Hello, and thanks for stopping by. Let's start with some music while you read on ................
This is Kevin, my latest model.
I bought her on ebay - she is a polystyrene dress form on a pedestal. In this picture, she has just been given a decoupaging (is there such a word?? - Francophiles are wincing at my poor usage of the language).
Why Kevin?? Well, it may sound silly to have an obviously female model with a male name - but I recently read an article about gender and sex (in my other avatar as gynaecologist) - and suddenly it felt necessary to give my model a gender inappropriate name. In the famous words of Simone de Beauvoir, “Women are not born, they are made.” At the end of the day, the making of a man or a woman is a never-ending process that begins well before birth. And the ritual announcement at birth that it is in fact one or the other instantly transforms an “it” into a “he” or a “she” assigning it to a lifetime as a male or as a female.
This attribution is made public and lasting through the event of naming. Mike said, why not Mabel, or Lucy - but Kevin she was named and Kevin she shall remain!
This is what Kevin was like when she first arrived and I decided to make her a bit more interesting to look at.
Decoupage was what I decided on - it has been a long time since I played with paper, glue and scissors, and a long weekend at the Bank Holiday seemed to be the best time for it. I researched it thoroughly on the internet - there is a lot of information out there, but it seemed that a lot of it was incomplete - so, I took photographs as I went along - perhaps decoupage virgins like me might be pleased with the info in my little mini tutorial.
Amit was made from a little Balinese hand carved bone Ganesh. Last week, I made Mushika and his Master, and the Ganesh in that pendant was in profile - when I was looking at images of these, I couldn't choose between the two, so bought both. In Sanskrit Amit means 'Boundless, Limitless or Infinite'. It is one of the 108 names of Hindu God Ganesh - although how one manages to have 108 names (and why one needs that many??) without a severe crisis of identity simply beats me.
These beautiful pendants from Afghanistan came to me in the post - I loved them so much, I set about making new beads to go with them straight away. It would be easy enough to just string them with beads from my hoard, but I just love the thought of hand made rustic looking beads that bring a sort of magic to a piece of jewellery.
The weekend was spent pottering away at my craft table, conjuring up some pretty beads, polishing them and getting them prepared for stringing. Here they are in the oven, curing. My poor oven hasn't seem too much food in it since I started making stuff with polymer clay. It is used on a weekly basis, almost exclusively for crafting purposes, unless Mike bungs a cottage pie in it on the odd occasion. Since we are always on a diet and our house is an almost carbohydrate free zone except for high days and holidays, polymer clay is king in our oven!
And here they are - pendants and handmade beads put together into new, one of a kind necklaces..................
The word "Arya" itself is a Sanskrit and Avestan/Old Persian word that means "noble". I strung this one with seed beads wound with wire, adding old coins studded with red glass.
The word Karishma means a 'miracle' or someone saved from an inevitable doom. This necklace has my own colourful polymer clay beads - I added little bead caps of red and blue to go with the pendant.
I seem to want to make flowers all the time - perhaps it is that time of year! These beads are flower shaped discs stacked one on top of the other, with some faux ostrich beads to provide contrast. I used every piece of leftover clay on my table, so there is a multi colour feel to this necklace, and the beads seem to be happy to be together, in spite of their disparate origins. Kareena is a name that can mean 'Flower', or 'Innocence' and I thought it would go well with this necklace. Readers who are into Bollywood will know that Karishma and Kareena are sisters from a famous Bollywood dynasty - India does seem to go with the dynastic concept and the cult of personality, right from politics, down to Bollywood.
I do love the peacock - you cannot ask for better colours that nature put into that beautiful bird, and I always have one or two pieces of 'peacock' jewellery on my books. I started this pendant a few weeks ago, and added to it bit by bit until I was ready for a reveal. I added a handmade necklace so that it would hang just the way I wanted - given my penchant for asymmetry.
The little teardrop shaped blue agate druzy glints in the light, but unfortunately, I am unable to capture that in a photograph.
That's it for this week folks, catch you next week. I have plans to use my kiln this weekend as I am on call and it promises to be dull and pi**ing down with rain. Hopefully it is better for you, wherever you are.
See you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello all, hope you had a lovely week.
When Mike, my husband, read the first half of title for this blog ( as I typed it in), he said 'D'you really want to advertise that fact'?? But you and I know what I mean .... you do, don't you??? then read on and all will be revealed in due course....
