Yes, I know, that's a strange title for a jewellery blog - but have a look at the picture below and tell me if they don't look like rainbow coloured slugs and snails!
Slugs on my work surface
Snails in my oven!
One of the ladies from Jane's Armchair Raiders (a jewellery maker's forum I belong to on Facebook) liked my squiggle bead necklace so much, she had me make her some beads - a compliment, indeed! So, it would appear that someone is soon to be the proud owner of another Rainbow squiggle bead necklace/parure - can't wait to see what she makes with them. She has a very neat and tidy approach to her jewellery, and a finish that is second to none. I will definitely be looking out for this necklace on her page 'MadeByAleks' on Facebook. Her jewellery style is very different to mine, and it will be interesting to see what two people make with the exact same beads.
This necklace is named for the Lapis Lazuli nuggets, as the word 'Nila' honours the Nile river in Egypt, and also means blue. The necklace has faceted nuggets of carnelian and lapis, and carries an electroplated maple leaf in an iridescent copper finish. I hung a swirl of wire in front of the leaf, with an onyx and a blue jade teardrop, to add colour and movement. The waxy carnelians are set off by the lapis to perfection - I like the colour combination very much - what do you think??
This lovely black jade pendant has two little boys on it - one of them is holding a ball and they look like the are having a fine old time. As the pendant is a rather dark shade of green, I brightened it by adding chunky pyrite nuggets, and pale green prehnite nuggets. I recently discovered prehnite, a beautiful pale green stone, which comes from India, China and Australia amongst other places where it is deposited in hemispherical masses and finger like projections. It is tinged with black, as if touched by a sooty finger, and is ever so pretty. A pyrite chunk dangling from the end of the pendant provides both movement and interest, and serves to further lighten the somber colour of the black jade.
I bought a couple of strings of howlite slab nuggets in a lovely bright spring fresh green. I broke the strings up, and over a year, have made a few very different pieces of jewellery with them. I made a pendant, and a cuff to match for my friend Sheela, and then a collar - Tinker Bell. With the left over nuggets, I made Atlantis - named for the lost island with the same name.
Atlantis (in Greek, Ἀτλαντὶς νῆσος, "island of Atlas") is a legendary island first mentioned in Plato's dialogues, written about 360 BC. According to Plato, Atlantis was a naval power lying "in front of the Pillars of Hercules" that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa in approximately 9600 BC. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune". Atlantis inspires today's literature, from science fiction to comic books to films. Its name has become a byword for any and all supposed advanced prehistoric lost civilizations.
The slab nuggets resemble nothing more than this fabled island which has inspired hopes for a Utopia. The addition of a polymer clay focal bead and some faux bone pipe beads broke up the line of the slab nuggets - I like asymmetry - but I'm sure you have noticed that by now!
I dug out some of the pictures I have of the other pieces I made out of these slab nuggets - some of them were taken before I learned how to use my little point and shoot camera, which makes me wince now to look at them! It just shows how far I have come, I suppose.
An old friend & co - conspirator who has accompanied me in a million kinds of mischief!
I think of all of them, I like Atlantis best - but then, I would say that, wouldn't I!
I plan to play with my kiln this weekend, and try to put the stuff I learned from Jules into action. A bit of enamelling, I think, is in order.
That ends this week's blog folks, catch you next week, same time, same place,
A display in Galeries Lafayette
Bonjour, mesdames et messieurs. We had a little break in France this week, the winter was so long and cold, we felt we deserved a short holiday. Just before I went, I managed to loose my car keys, a parcel I sent off to Abu Dhabi went astray, and I was really frazzled. Happily, the holiday went without any major mishap, apart from my suitcase going missing on the way back - fortunately it came in the next day, so that situation was saved by the skin of its teeth!
Mike and I have both spent time in Paris, many years ago, but it was our first time there together. We planned some alternative stuff - Giverny, the Monet's at the Musee de l'Orangerie, Versailles, the Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, a visit to The Georges V - I intend to stay there when we win the lottery one day, some jazz - stuff that we hadn't done in Paris the first time around.
The parcel to Abu Dhabi pained me most of all - it contained ten of my most beautiful pieces, and I found it difficult to accept that it was lost forever - eventually, I tracked it to a sorting office in Dubai, seventeen days after it had been posted, and felt much better for it. Until that happened, I just didn't feel like making anything to replace my beauties - it hurt to even look at the pictures - so this week, I sat still and held my breath, waiting for some news of it. And, as for the car keys - I have no idea where they could have got to - but they can't be far - I keep scrabbling around everywhere I go in the house, hoping they will be sitting quietly and waiting for me in the unlikeliest place, but no luck just yet.
I have some pictures from Paris, so I thought I'd share them with you this week, as I have been so unproductive jewellery wise.
Monet's waterlily garden
Monet's studio and storage area
I wore my necklace, and I think it looked fabulous - I felt very happy and summery, although there was still a bit of a nip in the air.
I loved those gardens, and we spent a whole day there, dodging the crowds and picnicking among the flowers. The water lily garden across the road from the house had no lilies yet, but it was so beautiful, one could see why he painted them is so many ways. There were frogs in the pond, as big as ducklings, making such a racket - we actually thought they were birds crowing/ cawing! We then went to the museum in Paris, the next day, to see the actual paintings and were wowed by the size of the canvases - and the simplicity of the brush strokes that gave off such luminosity.
Versailles was somewhere I had been before, but we wanted to walk through the Hall of Mirrors again - I can just imagine the courtiers dancing in that magnificent ball room - the gardens are a bit over manicured and grand for me - I am more of a cottage garden person.
We couldn't leave without a small wander around the regular sights of Paris, but didn't really want to overdo the touristy bits. I certainly didn't want to cover old ground - and besides, the shops beckoned!
