Hello readers, how's tricks? It has gone all chilly and cold out here in the UK with gale force winds and flurries of snow set to hit us over the weekend. As if that's not enough, I'm working again all weekend, so I'm not looking forward to the next few days.
Right, before that happens, let's get this blog on the road - let's have some music to keep us company! I feel like some tango music tonight and if you watch the clip you might make the connection between the drama of the dance and that of the necklace further on in this post.
Last weekend, I got down to the serious task of recreating a fantasy hibiscus - if you have followed the saga, you'll know what happened to the last one - if not, here's the sorry tale. I was depressed beyond belief after that debacle, but swore that I wouldn't let it beat me.
The problem with bronze clay is that there are three stages at least with the making of a piece. The first part involves making the wet components, drying them and putting them together like pieces of a puzzle. The piece has to be handled like a snowflake and there are many opportunities for it to fall apart in your hands as the puzzle is fitted together.
Then comes the first firing where the binder is burned off on a stainless steel mesh. Once fired the piece is then transferred to a pan where it is covered over with charcoal granules and fired again. Transferring the piece from the mesh to the pan is another opportunity that is fraught with danger.
The last time, my hibiscus fell apart as I tried to settle it on a bed of charcoal - I must have been a bit rough with it inadvertently and one of the petals broke off.
And then, the second firing - the kiln gods have to be propitiated, the blood of a freshly slaughtered calf and a virgin sacrifice is required to ensure success. The heat in the kiln is 800 degrees Centigrade, and the clay shrinks, so any micro fractures that might happen while making the piece in the wet stage become yawning chasms when the piece sinters and slumps a bit.
As virgins (and calves) are in short supply around here, I sometimes end up with a piece that has a little crack, and I have to refill and refire it - it just depends on the whims of the kiln god. However once the repair is effected, the piece usually comes good.
While making the hibiscus, I made a few more petals and came up with this one. To tell you the truth ( and let's keep it between us) I was afraid to put the hibiscus in the kiln. A second debacle would tip me over into acopia and that would be the end of my adventures with metal clay.
A little handmade clasp and a polymer clay and resin butterfly dangle finished it off to my satisfaction. I taught myself to set little cubic zirconia into the flowers and even had success with a square one. Eventually however, the time to go back to the hibiscus arrived only too soon.
And here it is, all made up into a necklace with quartz needles electroplated with titanium.
When Mike saw the necklace in all it's splendour, I saw him gulp! He said 'it's a brave necklace, babe'! I don't think he believes anyone would be brave enough to wear it, so I set up some styling suggestions. What do you think? How would you wear it?
I have a few more bronze clay petals left and some more pendants will likely show up on these pages in the next couple of weeks.
I am on a countdown to my holiday in India and am busy tying up loose ends in my day job.
My show in Raintree stands cancelled unfortunately, due to the monetisation situation in India. I will of course have a small show at home for people I know who might be interested in seeing what I have on offer. I feel ever so sorry about my no-show, as I loved the hurly burly of setting up and meeting a load of people but, hey, them's the breaks, and hopefully I'll be able to do it next year.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a lovely week, and catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello readers, I hope you have all had a good week and are ready to relax at the weekend. I have been slowly getting over the visual overload of the last week - so many sights, so many statues and pieces of art, so much to take in that the photographs I took were only a drop in the ocean of memories I wish to hold on to.
We went to the Ponte Vecchio, a 13th century bridge over the river Arno. It connects the Oltrarno ( the artisan district) to the main city of Florence. Butchers initially occupied the shops but the present tenants are jewellers, art dealers and souvenir sellers. In the 16th century the Vasari Corridor was built on top of the bridge by the Medici rulers of Florence to move freely and safely from their home in Palazzo Pitti to the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi, which is when the butcher's shops changed hands to become goldsmith's shops. As the rents were very high, the goldsmiths extended their shops outwards and they still hang over the water as if by magic, in a charming, higgledy piggledy manner.
I peered into the jewellers windows as we crossed the bridge. They had hundreds of Euros worth of silver and gold in them and at first I was quite fascinated.
