I happened on a biography of Frida Kahlo, the Mexican painter who was famous for her self portraits. Her work has been described as surrealist and in 1938 André Breton, principal initiator of the surrealist movement, described Kahlo's art as a "ribbon around a bomb". She famously said ' I was born a bitch, I was born a painter' . She was married to the Mexican Muralist Diego Rivera and he is a Dia de los Muertos icon with a lot of imagery related to this holiday in his work. Día de los Muertos is a holiday rooted in the ancient past of Mesoamerica. This festival is celebrated by a people in awe and the celebration of the eternal cycle of life and death.
During the latter part of the colonial period, the people began making brightly colored sugar –candy skulls and exchanging them between family and friends as tokens of affection. These became common items alongside the image of Guadalupe, flowers, water, bread, and copal. Skeleton dolls made of clay and papier maché were made depicting people in everyday activities. These dolls soon became a part of tradition.
I found a shop selling these skulls as beads during one of my foraging sessions online, and I fell in love with them. They are Peruvian and ceramic, - and expensive, decorated with flowers and the prettiest skulls I have ever seen. But, at the time, I had no idea what i was going to do with them - most people wore them as earrings or as charms on a bracelet, but I was determined to do something different with them.
This is what I came up with - more pictures on the website and on my Facebook page - Caprilcious Jewellery.
Murano glass is a famous product of the Venetian island of Murano, located off the shore of Venice, Italy. The glass made there is world famous - and expensive - and there are many imitations. Murrine technique begins with the layering of colored liquid glass, which is then stretched into long rods called canes. When cold, these canes are then sliced in cross-section, which reveals the layered pattern. The better-known term "millefiori" is a style of murrine that is defined by each layer of molten color being molded into a star, then cooled and layered again. When sliced, this type of murrine has the appearance of many flowers, thus mille- (thousand) fiori (flowers).
Polymer clay is not called the 'Chameleon clay' for nothing. Cane work and Millefiori are the mainstay of the polymer clay artist and the use of gold and silver foil and pigments with translucent clay has led to the technique of making 'faux glass'. Last week I attempted, disastrously, to make faux glass beads - this time, using a different technique altogether, I have got there - after hours of rolling and baking and foiling, I made a bib necklace and got it to shine like a piece of glass - here is the result of my efforts - it is certainly lighter - and cheaper than a slab of glass, not to mention safer! Having made the bib, I had to find a way of suspending it around the neck, and I think it looks really pretty - what do you think - do leave your comments. One thing I am definitely learning from making jewellery is patience.
I have called it the Midnight in Moscow necklace - was on holiday there many years ago, and this necklace reminds me of that holiday.
Fired up my kiln last weekend and made a few pieces with Copper clay to start with - they need to be 'pickled' to remove firescale and polished and then I will be ready to show them to you - that will be next weeks task - I hope to include polymer clay, resin, wire and turn a simple piece of copper into a work of wearable art.
I had some time off from my day job this last week, so spent some of it experimenting with the jewellery making, photography, and generally relaxing. Also found a bit of time to upload some more pictures onto the Facebook vendor app - so I now have an online outlet - it's a start - I may not have done my jewellery justice with the descriptions and pictures - but as I said, it's a start.
I invite you all to come in and have a browse.
Thats all for this week folks, have a nice week and wrap up warm - it's cold out there - snowing around our part of the world.