I love roses - there were so many fabulous rose bushes in my mother's house at one time, and when I moved to the UK, I tried to replicate that garden - alas, I had not factored in their requirement for sunlight, and planted them willy nilly - needless to say, I was a very disappointed rose non - grower! In later years, I took the trouble to study floriculture, and realised that all my borders were in the shade, and roses were never going to do well in my garden - Phew! that was that, at least now I knew what I was doing wrong, I could stop my doomed efforts to have a rose garden. Now I just buy them in Sainsbury's with the weekly shop, and that satisfies my soul. When I set up Caprilicious, I used a picture of roses in all my banners, business cards, Facebook and Etsy shops - I suppose you could say, I overdosed my soul with roses.
I learned to make polymer clay roses and to use them in some very pretty ways. I strung them together in a necklace, wired them into ear cuffs - I put them anywhere I could - it would appear that I made these pieces when I was feeling particularly romantic - a lovely melody, or a sweet gesture from my husband perhaps, would set me to thinking of roses.
In one of these moods, I crafted the Enchanted Garden, which had a contemplative little face set in a rose strewn necklace/collar. A friend of mine saw it and asked if I could make her a bracelet - she will visit me from the USA in August, and I endeavoured to make a cuff bracelet, using a method described by the fabulous Donna Kato. I was given carte blanche with the colours, so made them a bit brighter than the Enchanted Garden.
Donna Kato uses a wire armature cured into the basic bracelet to provide strength and flexibility, and the whole piece is cured on a form. Embellished with the roses and leaves, and when buffed, sanded and varnished, it is good to go!
The final piece is pretty, and both flexible and strong, and I am quite pleased with it. I will finish it off this weekend, and you can have a look at it next week. It needs a bit of paint, and varnish, and I have not had the energy this week - best to do paint work etc when in the mood, or all that effort will be vain and the bracelet will have to be junked!
A Desert Rose is formed in arid desert conditions, when gypsum, selenite and barite form fan shaped crystals in rosettes due to naturally occurring cleavage planes, especially from the evaporation of shallow salt basins.
I saw a picture of these beautiful natural sculptures, and tried to recreate them in wire. I added some leaves and a pod shaped dangling pendant to the rose for added interest, and made a couple more roses to create a pair of extremely simple danglers on long kidney ear hooks.
Sting had this fantastic song called Desert Rose, and I have included it here - but I think he is singing of yet another kind of desert rose!
I promised myself that I would endeavour to make at least one piece of jewellery out of silver, to add to the Caprilicious Silver Collection. Missed the deadline last week, so made two pieces this week, playing catch up with myself. My raison d'etre for jewellery making was to create fantastical pieces out of wire and other components, that were at once wearable, and affordable. Unfortunately, the 'affordable' part of that statement has, so far, precluded the use of silver wire - I use so much wire in my statement necklaces, that at today's prices for silver, they would have to become heirloom pieces. One day, perhaps, but not just yet!
I have had to content myself with the use of pretty, tiny gemstone beads - to my surprise, I find that the smaller the size of the bead, the higher the price is likely to be - and of course small faceted beads cost a bomb! So, I choose carefully, and I find unusual shapes, sizes and colours will that set the Caprilicious Silver Collection apart. I made these earrings with Sterling silver wire, labradorite, peridot and apatite beads, and added a Swarovski crystal dangler - just to lift and brighten the piece. It is light and pretty little piece of jewellery, but, because of the gemstones and their colours, is extremely fetching.
I just realised that I could have my very own fruit bowl - apart from the cherries above, I also have grapes in different colours, and strawberries. Maybe I should aim to make more varieties of fruit and have some sort of display in a hat - what next - oranges and lemons, bananas, pineapples?? - Carmen Miranda, eat your heart out!
I used the same impression mould and four different techniques for four very different pins - I shall let them pick the one they like - and if they like more than one, I shall just have to make some more - after all, what good is a friend who makes jewellery if she can't rustle up an extra bit for you to order, eh?
The gemstones for the centre of the Rainforest Symphony (Mark 2) necklace finally arrived - when I bought the original set, it had four pieces. It took me so long to decide what to do with it, I quite forgot where I got it from. I hunted high and low for another set, but wouldn't you know it - when you look for four pieces, you find sets of three or five, or even seven, or you find four, but in absolutely the wrong colour. In despair, I bought a set of seven, and another set of three, just in case I didn't like the ones that I picked first. In the event, the seven piece set seemed quite nice, and I turned it into quite a nifty little number, even though I say so myself. I just hope the lady who ordered them thinks so too - OK let me be a bit more positive - I am sure she will like - no, love it (difficult, this 'being positive' lark - self effacement is a way of life in the UK!).
That's this week in a nutshell - I hope the weather is better for all of us soon, or summer will soon be over. See you next week,
To go with these I bought some very pretty semi precious gemstones - faceted apatite, carnelian, citrine, tourmaline, labradorite, blue chalcedony - all shiny and so pretty - I am really enjoying this!