Unfortunately there was no place to sit down and a load of other people including pick pockets, street vendors who shook fists full of leather bracelets in your face in an alarmingly threatening manner if you didn't look like you'd buy from them, a colourfully dressed African man who informed us that 'Yoo arrr maai fadder and yoo arrr mai maader', and tried to extract money from us to care for his siblings, presumably also our children, caused us to walk briskly away and seek refuge in a cafe on the other side of the bridge.
Pity, that, I'd have quite liked to have spent a bit more time there.
And then I found Angela Caputi - a fabulous boutique in the artisan district selling art statement jewellery made of resin, lucite, and acrylics.
Her jewellery has caught the attention of haute couture stylists and museums. She is displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York, at Museo degli Argenti and Galleria del Costume in Florence. Very contemporary and hi-falutin', but the prices - OMG! they made me go weak at the knees - given the materials used, they were highly overpriced, but I guess one is paying for the store in the centre of Florence and all the other overheads, as well as the name. I took in all the beautiful things around me and came away shaking my head muttering, like the woman from Goodness Gracious Me, ' I can make this at home for nothing!!'
Well, of course I cant, but it gave me solace to think so.
This is a necklace I had planned before I went on holiday. I made the faux amber beads myself out of translucent polymer clay coloured with alcohol inks, antiqued and inlaid with 'coral' and 'turquoise' and 'repaired' using wire. The Moroccan amulet is extra large and very colourful and needed the balance of the large amber beads. I added a bit of colour with red resin beads - I figured that if Angela Caputi can do it, so can I!
I saw a necklace on a tourist in Florence and immediately thought of a way I could create a similar one using beads I recently rediscovered when rummaging around in my stash. I think there is a method to my madness as far as the untidiness of my work surfaces goes - I have the compulsive need to tidy up as I go along and while doing this find strings of beads bought long ago and forgotten, just waiting to be found. I sent off for Czech glass flower beads to match and when they arrived put them together with a beautiful little silver clasp.
These little embellishments make a piece for me - a pretty clasp, a charm dangling from the back of the necklace, a beautiful focal bead. I collect them obsessively and jealously, and am slow to release them, which is a bit stupid, I know, but hey, a girl has to have some fixations in her life. Little lever back earrings with a couple of the left over flowers finish off this ensemble.
Well people, this has become the story of Little and Large! I hope you have enjoyed your read and liked the pictures of Firenze I had for you. That's me for the week, I'll catch you next week, same time, same place. Until then,
Hello readers and lovers of statement jewellery everywhere, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog. This week I've had time to put together a few multistrand necklaces - getting ready for Bling season in the main - there are only 89 days to Christmas and it will soon be the time of year for pretty things and gifts. I hope that some of you will be sufficiently enthused by what you are looking at to pick up your gifts from Caprilicious. I am happy to gift wrap and send the parcel to an address of your choice with a little card from you, all you have to do is ask.
The Shaman's Necklace
'Shaman are spiritual guides and practitioners, not of the divine, but of the very elements. Unlike some other mystics, shaman commune with forces that are not strictly benevolent. The elements are chaotic, and left to their own devices, they rage against one another in unending primal fury. It is the call of the shaman to bring balance to this chaos.'
Labradorite is a Feldspar with a rich play of colours called Labradorescence, first discovered in Labrador, Canada. The North American Indians call it the Stone of Shamans - it is meant to aid clarity of thought, protect against negativity and from misfortune, thus bringing balance to chaos.
I love it because it shines so beautifully when moved in the light -at one angle it is a boring grey stone, but move it a bit and Wow! it flashes with such brilliant colour one is simply carried away by its beauty. Combined with rare and beautiful grossular green garnets and a copper wire surround, the labradorite is superb.
Inspired by Isabella Rossellini's shirt necklace in Death Becomes Her, this is my first 'Bling' necklace of the year. Ms Rossellini would look beautiful in a sack, but when she rose out of the water and glided over to her robe purring like a little panther, I just knew that one day I would make a necklace like hers. With plenty of crystals and hammered gold tone links, it shines beautifully, and although I haven't gone overboard, it is still pretty opulent.
Coral, freshwater pearls and an ornate clasp - my muse was in seventh heaven. A pair of earrings complete the parure which is going to be worn with a black and cream lace dress and a little black net fascinator at a wedding.
