Hello readers, thanks for stopping by to read about the statement jewellery made at Caprilicious this week. It was my privilege to provide a piece of jewellery to the Children's Unit at the hospital as a raffle prize - the manager who requested it of me was very complimentary about the piece I handed in - I was quietly pleased with it myself, and the reaction on the Facebook page was heartening when I posted some pictures there. The carved jade flower had been lying around in my stash, just waiting to be used and this is a very worthy cause, very close to my heart.
If you're wondering what the mention of statement jewellery in the opening line was all about - I've been reading blogging guides - and the theory is that a googlebot, which in my imagination looks like the picture above, worms it's way into a website and if the raison d'être of the blog is mentioned in the first few sentences, the botworm gets the message - and when people look for 'Handmade Statement Jewellery', the Caprilicious Jewellery website comes up in a Google search - having done this for a few weeks, I was quite gratified to find that I haven't been misguided by the bloggers guide.
However, I don't know any woman who goes to Google when she wants to look for handmade statement jewellery! I certainly wouldn't do a Google search to look for jewellery, would you?? What beats me is that knowing this fact doesn't make me chase the botworm any less frantically - just shows how competitive I really am, I suppose, and also that I like to test a theory before I accept it as common wisdom.
Anatevka was a fictional shtetl in Imperial Russia where the musical Fiddler on the Roof was set. We went to the Eutin Festival in Germany, where they had this musical on, inspiring me to create this necklace.
I acquired a necklace of hand knotted shell pearls in beautiful colours of bronze/ cream, peach and shades of grey - the pearls are large and very beautiful, and though I normally would have cut up the necklace to restring the pearls, this one was so well made, I couldn't bring myself to wantonly destroy someones painstaking work - in fact, I had to agree that I couldn't have done it better ( a rare admission for me ).
I decided to make a pendant for it, and string it onto the necklace directly. An agate druzy cabochon, surrounded by wire lace, with pearls and crystals thrown in just grew and grew until two days later, my muse declared it finished. Although wire lace looks pretty, it is hard work on the finger tips which resembled Shreddies by the time I was done - but hey! I love the way it looks, so won't complain. The pendant is very baroque in appearance, and suits the necklace - and the name!
If you want to know what shell pearls are, here's a link to a very well written article I found during my research - I couldn't have put it better myself.
And with this, I decided to put my Lacemania aside for a while - and my fingertips heaved a huge sigh of relief!!
I've had two new helpers this week - Charlie and Wilfred have moved in with us - they must have been techies in a previous life, they are fascinated by the moving cursor on my laptop screen, and keep trying to help me type this blog and won't take no for an answer.
They are also interior decorators of sorts, and are helping me to remodel my house and change the decor, by systematically destroying anything they dislike - Mike's 40 year old German oil lamp (he's had it 40 years, but it was an antique when he first bought it) is something they have taken a dislike to - only he refuses to part with it - the boys are most annoyed that it is now out of reach!
With my fingertips sore and out of commission, I decided to give them a rest. I have these peacock feather pendants in from Indonesia - the ends have been fringed, much like a Rastafarians dreadlocks, with beads, and I love the effect. I used shards of electroplated quartz needles in the necklace, strung with spacers of crackle quartz in a deep peacock blue and a couple of enamelled beads from India. The quartz needles remind me of the silver rain that sheets down during a monsoon - the rain in the UK though persistent, is usually gentler.
Durga is a wrathful form of Parvati, otherwise known as Mrs Shiva, and the mother of Ganesh the elephant God. Kali is an even more angry form - women of all ages, at different times of their cycles have fleeting resemblances to one or another avatar of this multipurpose Goddess.
According to legend, Parvathi was peed off at something- or someone (possibly, but not necessarily hubby), and she knitted her brows together in a frown - a third eye originated there ( watch out - the gaze from that third eye when provoked into opening can burn you into a frazzle). When someone else peed the already irritated Durga off, she went wild, hair unbound, arms akimbo - and she didn't stop until she killed the annoyance, hung his head around her neck and drank his blood.
She laughed and laughed, and did a dance that a whirling dervish would have envied, until suddenly to her horror, she found that she was trampling on her poor husband Shiva - Oops! she said and stuck her tongue out - and an ancient photographer took her picture (or maybe the wind changed and her facial expression stuck), so she is doomed to being immortalised as the crazy one with her tongue stuck out, hair wild, with strings of demon's heads hung about her person.
