Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello everyone - and what a nice week we have had - the sun has been out most days, and at last, I have put away those winter boots and brought out sandals and colourful shoes to match the uplift in mood a bit of sunshine brings.
I set to thinking of colour combinations and I remembered the times I went saree shopping with my mother as a teenager. Shopping in the Western world was a major culture shock when I first arrived in the UK over twenty years ago, but equally, now, buying anything in India seems like a crazy endeavour.
We used to go into a shop we favoured, and tell the shop assistant the colours we had in mind, and a price range. There was the consideration of what colour the body of the saree should be, and then the weighty matter of the border - should it contrast, or not, etc.
We could say to the salesman - we want a blue saree, shot with green, with a maroon border, and gold checks, in a particular price range - and miraculously a dozen or so of them in different shades and combinations of the colours specified would appear for our delectation. We'd then settle down with a cold drink, while he and his assistant opened them up like carpet salesmen in Istanbul, and spread them out on the counter before us.
We'd put aside about three or four in a shortlist, and then pick a couple to buy. My mum was a busy doctor, so we just went into the one shop, and I knew I had to make up my mind pretty quickly or she might be called away, and I would end up with nothing. I know people who went into shop after shop and repeated this mind blowing exercise - and then probably went back and bought the first one they liked! Mike gets the benefit of this early training, as my shopping is all done really quickly, and he doesn't have to hang around for ages while I make up my mind.
As each saree is five and half metres long, folded into a rectangle about 12" x 18" for storage, and has to be opened up completely to display it properly, it must take ages to clear up after a customer ( and I now feel guilty for messing up the sweater display in Debenhams!!).
The collage of pictures shows the organised chaos that is a saree shopping expedition - Mike feels quite weak and exhausted when he goes shopping in India - he wants to buy everything, because he feels so sorry for the sales people, who see one coming a mile away, and sniff the scent of an easy sale.
I made a couple of necklaces, to be ready for the jewellery party my friend is throwing for Caprilicious - I used the smaller leaf skeletons in my collection, and the smallest beads I could find in my stash. I tried to keep the design simple, but, because my design ethic is asymmetrical colour, something makes me add a surprise element, spoiling the original quest for 'sweet and simple' - but that's Caprilicious for you, and I cannot apologise for that.
I took these pictures in Norway - the contrast in the textures, and the bright oranges/ yellows against the steely greys and blues of the background struck me as particularly vivid - labradorite! I thought, in a rare light bulb moment. I love labradorite for its seemingly dull exterior, until it catches the light - and flash! comes the shot of Schiller or rainbow effect - it is such a deceptive gem stone.
I live in a house that tends to eat my stuff - and then it miraculously reappears. This butterfly reappeared in my stash, and I could see why I bought it - the colours are so lovely and soothing. Teamed with the blues and greens of aquamarine, emerald and aventurine, the butterfly seemed to be skimming over a garden.
Turquoise blue South Sea shell pearls, freshwater pearls, interspersed with carnelian beads, and a little maple leaf skeleton went into this necklace. A couple of crackle quartz beads and a Czech Picasso bead formed the contrast, giving it that carnival feel you get from listening to the style of Afro-Caribbean music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago during the early to mid 20th century. Calypso evolved into a way of spreading news around Trinidad. Politicians, journalists and public figures often debated the content of each song, and many islanders considered these songs the most reliable news source. "Rum and Coca-Cola" by the Andrews Sisters, a cover version of a Lord Invader song, became an American hit despite the song being a very critical commentary on the explosion of prostitution, inflation and other negative influences accompanying the American military bases in Trinidad at the time. Calypso articulated itself as a form of protest against the authoritarian colonial culture which existed at the time.
And at this point - wham! I fell over at work and tore something in my left foot. A deadly combination of new shoes, and a shiny floor had me go a**e over tip and I spent time in A&E getting an X-Ray, and was sent home on crutches. Not being able to walk for a couple of days meant that I was unable to get from bead stash to workroom, to oven - so, I gave up, and lay around feeling and being useless. On the bright side was the fact that there was nothing broken, so I can now hobble around and have a few little items more for the jewellery party next weekend.
I made some Chinese knots - each one is made with 14" of a single length of wire, and then embellished with fine wire and beads. Two pendants and a pair of earrings emerged from the enforced sitting around - the black and silver is a pretty combination.
This strand of Kyanite languished in my stash - I needed some inspiration to brighten it - the steely blue - grey can be a bit depressing. The clasp arrived in the mail, and hey! Presto - with the addition of plump blue quartz, I arrived at this necklace that can be worn in so many different ways, just by moving the clasp around.
That's this week wrapped up folks, thanks for stopping by. 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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