This last week it has been lovely and unseasonably warm and I have had a bit more time off from the day job, turning my thoughts to summer - a British summer can be totally washed out by rain, and indeed the last few years have been disappointing - but we live in hope of sunshine and warmth on the old bones, as always.
I decided to make jewellery that would be nice to wear to a barbecue or to work, on a hot day - nothing worse than a heavy necklace around a hot and bothered neck.
I found a cinnabar fan bead in my stash and decided to create a necklace around it. It reminded me of the Peking opera which is a traditional performing art in China which combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance and acrobatics. The dancers wear elaborate make up - the audience are allowed to watch while they are being made up and the performers adhere to a variety of stylistic movements that help audiences navigate the plot of the production (there is also a running commentary in English that runs like sub titles on an electric light board so that the poor 'Big Noses' - which is what they call Caucasians, can understand the plot - I don't know what they call Indians!!). The women wear fantastical headdresses and look ever so beautiful, waving their arms around, peering around the fan in their hand which is used as a prop to great effect - the music, I have to confess is a bit shrieky for my taste - but each to his own and maybe you will like it - I have a clip for you - it is called The Drunken Beauty - and she does sound a bit squiffy!
Cinnabar is the popular name used to describe Chinese lacquer -ware of a striking red colour, known for many centuries. The cinnabar tree is very soft and widely used because it is easily carved or moulded. Cinnabar is thought to come from the Persian word "zinjifrah" meaning dragon's blood, most likely referring to the lacquers red shade. In keeping with the ornateness of the headdress, I constructed a fluted wire ruffle on top of the fan and added a necklace with tiny gemstone nuggets of aquamarine and amazonite, aventurine cylinders and faux pearls, using both gold and silver coloured beads as spacers so the necklace can be worn with many colour ways. It is a light and flirty piece of jewellery in spite of being in three strands.
The Peking Opera Necklace
The Aquatic Dance Necklace
The whole necklace reminded me of a song by Vangelis in the 90's - The Aquatic Dance - so I borrowed the name from the song - which is very soothing indeed, just like my necklace - wouldn't you agree?