Hello readers and lovers of statement jewellery, and a Merry Christmas to you all. Caprilicious Jewellery and I are so pleased that that we are in our fourth year together, and welcome once again all the people who joined the Caprilicious woman's club in 2015. We hope that next year will be even bigger and better for all of us - the future is bright, the future is statement jewellery!!
Women no longer want to wear the same type of jewellery that everyone else is wearing. After all, each one of you is unique, and so too should be your jewellery. And I'll go further - each one of your moods is unique and you need to express yourself in a different kind of attire to match your whims and fancies, not to mention the occasion. You need your jewellery and accessories to enhance your outfits - like punctuation marks in a sentence, and that's where Caprilicious and I take every care to ensure that you have it.
What looks like a simple strand of beads might take me a day or two to create: picking out the elements and comparing dimensions, ensuring balance and so on. If I cannot find the beads I have in mind and I have a vision of how I'd like them to be, I may even take the time to attempt to make them myself.
Clasps are sourced from all over the world - I am a clasp junkie and have boxes full of clasps - indeed, if I never bought another one, I'd have enough for a couple of years.
In spite of that, this year I found myself making clasps using my kiln, and wire weaves.
I love to talk about my jewellery and write a proper description of all the elements in the blurb that accompanies the photographs on the website and the Facebook page. And then there's the Caprilicious Jewellery Blog - it has grown so dear to me, as have my readers, some of whom aren't subscribers, but nevertheless read me each week.
So, I've had a lot of fun, and long may it continue. In 2016, I have my show at Raintree, Bangalore, which is in it's third year. I have quite a few followers in Bangalore who write to me each year, asking for the date of my show - for you guys, here's a 'Save the Date' announcement - the show will be on the 12th and 13th of February 2016 at Raintree. I am looking for a venue for a pre exhibition showing - perhaps a mid week cheese and wine event? If anyone wants to help me host one, do feel free to message me.
I love wire and cannot understand it when people say to me that they are 'not fans of wirework' - it smacks of a complete lack of understanding of the processes involved. In actual fact most jewellery is made from either sheet metal or wire - the wire is textured, shaped and soldered to make the jewellery that most people are used to. Wire is soldered onto sheet metal to make a bezel, and to make clasps. When heat is taken out of the equation, as it is in the work that wire artisans do, the whole enterprise becomes tricky, but Oh so interesting. Setting a stone so that it sits there for life, with no chance of falling out (as it sometimes can from a soldered bezel) can be difficult, but is ultimately rewarding.
Imagine a hump backed creature, bent over a lapful of snakes that twist and turn and move of their own free will. 'Oh bu@@&R', the creature exclaims on being almost stabbed in the eye - thankfully wire and beadwork has meant the deterioration of her eyesight so her glasses have saved her from blindness on many an occasion. She grabs at the wire in fistfuls, coaxing each snake into submission, but there's always one that escapes prompting fresh swear words until a blue Beijing fog envelops her from head to foot for a while. And then triumphant, she emerges, clutching the beginnings of what resembles a piece of jewellery - well readers, that poor hump backed creature is me! And while all this is happening, I am also watching TV, and pretending to listen to my husband rant at the politicians on the telly and sometimes even answering him pseudo intelligently! Multi tasking is my forte, these days.
Try grappling with two or three feet of wire - not just one length, but four or five at the same time, keeping them flat and equidistant from one another at all times and you might find it preferable to play in the middle lane of the M6 motorway. However, I love it and find it a challenge - no matter the detractors of wirework, it is such a pleasure when it comes together that it give me such a buzz.
This is what I made during the pre Christmas week. A lovely piece of blue agate druzy, accented with a lapis lazuli bead, wound and woven in miles of wire. The woven torque necklace opens at the front and is easily adjustable.
Have a fabulous weekend folks, and once again, Merry Christmas to you all. I will catch you all next week, same time, same place.
Hiya readers, how nice to find you here again. I have finally recovered from the Artisan Fair at The Old Slaughterhouse and thought I'd tell you all about it.
I thought it was time to give Caprilicious some more exposure in the UK - hand out a few business cards, a bit of banter with a few new customers, and a chance to do something different and step out of the comfort zone of the anonymity of the website - that was the aim of the exercise.
The day dawned cold, raining hard, with gusts of wind at 23 miles/hour. However, I am made of stern stuff, and once committed to something, will make a valiant attempt to see it through. My friend had come up from Cambridge the night before, and we made up a picnic basket with ham sandwiches, boiled eggs, crisps, and cans of pop, and by God we were going to have that picnic, even if it was more than slightly soggy.
