first piece I made was with rough cut black tourmaline nuggets fuchsia pearls and agate beads, and I called it Some Like It Hot. My friend Sheela picked it up while helping to arrange the display for my exhibition. 'Just to save you from finding somewhere to display it' is how she put it - not that space was at a premium, but we didn't argue the point too strenuously. She wore it to the exhibition, 'as a walking advertisement' she said - and then halfway through the day, she found other things she liked, and changed into them instead.
Now that the first bead had found a home, I decided to use a second one from my stash - but this time make it as different as possible from the first. It is always a temptation to make the same thing over and over again - but, that is laziness, and no longer a 'one-of-a-kind' endeavour. I have two more beads, and will endeavour to make each necklace as different from the last one as possible - a challenge! - I love challenges!!
Here's Sheela looking very pleased with herself for snafu-ing Some Like it Hot, and beside it is Mountain Mist, the second necklace I made using the Moroccan bead.
I made this necklace using some of my collection of 'vaseline glass' beads. The colours are very soothing - the pale blues and greens in the original African vaseline trade beads came from uranium mixed in with the glass - these beads of course are contemporary, and thankfully they have no uranium content - you will not glow in the dark!
The Kiss of the Dragon
An ox - bone carved Chinese dragon was the focal point for this piece. Embellished with antiqued copper wire and red howlite beads, it was ready to be hung on a necklace, which I made using fire agate - it seemed appropriate to have a dragon on a fire agate necklace.
I spent a pleasurable weekend, wallowing in clay making scarf jewellery for my friends at Look in the Bag. It has been fun translating my friends ideas into my work - a learning experience for me as I usually make my jewellery to my own specifications. It is nice to have a focus, while I am having fun creating something pretty.
Before I go, let me share this with you - a friend of mine who couldn't come to the show sent a couple of her friends instead - this is what her friend had to say about Caprilicious - I was deeply touched.
That's all I have had time for folks, have a great week, and I will catch you next week, same time, same place
I have recently begun to scour blogs with tips about photography in the time when I am not working or making jewellery, and found a blog post called " Thirteen Things Your Camera Wishes You Knew" and found out that apparently, I have let my inner chimp roam free - I will have to talk sternly to myself from now on!
I have spent a lot of time wishing I knew more about my camera, sometimes getting a bit annoyed with it because it seems so complicated - I never thought how I might be offending it by my ineptitude.
"Photographers call it “chimping” when someone looks at every shot on the LCD after it is taken. The name comes from people looking at the camera and repeatedly saying “oooh” like a chimpanzee."
This photograph is from Zambio.
This is a limited edition archival print by Kalyani Ganapathy, an extremely talented painter from my home town, Bangalore. Her paintings are filled with whimsy, and they speak to my funny bone - she says, sometimes my work reminds her of her own - obviously a kindred spirit thang going on here! I am the proud possessor of one of her original paintings.
I thought about what happens when gossip becomes vicious, and how rumours are born - and my next piece was conceived right there. I made some triangular flat bangles from polymer clay and added bits of coloured spots in different shapes and sizes on one side, spilling over and through the centre, turning into a completely different coloured spots on the other side - this is how Chinese Whispers work - they are converted into quite something else by the time they spread far and wide - the dark side of a good gossip.
I like the idea of quirky jewellery which is contemporary at the same time - something that makes you smile while making you look good, don't you??
We went to the German Christmas Market in Birmingham over the weekend - unfortunately, there wasn't a single thing that was German in it! Even the sausages were Lincolnshire and Cumberland - the burgers were made from kangaroo, ostrich, reindeer and Aberdeen Angus meat - not really known for hailing from Germany - the whole thing defied the Trade Descriptions Act! But I took some pictures - and here are some for you to look through.....
Meet Coral, the Goth - she is actually a pharmacist who has a degree in Infectious diseases and comes from Mauritius - I saw her in an otherwise empty Jazz club, and was blown away by her pizzazz - I overcame my natural reticence and went in to chat to her - she most obligingly posed for me - and once again, with her friend when they came out of the club. Isn't she fabulous?? - she says she doesn't feel the cold!!
This flower blooms obligingly in the dead of winter, through the snow and frost, and comes back faithfully every year - it grows in shade, so I grow it under my evergreen trees in the shade of my garden fence and I can see it from my bedroom - it is probably the only colour in the garden in winter.
The Saga of the Caprilicious Rose Giveaway
I pulled out some polymer clay and made a bunch of pretty roses in the orange, yellow and red combination on the Caprilicious logo - and then I thought, wouldn't it be nice to give them away as a birthday gift from Caprilicious - so that's what I did - a bit ( a lot) of confusion ensued from this one single light bulb moment - I didn't realise how hard it was to give things away.
I did say at the start that people would have to pay for the postage - just the jewellery was free. One of the ladies took exception to having to pay for postage - and then it ensued that she thought I was asking for payment for the pendant - too late, I had offered it to someone else by then.
Paypal began to play me up and charged people double the amount, so I had to cancel and resend the invoices, one person asked for earrings after they had all gone - but as she is a bit of a favourite, I will make more for her.
I posted news of the giveaway on the jewellery forum I belong to on Facebook, thinking to give something back to the ladies who offer constructive criticism, and stroke and soothe the old ego (stroking is always welcome) when I post my pictures on the forum, but the administrators deleted the post - no giveaways allowed! - PHEW! - it began to look like the proverbial badly organised p**s up in a brewery!
Anyway, all but one lot have been posted out now - I worried that they might be too fragile to go in the post, so had to put in a load of wadding - which in turn made the postage costs go up - remind me please, not to do this again - or to do it with more robust, easily posted items - I ought to think things through rather than acting on a light bulb moment!!
Made of the Mist
Silvery quartz points were interspersed with Czech glass teardrops that seem to glow in the light. One of the points was wrapped with enamelled copper wire and Japanese rectangular glass beads and used as a pendant - I think the silver of the quartz resembles the gray mist - there's something mystical and magical about them - it was as if sorceress had imprisoned the mist and hung it around my neck. The necklace is both delicate and substantial at the same time and deserves a good home...... any takers??
That's all I had time for this week folks. Have a good one, 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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