Le Grand Magasins - or The Grand Shops are the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps on Avenue Hausmann - and that is where we went. The shops looked almost normal on the outside, belying what was hidden within. The beautiful Byzantine cupolas and wedding cake architecture simply took my breath away, I forgot to go shopping! We sat in a coffee shop in the G. Lafayette and ate macaroons and drank pots of weak tea - at 25 Euros a throw, that was the least damage we could inflict on our wallets. Mike was volubly berated for daring to speak English to the Maitre'd - and I sat, quiet as a mouse, not daring to say a word in my school girl French, while my poor husband was lambasted for being English - which he took in good part, actually - apparently, it is par for the course - the French and the English being old adversaries. I wanted to call the manager, but unfortunately, the one doing the berating was the manager! Mike, however, thought it was hugely funny, and at the end of their little interchange, one would have thought they were long lost friends.
No, we didn't go in - the clue is in the next picture!
The Cupola - G. Lafayette
The Macaroon Shop
Just take a look at the prices - for Russian Oligarchs!
Japanese tourists were being tethered by silken ropes into orderly queues, before they emptied the Chanel outlet of its contents - fortunately (for whom?), I couldn't get a look in - I refuse to stand in a queue to spend hard earned cash!
This is the courtyard at the Four Seasons Georges V - I just loved those orchids with their aerial roots, I gave up all pretense at being blasé and nonchalant and took a photograph like the tourist I was. I have wanted to go in there for the longest time, and we decided to do it on our last day - all dressed up, we got out of a taxi, and dodged a bunch of paparazzi who seemed to be hanging around waiting for celebrities - I saw one of them ask a mate if we ought to be recognised - sadly, (or fortunately) the answer was a shake of the head and a Gallic grimace - non! A pot of tea and a milkshake set us back forty Euros, but it was a lovely place to sit and watch the bourgeoisie strut their stuff in their designer gear. The ladies who lunch were lunching away, frazzled after the travails of queuing up to get into the Chanel shop - the footmen brought in little leather footstools for our handbags, our jackets were whisked away, and returned as if by magic, and the loos were perfumed as if no mortal being ever got on with their bodily functions in them.
We went to a fabulous open air jazz concert outside the Opera House - we danced and partied till 3am - it was a public holiday, celebrating the liberation of France in the Second World War.
I spotted this in a restaurant window in Montmartre - we went in for a meal - I wonder how much happiness we brought them - and which way we were headed when they were happiest - in or out of their establishment. They made the best crepes ever - I just loved the ones with a Nutella and banana filling - yummy. My sweet tooth was well satisfied!
My friend BN suggested that I should consider a section for the leaf skeletons as pendants, without any further embellishment, on leather thongs or organza ribbon. I received a consignment of them this week from the electroplating shop, and I set up a new page on the website for them - I intend to keep dipping into the stock, as and when I make my Leafy Glade pieces, but as I can make up the leaves pretty rapidly, with a turnaround time of 3 weeks, I decided to put them on the site for those who like their jewellery simple.
Royal Mail have been ever so helpful, and have helped me track my parcel all the way to Dubai - hopefully, it will now reach its destination. It is a very anxiety making time - between posting off the piece I have made so lovingly, and getting a response from the person who bought it - I almost hold my breath till they get to where they need to go, and the person says - 'I love it' - until then, the thought is never far from my mind - I hadn't realised before that I was such a worry wart, but I suppose it is the same for those of you who have had babies - you worry about them all the time, or so I am told (by my mother!).
Anyway, I can now go off and look for the final piece of the triumvirate of problems that have beset me - my car keys - and then, I have an idea for a necklace with carnelian and lapis lazuli nuggets and a copper maple leaf - but, first things first ............................fingers crossed for me eh, folks
Catch you later
I bought a couple of tutorials previously from Nicole Hanna, who is a young woman, (well, compared to me she is a littl'un - unfortunately, these days a lot of people fall into that category) who has got the 'wire world' weaving - one by one she has infected people with this bug, and I am a recent infectee (??). She is also incredibly generous, and set up a competition where she put out an unfinished tutorial on her blog, and the competitors had to finish the piece in whatever way they saw fit. I resisted the urge for the longest time, and finally, made a couple of three pieces which I submitted - not to win really, but just because I could! As I said, I am new to wire weaving, and I'm sure there are plenty of worthy people who will make the most beautiful stuff. Also, the half tutorial was a starting point, and I was kinda testing myself to see how many ways I could use it - I might just carry on, well after the competition is over.
It reminded me of the books I read as a child, where a tattered piece of a map has to be deciphered to claim a lost treasure, and hundreds of people are fighting over this torn and tattered, barely decipherable piece of paper in the hope of getting to the treasure first.
Named for the God of the Sea - this pendant has a rather masculine brown picture jasper bead, with beautiful splashes of red, and I added swirls of wire, and turquoise beads for femininity. Too much wire, woven too closely together, in my opinion detracts from the femininity of a piece - I like the embellishment of negative space, and although not a 'girly' person, and like my jewellery large, I tend to appease my feminine side more.
So, this pendant is meant to represent Neptune rising out of the waves - what do you think??
My second piece was called Through the Moon Gate - I saw them in China - they are circular openings in a garden wall that act as a pedestrian passageway, a traditional element in Chinese gardens. Moon Gates have many different spiritual meanings, depending on the tiles on the gate. The sloping roofs of the gate represent the half moon of the Chinese Summers and the tips of the tiles of the roof have talismans on the ends of them.
I put scroll like imaginary dragon heads on either end of the 'roof' - Chinese dragons are symbols of power, strength and good luck, and used by Emperors as the yang that complements the yin, which is the phoenix.
I raised the degree of difficulty by using a turquoise doughnut - I had to figure out a way to hold it in, without it having a bead hole through which the wire would pass, and then work out how to finish off the ends of the wire. Since the doughnut is encircled by bead encrusted wire, it spins around inside the bezel, and the tactility of that unexpected result pleased me - I like nice surprises!
I eventually used eight and a half feet of the thicker wire, and miles and miles of the finer wire to weave the pendant - and it took me an entire day - but what fun it was. My fingers were sore and my joints creaked in protest, in the wire workers equivalent of writers cramp. But, here it is, and I think the pain was worth it in the end.