Wrapped up like Eskimo mummies in fleece lined Ugg boots, many layers of clothing, scarves, wrist warmers and mittens, we resembled Michelin men bouncing off one another in the tiny marquee - and thank goodness we took these precautions as the temperature in the 'heated' marquee was abysmal on the first day. They had a few electric heaters that kept cutting out, and within a few hours we were frozen to the marrow and my poor hands were turning into claws worthy of the metal birds on the stall to my right! The ambient temperature was 4 degrees C, but with the 23 mph gusts of wind, it felt more like minus 4! I thought I could hear Mike muttering 'another fine mess.....', but no, he manfully helped me set up, and then went off for a brisk walk to warm up, pouncing on unwary people innocently wandering around Stratford town, handing out leaflets advertising the artisan market.
Next to my little stall was a tiny woman, all of 4'6", who made metal sculptures of animals. She had about six pieces on display, and she said she didn't expect to sell anything. She sat there, smiling serenely, attracting a lot of attention - her birds were beautiful, although the two large hares in her display looked extremely malevolent and had scrawny necks, as if they had been wrung in preparation for the pot. Each hare cost £2000 and she said she mainly sold her stuff through galleries, and was only there because she had a commission from the Old Slaughterhouse to make them a life sized metal cow.
Then there was the chap who had brought his girlfriends wares to the market as she was unwell - she makes mixed media figurines with lace and fabric soaked in an acrylic medium. The fabric is draped into position and fashioned into angel's wings, headgear and clothing for various figurines. When the acrylic medium dries, it goes stiff in the position in which it is placed. The figurines were elongated which gave them a look as if they had been tortured on a rack and consequently a bit of a tormented, lugubrious air, but he was a hardy soul - he remained standing for the whole of the two days, and stayed reasonably cheerful even though he made very few sales.
To my left was Anya, a painter who makes fantasy paintings from pictures of her holidays and sells signed and framed giclee prints. She went to great lengths to tell me haughtily that she didn't do fairs really, only sold at galleries, but she just thought she'd come along to this one. I of course, was suitably humble as befitted someone who was a new entrant into the artisan market enterprise and metaphorically kissed the hem of her jeans. Her son was a lovely young lad, and by the end of the second day, we were chatting away like good friends.
Anya's prints are very colourful and a bit Lomoish and if I had any space left on my walls, I might have considered buying one. I have linked the picture to her website in case you want to see more of her work.
There was also a lady who made pretty pots and another who had paper lanterns, a woman who sold knitted necklaces made of T shirt fabric, a photographer of landscapes, and an art gallery that was exhibiting a medley of wares with a bunch of stuff that seemed to have no connection to one another - possibly because they were all by different artists, in varying media!
It was cold, readers, it was very, very cold, and just when it felt like I was going to pass out, a bunch of musicians arrived to play Christmas carols. They started off well, until a flautist joined them, and then everything went to pot. The flute and the violin fell out with one another, and the sounds the violin made were approximately two and a half notes (and three beats) behind the flute. One of the ladies in the marquee took both her hearing aids out with a flourish, my friend went off for a long walk into Stratford town, Mike went out for a cuppa, and I collapsed in a fit of hysterical silent laughter behind my display.
My cats could have put on a more creditable performance and indeed, they do from time to time, just not to the putative tune of Good King Wenceslas. The poor deluded band leader had a smile plastered on his face, ( I wondered whether he had turned his hearing aid off too) and when they had finished (Hallelujah!) he asked if they could all have a coffee and a free mince pie, and off they toddled to receive their wages of sin.
I sold quite a few bits and bobs, chatted to a whole load of folks, handed out business cards and helped a lot of people chose Christmas presents for their loved ones. I met a Jesus lookalike in a beret, who was originally from Melbourne. He bought a pendant from me after asking for a long explanation as to how exactly it was made. By the time I'd finished my potted tutorial, he could have probably gone home and made one himself!
I asked him who it was for and he told me that he was separated and dating again. He was buying the pendant just in case he got lucky this Christmas. "Who knows??" he said, hopefully. I added a beautiful Indian cloth bag with a gold paisley border so that he wouldn't need to spend any time searching out festive packaging and could concentrate all his energies into finding and wooing a lady friend. He was a nice chap, and I wish him all the best in his endeavours.
