Hello readers, wish me bon voyage, won't you? It is always fabulous to set off on a mission - I am very excited because I am going to meet some of my blog readers for the very first time in the next few weeks, as well as a whole bunch of old firends. Jewellery making and blogging has brought some very diverse individuals into my life - I would never have dreamt of meeting them had I stayed in the normal, regular gynaecological furrow I was treading. It has been a wonderful journey into unknown lands and mixed metaphors and I am enjoying every minute of it.
By Maya Angelou's standards, I haven't aged very much - but maturity??
As you know, Ms Muse went off on holiday last week, but after a couple of days of watching TV without picking up my pliers, I began to feel bereft - so I set myself a challenge. I would make earrings with silver wire - two or a maximum of three lengths of wire would be allowed to create each piece, with as many beads as were required.
The thicker length of wire would form a frame for the earrings, and the other would be a fine binding wire. The second part of the challenge required that there would be no wastage of wire at all - measurements had to be absolutely precise.
I hate weighing and measuring - even my cooking is done using 'pinches' of this and that, so this was always going to be the hardest part of the challenge, which is why I allowed myself a third piece - just in case I fell short of binding wire.
The last two are not silver, but made using handmade lampwork beads that I simply had to use up - they have been looking at me reproachfully for ages as I bypassed them in favour of other beads, and I couldn't resist those wistful sighs any more.
So, whaddya think, Ms Muse?? Put that in your pipe and smoke it! Just proves I can do it by myself if I need to, although it is so much easier with her at my side.
A local chain of hobby stores, Itsy Bitsy in Bangalore has arranged for me to do a little workshop in two of their outlets. I have shopped there in the past and found it to be a very pleasant experience.
They have an unbelievably wide range of products - I wish they'd been around when I was growing up - my sister (who is the creative one in our family) and I would have bought up a storm in that store - we do now, when we visit Bangalore.
When the workshop was originally mooted, the idea was to teach the basics of using polymer clay, as that is one of their newest range of products. Unfortunately, that didn't quite work out, probably for lack of paraphernalia such as ovens. Instead, I will be doing a little workshop on how to make a necklace, a bracelet and a pair of earrings, using findings and beads from their store. Having never done this sort of a thing before, I am quite excited - I have written a little hand out for my 'students' and am looking forward to spending a day at Itsy Bitsy.
I would have loved to do a polymer clay or wire workshop - perhaps next time. It will be nice to cut my teeth on something simple.
I'm off now, leaving on a jet plane. The taxi's waiting, he's blowing his horn...
Catch you next week - same time, same place (ish!)
Now that the 'Falalalalala' season is over, my muse asked for a break - I suppose she deserves it. After all she has served me faithfully for the last three years, toiling away beside me without so much as a day off, helping Caprilicious become the entity that stands before us today. So, 'off you pop' I said. I even helped her pack a case, and agreed to drop her off at the bus stop. She's meant to come back in six week's time, soon after I get back from my own holiday - but who knows whether she will keep her word. Ms Muse knows that if she doesn't come back of her own accord, I will find her and bring her back, even if I have to send the local troglodyte to drag her home by her hair. Oh, she'll sulk and be unhelpful at first, but I'm sure I can wheedle her into behaving herself soon enough.
I spent a lot of time packing earrings this week - what a painful procedure. They had to be catalogued and priced, attached to earring cards and then put into a shoebox that would allow them to be carried safely in my luggage - of course, I had to buy some shoes (only three pairs) first, just so I would have enough shoeboxes!
The problem with earrings are earwires! The irritating little so and so's won't stay in one place, slipping off the card just when you think everything is fine and the job is all done - I spent ages and ages looking for one of a pair of earrings, only to find once I'd made up the pair, that yet another one had gone missing, and so on, ad nauseum!
Kidney shaped ear wires and leverbacks are the worst - they will not lie down quietly, are too big to lie flat in a box, and generally wriggle out of their fastenings within minutes of fixing them onto a card. Was I fed up by the end of it all! Unfortunately they are too pretty to leave behind, or that's what I'd have done with the ornery critters.
Mike and I spent a night on his birthday last week at Coombe Abbey in Coventry - it was a Cistercian Abbey in the 12th century and is now owned by Coventry City Council and the 'No Ordinary Hotel' group. We had a lovely meal and got to spend a night in the Lady Craven Room using a saved up gift voucher - talk about ostentatious splendour! - it was dripping with baroque features, rococo accents, gilding, mirrors, antique furniture, wall panelling, chinoiserie, plaster roses, a four poster bed on a raised plinth with silk curtains and swags, and a light at the apex of the drapes - I needed a step ladder to get into it, twenty foot high sash windows, a deep bath that we had to use to get us warm in the draughty room - I felt like I was in the story of the Princess with the Pea, with one twist - there was no pea, but I spent the night looking for it, because I was so sure there had to be one.
