Hello folks, how are you on this cold and frosty morning? It snowed for twenty four hours here in the UK, and the country came to a standstill. Roads were closed, airports and train tracks were backlogged with travel chaos and schools shut down leaving parents in the lurch, looking for emergency childcare. At the hospital, half the staff and patients didn't manage to make their way in. The snow fell over the weekend, but the temperatures have been so low that we still have snow drifts five days on, although a lot of it has melted. I am more anxious about the ice that forms on the roads and pavements when the thawing snow freezes over at night - you can imagine that it is hazardous to drive, and walk.
However, it looks pretty when the snow is pristine, and I busied myself over the weekend taking loads of pictures.
We knew that snow was on it's way, so I quickly put my Christmas tree up and decorated it - the tree is usually set up in the porch, which can get pretty cold when the temperature falls severely as it relies on the light of the sun to keep it warm. As you can imagine, it is pretty warm in the porch most of the year as our geraniums do well overwintering there, as do the ferns - all that green stuff you see in the picture is real. I love the silver baubles I got from the Christmas shop, which predictably is open all year around to serve the tourist trade in Prague, when we went there about ten years ago. I wrap each one in tissue paper and put it away almost reverently when we are done with the season and this strategy has served me well as they have lasted out over ten Christmases.
Four days down the line, our street is still covered with snow and ice and I'm being driven into work as my little car is totally unsuitable for this weather. It still looks pretty, doesn't it, in spite of the tyre treads that have messed the road up. They should make it illegal for people to muss up the snow and make it less picturesque.
It looked like a complete white out in front of our house, and the back garden was no better. So there wasn't much else to do but stay warm, and play with beads and post on Instagram, where I've been testing out hashtags and trying to improve my visibility.
I bought a bunch of tiny crystal beads a while ago, at the same time as the floral micro pave clasp. One of my customers liked the look of the crystals so much, she asked me to make a necklace up for her using the floral clasp. The beads are tiny, no more than 3mm in diameter and they resemble little sugar crystals that have been artificially coloured. I made an ombre necklace which she loved and I posted it out to her well before the last day for Christmas post approached - the last day for the post, in case you don't remember it is the 20th of December after which you'll have to go out in the cold and do your own shopping. I didn't get a chance to take a picture on a model, all I have are a quick couple of photographs shot using my phone, so many apologies for picture quality. Perhaps the lady will send us pictures wearing the necklace, and I can share them with you later on.
That's all I made this week folks, these beads were so tiny that I almost went blind trying to string them. They were pretty badly behaved as well and kept jumping out of my hands and scattering all over the floor making the cat leap out of his skin everytime he heard the skittering of a bead across the parquet floor. As they were pretty expensive, I made sure I picked the beads up and put them into the necklace - not a single one escaped its fate!
That's me for this week, folks. I am going to be wrapping presents and writing cards out this weekend. Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
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.
Hello readers, and thanks for joining me in wishing Caprilicious a very happy fourth birthday. Every year I have made Ms Muse a special necklace with my most favourite pendants and beads. This year, I decided to celebrate Caprilicious' fourth birthday by learning a new technique and use it in making a birthday necklace for my muse.
I purchased a tutorial by Barbara Becker Simon to make the hibiscus flower clasp and spent a week carving and embellishing it. To do this, I needed tiny wood carving gouges and I spent a while surfing the net to find them in the UK. The clasp is made in bronze clay and is large and showy. The central 'stick' part of the toggle is a stamen and was a lot of fun to make. I looked for the perfect beads to go with it, and my eyes fell on a beautiful strand of stick or Biwa pearls in my stash.
Stick pearls are made by inserting long strips of shell or a nucleus into the mantle of the mollusc. This allows an elongated pearl sac to form quickly. Once they have been nucleated, the mussels protect their flesh from the irritants by secreting nacre, the calcium-carbonate compound known more commonly as mother-of-pearl. Over the course of 2 to 7 years, the mussels deposit layer upon layer of nacre around the central nucleus. It is from pairs and groups of closely-spaced stick pearl sacs merging together that more or less flat pearls reaching an impressive size are harvested.
