What's in a name? that which we call a rose
People have often asked me how and why I name my jewellery, and occasionally, when short of inspiration, I have berated myself for starting this, my very own little tradition. However, mid moan, even I have to agree that it is better to have a query about a piece with a name - than have someone ask me -' how much is SC24590? '.
I have now been doing this consistently for an year, and have now got quite used to it. It gives a piece a character - sometimes, I design the piece to look like a concept I have dreamed up - and sometimes, the piece is made, and then I look at it and a name comes to me. This usually happens fairly seamlessly - and the few times I have been unable to find a name for it, I have realised it was because I was not happy with the piece for one reason or another, and have taken it apart. Ergo, if I cannot name it, it will not be allowed to exist ( insert a throat slitting movement of the right hand here).
I love tutorials - freebies are nice, but when folk take a load of time to photograph every little step, and make a living out of teaching all they know, I am happy to support them. Most times the tutorials work out and make life so much easier - who want's to waste time reinventing the wheel?? CraftArt EDU is a website that has all sorts of tutorials, and I indulge in them on and off - one such was a tutorial by Sophy Dumoulin for hollow polymer clay fossil beads. I spent an enjoyable evening making four beads - when finished they looked like dragon eggs - I imagined incubating them in a warm place only to find a baby dragon tapping it's way out of the eggshell - that's how the name Dragonseed was born.
My buffing wheel truly came into its own and the beads have a lovely soft sheen. I was dying to make them up into something, but had to wait - I had some very dear friends visiting us over the weekend to help celebrate our wedding anniversary.
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the painting I bought for my (most definitely) better half, from Kalyani Ganapathy. It came back in a lovely shiny black frame and I am pleased to say that Mike loved it. We are running short of wall space, but we found a little niche for it - I have a little nook with a little pressed glass plate from Iceland which resembles a geyser, an antique Victorian plate, a silk rose and a metal frog with an emergency cigarette in its mouth on a plinth made of a single piece of oak - an eclectic collection of whimsical objects - and my pomegranate fish fitted in there as if they were painted for that little corner. Have a look at Kalyani's Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/kalyaniganapathysart?fref=ts
It is filled with grown up whimsy, and the colours are so fabulous, they send my right brain spinning with delight, my heart aching with lust to acquire more and my fingers itching to get to my credit card!
My mother, who still takes painting lessons at 85, was a bit peeved that I paid for a painting - she probably reckons ' why pay for something when she could do it at home with a smaaallll aubergine' .... a classic line from Goodness Gracious Me, one of my favourite TV series. This particular sketch is a parody of Indian mothers, every one, bless them - but my answer to that is there's aubergines, and there's AUBERGINES - and this one is an AUBERGINE!! Thank you, Kalyani Ganapathy!
I decided I would wrap the 'fossils' in wire, rather than drill holes into them and hang them as pendants ( I think I am still secretly afraid of the Dremel - but I'm not telling anyone, including me). I wrapped them in copper wire and enjoyed making the curlicues and spirals I learned from Rachel Murgatroyd at In The Studio, many moons ago - the pendants are large at 3.5 to 4.5" long, but light and pretty, and, most definitely different!
This must be the week of the dragon for Caprilicious - I found this wonderful black Hetian Jade Chinese pendant in the shape of a dragon - black jade is actually a very dark green, and comes from the depths of the earth where lava has solidified with mineral inclusions such as carbon and iron. Hetian jade is best known as 'mutton fat jade' when it is a creamy white, and can be very expensive. The black form, though less expensive, is still very beautiful, and I found this pendant in my quest for unusual shapes and colours. I teamed this pendant with green aventurine and faceted onyx beads in a two strand necklace. The name Tanita derives from Semitic roots meaning "serpent lady" - the ultimate serpent being the dragon, of course. This was also the name of the Phoenician goddess of love, fertility, the moon and the stars.