They served us a fabulous breakfast and we came back to our very down to earth, very warm home with the greatest pleasure, after a walk around the grounds which are very lovely indeed. It was lovely to be pampered and waited on, wined and dined, but there's no place like home.
I wondered what Cistercian monks would want with a room like that - they're meant to be spartan characters, right?? I did a bit of research when I got back and it turns out that the monastery was closed down by Henry VIII, when he attempted to convert the country from Catholicism to the Church of England, which he established just so he could divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. Coombe Abbey was a hostage to lurrrve, ( or even good old fashioned lust) then. It was then handed to the Earl of Dudley as a gift and eventually made it's way into the hands of Coventry City Council - how have the mighty fallen!
Ms Muse asked me for some holiday spending money - well, I made her work for it - fair's fair, eh??
This necklace was named so because all the elements happened to be on my table at the same time - I didn't have to search through my stash at all - Ms Muse had an easy time of it as it seemed to fall together through happy happenstance. Clay beads, green howlite, Picasso glass and pewter - they seemed to be made for each other.
Forget Me Not
This was a pendant I made earlier, from a polymer clay cane inspired by the beautiful little forget me not flower. Ms Muse quickly whipped out a Kumihimo braid I had made earlier and put the two of them together. I thought the two of them went quite well together, especially with the wire bail I devised, and the wire end caps for the Kumihimo Braid to match.
Well, I'm sure you'll agree with me when I say this was all too easy - how hard can it be to pick out a bunch of stuff that is already made or lying around, waiting to be put together. I felt I wasn't getting my pound of flesh, so Ms Muse had to come up with the earrings below - now, that's singing for your supper - or your holiday spending money!
Czech glass neon teardrop beads were teamed with pewter spacers to make these bright and pretty earrings. They will go to my exhibition - it might not exactly be the right time to put them up on the website just now in the pale UK weather - however, people do go in search of winter sun, and these would be perfect for sunseekers.
And with this, I waved her goodbye, with a little sniff and a tear - I just hope she comes back willingly and on time - I hate it when people don't keep their promises.
I will however, keep the blog going and you can read all about the madness and mayhem that is sure to ensue with the preparations for the exhibition, and it's aftermath. Perhaps I will even make a few items of jewellery without Ms Muse by my elbow, who knows?
Have a great week, and catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, thank you so much for joining me on the blog today. I have been ever so busy over the last couple of days packing away all the jewellery I intend to show at my exhibition - I'd rather do it now, when I have the time and am in a calm frame of mind, than at the last moment, as I did last time. However, to be fair to me, the decision to have the show last year was taken at the last moment, so I just threw everything into a suitcase and hoped for the best - not a good way to chillax while on holiday, I can assure you.
Please consider yourselves invited to my exhibition, if you are in Bangalore on the 6th or 7th of February. Come up and talk to me - I would love to chat with you. Please tell your friends in Bangalore as well - Caprilicious could do with the support. If you are thinking of making a trip to Bangalore, why not kill two birds with one stone and make your trip at the time when I am around - I would love to see you.
I've been so exhausted with all the packing that I haven't actually had time to make much in the way of jewellery this week. A friend of mine in Mumbai bought a necklace, but wanted it altered, and a bracelet and earrings made to go with it, so I remade the jewellery to her specifications. In my opinion, statement jewellery should really be worn singly - each piece stands alone quite easily, but hey, she's the customer - and the customer is always right!
And then of course, I played with wire, which is my fall back/go to plaything of choice. I was watching my kittens play with a ball, and made what I thought was a reasonable facsimile of a stylised cat. When I showed it to Mike, he thought it was a chameleon!! I was shocked speechless - and that only happens once in a very long while, so he made the most of that phenomenon.
I was so surprised by his lack of imagination that I didn't even name the piece -and ended up just calling it 'Cat Playing with a Ball' as if it were a painting by an old master. I still think it looks like a cat - what do you say??
I had two strings of nuggets of Lodolite Quartz - this gemstone comes all the way from Brazil. A friend of mine was sorting through my bead stash when she came across them and went into raptures - apparently Lodolite quartz, also called Landscape or Garden quartz has inclusions of many colors and types, often having the look of gardens, landscapes, or underwater scenes. It is a stone associated with intense spirituality and meditation. It is thought to bring strong healing energies and is used mystically to increase ESP - and is also known as the 'Shaman's dream stone'.
My friend took one of the strand's of Lodolite off me, and pleaded that I made up the other strand into a finished piece - to her mind it was nothing short of a criminal act to keep it locked away in my stash.
Oh well, who am I to argue with someone who makes such an impassioned plea to release the spirituality bubbling out of the Shaman's Dream Stone?
I put the lodolite with an amethyst geode, which itself is said to have many beneficial metaphysical attributes - but above all, is very beautiful. Now the necklace is ready to go out to someone who was meant all along to own and love it, and receive it's mystical powers. I wonder who that will be??