Through The Moon Gate
I had one more day left to submit a piece with Nicole's unfinished tutorial if I wanted to - she allowed multiple pieces - by this time, I felt I could make the first half in my sleep - so I did, but this time, I upped the degree of difficulty yet another notch - I decided to make earrings - with a smaller bead than specified in the tutorial, with two pieces that had to match, and mirror one another - which is more difficult than you can imagine. Both earrings have to be made simultaneously, as a difference of a millimeter will look terrible when they are set down together.
The tutorial ended here - and thus endeth the lesson!
Now to figure out what to do with it - the rules allow more beads, more wire - in fact, more anything - hmmmmmm!
The upside down tear drop shape flatters the face, and the perfectly matched carnelian beads are dramatic and dressy. I didn't add any more wire in the end - the earrings would have been too heavy. At 2.8 inches long from the top of the bail to the tip of the freshwater pearl dangle, they are bound to be easy to wear, and Barbara, who got to model them (it) certainly likes them.
Oh, Happy Day!
I wanted a pretty and colourful piece to take on holiday with me - polymer clay jewellery is ideal for travelling with - the jewellery is light, and relatively inexpensive - no one will attempt to steal it or mug you for it, and it looks fab in the holiday pics. Lotions are not a problem, and the pieces travel well, just thrown into a case - not like metal/wire which might bend or break, and all in all it is a win, win, win situation. This necklace was inspired by Donna Kato's squiggle beads from her book, but as I wanted it to be as colourful as I could make it, I made a rainbow blend using a tutorial from Polymer Clay Central - I just love the colours and the way the necklace looks - it makes me want to sing - Oh Happy Day.....
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No, I am not religious, but it is the joyousness of this piece of gospel music I love. And the colours in this video, and the jewellery - wow!
Squiggle beads - design credit - Donna Kato and Polymer clay central
That's it for now, folks - I will write again when I get back from my holiday in gay Paree - catch you next week
Hello folks, I hope you have had a satisfying week and are ready for some fun this weekend.
A piece of great news - Caprilicious Jewellery is soon to be available at an outlet in Abu Dhabi - I have sent off the first consignment, and if the jewellery sells well there, I might do regular business. More about this next week.
I had to share this - I sold this pendant last week to a lady who asked me what inspired me to make it - she was obviously well into Art Nouveau jewellery - she had written a thesis on the subject, and she said the pendant reminded her of Lucas von Cranach's Tintenfisch und Schmetterling - I had actually seen the aforementioned pendant on a website during one of my periodic browses of the internet - but to be compared with a master jeweller - very humbling.
Who knows what stays in your brain when you look at images constantly, as I do - or, if this pendant was indeed influenced by Lucas von Cranach - all I can say is, I see the octopus, but not necessarily the butterfly - I leave you to decide whether they do actually have some resemblance to one another.
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Tintenfisch und Schmetterling (Octopus and Butterfly; 1900) by Wilhelm Lucas von Cranach, a master jeweller who liked his octopuses - strange bedfellows, I say!
I went to Shrewsbury this week, to the workshop of the lovely Jules Harper to learn how to prepare precious metal clay pieces for the application of enamel. I went on an enamelling and a precious metal clay (silver) course last year at In The Studio, but this time around, wanted one on one tuition. Now that I have a bit of experience, there were so many questions bothering me - one cannot keep bobbing up and down in a class with loads of people - you sound like a smart aleck and eat into other peoples time. Jules taught me how to fire copper and bronze clay
properly, and to prepare them and enamel them - most exciting of all, the little lentil bead I made with copper clay and enamelled on both sides - it would look so sweet in earring designs, and is light because it is completely hollow. She is a very patient teacher, and the time just flew by - that's a sure sign of a lot of fun - maybe not quite so much for her, though. I thought it was around 5pm when I left her place, and it was only when I was halfway home, I realised it was in fact well past 7pm - sorry Jules!
Here's a link to her website if anyone is interested http://www.artclayjewellery.co.uk/
Now that the weather is slowly getting better, I want to play with my kiln and make some colourful pieces in it, and thanks to Jules now, it wont be such an anxiety ridden operation.
Having 'borrowed' the necklace on the right in reds and golds, to wear to a dinner party, I received so many compliments that I felt i needed to make another, this time in the cool colours of blue and silver - to my eye, it looks like the necklace has been bathed in moonlight - but, I will leave it to you to decide if the name is apt, and which one you prefer.
The Greek word "amethystos" may be translated as "not drunken", from Greek a-, "not" + methustos, "intoxicated". Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it. According to a 16th century French poem, Dionysus, the god of intoxication, of wine and grapes was pursuing a maiden named Amethystos, who refused his affections. Amethystos prayed to the gods to remain chaste, a prayer which the goddess Artemis answered, transforming her into a white stone. Humbled by Amethystos's desire to remain chaste, Dionysus poured wine over the stone as an offering, dyeing the crystals purple.
Amethyst is a purple quartz found deep within volcanic rock, and its colour comes from manganese and iron impurities. The Agapanthus or Nile lily is an amethyst coloured flower, and the little nuggets of amethyst in this next necklace brought the buds of this very pretty flower to mind. I had a load of these in my garden, but unfortunately, as the name suggests, it likes warmer climates and all of my plants died. I might try to grow it indoors this year. I love the geodes/ druzy form of any gemstone, where the natural striations are left in, as part of the stone, and the pendant I used was sourced with great difficulty. It came to me all the way from Brazil, after a lot of bargaining with the vendor, to secure the best price. I thought it was so regal, I crowned it with a scroll of wire filigree work. A little jade butterfly, prehnite nuggets and some green crystals set the purple of the amethyst nuggets off beautifully.
That's all I had time for this week folks. We are off to Giverny, and will visit Monet's garden, and then on to Paris where I want to see his paintings at the Musee de l'Orangerie.
I have enjoyed the Impressionists for ages and have a few prints on my walls - can't wait to see the real thing. The poor cat will be most unhappy to go into the cattery , but, needs must. I hope the weather will play nicely with us, and I will catch you when I get back,
Have a great week,
Hello readers, I hope you are all enjoying the weather, which is slowly showing signs of getting warmer. It is so nice to be able to shed the heavy winter gear, and wear fewer clothes - can't wait to get to the point where the sandals come out of the cupboard and onto my feet.