My friend's daughter whom I have known since she was knee high to a grasshopper (Omigod, I am old enough to say that - and for it to be true!) fell in love with a pair of earrings made with the wings of the Thai Jewel Beetle (or Sternocera aequisignata, when it's at home). Both my friend and I thought she might have been squeamish about the fact that the jewellery was made out of insect wings, but, no, to my surprise she even asked for a necklace to be made to go with it! The wings are weightless and rustle pleasantly in a beetlish (!) manner, and I came up with a simple but effective design for a single layer of wings around her neck. As her hair has been coloured green recently - it should look perfect on her - I hope she will send me a picture when she wears it.
That's all for this week folks, thanks for stopping by - catch you next week, same time, same place,
Have a good weekend,
Hello all, hope you are having a better time of it than us in the UK - it is freezing outside with plenty of snow on the ground, ice underneath and more blizzard conditions predicted. The supermarket shelves were empty as Britain prepared to hunker down and stay warm in siege conditions - fortunately, I was off during the worst of the bad weather, and stayed home to play with my beads and wire and clay - what more could a girl ask for??
This is our little effort to keep the fauna outside fed .....
and this is Frosty the snowman's table - look at the undisturbed cake of snow on it - all in one morning!! - The pictures are grainy because the snow was still falling - it was cold enough for icicles to form on the edge of the car door.
I received a package in the post with some weather appropriate items - I had collected some leaves and had their skeletons electroplated and made into pendants - I found a fabulous company in Scotland who will electroplate anything - even a human being if they stand still long enough! They do a good line in plating babies' first bootees and suchlike items. They made these most amazing pendants for me, and I shall be making them up into jewellery in the coming weeks. The leaves were all picked up during walks in and around the grounds of Coombe Abbey in Coventry - I just love that ex Cistercian monastery (who said there's no money in religion??), and the hotel now attached to it. Each leaf is only tiny - about one or two inches long - I wasn't sure how it would look and this was a trial run - I think they did a fabulous job, don't you?? Next time, I shall get a mix of tiny and larger leaves so I can make earrings as well.
I shall call this series 'The Leafy Glade' - just so they can be found easily on the website, and on the Facebook page.
I made my first piece of the Leafy Glade series with a silver birch leaf and fluorite cubes in grades of colour - the deepest purple to a pale sea green, with lucite Miracle beads in between - these beads are coated on the inside with a special substance, and this seems to make them glow in artificial light - amazing stuff!
Various crystals and garnets were wired to the bail, to provide some movement to the piece.
Tiny, 0.5" long bead caps were fashioned out of wire - and turned three dimensional by bending the petals outwards - hung on extra long stainless steel kidney wires - these are an hypoallergenic alternative to silver, and Hey Presto! Snowdrops! They are pretty, though I say so myself - I would wear them, except my ear lobes cannot take even the slightest weight and tear ever so easily - how I long to wear the chandeliers I make - but instead, just have to look at other people in them and drool over the loveliness of it.
The snow meant that we were voluntarily housebound for four days - well, the weather was so awful, we just stayed in and kept warm. That meant I could hit the pasta machine and play - with clay. I made some 'potato chip' spacer beads - these look like what it says on the tin - potato chips - or for those in the UK - crisps, especially since I made them in a dull gold colour. Just to make it a bit more complicated, I imprinted a stamp on them (and practised what is known as 'Mica Shift' in the polymer clay world), and then figured out how to shine them to a glassy finish without using varnish - I love this medium - so many challenges. I was quite pleased with them when I finished, and put them into a necklace with some roughly faceted black tourmaline.
Apparently, ruffles are the way couture is going in spring ( and now I am a Fashionista?? - is there no end to my madness?? - no, don't answer that!!) and this necklace fits the bill - the polymer clay 'chips' look just like golden ruffles.
Kyanite is such a beautiful, ethereal blue, almost pearly - when put into silver tone jewellery, it has a cold, almost icy effect. I thought I'd try it out with the warmer tones of a copper maple leaf.