This story, I am sure will resonate with my female readers - we've all been there, pootling along, minding our own, when along comes this nuisance - whether we turn into Durga or Kali depends on the irritant!
Anyway, I digress - this necklace is made of a pendant from the Banjara tribe in India, with two paisa coins from 1962. I put them on a rope, which can be tied so that the pendant sits where you would like it to and can be worn with all sorts of necklines. It looks like something Durga might like to wear - well, she's most definitely a Caprilicious woman....................
That's it for this week folks. Charlie has destroyed a bunch of silk flowers I had prettifying a dull corner of the house, and the two brothers are now flicking the flowers around the house like crazed confetti - I'd better go and rescue what's left of those poor flowers. Have a fab weekend, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place
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
'When a woman puts on a heel, she has a different posture, a different attitude. She really stands up and has a consciousness of her body.'
I was raised to be a mouse, shy and quiet, dressed in simple clothes that helped me to merge with the crowd - that was the way good little Indian girls were brought up when I was a child - very Victorian - unfortunately, my personality wouldn't be repressed and the mismatch when "I" escaped was sometimes very odd.
Eventually, I said to myself, to hell with being quiet and nondescript - I shall be me - and then, it was like a weight dropped off my shoulders - I was free! The habit of being shy and quiet though, has been ingrained into me, and rears its ugly head when I am in a roomful of people I don't know - that is when I need my piece of statement jewellery to give me a boost with a soupçon of extra confidence, and help me regain my equilibrium.
When I make a piece of jewellery for the Caprilicious Woman, this is what I aim for - the wearer walks tall, knowing she wears a distinctive piece of jewellery, marking her as a feisty, interesting woman, who cares about herself, has ideals and dreams and is capable of taking her destiny in her hands and running with it - she is the 'Caprilicious Woman'.
Just as your Louboutins give you that 'attitude', a piece of Caprilicious jewellery should help you stand out from the crowd, be noticed and most importantly, feel good about yourself.
Mike and I watch Some Like it Hot, with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon at least once a year - it is a standby favourite for rainy Sunday afternoons, along with Singing in the Rain, and Top Hat. Isn't Marilyn cute?? Apparently she was four months pregnant when she shot this scene - I couldn't tell - clearly, she has some really good foundation garments on here.
I was looking to use these Moroccan Berber tarnished silver metal beads I recently acquired - they are large but light, as they are hollow. Teamed with a couple of hot pink agate beads, and rough cut black tourmaline, I used fuchsia pink pearls as spacers - I had to call this necklace after my favourite film.
Some Like it Hot
I used both my little point and shoot camera and my brand new Nikon to take these pictures - I can see why I am going to enjoy the Nikon once I understand it better - just now it feels like I am driving a car for the first time, coordinating all it's functions seems like an impossible task.
Sruthi Singh, a design blogger who calls herself the East Coast Desi, featured our house and garden on her blog - she was curious about how the design ethic in the decor of the place I live in matched up to the jewellery I make. You can read her article here - the photographs were taken by a friend, and the piece was written by Sruthi. Don't forget to leave a comment on her blog - she will be really chuffed to hear from you.
I took delivery of these exciting and colourful pendants from the Afghanistan/ Turkmenistan area and decided to make some colourful beads to go with them. Armed with a tutorial from a Russian polymer clay artist,
Ms Kopilka and my extruder, I set out to put some really bright colours together and see what happened.
The extruder reminds me of an implement from my mothers kitchen, used to make deep fried savoury snacks. I have never made these snacks myself, my excuse being that I don't deep fry anything ( although this hasn't stopped me eating them!) I find it really ironic that I, the most un-domestic goddess, am now using kitchen implements in my avocation that I would never have dreamed of using to cook with!
This is how the beads from this technique came out - pretty colourful, eh? I still have loads of the cane I made in the picture above and more beads to come from it later on. I also made some Kumihimo braid using Chinese satin thread and nubbly sari ribbon fabric ..........
The first of these beauties went onto the Kumihimo braided cord, which I then festooned to my heart's content with coins made of shell and pewter - very pretty, with a tinkle and a rustle reminiscent of belly dancers in Istanbul.