My mother went on a little tour of South India with her niece, and very kindly brought back some beads for me. I had asked her to look out for a string of Rudraksha beads - more about them later. The ones she sent are about 20mm in diameter, and I was a bit intimidated by their size, I had really wanted them a bit smaller. However, no one puts Caprilicious in a corner, and I decided to rise to the challenge. I made some polymer clay ruffle beads from a tutorial by Christelle Van Lingen, in a blend of red and gold, and put a necklace together with a copper electroplated oak leaf skeleton.
I added a blue agate bead and a copper Bali style bead to provide a pop of colour and extra interest, and little gold plated crystal beads to add some sparkle to the piece - I was quite pleased with the way the necklace turned out. I like the juxtaposition of an ancient, traditional seed bead, and the polymer clay, which is as contemporary as you are going to get - and very different, too from anything i have seen, made with these seeds.
Rudraksha is a large evergreen broad-leaved tree whose seed is traditionally used for prayer beads in Hinduism. The seed is borne by several species of Elaeocarpus. Rudraksha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the name Rudra ("Shiva") and akṣha ("eyes").
Rudraksha seeds are covered by an outer shell of blue when fully ripe, and are also known as blueberry beads. The berries are strung into a rosary, used for repetitive prayer. The seeds are classified on the basis of the number of divisions that they have, and different qualities are attributed to the rudraksha based on this. A common type has five divisions, and these are considered to be symbolic of the five faces of Shiva.
Rudraksha beads are often worn by Indian 'sadhus' or holy men, who are devotees of Shiva.
The plant and the blueberries that produce the Rudraksha seed
Sadhus, wearing strings of the Rudraksha beads - the one on the right looks pretty pleased with himself!
In a complete about turn from the oak leaf necklace, I made a couple of light and pretty summery pieces to go into the English Country Garden collection - a little pendant - Primrose, and a necklace made of all the shiny, pretty floral elements I could find - The Summer Bouquet. The inspiration for this came from a throwaway comment by a presenter on last Sunday's airing of 'The Antiques Roadshow' while valuing a tiara - he mentioned that tiaras were often turned upside down and worn as necklaces in Victorian times - so I made a modern day tiara/ necklace - it is extremely light and pretty, and looks like a wildflower bouquet.
Winner - Bead Barmy Readers Gallery Competition April 2013
I had news that Katrina won in the 'We've got the Blues' category, and that it sold, all on the same day - I must remember to tell the new owner she has a winner!
Linda Jones, a well known and influential jewellery designer, and author, writes a blog for the WireWorkers Guild, which is a forum for people who love wire. She offered to feature me on her blog in May, and sent me a questionnaire. I filled it out, and she emailed me back - she was so complimentary, I have had a job fitting my head through the door and am literally floating around the room. This is a screen capture of her email
What can I say - other than thank you, Linda Jones! And here it is http://wireworkersguild.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/caprilicous-jewellery.html?showComment=1366967638186#c8771846690699081699
When I finally managed to come down to earth , I finished off the last piece I made this week and took these photographs of The Spirit of Ecstasy. The art nouveau wire work surrounding the focal was behind the idea for the name.
The Spirit of Ecstasy, also called "Emily", "Silver Lady" or "Flying Lady", was designed by English sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes and carries with it a story about a secret passion between the second Lord Montague of Beaulieu, a pioneer of the automobile movement, and editor of The Car Illustrated magazine from 1902 and his secret love and the model for the emblem, Eleanor Velasco Thornton. Eleanor was John Walter's secretary, and their love was to remain hidden, limited to their circle of friends, for more than a decade. The reason for the secrecy was Eleanor's impoverished social and economic status, which was an obstacle to their love. John-Walter, succumbing to family pressures, married Lady Cecil Victoria Constance, but the secret love affair continued.
Eleanor died on 30 December 1915 when the SS Persia, on which she accompanied Lord Montague on his journey to India, was torpedoed off Crete by a German submarine, four years after she had been immortalized by her lover.
Spirit of Ecstasy
The rough cut black tourmaline gleams gently, and the severity of the black is relieved by the multi-coloured, shiny crystal spacers, and the graceful swoops of the wings of the focal. The polymer clay 'cabochon' is smooth, although its surface appears corrugated, and was made from a tutorial by Sophy Dumoulin of CraftArt Edu. I just love this technique - although time consuming, it is fabulous - and you have to wait till the absolute end, to see if the piece you have made is any good - for someone short on patience, it is a good exercise! The toggle clasp is pretty too, but this time, I put it at the back of the neck, where it should rightfully belong - when I tried to bring it to the front, as I do with a lot of pretty clasps, it fought a major battle with the focal, and lost. I consoled it by explaining that the back of the wearer is visible too, especially if she has her hair short, or swept up - or it could remain a delicious secret between the necklace and the wearer ( must be going doolally tap - I am now talking to a clasp!).
That's as much as I had time for, sweet people, I am exhausted by the repeated expansion and deflation of my head after all the accolades Caprilicious has received this week - and I know I will have to work hard to stay worthy of what has been said.
Catch you next week, same time, same place
I have been struck by spring fever! The mild temperatures, and the emergence of buds on the trees and little plants coming through the ground in my herbaceous borders are turning me into a happy bunny - all I can think of are flowers and leaves and pretty things.
In this mood, I began to populate my new page - The English Country Garden with pieces of jewellery, but in the interim, put in a slide show of pictures taken over the last couple of summers of my own garden - just so people won't be bored if they find themselves on that page.
Last week, I made Bluebells, the inaugural piece, and this week, made Chloe, The Cat in the Window, inspired by my own cat Harold, and Wisteria Lane, which of course is the fictional street which is the home of the Desperate Housewives in the TV serial.
The central pendant in Wisteria Lane is an Art Nouveau design reminiscent of the paintings of Alphonse Mucha, it was surrounded by a frame of woven wire and tiny crystals, some of which were hung in bunches to resemble Wisteria.