Lake Biwa in Japan produced pearls like these regularly for some years, so it is possible that a technique learned from there is being acknowledged by calling these pearls Biwa pearls. You can read more about it in this article.
The pearls in the necklace are V shaped and have a pale peach lustre. The clasp can be worn to one side - or at the back with the hair up, to display it to its best advantage - it most definitely warrants displaying. It is set off by a couple of enamelled beads from Rajasthan and little garnet beads between the pearl sticks.
Mini Tribal Necklace
Here's one more in the mini tribal series. I added a little crescent shaped pendant to tiny green seed beads to make a vibrant necklace.
The little paisley beads of blue howlite are set off by the lost wax bronze African beads. The peridot beads are just the right shade of green and go perfectly with the howlite.
I love labradorite - at first glance it is a pale grey insignificant stone - only when it is moved in the light does it come into it's own. The flash of colour that emanates from deep within the stone are like mini fireworks. I teamed labradorite with pale pink beads - the colours are so sophisticated together.
The pendant for this necklace came from the Banjara people in India and I teamed it with colourful beads in lucite, gemstones and polymer clay to make a vibrant necklace. The coins dripping from the lower edge of the pendant rustle pleasingly when moved.
And that's a wrap folks, in this, the final week of Caprilicious' fourth year. I am going to celebrate Diwali this weekend with a few friends. Have a great weekend and I'll catch up with you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers, thanks for stopping by the Friday account of this weeks statement jewellery from Caprilicious. I attended a school reunion this week and ended up making little pieces of jewellery, as I was pushed for time.
I do not like to lay a piece of wire work down overnight - the wire seems to 'set' into shape and is difficult to manipulate again when it is next picked up. This is because of a phenomenon called work hardening. For those of you who are interested, this is how it happens.....
the lattice of crystals within the wire has a regular, nearly defect free pattern. As it is manipulated, dislocations occur in the crystalline structure and tiny micro-fractures appear from the stress, which in turn hold the wire in the shape into which it is bent - this property is utilised when making jewellery, but if over manipulated, the wire is in danger of snapping. When left overnight, the micro crystalline wire structure settles into it's new pattern and is stiff and hard to manipulate - there you are, a bit of science for you!
Inspired by the flowers in my garden and the yellow jade hand carved flowers I had been hoarding so carefully, this necklace is bright and pretty.
I had been wondering how to attach the flowers, and still show off their hand carved beauty to its best effect, and then I had an Eureka moment - of course! wire is the answer to any problem (well almost) - I should have known that! I wired the flowers onto the necklace of purple agate - and Voila!
I love these stars - they are dyed mother of pearl, and very light and pretty - but it is ever so hard to string them right. They have to be pieced together almost like a jigsaw puzzle if they are to lie flat - they had to be redone so many times, the air above them started to turn blue - but I would not be defeated - on I plodded, muttering and swearing under my breath, restringing them again and again, until I had the effect I wanted. I'll bet you cannot tell from looking at it how much work went into the dratted thing.
I made the clasp from a design by Nicole Hanna many moons ago, and had not yet found somewhere to use it - why not just use it in the bracelet where it was meant to go? - sure, but wouldn't that be too easy?? - this debate kept going around in my head, until I finally gave in and made the bracelet. Once I'd done that, I made another - the design is so pretty, I want to make loads of them in all different sizes and colours.
I found these lampwork beads at the Newmarket bead fair last year - they have been crying out to be used, and eventually got their turn to be transformed into earrings. They have these pretty spots on a white background, like little raindrops.
Indian Feathers Earrings
This is a design by Iza Malcyzk - I've had it for a long time, but hadn't tried it out - she gave it it's title and said it was an ethnic design - I think she means the North American Indian, I've never seen feathers like these in India! They didn't last too long on my shelf - they flew away to their new home in under ten minutes!
