Hello folks, nice to touch base with you again. I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and Santa was kind to you. We had a quiet one with a couple of friends and we consumed more calories than we normally do in a month. And soon it will be 2017 - hasn't this year just flown by? It seems to me that it was only a short time ago that I was in India and now I will be packing my cases all over again.
I'm only playing this for you because I love the song, it is so catchy - in an act of genius Apple are using it in their latest ad for the MacBook Pro. Enjoy!
With my belly full of food, snoozing like a replete python seemed to be the order of the day. I did play with clay for a while, but my heart wasn't truly in it. I tried to remake the hibiscus I broke last week, but fo some reason I couldn't bring myself to finish the flower, eventually running out of bronze clay and doing a bit of shopping online to replenish my stocks.
I made a little flower pendant and because the petals were shorter than the hibiscus it was infinitely easier to put together. I fired it in the stainless steel pan adding carbon on top once the first firing was done, instead of firing it first on a steel mesh and then moving it to the pan. I didn't want it to meet the same fate as my hibiscus.
Colour Me Beautiful
Because I am addicted to colour, Caprilicious Jewellery is as a consequence colourful and highly visible. I take any opportunity to add a bit of vibrancy to my jewellery and soutache and seed beads have been a fabulous way of achieving this. Seed beads and braids are easily portable and I've been able to sit in front of the telly, sewing away all evening.
I thought I'd make a couple of pendants strung on torque necklaces this week - little projects that weren't terribly time consuming and seemed ideal for a week of festivity.
With the two I made this week, I now have three of these little pendants on non tarnish enamelled copper wire torque necklaces. I really like making the necklaces - they are very strong, thick wire, moulded and hammered into shape. The pendants can be slipped off and the torques used on their own, or with other danglers.
That's me for this week, and this year, folks. See you again in 2017, same time, same place.
Happy New Year to you all, take care and stay safe
Hello readers, and a very Mery Christmas to you all. I hope Santa has put a lot of thought into the presents he is bringing you, especially those of you who are getting pieces of Caprilicious Jewellery.
Life at the day job has been very hectic recently and I'm quite looking forward to the long break over Christmas. I shall lie in, have long bubble baths in candlelight, light a fire and cook roast beef for Christmas lunch with a few friends, eat chocolate and drink champagne (no, that's one step too far!). When my friends have gone, there will be loads of time to play with clay and beads - plus ça change, plus ça même chose!
An Epic Fail - I've Been Humptied!
Last week, I was inspired by previous successes to make clay flowers. I love the pale gold of bronze, and the beautiful play of colours when the pieces come out of a hot kiln after being fired in a closed, carbon filled container at 800 degrees C for two hours. I opened a fresh package of bronze clay which looks just like a mud pie when it comes out of it's plastic wrap, and got started.
I made three flowers - a poppy, a violet/pansy and a hibiscus. Working out the making of the pieces was so much fun and I got carried away with the hibiscus. I fired the two smaller pendants while I lovingly gazed at the hibiscus, stroking the petals sensuously like one would the thigh of a lover, sanding it to remove any irregularities and prettifying it with little shiny cubic zirconia.
Perhaps I knew I was in over my head and that the hibiscus was doomed to fail? Anyway, I prevaricated, telling myself I had to get it perfect before firing it - until eventually I could do no more with it. I came home early from work one afternoon, and my heart quickened - finally, it was time to fire my beauty.
So onto the steel mesh she went, lovingly snuggled up in a fibre blanket, with supports for the petals and pistil that might just go floppy in the kiln.
Just ten minutes in the kiln at 500 degrees to burn off the binder and I brought her out to cool while I raised the temperature in the kiln to 800 degrees C.
When cool enough to touch, I picked her up and put her on a bed of carbon, gently nestling her into it so she wouldn't flop at high temperatures. And suddenly, it happened - crunch! came a little sound, and one of the petals had broken in three. OMG! Oh well, I could take it indoors and fix it, I reckoned. So I sat down with clay paste, trying to fix the hibiscus - unfortunately it was a bit like trying to fix Humpty Dumpty and eventually, the whole thing disintegrated in my hands.
Oh yes, I learned some lessons, and yes, there will be another hibiscus - and I shall persevere till it works. I have kept a photo diary of what I did, and will take pictures again so that when I do get it right, I will know what works, for future reference.
At least I had the two other flower pendants to play with! To stave off the depression that threatened to descend on me after the loss of my beauty, I made two necklaces with them. I sat down with wire and made a couple of clasps to go onto the ends of the necklaces and picked out a few strings of gemstone beads, spacer beads, accents, generally busying myself with putting the elements together for a couple of necklaces. Every now and then a self pitying thought surfaced for having Humptied such a beautiful pendant, but I refused to allow it to overwhelm me and forged on. Here are the necklaces I made.
