Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
I woke up this morning with a start - 'where am I ?', was the first thought that popped into my head - of course a large black cat sitting on my head and purring loudly, clarified matters somewhat quickly. Having been rescued from the cattery last night Harold was going all out to impress on us what a lovely cat he is and why we shouldn't dream of ever leaving him again!
I feel like I've been in a tailspin over the last few days, fortunately I have the weekend off to recover before I have to go to work again.
Polydays 2013 - the Contemporary Coven
Organised by Allison Gallant, who was ably supported by her family, and once again held in the village hall in Toddington, Polydays 2013 was like a contemporary Italian coven - all of us bent over our pasta machines instead of cauldrons, casting spells on lumps of clay which magically turned into pieces of jewellery. I stayed with the 'Carlton Cottage Gang' in Broadway once again, and the other five ladies were as much fun as last year.
Our tutors were really cool too - Lindly Haunani, who is Hawaiian and Jana Roberts Benzon, a real boho chick from Salt Lake City. Unfortunately I missed the last day with Eva Haskova and Alison Gallant, but I had a short workshop in Paris to attend that day, and then a flight to Venice for a holiday - why did I cram all this into such a short space of time?? - ask me again - the answer is that nothing seems to happen, and when it does, it all comes together at the same time! - I'm sorry if this reads like I am a jet setter - am nothing of the kind, usually.
This year it seemed to be all about textile techniques translated into polymer clay - an Ikat cane technique and a Bargello cane - this was originally a needlepoint and quilting stitch - I could never have figured these out for myself - in fact I cannot quite believe I made stuff using these techniques.
I Don't Believe It!
And then, Jana taught us how to make a Bargello cane and I made the pendant you see in this picture - I am still rubbing my eyes with disbelief! This weekend, I shall make some more stuff using this technique, just to prove to myself that I wasn't dreaming.
Too soon, it was time to drive back home, pick up the second suitcase I had packed earlier, and fly out to Venice, via Paris.
Planes, Trains, Automobiles .... and Buses and Boats!
Venice is beautiful - decaying, distressed, but somehow, miraculously still standing. A lot of the city is empty and derelict, some of the houses and hotels can only be reached by boat and have huge stone doorsteps that hold the tide back.
We went to several bead shops, and in one, I found a gentleman who collects old trade beads - when he saw how excited I was, he let me wear one of his precious chevron bead necklaces and even took a photograph of me in it for his records - I don't think he's seen too many Asian women get so excited about his collection- it was so heavy, my neck hurt when i took it off!
The glass in Murano is exquisite - but expensive! - and having been treated to a demonstration of how it is made I can understand why. Unfortunately cheap Chinese imports are everywhere, even in Venice, and the art is dying out.
We took the obligatory gondola ride, had coffee at Cafe Florian in St Mark's Square and paid six euros each extra on the bill just to listen to their music (shocking I know, but a once in a lifetime experience), and drank Bellinis at Harry's Bar. We needed a few more days to see all the sights, but saw quite a lot of the place, having taken a couple of all day walking tours - any more and we would have ended up completely bankrupt - Venice, we soon found, is one of the most expensive cities in the world.
I dragged Mike out to Burano on the vaporetti - he grumbled a bit, but the colours on that little island soon changed his tune - we just loved the quaint little place. We got chatting to a resident - he didn't seem too thrilled with his life - once the tourists disappeared of an evening, he said, there was nothing to do on the island - oh well, I suppose you can't have everything!
Once we had been to colourful Burano, the beauty of Venice seemed even more drab in comparison. We had to look for colour in the local markets, in the fruit and vegetable stalls - but we could find nothing to rival the colours of Burano.
Time to pack for home soon arrived - and our wallets heaved a sigh of relief - as did our clothes which were fitting a bit too snugly for comfort after all those gelatos, pizzas and pasta!
I'm going to finish some of the projects I started at Polydays this weekend, and get ready to go to work next week, hopefully having lost the weight I put on whilst on holiday.
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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