That's all for this week folks. Next week, I have decided to put together a necklace inspired by the 'shirt necklace' worn by Isabella Rossellini in the film Death Become Her. I've never seen anyone so beautiful and charismatic and the scene where she climbs out of the water, wearing only this necklace will stay with me a long time. I have been slowly collecting the beads and baubles required to make the Caprilicious version, and all I shall say now is that it will eventually go to one very special and lucky lady.
And now I'm off to a Statutory and Mandatory all day course at the hospital, where I shall learn some riveting facts about Manual Handling (my answer is to call a porter) and Health and Safety, Fire and other interesting stuff that I would never have known about if they hadn't made it mandatory for us to attend the lecture on an annual basis.
Have a lovely weekend, and I will be here next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, I hope the summer is treating you well - here in the UK it still hasn't caught up with us, but we live in hope, now that June is here. The foxgloves, whose seeds I collect from seedheads in the garden and strew around the garden and on the bank opposite the house every year, have come up and look ever so pretty. I'm not sure who the whimsical person was who named the flower, but I can just imagine Mr and Mrs Urban Fox - and there are at least two of them in the park opposite our house - slipping their paws into the flowers and going off, tripping the light fantastic, arm in arm.
So with that bit of whimsy at the forefront of my imagination, I set about making this weeks pieces - advance warning--- a lot of them involve flowers.
I bought strings of clear quartz beads in India in a prayer shop - they were strung into a 'Mala' which is meant to be an aid to meditation and prayer, clear the mind and get your chakras spinning. I'm afraid I bought them because they were pretty and shiny, and paired with pewter daisies, tiny turquoise beads and a very lovely turquoise clasp worn to one side, they make a very pretty necklace. If it helps the wearer with their psychic health, well, that's an added bonus, but I cannot vouch for that particular outcome. I had to string the third strand while wearing the piece and looking into a mirror, to get the daisies in exactly the right place, so that they would hang at the bottom of the necklace when the clasp is positioned to one side. It took me ages, to get the positioning just right, and Kevin and Betty looked on in amusement while I struggled - I couldn't use either of them as I needed to have the necklace on a 'real' person to get it just so.
Hand carved turquoise roses and teardrops are assembled using bead weaving and knotting techniques in this very different necklace which sits close to the base of the neck.
Necklaces with Afghani Pendants
I had two last pendants in my most recent delivery of pendants from Afghanistan and I made polymer clay beads to go with them over the weekend. As I had all the canes made and stored earlier, making the beads was quick and easy and the necklaces almost made themselves once the beads were ready.
Bright and sassy, the necklaces in the Tribal Bling section are able to effortlessly go from day to night, and from Eastern to Western attire - one just needs to be brave enough to wear them. I have strung them on two strands of beading wire so that although the pendants are heavier than most focals, the necklaces are robust and will take everyday wear and tear.
This is my little kiln, and I have ignored it for a while - I am always trying to run befor I can walk, and then, when I have a spectacular failure, I retreat to lick my wounds and the technique that unwittingly caused me grief gets put on the back burner.
I decided to break my duck and try some simple designs again. Having cracked a 20 gm packet of Precious Metal Clay in 99% silver, I made three pieces of jewellery, and these worked out more or less how I wanted them to - maybe I'll play some more!
I combined a piece made with silver with a polymer clay and resin 'cabochon' made with inspiration from a class taken with Debbie Carlton. The polymer clay is embellished with silver foil and the pattern on the clay looks like raindrops hitting parched earth - hence Summer Rain. I made earrings to match with a piece of leftover clay.