Sceptre was made to break the mold and to get away from being all happy clappy/ spring has sprungy - a lovely faceted goldstone is at the heart of this piece, with turquoise beads to provide contrast.
Design credit - Gailavira.com
I am not a fan of designs that use wire as a major feature, almost as if the designer is saying
' look at what I can do' - adding more and more tortured wire, just because they can. To me these wire heavy designs resemble a cats cradle, with no light relief, and if they go wrong, they are very close to junk - I'm sure plenty of people like them, but I'm just not one of them.
Eclipse was a piece made using a tutorial by a lady who uses a lot of wire in her designs, but very elegantly, so that miles of wire are woven and curved into organic shapes. I was already doing a lot of weaving, so it seemed logical to take it one step further and see how her designs were translated by my hands. I like the way the pendant looks in the pictures - almost mystical. I am enjoying the photography almost as much as the making of the piece - almost!
Design credit - Nicole Hanna
Carol Robertson was kind enough to email me after she had been looking at the Caprilicious website - she said she couldn't read the wordage on the pages as the fonts were too grey and seemed to merge into the background. I thought I'd change that and see if people liked it any better - the fonts in the main text have all been changed to white, and they certainly show up better on a black background. Do you like it?? - if you have any thoughts, please share them with me, I would be ever so pleased to hear from you. I like the black background - it allows the photographs to stand out better, but I would like people to be able to read the words too - after all they come from me and are part of Caprilicious too.
I have checked the android version, and it shows up with black writing on a white background, for some reason, but it is definitely visible - I worried that if it was changed over to white writing, it would disappear on your mobile phone screens, and I know that some people keep an eye on the comings and goings on the Caprilicious website via their mobiles.
That's all for now folks, have a good weekend, and don't forget to tell your friends about Caprilicious, please. I'll be here next week, same time, same place - catch you then. If you read the Caprilicious blog regularly, why not sign up to follow it - all you have to do is to click the 'follow this blog' link by the side of the blog title and it will land in your inbox each week.
'Bye for now
We have been informed (hopefully reliably) that spring has finally sprung - at long last, about six weeks late this year. My thoughts have turned to my second passion, my garden, and the bluebells that are poking their heads out of the cold ground. Coming from a tropical country, as I do, it is such a pleasure each year to ring in the changes of each season, and in celebration of nature's wonder, I have written a new page for the Caprilicious website, soon to be populated with flowers and other pretty things from my garden. This is my first piece on the new page, titled THE ENGLISH COUNTRY GARDEN. Just now this is the only piece I have there, so, to keep it company, I have included a gallery of pictures of my own little piece of England - my garden.
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Tiny butterflies flit around the edges of this piece, and little bluebells and leaves unfurl between tendrils of copper wire in this little pendant on an organza ribbon. A chemical antiquing (stinky) bath, a polish with steel wool, shined up and protected with micro crystalline wax, and the pendant is good to go.
We went out to the pub for Sunday lunch - when I got back, I found that Pearl Blay of The Beading Gem's Journal had posted a blog about Glacier Inspired Jewellery featuring Caprilicious Jewellery. It really made my day - thank you so much Pearl. You can read about it here -
Before I got this news, I was a bit fed up (that's me being polite and restrained). I had spent the day before making some really pretty beads - for once they were all equally measured and sized, and had a blue and white stripey veneer, attempting to resemble an African Trade Bead. I also made some polymer clay canes - this is a big deal for me, as I have shied away from making canes for a long time now. I constructed a complex cane of a lions face, so I could make a bracelet for a friend of mine, who is a dedicated big cat person. Although it wasn't my best effort and would have ended up a practice piece, a whole day was spent, happily wallowing in clay (brings to mind a hippopotamus), and late in the evening, the finished pieces were popped in the oven to cure. A moments distraction, and I set the oven to 225C! - 100C higher than it should have been - the result?? billows of horrid smoke, and a horrendous smell - and a load of cinders. I had to scrub the oven clean before we went out to lunch - all that hard work wasted!
They say everyone does it once, but I had hoped to be the exception - alas, it was not to be, and I joined the long list of people who have had burnt offerings to throw away. Pearl's mail on my return was a sight to gladden my heart and raise my spirits.
To cheer myself up, I made Reika - Portrait of a Geisha, using three faux black jade pieces I made earlier from a tutorial by Lynda Moseley. Reika means Beautiful Flower in Japanese - apparently the same word can have more than one meaning, if pronounced differently. As for writing Japanese names........
Kanji, one of the three scripts used in the Japanese language, are Chinese characters, which were first introduced to Japan in the 5th century via Korea. Kanji are ideograms, i.e. each character has its own meaning and corresponds to a word. By combining characters, more words can be created. For example, the combination of "electricity" with "car" means "train". There are several ten thousands of characters, of which 2000 to 3000 are required to understand newspapers. A set of 2136 characters has been officially declared as the "kanji for everyday use".
Suddenly, the complexities of the English language seem like child's play - I don't think I could cope with the Kanji concept - I hated algebra, so it's no good asking me what A+B equals, apparently the Kanji for electricity + car = train (?? !!) Not to me, it doesn't!
I do speak at least four Indian languages tolerably well, and can write in one of them, so I suppose there's hope for me yet - not that I'm planning to take lessons in Kanji anytime soon!
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The Kanji tattoo for Reika
The fluorite flower dangling from the tip of the pendant echoes the shape of the flower beads on either side of the pendant, and the colour echoes the little nuggets of the necklace.
Four polymer clay 'fossil' cabochons sat waiting in my finished-but-waiting-to-be-made-into-something box. I gave one of them to my new friend BN - we decided that we would both have a go at them and compare notes. I dug up my Wigjig, and made a surround for one of them with wire, intending to hang it asymmetrically as a focal bead in a string of graduated blue agate rondelles from my stash.
The Wig Jig has been waiting patiently for me to use it - I made a bracelet for one of my colleagues at work, a long time ago, and then forgot all about it. It has movable pegs that fit into the holes of an acrylic block, and the wire is coiled and swirled around these pegs, to give perfectly formed coils, each one with the exact same dimensions as the last, without any tool marks marring the wire.
