Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello readers, good day to you. I had a fabulous couple of days off in Chester last week, and am now raring to go with the Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall. It would appear that there are quite a few stalls, and it ought to be fun. I've drafted in the help of a couple of ladies at the hospital one of whom has agreed to help me on the stall. The other had a bridal shop in town a couple of years ago and still has a lot of the fittings and furnishings and I'm hoping to scavenge some from her. Here's the blurb for the shopping village at the fair.
Chester is an ancient city, which still has the original Roman wall encircling it's centre. One of the entrances to the wall was right by our hotel, and we spent a half day walking around on it. As it was a lovely day, tourists and children were out in full force and we watched as a crocodile of little uns walked around on the 'Roman Tour' all dressed as centurions, complete with shields. There were also older kids in blazers and boaters, congregated around an old fashioned sweet shop that looked like they had strayed from a Harry Potter film set in Diagon Alley. The cathedral was beautiful, but they wouldn't allow too many pictures inside it as the choir was practising. We sat in the courtyard in dappled sunlight listening to the angelic voices of the choristers filtering out to us. Here are some pictures of Chester for you.
I hope my pictures made you want to go and visit Chester, I'd certainly reccommend it for a weekend out.
We got back and picked up the cat from the cattery where he had spent the night, no doubt cussing and swearing at his humans, who dared to go off and leave him in prison. And then almost seamlessly, I slipped back into beads and wire, happy as a pig in muck!
Nicole Hanna was running a 'Finish It' competition and I had only a couple of days to enter. As usual, she gave out part of a tutorial and the entrants had to finish it without changing more than one component. All the entrants received the whole tutorial for our pains and there is now a Pinterest page with all the entries. I already constantly challenge myself by remaining solder-free, torch-free and casting-free but it's nice to have a ready made challenge to help push the envelope of what's possible in wire jewellery by engineering, layering and weaving ever more complicated and intricate sculptural pieces, using fine-gauge wire for embroidering and beading my 'sculptures'.
One of the midwives at work had a donut that she wanted zhooshed up and I made a little bail like contraption for it in copper wire. I tend to prefer the non tarnished, shiny look. I know that loads of people like bare copper, and oxidise it with Liver of Sulphur and ammonia fumes and even boiled eggs to bring out the texture, but I'm quite happy with shiny - I wonder if it's a throwback to my youth where gold was the only thing I wore as my mother turned her nose up at base metals including silver.
An Oshun is a Yoruba Orisha of the sweet or fresh waters. She is widely loved, as she is known for healing the sick and bringing fertility and prosperity, watching over the poor and bringing them what they need. As Orisha of love, Oshun is represented as a beautiful, charming and coquettish young woman. In some tales she is said to be a mermaid, with a fish's tail. I made the pendant with an ancient block of faux ivory cane. It cracked beautifully over the core of the bead, and when antiqued, the pendant looked like authentic aged ivory.
I added some tassels to signify braided hair, and pulled together beads I had made earlier. I had red rugby ball shaped wooden beads that I'd embellished with strips of clay, gooseberry shaped polmer clay beads and wooden discs I bought in India. I'd been saving a pack of rustic ceramic beads I brought back when on holiday in Greece and I thought they went well with the beads in this necklace.
And then, spring sprang - the sun shone, the top came down in my little Miata, and the Snakeshead fritillaries and bluebells made an appearance. I began to imagine in pastels, pale pink or green floaty dresses, scarves, walking by the sea barefoot in the sand and a completely different vibe developed in the second half of the week. It's amazing how our outlook on life is governed by a tiny bit of sunshine, in the Northern Hemisphere. I dug out all the labradorite beads I had in my stash and put them together with a beautiful abalone clasp and large baroque pearls. I apologise for the photographs, but labradorite is very difficult to picturise, it flashes with movement, but the beautiful flashes of colour seem to hide when photographed.
I know that small business advisors say that one ought to develop a brand identity and make similar pieces, so that people know when they are looking at a piece of jewellery that it has been made by Caprilicious. I'd be bored to death with this strategy and so I'd like to think, would be my Caprilicious women. This is my particular design ethic - to make different styles of jewellery to suit the ever changing personalities and moods of a woman. The two designs from this week are poles apart, but I would wear both of them on different occasions, and be equally happy with them.
That's me for this week folks. Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, 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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