I hope you've liked what you've seen this week - do leave a comment and tell me what you think. That's a wrap for this week folks, catch you next week, same time, same place
When I first started to make jewellery, I was given a piece of advice which has stayed with me - a pretty clasp lifts a simple necklace to greater heights, like nothing else can. Since then, I have been a clasp junkie, spending prodigious amounts of money on store bought clasps. When I had the exhibition over in India, I watched ladies walking around the room, and to a (wo) man they all noticed the clasps. In fact, one woman chased me around the room asking me where I had got them from, and would I please sell her some, forgetting that this was an exhibition of jewellery, not jewellery findings, and that I was highly unlikely to be carrying extra clasps in my suitcases!
My love affair with the clasp has continued to the extent that I am now making clasps for myself, in an effort to make them one of a kind and different from the ones that other jewellery makers use. Tutorials from the likes of Nicole Hanna and inspiration from Sharon Solly have helped, as well as a book by Denise Peck in my latest endeavour. I sent a sample to my friend BN, and she used the clasp in ten different ways and sent me photographs to show me what she had done with it - she still hasn't told me which one of the ways was her final choice for the necklace she made!
Ten Ways to Use a Clasp, by BN
I also made some faux lamp work glass toggle clasps out of polymer clay and wire using a tutorial written by Amber of Caterpillar Arts and inspiration from work by Sharon Solly - these are colourful and playful and I will need to find the right beads for them.
Another toggle clasp inspired by Nicole Hanna was used in a necklace made of wood grain jasper and gold coloured crystals - I tried to break up the browny - golds of the necklace with blue crystal beads and dichroic glass.
Dryads are tree nymphs in Greek mythology, each one looking after a particular tree in the woods, punishing thoughtless mortals who injure their trees.
This necklace was named after the beautiful mystical, serene, angelic face in this pendant. The Archangel Ariel, predominantly in Hebrew writings, is thought to be the angel of nature - had she been Greek, she would probably have been closely related to a Dryad, as she too guards nature and trees and punishes humans who harm them.
The quartz needle points in the necklace have been heat treated and coated with titanium and gold vapour, and teamed with green crackle quartz.
I made the wire accent beads myself out of yards and yards of fine wire wrapped over a frame.
It was a beautiful weekend, the sun was shining, the peonies were out and we went to the pub for Sunday lunch. These hollow faux ebony and ivory focal beads in my hoard were just right to wear with white linen summer clothes - I strung them on waxed linen cord, with bone beads and cowrie shells - summer necklaces for the boho chick!
Spirals are a compelling shape and have universal appeal - I'm not sure why this is, perhaps because they are the most natural shape seen by our eyes and enter the subconscious right from the very beginning. The spiral shows up often in nature - in the pattern of seeds in a seedhead, in the growing tips of ferns, in the pattern that leaves grow on a stem, in the shape of a nautilus shell, and imprints itself deep into the subconscious mind, so that when seen again the shape is familiar and pleasing to the eye.
I too love spiral patterns, and made these faux bone hollow beads with spirals of bright coloured 'zippers' wound around them. Teamed with faux ostrich egg beads and a large chunk of sponge coral, they make a light but chunky necklace - another one to go with the summer linen outfits.
I found these two shell pendants in a most unlikely place in the house - I think my house elf got fed up of hiding them from me and tossed them out for me to find - I quickly turned them into pieces of jewellery, before he pinched them again. I asked my Facebook fans to help name the one and Minerva's Prize was the name bestowed on it. I called the second one the Whirly Shell Pendant. With both, I have echoed the pattern and shapes in the shells with the wire.
I hope you've enjoyed looking at this weeks 'makes' - catch you next week, same time, same place - have a fabulous week
Hello readers, I hope you are all enjoying the weather, which is slowly showing signs of getting warmer. It is so nice to be able to shed the heavy winter gear, and wear fewer clothes - can't wait to get to the point where the sandals come out of the cupboard and onto my feet.