I bought the Jig because it reminded me of the Rangoli patterns drawn on the doorsteps of Indian households every morning, and more colourfully at festivals - the nostalgiascope at work again! The ladies draw a grid made of tiny dots, and then draw a pattern looping around the dots with white or coloured powders, and get some very pretty decorative effects. All good little Indian girls know how to do this - and I did too, once - when I was a good little Indian girl, a long long time ago
There is a WIG JIG 'University' with free online patterns to be used with the Jig, and the thought of attending University again, albeit for such a fun lesson, tickled me pink!
Rangoli Pattern around a grid of dots
A more complex 'festival' pattern waiting for colour
A pattern filled in with coloured powders
The 'cabochon' was made using a fossil technique taught by Sophy Dumoulin on CraftArt Edu, and wire wrapped using the WigJig Centaur.
I named the necklace Silver Shadow after that hallmark of luxury and elegance - The Rolls Royce. The emblem on the front of the Silver Shadow Roller is a glorious Art Noveau Lady, with her hair and wings streaming backwards in the wind - elegance personified.
The faceted blue agate beads are like fat little droplets of water around the neck - I do love this piece, simple, yet dressy and elegant.
I made a cuff bracelet with a blue agate geode - I seem to gravitate towards that stone - the blue is so pretty. This piece was commissioned by a friend of mine in Mumbai - and I am so relieved that she likes it.
Well folks, here it is - Caprilicious is officially a Jewellery Design Star on the Artbeads.com website. Thank you for taking the time to vote for me. People have asked me what the prize is - it is recognition and exposure - a physical prize is not important, and wasn't the reason I entered the competition. I love it when people like my jewellery, and if I could afford to, I would give it away to all those who expressed a desire to wear it - as it is, I keep it affordable and within the remit of most people, so I am almost giving it away - it must be some deep seated need to be liked - fortunately, I'm not a psychiatrist, or I would have divined some weird and wonderful reason for this pattern of behaviour.
Thanks once again for stopping by, and for voting. Catch you same time, same place next week, have a fabulous weekend - we're off to the garden centre
Thank you to everyone who voted for my design 'Glacial Fantasy' in the Artbeads Jewelry Design Star Competition. It only went and won!! I am speechless and so, so, so, thrilled. I was informed by email, and they have had my details as well as a couple of other designs from Caprilicious for their website. When I hear more from Artbeads.com about the official announcement, I will let you know. In the meantime, I have another pair of earrings made, to complement Glacial Fantasy - the first two were not deemed 'delicate' enough, and I was politely requested to think again - the customer is always right - right? So.........
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These were made with wire crochet and crystal beads, and the pictures sent on for approval - I hope she likes them, or, its back to the drawing board for me. They look pretty delicate to my eyes, but I am not the one going to be wearing them, so I shall just have to wait and see. I have no problems doing them over and over until I get it right - I just see it as another challenge.
I thought Betty was a bit lonely, so I found her a friend - meet Barbara - she is a half bust, but what is especially nice about her is that I can insert an earring so I can get a good picture of the way the earrings dangle from the ear lobe. I had just made this pendant with a red banded agate stone, and I hung it around Barbara's neck - her neck is a bit scrawny, but, hey, anything's possible if allowed a bit of artistic license. The pendant looks huge around Barbara's neck, but that is because she suffers from turkey neck disorder, but one mustn't mock afflicted chickens!
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'Grace', the pendant in question is made of banded red agate - a beautiful waxy, translucent, rectangular stone. About six feet of wire went into the swirly wraps, and a few more feet of fine wire for the web like weave. I had to add a bit of movement, and a shiny Aurora Borealis coated crystal from my stash was just the ticket.
I played with polymer clay and alcohol inks and produced these faux red jade pieces from a tutorial by Lynda Moseley of Diva Designs. I love the large 25mm focal beads, with a floral etched pattern and I made a chrysanthemum type flower to be the pendant in this necklace. It is called Cinnamon because of the beautiful burnt sugar colour of the faux jade. The other alternative for a name was Creme Caramel - betraying my sweet tooth and secret gluttony - a Freudian slip, if ever there was one! Three strands of carnelian nuggets, held together at intervals by pewter spacers toned well with the focal pieces - a monochromatic necklace, which is quite rare for me - I don't know how I resisted the impulse to add a bit of green or turquoise blue, but I do like how Cinnamon came together in the end.
From Russia With Love
I made this necklace a few weeks ago, and I saved three rainbow titanium coated quartz needles to make a pendant and a pair of earrings. When they were made up the three little pieces resembled the Matroshka dolls sold to tourists in Russia - except, of course that I have attempted to match the earrings, as far as possible The quartz was mined near St Petersburg and has an extraordinarily beautiful sheen from the fine coating of titanium vapour wafted over it.
I spent most of this week catching up on paper work and other stuff at the day job - sometimes it doesn't pay to have too much time off, everything is just waiting for you when you get back to the grindstone - no rest for the wicked!
I did have time to tidy up my website, move my necklaces around - I have new pages now - Chinese Inspiration, Out of Africa, and Leafy Glade are now added to a Treasury of Statement Necklaces, and all the other bits and bobs are grouped under Mini Statements - I believe that all jewellery makes a statement - it tells you about a woman's inner self and expresses her thoughts, feelings, and mood, sometimes, who she would like to be but finds difficult to express - an alter ego. I know that this is certainly true about me - what about you?? Have you ever thought about what your choice in apparel says about you to the world - a non verbal clue to those who might wish to detect what makes you tick! Have you ever thought what women who don't wear jewellery are saying - I think it may be that they don't want people to get clues to their personality - you have to work just that bit harder to know them and what their raison d'être is.
That's all I had time to make this week folks, catch you next week, same time, same place, thanks for stopping by my blog, and once again, thank you for voting for my design in the competition
I hope you have all had a good week - I had the week off from work and decided to use it productively - was meant to drive to Shrewsbury, an hour away, to take an enamelling class, but snow and ice precluded that enterprise, and we had to reschedule. So I was forced to stay at home, and play on my own with my baubles and beads, and my computer.