I went to a Paul Simon concert at the weekend, the weather was fab, and he was in good voice - of course the boys from Ladysmith Black Mambazo were fantastic too, but aren't they always???? My friend and I managed to combine the concert with a day of shopping - and boy, did our feet ache by the end of the day - and this from someone who swore never to go into a shop again for a long time - well, I suppose my mothers genes are well entrenched in me, and they come out for an airing once in a while....
Last week, I made a couple of Chinese scroll earrings with the cannibalised hand carved ox bone bracelet - a very fiddly pair of earrings to make, with all that wire and chain, so I cast about for something else to make so I could put those tiles to better use. I happened to be looking at a recipe book for a summer pudding - my friends from school are coming to visit and I want a special dessert for them - and I came across this picture - a Cherry Vanilla Cream cake - my mouth watered, and my mind raced!
All that embellishment, with the cream and cherries reminded me of some very pretty beads tucked away deep in the recesses of my bead box - after one big rummage through, I found them and that was where the seeds were sown for the Cherry Vanilla Cream Necklace. I made a little red and cream copper wire pendant inspired by the Wire Master Class by Abby Hook, and used the pendant as a focal for the necklace - I love the necklace, as it is very light and easy to wear - perfect for a summer evening. I have made this pendant a few times - it is just complicated enough to satisfy my craving for complicated wire work - I don't seem to be able to value my work if it isn't just ever so slightly complex - wonder if any of my ancestors were masochists, must remember to ask mum if there any vintage hair shirts lying around in the cupboards at home!
The 'cherries' are dyed red howlite beads and I used cream coloured wooden beads, bone beads and of course, the tiles. A couple of lucite flowers dangle from the end of the pendant to add some movement to it.
I spent most of Saturday, which was a dismal, rainy day, playing with polymer clay, whilst looking balefully up at the sky, muttering and cursing and shaking my fist at it - it must have listened to my threats, I'm sure that's why the weather was halfway decent for the concert on Sunday!
The school emblem
I have a bunch of ladies from my year at school coming over for what has become an annual reunion. Considering we left school in 1975, and scattered in many directions, I think it is an achievement that we have found each other in the UK, thousands of miles from where we first met, and that we make the effort to meet up - we have such different lives, but don't seem to have any of the envy thing that goes on at School Reunions - and we have a really good weekend. To commemorate this year's meet, I made brooches/pins in a heart shape for each of us - we are from Sacred Heart's Girls High School, and used to wear a little silver coloured tie pin in the shape of a heart, which was the school emblem. I lost mine a long time ago, and I am sure the others have as well, so I made replacement pins for us girls in the UK, from the Class of '75. My pins aren't true to the emblem's shape - which is like an artists impression of an anatomical heart - with an aorta sticking up out of it! - anatomical hearts are not really pretty, so I went for the populist Valentine's day image that most people would come up with when asked to draw a heart.
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 last one will probably be mine - unless someone likes it and asks for it - one needs a bit of a strange sense of humour to like it - I adapted it from a design by Christi Friesen, whose book 'Steampunkery' is an especial favourite of mine.
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,
For some reason this week has been about earrings - well, it started with the lady who bought the Ghau Box necklace commissioning a pair of earrings to match, and then deciding she wanted Dew Fairy Dreams as well - and would I come up with a pair of earrings 'to wow her' - so no pressure then! I thought about making little ginkgo leaves out of polymer clay and wiring them together, but soon realised it would be impossible to get an exact colour match due to the techniques used to make the pendants in Dew Fairy - so I made wire ginkgo leaves to match instead - this was harder than I thought as the two had to mirror each other exactly, and wire develops a mind of its own when you want it to play nicely - its like the roll knows when to play me up - but tame it in the end, i did - and this is what I came up with. My customer is away on holiday, so will only see them next week - I will let you know what she says.
I was now on a roll - I had some earring components I made in the kiln out of Copper Precious Metal Clay - Copper clay is a soft putty like substance consisting of fine copper powder in an organic binder. It is rolled out, textured, dried, sanded and fired in my kiln at 920 degrees Celsius - the organic binder burns away, and the copper sinters together to leave pure metal - this is then cooled, tumbled and polished and formed into jewellery. Precious metal clay is available in silver, gold, copper and bronze. I have fallen in love with copper as a medium for art jewellery, and have chosen copper clay - for now, anyway. I tried many different firing schedules, and finally came up with something that works - hooray! I then learned about cold patination of copper and got me a set of chemicals - or rather, sent hubby off on an errand to find the chemicals for me - you can see the effect achieved after I patinated the pieces and sealed them with Plastikote spray to hold the patina.