My mother went on a little tour of South India with her niece, and very kindly brought back some beads for me. I had asked her to look out for a string of Rudraksha beads - more about them later. The ones she sent are about 20mm in diameter, and I was a bit intimidated by their size, I had really wanted them a bit smaller. However, no one puts Caprilicious in a corner, and I decided to rise to the challenge. I made some polymer clay ruffle beads from a tutorial by Christelle Van Lingen, in a blend of red and gold, and put a necklace together with a copper electroplated oak leaf skeleton.
Rudraksha is a large evergreen broad-leaved tree whose seed is traditionally used for prayer beads in Hinduism. The seed is borne by several species of Elaeocarpus. Rudraksha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the name Rudra ("Shiva") and akṣha ("eyes").
Rudraksha beads are often worn by Indian 'sadhus' or holy men, who are devotees of Shiva.
In a complete about turn from the oak leaf necklace, I made a couple of light and pretty summery pieces to go into the English Country Garden collection - a little pendant - Primrose, and a necklace made of all the shiny, pretty floral elements I could find - The Summer Bouquet. The inspiration for this came from a throwaway comment by a presenter on last Sunday's airing of 'The Antiques Roadshow' while valuing a tiara - he mentioned that tiaras were often turned upside down and worn as necklaces in Victorian times - so I made a modern day tiara/ necklace - it is extremely light and pretty, and looks like a wildflower bouquet.
Winner - Bead Barmy Readers Gallery Competition April 2013
Linda Jones, a well known and influential jewellery designer, and author, writes a blog for the WireWorkers Guild, which is a forum for people who love wire. She offered to feature me on her blog in May, and sent me a questionnaire. I filled it out, and she emailed me back - she was so complimentary, I have had a job fitting my head through the door and am literally floating around the room. This is a screen capture of her email
What can I say - other than thank you, Linda Jones! And here it is http://wireworkersguild.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/caprilicous-jewellery.html?showComment=1366967638186#c8771846690699081699
When I finally managed to come down to earth , I finished off the last piece I made this week and took these photographs of The Spirit of Ecstasy. The art nouveau wire work surrounding the focal was behind the idea for the name.
The Spirit of Ecstasy, also called "Emily", "Silver Lady" or "Flying Lady", was designed by English sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes and carries with it a story about a secret passion between the second Lord Montague of Beaulieu, a pioneer of the automobile movement, and editor of The Car Illustrated magazine from 1902 and his secret love and the model for the emblem, Eleanor Velasco Thornton. Eleanor was John Walter's secretary, and their love was to remain hidden, limited to their circle of friends, for more than a decade. The reason for the secrecy was Eleanor's impoverished social and economic status, which was an obstacle to their love. John-Walter, succumbing to family pressures, married Lady Cecil Victoria Constance, but the secret love affair continued.
Spirit of Ecstasy
The rough cut black tourmaline gleams gently, and the severity of the black is relieved by the multi-coloured, shiny crystal spacers, and the graceful swoops of the wings of the focal. The polymer clay 'cabochon' is smooth, although its surface appears corrugated, and was made from a tutorial by Sophy Dumoulin of CraftArt Edu. I just love this technique - although time consuming, it is fabulous - and you have to wait till the absolute end, to see if the piece you have made is any good - for someone short on patience, it is a good exercise! The toggle clasp is pretty too, but this time, I put it at the back of the neck, where it should rightfully belong - when I tried to bring it to the front, as I do with a lot of pretty clasps, it fought a major battle with the focal, and lost. I consoled it by explaining that the back of the wearer is visible too, especially if she has her hair short, or swept up - or it could remain a delicious secret between the necklace and the wearer ( must be going doolally tap - I am now talking to a clasp!).
That's as much as I had time for, sweet people, I am exhausted by the repeated expansion and deflation of my head after all the accolades Caprilicious has received this week - and I know I will have to work hard to stay worthy of what has been said.
Catch you next week, same time, same place
There are loads of jokes around Christmas - the best ones I read recently go like this .....