I entered Ariel onto a colour palette design challenge and bloghop hosted by Bonnie Coursolle of Jasper's Gems from Ontario, Canada. http://www.jasper-moon.ca/JaspersGemsBlog.htm
She posted three colour palettes, and Ariel was made in the colours of the first one she gave the participants to work with. It is nice sometimes to accept a challenge and work within its confines - it gives the mind a focus.
Just after I posted last week, I found out that I had won a £10 voucher from a trade magazine called Beads and Beyond - I had submitted a picture well before Christmas 2012 to their inbox, and quite forgot about it - in fact, I had to ask members of a jewellery forum if it was true that the picture had been published when I got the email that I had won the voucher, I thought it might be some sort of pre April fool prank. One of the ladies sent me this picture - I should really go out and buy the magazine now.
I entered Glacial Fantasy in a 'Jewellery Design Star' competition on Artbeads.com - this is a company in the USA that sells jewellery making supplies. I don't usually have time to hunt down competitions, and enter my jewellery, so it was nice to be able to do it this week.
I sent Pearl Blay, the author of The Beading Gem's Journal a picture of Glacial Fantasy. She writes a daily blog http://www.beadinggem.com/
where she posts
'the best Free Jewelry Tutorials,
Tips,Trends & More'. I have been following this blog since the day I started to make jewellery, and have learned a lot from her writings. Her blog lands in my inbox with a 'ping' every afternoon - she is in Canada-her advice is sound, and she has an archive of tutorials on almost everything to do with handmade jewellery making. I have approached her twice in the past, and only got as far as being allowed to submit a picture of one of my necklaces to her 'Readers Gallery of Inspirational Designs', but Glacial Fantasy piqued her interest and she wants to do a feature on Caprilicious Jewellery sometime in April. She contacted Manish, who took the picture of the glacier in Ladakh, and will put his picture on the blog as well. It is a big deal for Caprilicious, as her blog is extremely zealously curated, and I am suitably thrilled and grateful to Pearl. I will keep you posted when the feature comes out - it is fabulous to have one's work recognised by one's peers, especially someone who has been there, done that and seen it all.
I had a vague idea of what I wanted to make, so I made these little pieces - I embellished black clay with real gold leaf from Thailand, and made a few faux bone elements. I wasn't sure how I was going to connect them, till I remembered a roll of hemp tucked away at the back of my supplies cupboard. While I pondered this weighty question, I was thankful that there wasn't much clearing up to do - this was a clean technique and my table didn't look like a bombsite at the end of it.
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As my school reports said - 'could be tidier' !
I watched a late night movie, with subtitles, from Senegal - I watched the griot sing his soulful song - the Mandinkas pass on their history from generation to generation through songs sung by griots, accompanied by a kora-a stringed instrument. The marabout (and the protagonist visited quite a few in this movie to help restore his potency) was laden with bones and cowrie shells, and all I could think about was how this scene could be incorporated into a piece of jewellery. I think this necklace was conceived that night - there has to be some benefit to being an insomniac .
Cowrie shells were used as currency in Africa . Their symbolic qualities and beliefs led to them becoming a popular and valued object of currency for hundreds of years. During early colonial times, many Africans preferred being paid with cowrie shells over gold coins- which was a surprise (and an unexpected windfall) to the first Europeans who went to trade in Africa.
Cowrie shells are also tagged with a mystical quality, and have played a role in West African fortune telling, and are an integral part of music and indigenous instruments, as well as gambling games. They are also used as fertility symbols and brides wear them in a waist belt. One of these found its way into my hands, but it was all broken and tattered, so I rescued the cowrie shells from it - reuse and recycle - that's my motto!
I was trying to replicate the mood of the music, and the picture above in my photograph. I was clearly underemployed this week, so I played with my little camera - I lit a joss stick and tried to take a picture inside my light box, with the smoke wafting over the necklace - but I soon found out that this was easier said than done - smoke just doesn't do as it is told - I discarded a whole bunch of pictures - thank goodness for modern technology - imagine how expensive all this would have been if I had to develop all those pictures to find one that I liked!
My most recently ordered leaf skeleton pendants arrived, and I wasted no time putting the aspen leaf into a necklace of lemon quartz and pyrite. The pale gold of the quartz contrasts with the dark gold of the pyrite - Lemon quartz is so pretty, it reminds me of the weak first rays of the sun, the first thing in the morning - a wistful light, yet so beautiful. My husband liked it so much, he even wore it for a couple of minutes - yes, I got a picture, but I am not allowed to post it ( thank goodness, you say?? - you are absolutely right).
I was asked to make some earrings to go with Glacial Fantasy - I decided to have another look at Manish's pictures from Ladakh for inspiration - I found a couple that set me thinking of icicles, and I made these for the ladies who had commissioned necklaces from me.
Zahra - the Luminous one
The pearls I chose for this necklace, brought the word 'luminous' to mind - when I looked for a translation in Arabic/Persian, this flowery language came up with 'Zahra'.
We have some large holly bushes in front of the house, and I boiled up some leaves - I thought that their skeletons would be an interesting shape - but in the end, it was all 'Bubble. bubble, toil and trouble' for no reward - man, those holly leaves sure are tough! Eventually I gave up, and when I rang the lady who electroplates the leaves for me, she said she had the same problem, so she just electroplated the entire leaf as it was. I cheated, and bought this pendant from her - I was fed up with the whole holly debacle by then.
Being used to the delicate skeletons I am now accustomed to, I was a bit surprised by how substantial the holly leaf was, but in the end, I think it came good and I love the way it turned out.
I ended the week with a birthday, my colleagues from work threw a surprise lunch party for me, and some of them even wore their necklaces from Caprilicious, as did I. It was a lovely thought, and a really nice afternoon - thank you to all the ladies who turned up and made me feel special.
And, that was the week that was! Catch you next week, same time, same place, take care and have a great Easter break
This week, there were some very difficult decisions to be made - I had to submit a single button to the Button Project picking for my theme 'Silk' , 'Metamorphosis' , or 'Heritage' - I could eventually add another three to a set of four to be sold off by the organisers when the project ended.