The little flower could just as easily be a violet as a pansy and the purple agate was interspersed with loads of tiny little colourful gemstone beads, and a little bronze leaf I made earlier dangling from the clasp.
The centre of this flower was purposefully made rough and darkened with alcohol ink. A couple of lost wax cast Kenyan beads pick up the colour of the flower and provide and accent. Along with the blue dyed jade, the necklace looks rather pretty, even though I say so myself. What do you think??
While I spent daylight hours making and refining the flowers including the hibiscus that got Humptied, I sat in front of the telly in the evenings sewing tiny beads and braids around a druzy cabochon and came up with this little pendant hung on a non tarnish copper torque necklace. It looks a lot like a sun, and is rather bright and so named after a Beatle's song, Here Comes the Sun.
That's me for this week, folks. All that's left is for me to wish you a very happy Christmas, and I shall catch up with you next week, same time, same place.
Oh, well, I suppose if I don't do it now, there won't be much point in decking those halls at all! Hello readers, and thanks for joining me. I'll bet you've got it all taped up with presents wrapped and halls decked. We feel a bit Bleah! this year so much so I haven't even bought a single card yet. Soon, I tell myself, but with the postal strike threatened in the UK next week, there mightn't be much point. I have been wrapping presents, though. I've had a flurry of orders from mainland Europe all of a sudden and have been busy wrapping them up and mailing them out.
Last week I spent a day in London at a meeting for work, and once we were done, I thought it would be rude not to go and see the Christmas lights.
My friend wanted to stop off at Fortnum and Mason's and I have to tell you, the fabulous cakes and the heavenly Christmassy smells in the patisserie section were to die for. Just sniffing the air put a few pounds on me ( or that's what I told the Slimming World consultant).
See what i mean?? I didn't eat anything, not a thing, I promise - there was just so much on offer it just blew my tiny little mind!
I came back home, and to keep my tummy from growling at me, I took up an ammonite and started to bead around it as if my life depended on it. As i picked the colours and beads and put the piece together, I decided I'd make a cuff bracelet. I have a little stash of aluminium blanks and some sheets of leather and I used them to make a pretty little cuff bracelet. It is bright and colourful and a statement piece for the arm - arm candy, I think they call it - there you are, I'm back in the food hall again!
The necklace takes it's name from the Ashanti lost wax cast Baule Sun bead that I've been meaning to use for ages but haven't got to. The waxy black agate slab nuggets act as a perfect foil for the bronze sun, and a second string of freshwater pearls adds a contrast. There are loads of little contrasting bright coloured beads to add a splash of colour.
This is the invitation for next years exhibition, folks. Neelam, my friend told me how to do it, but I struggled with converting it from a pdf to a photograph so that I could post it here, however, I got a bit of help from Google and here I am! What do you think?? You like?? I'm hoping the monetary situation improves by the end of January as I'm unable to hire a card reader for love nor money. I've tried so hard but as my business doesn't have an address in India I cannot get one, so will need to deal in paper money , which as you know is in short supply just now in India.
That's me for this week folks, I'd best bestir myself, halls to deck and all that. Presents won't wrap themselves nor will cards get mysteriously written, I'm afraid - no elves in our house! I'm on call this weekend and hopefully it won't be too busy.
Have a great week folks, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hello folks, and how are you today? Everywhere around me I see frantic preparations for Christmas and I feel like I am the only calm person at the eye of a storm that rages madly around me. I have done nothing, yes, nothing towards Christmas, and what's more, am not really bothered about it!
As I type, The Last Temptation of Christ is playing on the telly on silent - there's a very good looking blonde guy in Lagenlook robes stopping a crowd of wild eyed men from stoning a beautiful woman in fabulous jewellery - perhaps they were miffed because they couldn't afford her prices? I assume it's the story of ' cast ye not the first stone - not very Christmassy, is it?
I covet her jewellery - she's wearing some fabulous silver around her neck; and his robes are quite fashionable these days - beige linen layered over a white undershirt, with strappy sandals, very modish! I'm only watching it because it is an unlikely film for Martin Scorcese to direct and all the controversy that surrounded it. Of course, watching it with the sound turned on intermittently isn't helping me much, but the bits that I watched properly haven't exactly been gripping!
The Christmas ads are getting more inventive than ever - this is the cutest one this year - and no, I'm not getting a kickback from John Lewis'.
I've been taking stock of all I've done this year - I've learned to make soutache jewellery and to solder, have made strides in my handling of metal clay although there's a long way to go, reopened my Etsy shop and had a good response and consistent five star feedback from people who shopped there. I opened an Instagram account and taught myself to use it, wrote four tutorials and have been retained by a UK magazine for jewellery makers to write four more next year, and written yet another for an online journal based in the USA to be published in the New Year.