As I put the necklace together, I was transported back in time, walking in the grounds of the Abbey, picking and discarding leaves to bring back home to dip in chemicals to bring out their skeletons - and I remembered the bee that had been buzzing around on that sunny morning - almost the last bee of that year, so I decided to add it to the necklace - a wire bee, of course, with gauzy copper wings, that I eventually attached to the bail of the pendant, and threw in a few pressed glass flowers for good measure - a bit of whimsy - and of course I couldn't resist the pun - the necklace is called BEE HAPPY - sorry!
That's me for this week, catch you later, same time, same place
Hello folks, I hope you have all had a good week.
I have been busy at the day job, and picking out a present for my husband - he has just had a birthday, and we have a wedding anniversary later on this month. Please forgive me if I go all romantic and soppy on you, but that's the way I'm feeling - I will snap back to the more recognisable snarly, irritable self - he's sure to annoy me soon enough!
So this week its all flowers, and sweetness and light - as I said, do forgive me, it's not often I go soppy like this.
The week started with a bunch of coral tear drop beads I teamed up with some really bright red and green Nepalese Yin Yang beads - when I first had the Nepalese beads, I wondered what on earth I would do with them - they were that bright - but nestled in the middle of this Lei, or garland, they look very much at home.
A Haku (Hawaiian) is a braid - I got this from Wikipedia, in the process of researching my coral Lei. In my heightened state of hopeless romanticism, I thought this was soooo sweet (sick bucket, now, quick ) so I thought I'd share this with you.
Haku mele - to braid a song. A song composed out of affection for an individual is considered a lei.
Anyway, the Lei I made is not sickly sweet, fortunately my muse isn't following my mental state, I am lucky in that, if nothing else!
Of pomegranate studded fish and love - the moon
This is the painting I bought for Mike as a wedding anniversary present. I saw it while browsing idly on Face book - the artist was from Bangalore - I come from there too, so it seemed like kismet that I should find it at a moment when I was at my most romantic (!). I originally thought I'd visit the artist in India, later on this year, but the jewel colours of this painting attracted me so much that I could not resist it. I found her shop on Etsy - here's a link, http://www.etsy.com/shop/youandispelljoy?ref=seller_info and bought it straight away, so that it would be here in time for the day.
This is what the wonderful Kalyani Ganapathy has to say about herself in her profile on Etsy - and I think that exuberance of feeling is well demonstrated in my painting - can't wait to get it back in its new frame - I am sure he will love it too.
More flowers! I have got it bad, haven't I ?? - never mind, this phase wont last too long!
I made another Nepalese pendant oriented necklace, and used some carved coral roses - they are so pretty, and they contrast so well with the bland white howlite beads also in this piece. To add texture and interest, I put in some translucent black crackle agate - I would love to make a necklace of just these beads, but really nice ones are quite expensive, so I just bought a few - maybe one day!
Still on a floral note, but this time, a darker theme ( yes, slowly getting back to normality, then), Nightshade comes from a genus that produces the potato, tomatoes, petunias, gooseberries, aubergines, chili peppers, and tobacco. Deadly Nightshade produces belladonna or atropine which has been used as a poison.
The lovely puffy, faceted onyx squares (which gave me a whole load of trouble - well, I would insist on using what is meant for a bracelet in a necklace, so its really my fault), contrast with the coral roses and turquoise pillars - very showy, and definitely night time jewellery - worn on a cruise perhaps?? - who knows where it will end up!
One more necklace in The Eastern Promise series - I tried this pendant on one or two different strands of beads, and what seemed to be just right for it was a lovely strand of light orange sponge coral cylinders, and some large turquoise beads. The coral is lighter coloured than any I have used previously, a pale orange rather than red, and it struck me that the colour was like a Persimmon or Sharon fruit. I had been hoarding these beads for a while now, and this seemed the perfect time to use them - the pendant was so large, it needed to be balanced with a multi strand necklace, or one with chunky beads. When finished, the name Persimmon Poetry just came to mind - and stuck - so here it is .......
