Who knew that jewellery making had a connection to engineering?? - yet, how many times have we bought a piece of jewellery that looks great in a picture, or on a mannequin, only to find that it does not sit right, twists around and looks the other way just when someone you are trying to look 'cool' for glances in your direction, or gives you a poke in the ribs ( or some other unladylike place ) when you move??
This is all down to the 'E' word - thats right - Engineering!
I always thought that engineering was all down to being able to make sense of figures - perhaps it is - and that's why I am a medic - but I have found that it impacts on jewellery making in a big way.
I bought some ox bone pieces from a Chinese trader - they were already made up into the most boring bracelets (and that's just my opinion) and there were two necklaces with pendants on them - I bought the necklaces for the pretty pendants, so I could cannibalise them, and use them in different ways - I envisaged coral, and turquoise and multicoloured gemstones to brighten the cream of the bone.
The first of the ox bone necklaces was called Cherry Vanilla Cream - which was bought last week - it had lovely red howlite beads to resemble the 'cherries' in the title, and I worked hard to reassemble the rectangular tiles from the bracelets into a necklace, and made a pendant up out of copper wire.
I had two more bracelets in another pattern, so I decided to make yet another necklace in the same style, but use one of the carved ox bone pendants with it - and so The Black and Cream Beauty was born.
A lady in India enquired if I had any more bone beads and I sent her a picture of the others in my collection. Although she was quite keen to own one of these, she waited to see what I could come up with, using some of the elements in the picture on the left. She wanted me to make something with the cylindrical beads and a pair of long earrings to match. For my part, I am always happy to try and design with a particular customer in mind, so this is what I made.
Ebony and Ivory
To me, they appeared like an extremely simplistic piece of jewellery - no jazzy colours and not one piece of wire anywhere (OH NO!) but she had indicated that she wasn't too keen on wire. However, when I photographed them on my mannequin, I fell in love with the simple sophistication of both pieces - and 'Ebony and Ivory' came out tops. Of course, the 'ebony' is actually garnet - but hey, I took a few liberties with the old artistic licence.
Having said that, I think I like both of them - they are light, pretty, and quite sophisticated. And then came the body blow - she decided on The Black and Cream Beauty - and wanted long earrings to match - and perhaps I would like to use the rectangular tiles matching the necklace?? - OMG! now what?? - no way was I going to say no, and many hours and a few miles of wire later, ( and the emergency course in Engineering) I managed to assemble a pair of earrings to match.
The problem was that the tiles are pierced vertically on two sides to allow them to be strung into bracelets - to get them to hang, and move, as all good chandelier earrings should, was always going to be difficult. But..... I did it, I did it, by jove, I got it.... and I could have danced all night.....
I wonder if I could do it again, if I had to??
I was also commissioned to remake Bewitched - and I called this one Bewitched Again. I try to send my customers a little gift, as a thank you, and a little pair of earrings with a couple of left over beads seemed to be perfect for that purpose.
Last week, I attended Polydays 2012, a gathering of people who have a common interest - polymer clay. It was organised in the village of Toddington, in the Cotswolds, by Alison Gallant, and I shared a cottage with five other ladies - my first time sharing a room with someone other than a man (!) in a long time, and the first time in a single bed since my nights on call as a junior doctor. This was the therapy I needed - 'keep busy, and do new things', I said to myself, ' and you will be OK' - and I was. There were three fabulous tutors, from backgrounds as diverse as Graphic Design, and Environmental Science - one of them had even run a restaurant for a while with her husband - poor guy was conscripted into cooking for 35 people each day - not that he showed a moment of stress! Here are some pictures taken by me and some of the others who were there. I learned a lot - and would like to go back next year - but first, to put what I learned into practice!
And so, I plod on, one foot in front of the other. I cannot deny that it has been hard going this last year - it is very difficult to be a member of a 'caring profession' when you are in pain yourself, but somehow, it had to be done. I couldn't have done it without Caprilicious, though - and it will soon be a year since I set it up! I will have to do something to celebrate - any ideas?? Do tell me if you have any, wont you.....
Catch you next week,