These earrings were made to go with the Leaf Unturned necklace, whose focal is made of polymer clay and precious metal clay copper.
Bacchus was the original party god - his devotees were associated with wine, grapes, sexual free for alls and not surprisingly, fertility! A drunken orgy is still called a Bacchanalia. Bacchus' divine mission is 'liberation' - he loosens the tongues of those who drink his wine, and allows them to do and say as they wish. It is said that most of Bacchus' worshippers were women, and his feasts were attended only by them - although this part of the story is a bit suspect, given the 'fertility' bit he is meant to represent.
I made bunches of grapes with teardrop shaped glass beads - they looked almost edible, and then wired them individually on to a frame with crystal leaves, polymer clay leaves and stems, copper tendrils, and added some jade and dragons vein agate grapes to the other side of the necklace - it is a necklace that can be worn by any self respecting bacchanaliast! ( yes, that is a made up word)
It was bought within twenty four hours of posting it on the website - I wish the new owner plenty of fun with it.
Pantone is the world-renowned authority on colour and has been inspiring design professionals with products, services and leading technology for the colorful exploration and expression of creativity for over 45 years.
In 1963, Lawrence Herbert, Pantone's founder, created an innovative system for identifying, matching and communicating colors to solve the problems associated with producing accurate color matches in the graphic arts community.The PANTONE VIEW Colour Planner, introduced in 2004 is a biannual trend forecasting tool that offers seasonal color direction and inspiration 24 months in advance for multiple usages, including fashion, cosmetics and industrial design, which the fashion industry follows rather slavishly. The colour of the year for 2012 has been predicted to be 'Tangerine Tango' which means that a lot of clothes and accessories will have at least a touch of orange to them.
'Tangerine Tango, a spirited reddish orange, provides the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward. Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,' says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.” http://www.pantone.co.uk
So I figured, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em - this is my take on Tangerine Tango ----
Jasper, a form of chalcedony, is an opaque and impure variety of silica, usually red, yellow, brown or green in colour, rarely blue. Picture Jasper exhibits a combination of banding patterns from flow or depositional patterns from water or wind resulting in what appears to be scenes or images when cut. I think picture jasper is particularly beautiful as it appears to be ingrained with geological and historical memories. I set it with dark lava rock shapes to offset the brightness of the orange mother of pearl and added silver tone spacers and freshwater pearls for sheen.
I had a set of four lapis chrysocolla pendant beads bought in Hong Kong a long time ago - these are usually strung in a row with seed beads between them, and I have been racking my brain to come up with a different way of presenting them. Looking into the depths of the stone, it felt like I was immersed in a pool of water deep in a rainforest - there are gold glints of pyrite which gleam softly, bringing dancing motes of sunlight to mind.
I imagined a calm lake, just after a fall of rain, with insects coming out for a drink before the next storm and looked for some pictures to embody that idea - this crystallised into the Rainforest Symphony necklace. I had some polymer clay leaves which I added to the necklace, and made earrings to match - I think I achieved that feeling of tranquility that you see in the pictures of the rainforest - the calm before the storm.
I stumbled across this blog on one of my regular trawls through the internet and contacted Susan with an invitation to look at my website and blog. She writes fashion updates for readers mainly from the US to help them find flattering fashion for the over 50s woman. Her mission statement is To find fashion for women over 50 that exudes sophistication, energy, and a continued sense of wonder.
She liked my designs - and prices - enough to give me a shout out in her blog last week - you can find it here http://flattering50.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/statement-necklaces-from-across-pond.html. I commend her blog to you - it has some very sensible tips on how to dress well - and look great, and what the well dressed American woman is wearing today. I have had quite a few of her readers come along and take a look at my designs and blog, so thank you Susan.
She says 'If you are an over 50 woman with an artist talent for creating jewelry, fashion, art, music or something else? If so, I'd love to give you a little free publicity on Flattering50. Just send to firstname.lastname@example.org...
--a brief description of your creations and a little about you
--a link to your website or blog
--a JPEG or two illustrating what you create'
- so if you fit the bill, do send her an email.
Well, that's it for the week - have a fabulous weekend, and see you next week