As the story goes, people threw coins at the feet of Ottoman street dancers, and having nowhere else to store them to protect against theft, the dancers sewed the coins into their belts and scarves. After a while, it became an issue of prestige - the belly dancer with the most coins was obviously the best one, so they began to wear their coins attached to their clothing, visible for all to see, as a sort of clanking, rustling, curriculum vitae cum bank account. They add rhythm and colour to the costumes and the dance, and I certainly think they suit this necklace down to the ground - what do you think ?? It would have been a boring necklace without them, in my opinion.
That's all I had time for this week, folks, stay well and have fun, and I'll catch you soon, same time, same place
Hello all, have just got back from a fabulous short break in Rome - the weather was fantastic, and the sun shined on us throughout, allowing us to cafe hop between trudging wearily from monument to museum - watching the world go by - checking out what people are wearing, the way they walk - women seem to walk differently from the rest of the world in Europe - little staccato steps, on tottery high heels, in tight short skirts. The cobbled streets of Rome are particularly suited to clickety - clacking along in stiletto heels, the women so chic, in artfully draped scarves, long dangling earrings and bracelets stacked up halfway up the arm.
Exhausted, feet hurting, and happy to be back, we rescued the cat from the cattery, and now, back to real life - at least I have a couple of days to relax and get the feeling back in my feet, before getting back to the day job - thank goodness for that!
Before I went, I spent a lot of time on the internet researching a way to use my collection of Swarovski squares - these are either square, or with rounded off corners, and boy, do they shine! The only problem is I had to find some way of connecting them - unless I gave up and used them singly in earrings. I do not do bead weaving, which is the most common way to connect circles or square elements - sewing with beads is hard on the eyes, and excruciatingly time consuming - really, the artisans who work with tiny seed beads are to be commended - and good luck to them!
After all that, I found I had to learn a few simple tricks with seed beads to make this next piece or I would never have managed it - just connecting them with jump rings would never be an option for me - too easy! I set out to Square the Circle - an euphemism for an impossible task - the original was a geometric challenge to construct a square with the same area as a given circle using a finite number of steps, which was proven to be impossible in 1882!
Squaring The Circle
I managed to connect the squares - but found that the necklace was too light, and twisted on itself - it needed a focal point to add weight to the centre, and so, the little 2" square pendant of wire and knot less netting was constructed - it also gave the piece some added colour, and plenty of Bling! I used some pretty chainmaille knots between the beads - I have more of these Swarovski rings, and there will be more on these pages, as time goes by.
I got some new tools this week - a new dapping block and doming hammers - working round blanks into gentle dome shapes raises the game just that little bit and allows them to catch the light - I would like to use this technique before I apply enamel to the copper blanks I have earmarked for earrings - they will catch the light every time the wearer moves their head - pretty!
Of course, I had to have a play - I had some Chinese coins and got them out for a good bashing - I'm afraid I smashed some of them by hitting too hard - but, when I worked out all it needed was a light touch using the wrist, rather than the shoulder, I got some pretty good results. Notice the silk cushion I am using as a way to soften the blows on my dining table - I really need a work table - and am coming round to that way of thinking, fast. A few more hammering sessions on the old dining table, and Mike will rush out and buy one - see, there's method in my madness!
The gypsy queen was made from the coins - I punched holes in the dapped and domed coins, patinated them using a proprietary patina, buffed and polished, applied a sealant, and made a couple of pairs of earrings.
I liked the effect, so I patinated the rest and attached them to a hand woven copper collar. I liked it so much, I wore it in Rome - it did attract quite a bit of attention - and strangely, while walking around the Pantheon, I saw a shop displaying earrings just like these - these were copies of Roman artefacts found in the archaeological digs around the area . I must try this with other coins from my travels - not Euros, though - I need those!
The Soleil D' Orient was a vessel that set sail from Siam in 1681, owned by the French East India Company, it is one of the three richest shipwrecks in the world. There were 60 crates of presents to Louis the Fourteenth and probably sank off the coast of Madagascar following a cyclone. It has been looked for by treasure hunters fruitlessly over the years - but it is thought that the treasure is now spread out over many miles - maybe I have a piece here?? - The coins were antiqued by rubbing with sandpaper after being patinated, and then sprayed with a varnish to prevent loss of the rest of the patina - I really like that effect.
Hope you all had a good week too - I will catch up with you later