Daytime Bling - Monet
This painting of water lilies by Monet has so many beautiful colours, and I have been collecting pictures of them to use as inspiration for a piece of jewellery for the longest time - here is the picture, and the necklace - You like?? I love...
This necklace was made for a moonlit walk along the edge of the sea, the breeze blowing in your hair, scarf and skirt billowing - dancing in the moonlight. The pearls and blue jade are ethereal, lending themselves to romance on a moonlit night. If I knew the lady in the picture, I would offer her this necklace.
These two pairs of earrings are so organic, they almost made themselves - I just took the wire where it seemed to want to go and after a while, the earrings appeared as if by magic - they both started with the same material in the same quantities, but ended up being so different. The difficulty with organic designs is to know when to stop with the curls and squiggles and say "The End" !
That's it for this week folks. I have to report that my kittens are pretty useless at being helpers - they sleep most of the day and when awake fight with one another or eat me out of home and hearth - I sound like my mother complaining about her 'helpers' !! I go to my third Polydays in the Cotswolds this week and am sure to bring back some fabulous ideas to Caprilicious. See you next week, same time, same place
Hello, fancy meeting you here - yes you, in your statement jewellery by Caprilicious, trying to blend in with the furniture and failing miserably in the attempt. Let me ask you a question - why did you wear Caprilicious if you didn't want to be noticed?? You should have known you'd turn heads - what you're wearing is making you sit up, walk tall and look happy - and that's what people notice about you when you wear your Caprilicious Jewellery.
I love this song - the word 'Happy' is repeated so many times, it's almost an affirmation - all you have to do is sing along.
Affirmations work by breaking patterns of negative thoughts, negative speech, and in turn, negative actions and by helping us believe in the potential of an action we desire to manifest. Try it sometime - acknowledge your own self-worth; and your confidence will soar. Look good, walk tall, feel great - you are a powerhouse; you are indestructible.
This week, I set about remodelling my website - I now have a new page called 'She Sells Sea Shells' - I love shells and abalone, and have a number of pieces that seemed to group themselves together and demand a page of their own, and I gave in.
Two abalone pendants, set in silver were the basis for a couple of necklaces - teamed with Biwa pearls - unusually shaped cultured pearls from freshwater mussels.
First produced in the 1930s in Lake Biwa in Japan, their quality rivals that of cultured saltwater pearls, and they are just as beautiful. I love Biwa pearls because they are so different from the usual image one has of pearls.
Naiads were water nymphs who lived in the most beautiful streams and rivers, and spent their days gently washing the freckles from the faces of the girls who bathed in the water and generally being sweet and gentle - until of course an unwary young man came by - and then they all rushed up and threw themselves at him, until the poor sap was overwhelmed and gave up his life to join them in the underwater world.
One of these is a bit more unconventional than the other - but it's that unconventional asymmetry that makes it a piece by Caprilicious. The colourful crackle agate lozenges go with the lilac Biwa pearls and the abalone - lilac was a colour much beloved by my grandmother - every year my mom bought her a saree in either 'lilac or ash colour', as requested by her on her birthday. Much as I loved her, I wouldn't really want the jewellery I make to be grandmotherly in any way, Heaven forbid!!
Kohima is the capital of Nagaland, a north eastern border state in India, sharing boundaries with Myanmar. When I was little my cousins, with whom I spent a lot of time, moved to Nagaland with their father who was posted there by the Indian Army - they came back with the most beautiful artefacts and shawls - I think some of the artefacts still exist in their house after all of 45 years - I would have loved to go and visit them there, but it never happened, perhaps I was too young to make the journey.
I got the little brass medallions and spacer beads from a vendor in Nagaland and strung a two stranded necklace, with a simple button clasp.
This picture was my inspiration for my next piece - it is made from stock photo manipulation, an art form I recently discovered, by LeeAnne Cortus. In this art form, bits of stock photographs are Photoshopped together to form a coherent picture and you can see more by clicking on the link above.