And finally, I decided to go back to wire wrapping a cabochon - with a simple neat wrap - the kind that attracted me to wire work in the first place - I just wanted to see if I could do it again, after all the wild and woven stuff I have got used to making - this piece is simple and sweet, but I couldn't resist twisting the square wire and making loops around the cabochon with the addition of tiny green aventurine beads, like little planets surrounding the sun. The cabochon is a green and black druzy, and is very pretty - a very soothing shade of green.
That's as much as I have had time for this week folks, thanks for stopping by, see you next week, same time, same place
Thank you to all the ladies - and a gentleman, who bought stuff in the Caprilicious Boxing Day Sale - strangely, most of the people who decided to get a piece of Caprilicious were from the USA - your stuff will be with you soon after this blog comes out - and I am sure you will love your chosen pieces. I know people have spent a lot of money at Christmas time - presents and entertaining, and travelling, but a nice piece of jewellery is something to lift your spirits, and I hope Caprilicious can do that for you.
I have been researching Trade beads this last week - they were known as African money, and were used as currency for goods, services and even slaves. They were used by European explorers instead of money, and a lot of them were made in Venice from glass. The African people were thought to love them as decorations for their attire and in jewellery, and of course, this love of colour and adornment was exploited thoroughly and ruthlessly by early visitors who exchanged glass beads for ivory, slaves, gold and other commodities. As making Millefiori is part of attempting to be a polymerista ( I don't consider myself one yet- a trainee maybe!!), I took it on myself to make some chevron beads. I found a tutorial on the internet from the multi talented Desiree McCrorey, and modified it to suit my requirements - and I think for a first attempt at this technique, made quite a creditable job of it.
A complex cane of different colours was constructed as per the instructions in the tutorial, and covered over with a transparent layer of green coloured clay - so far, so good. Then the beads were cut, rolled smooth, and cured - even better! Now for the pain in the proverbial - sanding - every bead had to be sanded smooth under water with five varying grits of sandpaper - finer and finer each time, and then with Micro mesh cloths - ever finer and finer, till the last cloth felt like there was no grit in it at all - apparently, this one is used to polish the wind shields of aeroplanes! A lot of the green/ transparent layer was sanded off, to reveal the stripy lines of the cane within.
Fortunately, I recently moved all operations from the kitchen to my 'studio' ( Ooh la la, aren't we getting grand!) and the mess there was semi contained - at least it was not in Mike's way - he has been very patient so far, but I know not to overstretch the limit of his forbearance - things could get explosive - you can't keep a man from his kitchen especially when he is chief cook and bottle washer!
And then, for the buffing wheel - the beads are so small, the wheel kept snatching them out of my hands and flinging them halfway across the room, leaving a gouge mark on the bead, which I then had to buff out again - what a load of fun! Without this bad boy, I would have to have used the Dremel, and that would have taken ages - even longer than this little lot! I moved it into an alcove, rather than have it on the table, facing the stained glass window - Yikes! - the consequences of a bead flung at the window doesn't bear thinking about.
So finally, with a lot of swearing and huffing and puffing, I produced twelve beads - two hours to roll out the clay and make the beads -and almost five hours to sand and polish them! I was reminded of the time I used to play badminton as a child - the main exercise was from picking the shuttlecock up off the floor when I missed the shot, which was most of the time - I hadn't learned to swear back then, being a good little Indian girl - my, how things change!
Real, antique chevron beads
Anyway, I hope you will all agree from this picture , that my beads look like chevron beads (please agree, oh, please, please agree) and that they shine like glass - that, they most definitely do! I am my harshest critic, and even I have to grudgingly agree that my beads are most definitely usable. I still have some of the cane left, and when I make another batch, I will shave off some more of the green with a knife prior to curing them - and so reduce the five hours of sanding and buffing and picking the beads off the floor...... to possibly, two!