Day two was much better, the heating had been sorted out, the wind that howled around the marquee threatening to lift it off it's moorings had died down, and we could even take some of our swaddling clothes off.
We had had to pack everything away overnight and put it all back up again, which wasn't much fun as I had loads of earrings to set out, but it was all done in record time and I was good to go by eleven o'clock. I sold a couple of pairs of earrings in the first ten minutes, so it was worth the effort.
The flautist returned, this time sans flute, but with a harp and gave a good account of herself, and even better the violinist stayed completely shtum while she played.
All too soon, it was time to pack up and I realised that I had quite enjoyed myself, despite the cold and the caterwauling. I had to get ready to go back to work on Monday morning, to a two hour IT training session first thing and I was exhausted and slumped in front of the TV every evening for most of the week.
Since then, a couple of people who bought jewellery from Caprilicious have emailed me to say that they had originally meant the pieces to be presents, but had decided to keep them for themselves as they had fallen in love with the jewellery, which is nice to hear.
I should have done a craft fair earlier on in the year, well before Christmas. Indeed, I did book a show in Leamington Spa with IK Events - the lady who ran the event company, Isobel Newport, disappeared with the money we paid her and closed her company. I now find that she has set up yet another company to run a carnival in Worcester in 2016 - if she repeats her performance with IK Events in her new venture, I predict egg on a lot of faces in the Worcestershire region. Anyway, that's another story.
This is the only piece I made this week - I called it Purple Reign after the amethyst beads, and the purple Czech glass rectangular beads. The electroplated quartz needles are a dull gold, so the whole piece has a muted bling factor, rather than being 'in your face'. Garnets and paler amethyst beads give the necklace added interest and the pendant is a hand carved black jade Buddha - he was once a prince called Siddhartha, who renounced all his worldly goods to seek Nirvana.
A handmade chain with a hook clasp means that the necklace can be adjusted into the neckline, and has a leeway of about four inches. Wear it long or closer to the neck, this one's a goodun - I know many a lady who will look fabulous in it.
That's it for this week folks. I need to wrap all my Christmas presents this weekend - I've been too busy with the show to do any of it apart from the little tree we have up in our porch - I do like to make an effort, albeit small. Mince pies need to be baked (Oh, the calories, groan!!) and I still have to unpack the boxes from the fair. Oh well, it ought to keep me out of mischief for one weekend at least!
Catch you next Friday, same time, same place. have a wonderful pre Christmas week
Good morning readers, as you open the Caprilicious Blog this morning, I am frantically getting stuff together for the Artisan Market tomorrow. This is the first time I have taken Caprilicious to a fair in the UK and I most definitely have butterflies in my tummy. One of my friends is kindly coming up from Cambridge to help me on the Saturday and hopefully all will be well. Do spare a thought for me tomorrow, and if you can come up and see me. As I said last week, introduce yourselves as readers of this blog, and I will give you a 15% discount - a kick start to your Christmas shopping!
Aida is an opera by Giuseppe Verdi. Set in Egypt, it was first performed at Cairo's Opera House in 1871 and continues to be a staple of the standard operatic repertoire.
As the story goes, the Egyptians capture and enslave Aida, an Ethiopian princess. An Egyptian military commander, Radamès, struggles to choose between his love for her and his loyalty to the Pharaoh. To complicate the story further, the Pharaoh's daughter Amneris is in love with Radamès, although he does not return her feelings. And on goes the triangle that is the basis of many a love story.
Coptic crosses are influenced by the Ankh, the symbol of eternal life - the Coptic Christian religion follows the Gospel of Mark and broke away from mainstream Christianity due to theological differences.
Modern coptic crosses incorporate the ankh, circles representing divinity and the resurrection, and the lotus flower, another important symbol in pagan Egypt, relating to creation and resurrection because of the way the lotus appears to emerge from water in the morning and descend in the evening.
The cross I have in this colourful necklace comes from Ethiopia and I teamed it with hand carved jade beads, chunks of waxy orange carnelian and colourful African seed beads in a necklace of many strands, all carelessly tousled into an attractive and messy necklace - I was trying for the inarticulately articulate look, and I hope I have achieved it.
Forever in Blue Jeans
An old favourite, Neil Diamond with Forever in Blue jeans on Jools Holland's show - he has aged well and thankfully is performing in his blue jeans rather than the awful spray on tight trousers he used to wear until not so long ago.