I've continued with wire and polymer clay all year and participated in 3 little shows mainly for charity and one in India, as well as a couple of online auctions. I continue to post my blog on a weekly basis come what may, chronicling my designs. I enjoy writing it, adding music and poetry and little stories to spice the blog up.
The only technique I haven't played with is enamelling - who knows, maybe next year will be when I take it up again. Of course, I work full time, and have been crazy enough to take on the added responsibility of being the Clinical Service Lead and have been recruited to be the Principal Investigator in a national clinical trial, apart from the other daily stuff that goes on.
Before you ask, I have help with the housework, an indulgent husband and do not have any children to run around after. So yes, there's plenty of time to do all these things. I also think that if one has a passion for something, time miraculously appears in the busiest schedule to pursue it.
Making Handmade from Handmade
I'm firmly convinced that this is the way forward for Caprilicious. I love the idea of making my own pendants and clasps and even beads - if Caprilicious is to produce one of a kind jewellery, I will have to go one better than buying in components and assembling a necklace, or worse still, buying in a piece of jewellery and reselling it. Of course, both these endeavours have their merits and can be difficult. After all, loads of people can buy in the same pendant, but come up with different results with the final piece of jewellery - it's all in the way they put colours and shapes together and their own personal design ethic.
With this in mind, I've been putting out tentative feelers for people who might like to collaborate with me - with me making the basic findings and them making the jewellery. It would be a most interesting experiment to see what other people come up with using my components, against what I might make myself.
I have decided to make photo journals as I make my components, as an aide memoire so that I will remember how to remake them if needed. However, I don't really want to make too many of the same piece as then the phrase 'one of a kind' then becomes rather meaningless (and because I have a short attention span and get easily bored). Perhaps these photo journals will be the basis for other tutorials, later on.
The Octopuses Garden
Inspired by the work of Kay Bonitz, I played with my collection of Czech beads and came up with this little pendant. I used up a small collection of orphan dagger beads and eventually a credible pendant arrived on my work surface ( that's a posh term for a bead tray in my lap). I wasn't entirely happy with it as it's a bit untidy at the back, but as a first effort I thought it wasn't too bad, and I wore it to work in the morning. The blues and greens are striking together and I got loads of compliments, and that's why I have the 'cat that's got the cream' look in the photograph!
When last in Morocco we escaped from the craziness that is Marrakesh and slipped away to the beautiful and calm seaside town of Essaouira. The taxi ride there was scary and put hairs on my chest, but we were soothed by the Heure Bleue Palais hotel, which is simply fabulous. In memory of that holiday and in the hope of another in beautiful Morocco, I made this necklace with ornate Moroccan amulet beads and lapis lazuli slab nuggets.
I've been making plans for my annual show in India. My friend who previously helped out with the invitation cards is in the middle of an exciting move to China, but she showed me how to do it myself. I've had a load of fun playing with images and fonts and have come up with my own design. The room at Raintree is booked and hopefully the monetary situation in India eases by February as I am as yet unable to find a company who will provide a card reading machine to a business that isn't registered in India.
That's me for this week, folks. I will be back next Friday, as usual, have a lovely week and I'll catch you same time, same place next week.
Hello good folk, thanks for coming back for a quick sqiz at the goings on at Caprilicious. As always, I am glad to see you. It is very cold outside but as warm as a piece of pie indoors at chez Shilvock, as the heating is turned on full blast.
Instead of finding something to do indoors, Ms Muse is hankering after designs that use soldering and fire power, which is really irritating as all those bits and bobs are out in the freezing cold conservatory. (I keep them outside as I am a bit anxious about burning down the house) Damn the woman, contrary as she is, she has had a few good ideas recently and although I have resisted them this far I know that I will be out there in the cold pretty soon.
I ran Caprilicious' annual birthday giveaway on Facebook and Instagram and Collette Debra Knight was the winner when I picked a number from the random number generator. Congratulations Collette, and I hope you love the pendant.
With my fingers needing a bit of exercise, I wove a copper bracelet with an ammonite and a couple of turquoise beads as accents. I love copper with a non tarnish finish. The wire is coated with a thin nylon film to prevent contact with air, is fabulous to weave with, and as a bonus, doesn't turn the wearers arm green. However, the weave doesn't show up as well as with bare copper oxidised with Suphur and one cannot use pliers or other tools - the nylon film is easily marred and looks raggedy. Six of one and half a dozen of the other - that's life!
Anyone who has been on holiday in the Seychelles will recognise both the imagery and the reason for the name of this necklace. A symphony in blues and greens, the slab nuggets of agate are reminiscent of the waters around the beautiful island paradise. I saw some beautiful butterflies while I was there and so added a slice of butterfly cane, dangling from the back of the necklace. Each slab nugget has unique and interesting markings - they have a waxy, smooth feel and a luxurious look.
Well, thanks for spending some time with me and taking a look at what I've been cooking up here at Caprilicious. Have a lovely week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.