But still, I like the beads, and that's reward enough, for now.
I started to put together a few necklaces this week. Of course the Nepalese pendants had to get a first look in - I have been collecting gemstone bead components with this day in mind for a couple of months - now, finally it is time to introduce them to each other, and arrange their marriage - hooray!
Coloured powders sold in a market at Holi
Holi is the Indian festival of spring. It is a riotously colourful celebration, full of dance and song, and people fling coloured powders in the air and anoint each other with daubs of colour to celebrate the coming of spring.
Of course, by the end of a hard days celebration, the revellers look bedraggled and dirty, and a lot of them are p!££** as newts, but are very smiley, happy, tired people.
As the days are now getting longer, spring will soon be here - after the holiday season is over, this is the thought that keeps us going through the grey days of January and February. Already, the daffodil shoots are poking up out of the hard ground in my garden.
My necklace was made in the colours of Holi, with an artisan- made Nepalese pendant, and dyed mother of pearl shell beads in jewel colours, with a few accents of coral, turquoise and Czech fire polished beads. The beads came all jumbled up on a string, and I spent ages separating them out into little piles of exploding colour, and I am glad I did, as it simply made the colours pop in the necklace.
It took me a while to get a decent photograph of my new creations, with so little sunlight about, and very little time due to the demands of the day job. I decided that some of my old pictures were rubbish, so I retook them as well. When I finished, I had a large pile of colour sitting at one end of the living room, and when a ray of sunlight fell on it,the colours shone like a glass picture in a kaleidoscope.
With the next Nepalese pendant, I used some amber beads - amber is pine resin which can be many years old, and contains fragments of the hapless creatures that perished when they got stuck to it, when it was still soft and newly dripping from the tree. The colours are so pretty, they remind me of the toffee my mother used to make when I was a child.
A third pendant got a coral heishi ( pronounced hee-she, as in hee - haw! ) bead necklace, with brushed silver tone accents.
I got a bit 'over - pendanted', and made a piece without one - I used some lapis chunky nuggets, with extremely pretty, and colourful, orange jade beads - a few silver tone accents, and it was done - the clasp was meant to sit to one side as a focal, but it didn't seem right, so I cut it up and started again, this time, putting it where clasps are usually - at the back of the neck - it seems such a shame though, to have something so pretty where it is not visible - the wearer will just have to present her back to people and wear her hair up - or simply revel in her secret.
Named for the orange of the jade beads, henna is a plant whose leaves when crushed give out lawsone, a burgundy organic compound that has an affinity for bonding with protein. Lawsone is primarily concentrated in the leaves, and is released more quickly when in contact with a mild acid such as lemon juice. The Henna paste is piped onto the skin like icing on a cake, in what is basically a Zentangle pattern, and when it dries and is washed off, it leaves a deep orange stain, which lasts until the skin exfoliates. I have added a video of such an application, for anyone who may be interested.
My pièce de résistance this week is a piece entitled NIGHTFALL. It is made with onyx squares which are actually meant to be wired together for bracelets - the beads have two holes each. After a lot of tweaking, cussing and manipulating the engineering, I made a necklace using turquoise spacer beads, and added a showy Nepalese triangular pendant, and some pipe shaped turquoise beads - a contrast of shapes and colours that is very very stand outy ( for want of a better word).
I am quietly pleased with my little collection of necklaces this week, they are different, and colourful - I would wear them!
That's all for this week folks, have a good week and I'll see you same time, same place next week
Happy New Year to all of you, my readers. Now that we have survived the end of the world, we'd better make a good fist of it - so, onward and upwards we go!