I spent my evenings slumped in front of the telly, exhausted from all the packing and a few pairs of earrings appeared from the lengths of wire I idly played with. I didn't bother to list them on my website - I thought I'd just put them towards the exhibition. Out of habit, I photographed them and when I showed them on Facebook, to my great surprise, two pairs were snapped up within the first ten minutes. The triangles were inspired by a design by Nicole Hanna, and the other two by a design by an Indonesian friend, Corinne.
Mike has a birthday this week and we're off to stay at Coombe Abbey - someone kindly gave us a voucher for a night's stay and I've saved it up towards the birthday celebration. I'll tell you all about it next week.
That's it folks, that's all I had time for. Stay warm and dry, have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers, and a Happy New Year to you all, and the warmest wishes for love, beauty and fabulousness in 2015. Everyone else has wished you peace and good health, right - but I'd like to add a wish for a soupçon of fabulousness - the quality that brightens up your life and adds a bit of zing- us Caprilicious women need that!
Having been on call on New Year's Eve, I relaxed the next day by playing with clay without any intention of actually producing anything. I just kneaded and rolled and made snakes - just like being a child with plasticine - until I decided to try out the box of coloured chalks that had been delivered to my door just before Christmas. I was inspired to use chalk on polymer clay by a number of artists - it seems to be the latest fad, but no one actually says how they do it - perhaps it is a trade secret.
I coloured the clay discs I cut out with a background pigment, and then added tiny amounts of a contrasting colour - I loved the effect so much, I spent a while ensuring that the pigment stayed attached to the clay.
I tend to take photographs as I go along when I am claying just as an aide-mémoire in case I want to make the same thing again - and to show you part of the process that goes into making Caprilicious Jewellery. I know that quite a few people are curious about the 'how', from the questions I get.
And then I thought, why not put together a mini tutorial?? There were loads of times I would have been exceedingly grateful for a little instruction that helped me to make a cogent piece of jewellery - so it is for beginners I wrote this mini tutorial. I know that a few very experienced clayers sometimes read my blog - it is not my intention to introduce grannies to eggs.
The pigment adheres to the clay if liquid clay is painted onto the clay discs before curing them - this is an alternative way, but it will not give you the shiny and deep effect in the earrings above. However, this method is pretty too and I made some earrings using it.
I play this clip from this unlikely couples' concert in Brussels - you'd never have dreamt of saying Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga in the same breath a few years ago now, would you - yet here they are making sweet music together, and revelling in it. I watched this concert, and loved it so much, I bought the CD - and my motto for this year is.... you guessed it, ANYTHING GOES!!
The Caprilicious women amongst you - and I hope that's most of my readers - will have already recognised that anything does indeed go. Art jewellery is just that - art you can wear - and should be accessible to everyone.
Just to show you what's out there - exciting and new in the use of new materials, I put together a montage for you - click on them to go to their respective websites.
When I last spoke to my mother I asked her what she thought - and she said that although she might not buy my stuff (!) because she's been brought up to buy precious metals, she enjoys the work I put into my pieces, be it wire or polymer clay - now, how diplomatic was that - for someone who's usually as blunt as the back of a knife!
On reflection, I think my mom might be quite pleased with what I make if she took a look at some of these!! I however, want to go as avant garde as I dare - and have been discussing playing with concrete. The concrete isn't bought in a builders yard - it is jewellery grade and doesn't chip. Watch this space...
This is what Nicole Hanna has to say on the subject of 'perception'
When someone says to you your artistry is not real… it’s not “real” wire wrapping, it’s not “real” jewelry… their perception of what is “real” is based on their limited personal experiences as regards the subject in question, likely bred from a similar situation in which perceived opinions were delivered to them in a similarly negative light.
So there, she said it first!! And I say again - ANYTHING GOES, if you wear it with panache and aplomb!
Pixie People Earrings
I seem to turn to my face cane at regular intervals - this time I made earrings from it. Because all the work went into the actual making of the cane, putting the earrings together was relatively simple and they turned out bright and pretty.
I made another WIngs of Love necklace - I just love those beetle wings - the colour is simply divine. I have enough stock of the wings to make one further necklace - I want to take a couple of pieces to my exhibition as they are not widely available there - something entirely new for the good folk of Bangalore, who I hope will love them - perhaps once they get over their initial squeamishness.
This is a replica of a piece I made earlier with turquoise chip nuggets and pyrite - the pendant is similar too. I try not to replicate my designs, but sometimes I love one so much that if I have similar materials in stock my muse will not move me along in another direction, she forces me to make the same thing over and over.
Having been on call on New Year's Eve, I will be working on the first weekend of the year. I hope to start packing my stock for the exhibition, so that I get some sort of a handle on what I have ready, and what I have yet to put together.
I hope all of you welcomed in the New Year with panache, that a lot of Caprilicious Jewellery was worn, and loads of compliments were had. Do send me photographs if you have any.
Here's wishing you all the best for 2015. Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next week as usual, same time, same place