I decided to go with 'Metamorphosis' as my theme, loosely interpreted by me as the change or transformation that occurs as night follows day. I thought that there would most probably be too many butterfly/ larva buttons as the other theme was Silk- and anyway, who wants to make or wear a dead caterpillar? - not me, that's who!
I made the four buttons in polymer clay, and took my pictures, I was quietly pleased with the way they turned out. I planned to give each one a gradation from a dark blue to a pink/yellow/orange, and I added a leaf motif in the background, so the button would eventually resemble a fossil. The method I used was pioneered by Sophy Dumoulin of CraftArt Edu. However, with this technique, there is no way of telling what the piece will look like till it is cured, sanded and buffed - sanding reveals the true design, hidden inside, almost like a metamorphosis in itself - I held my breath till, lo, and behold, the buttons appeared - not entirely the way I envisaged, but near enough.
I was now faced with the choice of button - I had to decide which one was the best and was destined to be the original exhibit, with the others sitting in a box, waiting to hear if someone loved them enough to give them a home. How bad would they feel, if they had to come back home to Nuneaton in a padded envelope - how could I put my sweet button babies through this?
And once I decided which one I liked best, should I send the required photograph on a dark background, or on white?
Having agonised over this for a long while, I gave up and decided to listen to some music instead, till the Aspirin cleared my head.
The one at the top left is the one I chose eventually, with the dark background. Now, all that is left is to wait and see whether the organisers will accept my entry.
Through Caprilicious, I met a lovely lady I shall call BN - she makes jewellery too and is like me, a doctor. She loves Caprilicious and took the trouble to come all the way to Nuneaton to see me - I was ever so pleased to meet her and we talked jewellery for hours - it was nice to find someone to chat with on a topic that is so dear to my heart, without fear of their eyes glazing over with boredom - I'm sure I do that a lot at work, and have to restrain myself, quite often, when my radar picks up the glazed expression I used to get when my mother lectured me on my many misdemeanors as a teenager. I only hope I am quicker to spot 'the look' than my mother was!
BN gifted me some beads - she said it was like a goody bag on Ready Steady Cook - I had to make pieces of jewellery using the ingredients from her bag, the only difference being there was no stipulated time limit. In return, she had some of my polymer clay faux amber and a few other bits and bobs. After she left, I made Bedouin Oasis, with some of her beads, one of my handmade polymer clay pendants, with two pairs of earrings to match.
The sand is hot beneath my feet
This desert air, a burning heat
I'm running wild in all directions
Slowly falling from my imperfections
These flats out here seem dead and barren
The silence is blarin'
When then a quiver runs suddenly
Through my spine as I sense
A safe haven
A sweet serenity
I teamed Tiger Ebony wood bicone beads and shell segments in an asymmetric necklace and the colours so reminded me of an oasis - calm and serene - the pendant seemed to work well with that theme, its center looks like a rippling body of water to me - I wore the necklace to work, and got a load of compliments - I was very pleased with the response.
This necklace stemmed from BN's question - 'could you create small?' - I wasn't too sure that I could rise up to the challenge - Caprilicious seems to have become all about the large, flamboyant piece - but I am sure there are plenty of capricious women who want their delicious pieces small and dainty. So, I went off with my thinking cap and sat in a corner for a while ( should that be a dunce's cap you sit in a corner with??) and came up with Indigo Evenings. The iolite I picked is a beautiful deep blue, the colour of twilight in the tropics, and I looked in my gemstone stash in vain to find a green to complement it - I finally found the perfect green in my box of crystals, and added some tiny pearls to make a piece that is so dainty, it looks almost fragile in my hands - so, BN, if you are reading this, have I fulfilled your challenge?
Ariel is a fictional character and the lead protagonist of Walt Disney Pictures' film The Little Mermaid (1989). Ariel is voiced by Jodi Benson in all animated appearances and merchandise.
Ariel has a very distinctive appearance, with her long, flowing red hair, blue eyes, green tail and a purple seashell bra. The blue-green color of Ariel's fin was a hue specially mixed by the Disney paint lab; the color was named "Ariel" after the character. The choice of red as Ariel's hair color was the subject of dispute between the filmmakers and studio executives who wanted the character to have blonde hair. It was noted that red hair contrasted better with Ariel's green tail and that red was easier to darken than yellow so it was ultimately kept.
In the mid nineties, I used to borrow this little girl from my friends, and she and I would stay up all night, watching cartoons, eating ice cream and Jelly and crisps in bed - she loved to come and stay with me, and her parents had the weekend to themselves - The Little Mermaid was one of the movies we watched, over and over, without ever tiring of it.
I made this cuff in memory of those days, using the pen and ink technique learned from Alice Stroppel. It took simply ages to get her hair just so, fortunately, I now have a table where I can leave all the makings without feeling guilty about the mess. The place looked like a bombsite for days and days, while I struggled to juggle the demands of the bracelet, and the rigours of the day job.
All this for one tiny bracelet!!
Made from scratch, the bracelet started like this
And finished up like this!
Lipstick on Your Collar
BN gave me some slate grey veined jasper - the stones look like little pebbles from a river bed - initially I thought I would put them with coral ( and I might, yet) but while doing a rummage in my bead stash, I found these lipstick coloured pink dyed howlite, and they seemed to be clamoring to be let out of the box - I think they go really well together. As I have said before, I am not a particularly 'pink' person - but this necklace found its way from the light box where I photographed it, straight around my neck, and hence, to work. The grey jasper lends the piece a bit of sophistication, and raises its game. One look at it, and I don't have to say another word about how it got it's name.
The gentleman whose photograph I used as inspiration for Glacial Fantasy
( http://www.flickr.com/photos/manisholiday/ or http://kingdom-of-sky.blogspot.co.uk/ for more pictures) liked the necklace so much, he ordered another for his girlfriend! Kudos, indeed - such kind gestures make it all worthwhile!
That's all this week sweet people, thanks for stopping by - catch you next week, same time, same place,