I went to an all day party on Sunday - Nicole Hanna was celebrating 5000 'likes' on Facebook and handing out wirework designs to party guests all day, one or two every hour. It was a fabulous day, with hundreds of virtual guests held fast in front of their computers. She handed out about sixteen of them - I got all but one, and that was because my cousin phoned me from Toronto and we had a long natter,forgetting all about the giveaway.
I stayed up till 5am on Monday morning - she released one every ten minutes in the last hour, and then fell into a deep and grateful slumber. I made up one of the designs, putting a Caprilicious spin on it and this is what appeared......
I had the design from an earlier giveaway and these were the first pair I made - they went in a diplomatic pouch to live with a nice lady in Bangladesh!
As I've been writing , we've had a minor panic - Wilfred just tried to go up the chimney - all I could do was watch with my mouth open as his brother Charlie chased him up the flue till all I could see was the white tip of his tail. I yelled for Mike (which probably frightened Wilf into going further up into the space) and we had to coax him down with some food - I had visions of having to call the fire brigade and a bunch of men in hob nailed boots tramping all over my floor - and no, that is not one of my fantasies! We've now stuffed the flue with newspaper - Phew!
That's it for this week folks, have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello, and a warm welcome to you, wonderful readers. Four weeks of sunshine - probably the best summer we have had here in the UK for a long time, ended with a crashing thunderstorm - and exactly at the wrong time, for us, anyway. We had a barbeque planned, and it started to pelt it down half an hour before we were due to light up - fortunately, we outsmarted the malign party - pooper gods by taking the simple precaution of reading the weather report - and moving the barbeque under cover - Ha Ha Ha! Put that in your collective pipes and smoke it, malign party - pooper gods! And a good time was had by all - no doubt it could have been better, but no one complained, and we just got on with it, the way we are wont to do in this country.
I had some beautiful pearls, in pastel colours - cream, lavender and peach - they had large holes, and could be strung onto leather - they are quite difficult to find, as pearls usually have the tiniest holes that do not allow for stringing onto anything but the finest material. I wanted to make an unconventional pearl piece for the non Audrey Hepburn woman - not everyone wants to look like a tea dance is imminent on their schedule for the day. I love these two necklaces - fifteen strands of black leather with a pearl on each strand, with a magnetic clasp - who says that the words 'pearls, lavender, peach and leather' weren't meant to be in the same sentence - eat your words, people!
I loved them so much, I even wore one to the barbeque.
These are Himalayan Goji berries - much has been written about them being super fruit with whole websites devoted to their antioxidant and nutrient value, claiming that they are the next best thing since sliced bread (what's so wonderful about sliced bread, anyway ?? - it dries out so quickly - anyone who has eaten an unsliced French crusty loaf will attest it's superiority).
Tibetan beeswax amber beads, capped with sterling silver that arrived on my doorstep a couple of days ago looked so much like these berries, that once the necklace was made, I had to use the word 'berry' in the name - I couldn't think of anything more befitting.
I teamed the 'berries' with aventurine, dyed jade, malachite, red howlite and iridescent Czech glass to make two strands of a fairly long necklace.
The Emerald Isle
This is a picture of an island in the Maldives - why is it on a blog that deals in the main with jewellery??
Well, I bought these beautiful slabs of green agate - and the markings within the stones reminded me of the atolls of the Maldives - the serenity emanating from the depths of these gemstones is amazing. These were teamed with frosted clear quartz chunks, which reminded me of the breakers when the waves hit the shoreline, and The Emerald Isle was born from these thoughts.
When I modelled it for my husband, he sort of chuckled - I was a bit taken aback at this - I didn't see the joke, until he explained himself - he said whoever wears this one is most definitely making this statement, 'look at me, look at what I am wearing' - well, I don't see anything wrong with that, do you? The Caprilicious woman is no wee, quaking, timorous beastie - she is most definitely visible, and what's more, enjoys and revels in that visibility!
Anyway, in my opinion, what's the point wearing something that says 'don't look at me' ?? One might as well save one's money and wrap up in a chador.
After all, your clothes, jewellery, your home and garden all make a statement about you - people make judgements about you on looking at them - nondescript outfits are a bit like wearing camouflage - a cover up of the real you.
I will leave you with that thought this week, I am off to play with polymer clay in my craft room this weekend. Have a fab week and I will catch you later, same time, same place