I was flicking through some of the wirework books I have in my little library, and I found a piece by Lisa Barth that I liked. Having made it before, I decided to up the level of difficulty by putting the stone at the end of a torque necklace and instead of attaching it at the end, I started with the pendant which meant that I had what seemed like miles of wire flailing about all over the place until I put my ring clamp to good use, helping me to hold the wires together.
I love the torque style that curves around the neck and can instantly be made bigger or smaller by moving the ends.
Wish me well and spare me a thought over the weekend. I hope it won't be too cold, and the weather will play nicely, unfortunately these are all variables that can make or break a weekend market in the UK. Have a great week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place
Itchy feet, that's what I have!
Hello folks, nice of you to join me. Yes, as I was saying, it's been a while since I've packed my bags and ventured out to pastures fresh. My next trip will be to India to visit my mother, but that isn't for another couple of months, so I'm having to travel vicariously through Caprilicious. Last week, I was in Rio, and this week I am in Africa, with the Tuaregs. Here are some of the necklaces I made with Tuareg/ Berber tcherot amulets, there have been quite a few of them in the last couple of weeks.
The most striking attribute of the Tuareg is the indigo veil, worn by the men from the age of twenty five, giving rise to the name 'the Blue Men of the Sahara', or 'Men of the Veil'. The women do not veil themselves, and are the boss of the family - good for them!
The Tcherot is an amulet that protects the Blue Men when they cross the desert. This one is made of tooled camel leather, with engraved silver and copper set into it. I added the most colourful beads I could find - polymer clay, coral, fire agate, shell pearl, a couple of lapis lazuli nuggets - anything colourful in my stash, and then added beaded tassels to either side of the Tcherot (just in case it wasn't colourful enough!!). Tiny African trade beads and ceramic beads from India went into the making of the tassels, and at last, I was satisfied.
Escape Arts is a charity enabling adults and young people to become involved in creative projects. They are based at the Old Slaughterhouse, The Yard, Sheep Street, Stratford Upon Avon and are running an Artisan Christmas Market on the 12th and 13th of December. For the love of Caprilicious, I decided I'd brave the cold weather and give it a go - if any of you are down there do come and say hello, I'd love to see you.
In the run up to the market and Christmas, I've made a load of little earrings - if there are any left over after Christmas, I shall upload them onto the website as I haven't photographed them as yet.
With the last little Tcherot amulet I have in my collection, I made a colourful necklace using vinyl trade beads with a splash of even more colour from a couple of polymer clay beads I made earlier. The vinyl beads are in turquoise and mango and as the amulet is small in comparison with the others on the website, I made a three stranded necklace to give it some Oomph!
The Ginkgo Angel
Oh, come on, be fair, it is Christmas! I love the shape of the gingko leaf - I had never come across it until I began to make jewellery. The ginkgo tree is originally from China and is also called the Maidenhair tree. The leaves are bilobed and pretty, and the lady who ran the jewellery school where I went for my classes had a tree growing in her backyard. When it came to making a piece of jewellery with silver clay using a leaf, I picked a ginkgo leaf that had come off the tree. As it was autumn at the time, the leaf was slightly worse for wear, and even had a hole in it - which I thought was part of it's charm.
The pendant was made by painting over the leaf over and over again with liquid clay and drying it between coats. When it was eventually put in the kiln, the leaf burned off along with the binder in the clay, and a perfect 'death mask' of the leaf was left behind. I kept the silver leaf for a couple of years and this year, I added a couple of sterling wire bilobed ginkgo leaves and lo and behold, there appeared an angel in the room ( quite unexpectedly, as is their wont - angels, I mean) - well, the rest is seasonal history! I added coral teardrops and tiny slivers of brilliant labradorite that glint in the light to make this bright and pretty Christmassy necklace.
Over the years, I have made a number of pieces of jewellery with the imagery of ginkgo leaves and I dug out the pictures and compiled a little collage for you.
This little pink crescent moon pendant is from Afghanistan. Teamed with silvery glass beads and a few pink agate beads it make a pretty necklace which can be worn in the neckline of a shirt to make a simple but effective statement.
That's it for this week folks. I intend to spend the weekend packing the pieces of jewellery for the Artisan Market in Stratford on Avon. If you happen to be in the vicinity or fancy a drive into the countryside, do come and say hello. Introduce yourselves as readers of this blog, and I will give you a 15% discount - a kick start to your Christmas shopping!
Catch you next Friday, same time, same place, have a fabulous week,