I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included. ~Bernard Manning
The last one isn't a joke, and it would seem to me that when people have friends and family visiting them, they squabble and scowl, and sit around harrumphing over their sherry and the Queen's Speech, and others, who have no one to visit would give their all to have someone to go to - its a weird old world!
I love Hollywood's version of Christmas - snow, Cary Grant raising an eyebrow and looking all square jawed, rugged, and manly, and Yuletide egg nog. Listening to a reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas is guaranteed to bring a little smile - or tear!
I wouldn't really know, not having any family in the UK - Indian Christmases are entirely different - colourful, crazy, and weirdly/wonderfully unexplainable to the uninitiated, as most things Indian are!!
It is time to thank people for all they have done for me during the rest of the year, and in the last few years, I have been making jewellery as gifts for people. It would be so much easier and less time consuming to just go out and buy a whole load of stuff, all neatly packaged, and walk around handing it out like a (rather well tanned!) Mrs. Santa Claus, but I think it is fabulous to give a part of oneself - I am proud of my jewellery and think that it is almost a gift of a piece of me and my alter ego - Caprilicious - a lot of time, effort and care has gone into the design and creation of my gifts.
All last week, I made three necklaces and bracelet sets, and twelve pendants - polishing, buffing, checking for imperfections (reject, reject!!) packing, writing cards, and loading all of them into the boot of my car took simply ages, but now, I can rest, decorate my tree, and generally make plans for the simple Shilvock Christmas.
I will give you a sneak peek at some of the gifts I made - no one on my list reads this blog ( I don't think) so you are safe to have a look.
A school mate of mine from India bought Aurora - and she asked for a pair of earrings to match - I made these with tiny labradorite beads and wire. Aurora is a fairly somber piece, and I thought to lighten the mood a bit, and also to make the earrings light. However, she objected strenuously... This is what she had to say ......
" Neen..the earrings you made are not just pretty...they are very pretty :) just felt that Aurora has a classic look to her..you know all beautiful and quiet and strong and dignity flows out of her...and the earrings came across as pretty lil' fun things to wear, plus the turq and wired silver in the earrings are a lot lot more than the Aurora has.
Of course, the customer is always right!! So, suitably chastened, I have sent off for some more labradorite, as I had used up all my faceted nuggets, and will send her another pair a bit later on. Have a look at what I made - I would love to hear your views. The colour is a bit mismatched as the pictures were shot at different times of day, in different light, and different backgrounds, so do please bear that in mind.
After that stint of wire weaving, my finger tips were sore, so my muse led me by the hand to my bead stash, to make up some strands of beads I bought recently. These beautiful purple agate beads are translucent, and very slightly striated - like a crayon colouring held up to the light. I had just received the amethyst beads in the post that morning - they are carved with a dragon, and inlaid with gold - The Chinese are fabulous with this sort of art - I have some Ink sticks with dragons inlaid into them - gorgeous and opulent, just like the colour of the agate. Matching them was easy, and I teamed them with one of my most recent finds - a toggle clasp with a framed dragonfly - it was too beautiful to be placed at the back, so I put it to one side of the necklace - I love that look and make a lot of my pieces in this way (my jewellery style reflects my personality - what you see is what you get! - I am not from the school of hidden, unplumbed depths which have to be searched for).
Columbines, or aquilegias are spring meadow flowers - they are also called Granny's Bonnets in the UK. I love the delicate flower heads, and they are so easy to grow - and best of all, they are hardy, and come back year after year - I shake a few seeds into my hand from ripe seed pods in my garden, and scatter them into the flower beds - I have had great success with this method - my kind of gardening - eazy peazy lemon squezee!
The Sea Sprite
This necklace was made with a string of sea sediment jasper, a couple of Nepalese artisan designed beads and an enamelled bead from my cupboard. The Nepalese beads are made of wood, coloured and inlaid with brass wire in the shape of flowers. The sea sediment jasper is so beautiful it doesn't need much effort to create a pretty necklace out of it.