One of my presents from Santa was a book about Salvador Dali - I love the wackiness of the man - he even created some pieces of jewellery - he treated them as mini sculptures, which of course is what they are - and I thought I'd share a few pictures of my latest inspiration with you.
Mine of course, was made out of wire, an aventurine bead for the green iris and a couple of crystals. It is called JEALOUSY- the green eye lending itself readily to the title - and of course, the crystal tear drop -there are plenty of tears associated with that particular emotion!
It is to be worn as a pendant, although it can easily be converted into a pin. I didn't think anyone would want to wear it on an eye patch, that might just be going a little, teeny weeny bit too far! The pendant is made out of two long pieces of wire, bound by another extra long, slender wire. Fun to make, although extremely fiddly, all those wires wanting to go every which way but where you want them to!
I picked up a two foot length of copper enamelled non tarnish wire and made a Chinese PIPA knot which I embellished with beads - it was so pretty, I made another and paired them into earrings. I love Chinese knots, but they are very difficult to put together - sometimes the instructions sound like they are in double Dutch. I would love to find someone who could teach me on a one to one basis, but in the meantime, these are what I can do ..............
I read up on the history of knot making in China, essentially a folk art. When I was there, every gift, every wine bottle, came with a tag made of knotted cord. Wire of course is another entity altogether - it stays put when bent into a shape - but if bent into the wrong shape - OMG!- near impossible to tidy up invisibly, so..... practice, practice, practice is the key.
..........endless and repetitive pattern evokes one of the fundamental truths of Buddhism and the cyclical nature of all existence. In essence, knot work serves to create an atmosphere of well-being, good luck and health, longevity and harmony. As gifts, they are emotional, sentimental, and are often keepsakes between lovers and friends.
Waresa, or to give her her full name - Mbaba Mwana Waresa is the Zulu goddess of rain, rainbows, and is credited with the invention of the fermentation process and therefore, beer!! (probably a cooking experiment gone wrong or a long forgotten drink taken out of the cupboard and served to her menfolk inadvertently) - my kinda Goddess!!
This pendant, also a wire knot, was affixed to a copper frame which was embellished with tangled fine black wire and silver lined seed beads to resemble raindrops. A beautiful lapis lazuli faceted oval sits in the middle of all of this. I hung it on a leather thong, embellished with copper wire curls at each end. This is a large but light piece, and can easily be worn with jeans and a jacket during the day, or on bare skin, at night. For some reason, I seem to have gone all tribal on me - but I just go where my beautiful muse takes me - I'm easily led!
After the holidays, I received a little parcel with a little rectangular piece of labradorite in it - the colour of the piece captivated me, and it went straight into this pendant. The stone is surrounded by ruby quartz beads, and copper wire lace, both the pendant and the lace resemble the sea foam - Aphrodite, of course was the Greek goddess of love, who was born out of the sea foam -and she was known to be a beauty by all that looked on her.
This was meant to be a 'take a break, have a Kit Kat' period - but I am absolutely bonkersly obsessed - wire, beads and tools attach themselves to my ankles as I walk by, begging to be joined together in holy matrimony - hence all the little bits of jewellery that are on these last few blogs - only to keep the whine of the beads quiet. Now, I am left with a little pile of pendants and earrings that have been photographed and set aside, and will have to find a place to put them away before they get stomped on by a galumphing husband or eaten by a hungry cat! These are a few earrings I made - as you can see, I made simple dangles on frames I bought earlier, and then the wire wanted in on the act, so I had to wrap some more crystals around the edges - pretty, though.....
So, this is what I made in my 'rest' period - I have been itching to get my hands on some of the beautiful gemstone beads I bought, and Nepalese pendants - I have at least six of those, and learn a new modern style of wire work from a lady called Lilian Chen and... and.... and... - there will not be enough hours in the day for all that I want to do, and all I have to do at the day job - it certainly promises to be a lot of fun. Do stay with me through the year, wont you, and I will do my best to entertain you.
See you same time, same place, next week