One of my earrings is a semi lunar shape, embossed with a design, one in the positive, and the negative on the other. I was thinking of the 'far side of the moon', which we earthlings never get to see - the hemisphere that faces away from the earth, and was first seen by the Soviet Luna 3 probe in 1959. The earth's gravitational force has stopped the moon from rotating, and the far side of the moon was found to be smoother, with fewer craters when finally seen by human eyes, when Apollo 8 orbited the moon in 1968.
Another of my earrings was stamped with a cherry blossom motif, and I added pink jade butterflies and Swarovski pearls. I also made a snowflake shape in two sizes - a pendant with a pair of earrings, which I wire wrapped with sterling silver wire, little coral Heishi beads and Swarovski pearls. A slender sterling silver chain was added to the ensemble, pretty!
I had a couple of tiny enamelled charms, just one of each, so I used them as charms on curb chain bracelets, with tiny gemstones as added charms - pretty everyday jewellery. A motley collection, but I think it is a good start. I intend to make at least one item with silver each week - so I shall be busy - I have to start the enamelling up as well - my kiln awaits me eagerly!
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This is the best jazz rendition of 'That Old Black Magic' I have heard - I know this is one of ole Blue Eyes' famous numbers, but I like this version - have a listen, I bet you agree with me.
I had a faux bone/ ivory leaf - the last but one piece I made before my mother arrived in the UK, and decided to use it with some leaf shaped spacers and black pressed glass beads in a pretty and light necklace. I tried my best to add an asymmetrically placed brightly coloured bead - but for some reason, I was dissatisfied with the result - so in the end I gave up and the necklace is all black and white and silver. I did in the end add a tiny chunk of turquoise - just to confound my Muse - I stamped my foot with a firm hand, and added a molecule of colour - I was going to have some, no matter what! Some earrings appeared in my hands, as I sat in front of the TV with my husband, they have an extra wire loop in the centre, to add to the swaying movement with movements of the wearers head - by that I mean, instead of making it all with one piece of wire, I used two. I was sorely tempted to keep the piece for myself - but I think I enjoy the pleasure people who wear my jewellery get, more than wearing it myself. Anyway, as the designer, I get to test drive it first! - just to iron out any problems and kinks, of course!
So here is the first of my Chinese ox bone offerings - it is now as far from the original as is possible, I think. Anyway, lots of possibilities have opened up, and I will address them as I go along. It is all about engineering, as well as beauty, and is a challenge I will relish.
I had very little time to make jewellery this week, with the last minute flurry of visitors who came by to wish my mother Bon Voyage. I was beginning to have withdrawal symptoms, so I picked up my pliers and tweaked a roll of wire into the one piece made this week under my mothers eagle eye and copious instructions (mostly ignored!).
A short clip of hummingbirds feeding shot in slow motion for the nature lovers amongst you.
Ode to the Hummingbird
is a water-spark,
an incandescent drip
the hummingbird is
I searched the internet for other pictures, and finally shaped my bird - mum's comment was 'hmm, it does look like a bird, all right'.
Of course, when I started, I had no idea what its final shape would take - a pendant, or a brooch perhaps?? The old muse of course, had other ideas and it ended up as one of my favourite pieces of jewellery - a statement necklace!
My mother paints, and was a bit disappointed that my hummingbird didn't look exactly like the picture - I had to explain that the picture was just for inspiration, and that there is no way I could make feathers out of seed beads and wire - I did try though, using Aurora Borealis coated beads, which have a shiny rainbow finish, and shading them, one colour into the other, but a mirror image of the photograph it is not, and never will be.
I made the wings stand proud from the necklace, to give them some dimension, and curved them so the bird appeared to hover over the white jade trumpet flower to which I added red Swarovski crystal stamens and a beaded cap to replicate sepals. Wire leaves and tendrils in non tarnish copper finished the plant off, and the hummingbird was set against turquoise blue and silver electroplated beads to suggest the sky. I wanted to end the piece with a leather necklace, but mother felt something more elaborate was called for after all the effort I had put into the focal piece, so I made a Kumihimo braid in blue and white waxed linen and added spiral bead caps - finally, she agreed that it was 'quite nice'.
I also have a commission to make Rainforest Symphony Mark 2 - one of my Facebook fans says she fell in love with the piece and has asked for a similar one. I have already started to make the rain forest insects for it, while I wait for the gemstones to arrive from Hong Kong - I always think second pieces turn out well, once all the bugs have been ironed out of the first.
Catch you next week folks, have a good one
The Caprilicious Jewellery Blog
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I'm Neena Shilvock, and I'm crazily addicted to jewellery. I've been designing and making quirky and interesting statement necklaces for the last five years and my passion hasn't cooled off one little bit - in fact it has got worse, such that I'm even dreaming jewellery.
I'd love to get to know kindred spirits like you, so drop me a line and I'll get back to you, and who knows, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship. Write to me at jewellerybycaprilicious(at)gmail.com