Cool Water Woman
The lovely blue of these dyed lava rock beads reminded me of the ad for Davidoff's Cool Water Woman - these beads are flat and lie against the wearer in a most flattering way. A pair of Nepalese wooden beads and a dragonfly clasp, as well as a pyrite slab nugget add interest to the wonderfully tactile necklace. The Nepalese beads have a Yin Yang design with inlaid brass wire, and are coloured blue and lavender, a fairly rare colour combination - very pretty!
That's all for this week folks, have a fab weekend and don't wear yourselves out over Christmas. I will catch up with you next week, same time, same place,
No, I don't mean blood from a stone, you read it right first time - Light from a Stone - this epitomises Labradorite. This greyish brown stone is, at first sight boring - in fact it resembles something you might find lurking at the bottom of a cat litter tray - but, wait .... move the stone till it catches the light - and you get that fabulous flash of light from within it's depths - a flash of yellow, blue and green - and you are hooked!
Labradorite is a feldspar, first found in Canada, formed by the slow cooling of magma, giving the crystals time to arrange themselves in large clusters before being locked into place in layers - these layers reflect light at different angles, giving that characteristic flash - the Schiller effect.
The Inuit thought the Northern Lights had been captured by the stone, it is that beautiful. I once bought a bracelet with a large slab nugget - and was immediately hooked - grey brown is difficult to design with, and of course, the stone needs to move to catch the light, so still photographs do not do it justice - Oh well, I can but try - I am not sure if any one will be discerning enough to actually want the necklace, but I love it, and will happily wear it myself.
The Harnessed Peacock
This is my nod to Mary Wesley, whose books I read and enjoyed a long time ago - she published her first book at the age of seventy, and wrote a number of best sellers after that - the women in her books are all extremely unconventional, and she has a sharp and dry wit. Harnessing Peacocks is one of her books, and it was also made into a motion picture. Mary had a red lacquered coffin made for herself by a local artisan, and kept it in her living room - she offered to be photographed in it for an interview by a magazine - politely declined, of course! I love that story, she must have been such fun - even her biography is called Wild Mary.
The copper non tarnish wire bird has a crystal tear drop dangling from its beak, and brilliant green and blue crystal and glass 'tail feathers'. I kept the chain simple, but not so simple that I didn't embellish it with a few crystal dangles.
This one was made to complement a turquoise clasp - I used zebra howlite, square onyx beads, shiny crystals, blue glass beads, dichroic glass rectangles and pressed glass beads in the shape of pansies all the way from Czechoslovakia. I love Czech glass - they have some beautiful beads, and I buy them whenever I can find them. They looked like sweeties from my childhood when I finished the necklace, hence the name.
I made these pendants for Scherezade - to wear when she told her prince stories, night after night, holding his interest by withholding the ending - just to live another day, and tell yet another story - a cruel tale, but, we got all these stories from her plight, and she got a stay of execution - and he got the girl - a win win (win) situation, by all accounts!
The druzy cabochons came all the way from Jakarta, I love the crystalline centres that sparkle in the light - once again difficult to photograph. I have been taking online photography lessons and tips, but might make my way to some real ones at the local college come January, I so hate not being able to share my enthusiasm with you. Lashings of wire, and tiny gemstone beads embellish the druzy, but I have kept the whole thing simple, on a ribbon instead of making a whole necklace around it to keep the focus on the pendant itself - this will turn heads anyway, so a whole 'statement necklace' will probably be a bit of overkill.
I have a few more cabochons, and have been trying to set one into a pendant in the shape of a lotus - and struggling, I don't mind admitting. There's something missing, and I just can't put my finger on it - don't you just hate that feeling - but I have put it away for the time being and hope that when I look at it again, inspiration will strike me like a bolt of lightning and I can show it to you next week. Till then, have a lovely weekend, and a fabulous week. See you same time, same place,