Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Seven Ways to Make a Statement
Hello readers - relax now, I'm not about to give you chapter and verse on fifty ways to wear your jewellery - I wouldn't want to bore you, and besides why go for fifty when just seven will do?? I'm often told 'Oh, you can carry it off, but it would look odd on me', so I thought I'd write a few pointers down if you want to give statement jewellery a go.......
OK, homily over now, let me tell you about the pieces I made last week.
Walk on the Wild Side
This necklace is in fabulously wild fuchsia pinks, bright greens and cobalt blue - the pendant is from Afghanistan inlaid with colourful glass, complemented by polymer clay beads - little wavy chips, and a couple of faux trade beads. This is just the kind of necklace that could be paired with jeans and a tee for an afternoon at the pub, and with your LBD and Louboutins at night - a go-anywhere necklace - well, perhaps not to an office - the bells on the chain fringe of the pendant might just put your work colleagues off a bit, although they would certainly see ( hear?? ) you coming!
Since the end of the Cold War and the toppling of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a chromium bearing diopside, (originally found in eastern Siberia, close to the diamond mines) has become available as an alternative to the much more expensive emerald. The green in this stone literally glows - however, in larger sizes the tone can be very dark. Careful cutting is required in the larger sizes to keep the angles slightly shallow to maintain the colour. In smaller sizes the color is exceptionally vivid and fresh.
I found an extremely contemporary pendant, set in silver, with chromium diopside, contrasted with mystic quartz, onyx and an agate druzy, and paired it with a string of fluorite. The greens in the fluorite beads were a bit too muted, so I added another string of acid yellow tinted, tiny seed pearls and onyx beads - this seemed to lift the colour value of the necklace, and set the beautiful green in the pendant off beautifully.
Now, this one will definitely go to the office with you, as well as on an evening out. Oh, and a White Russian is someone who comes from the area of Russia now known as Belarus, and also a cocktail made of vodka, coffee liqueur and cream, or a strain of marijuana!
Timbuktu is a town in Mali in West Africa - spindle whorls are African trade beads made predominantly in Mali.
Spindle whorls have been used worldwide for thousands of years, originally as tools in the cotton spinning industry to increase or maintain the speed of spin. In more recent years they have become much sought after as interesting beads and incorporated into the very fashionable genre of 'Tribal' jewellery.
The whorls were made from clay, amber, antler, bone, coral, glass, metal and wood. Local materials such as chalk, limestone, mudstone, and soapstone, have been used in those found in Mali and Guinea.
Used as weights for traditional cotton spinning, the whorls are fitted at the bottom of the spindle shafts, which are used as supported spindles to spin very fine threads. The bottom tip of the shaft rests in a small bowl placed in the weavers lap or on a table to one side.
As you can imagine, the clay/wood whorls are quite heavy and can be difficult to wear in a necklace. I designed mine out of polymer clay in three pieces, joined together to make a hollow, light bead. Strung on a handmade red and gold Kumihimo braid, they make a very effective, elegant and light daytime necklace. The beads, though light and hollow are robust and give the impression of being chunky and heavy, which is an integral part of the tribal look.
These red beads with a silver motif, made of polymer clay last weekend, and the blue chips will go into a necklace next week. Polymer clay is a very addictive medium, and I am increasingly seduced by it - I love the process of working out how something is made - the more complicated the better - there is so much fun to be had!
That's it for this week folks, 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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