Hello folks, nice to see you again. We've been lucky with the weather, especially since I'd booked a few days off from the day job. With no plans to go anywhere or do anything apart from waking up late and following whatever whim came to mind, I found that the sun had decided to stay on and join the party.
I decided that it was finally time to try a bit of metal-smithing. I had been putting the day off through procrastination, taking classes, watching You tube videos, and buying supplies until I realised that I had run out of excuses not to give it a go. The weather was warm, but not too warm, I had every single hammer I could possibly need and then some, and now I had the time. So that was it then, no more wasting time. I set up all the stuff I needed in the conservatory and got to work.
Michael has this penchant for wandering around junk/antique shops and charity shops. He often comes home brandishing some find or the other and when I look askance at his offering, 'it's only twenty pence, he/she wanted a tenner, but I got the price right down', he says. It would appear that really, we live in a glorified junk yard - most of the stuff in our house supposedly costs only twenty pence! He came home with a rusty cobblers anvil a couple of years ago, the metal so pitted, scarred and misshapen that I banished it to the conservatory - well, actually I said 'get it out of the house, it's an eyesore'. He obviously didn't chuck it away and sanded all the rust off it to make it a useable tool. This was the anvil I used, so his purchase came good in the end - thank you Michael.
Fold forming is a new system of metal forging developed by Charles Lewton - Brain in the 80's. It relies on the natural characteristics of metal, which actually seems to move when it is forged. It is folded, repeatedly forged and annealed, and eventually unfolded; at which stage it generally has a dramatic new three-dimensional form. .He creates beautiful structural forms and I fell in love with the shapes he made with a piece of metal and a hammer. How I will use these shapes in jewellery is yet to be seen, but the videos I have watched inspired me to at least give it a go.
The Ruger Fold
The Ruger Fold is created from a long narrow piece of metal, which is forged until the two ends cross over one another. I started to hammer the copper sheet, over and over but absolutely nothing happened. I thought I was doing so well, but I was achieving diddly squat. I took a short break and went back to the computer to see what Mr L-Brain had to say about it and found this. He recommends forging it 'heartily' and I realised that I'd been striking it like a girl, a girl who generally makes polymer clay roses and sweet peas! I decided to up my game and strike like a bloke - you know the ones in the Coca Cola ads, in a vest, with rippling muscles and oiled bodies, doing manly things, thirsty things - that's how I needed to work, not like a little girly girl.
If I had anger issues, I swear it would have done me a lot of good. I might tell some people in my family to take it up and whack the bejeezus out of a sheet of copper instead of taking pot shots at people - it beats meditation for the ill tempered person. A few good strikes with the hammer and the copper curved into a crescent like a good'un. The muscles in my right arm were well developed by the time I was done, bye bye bingo wings - problem - I am not ambidextrous so the other arm is just as flabby as when I started out.
This was the second piece I forged - I love the shape of the leaf. You can see my Joyce Chen scissors in the picture - as I dropped out of jewellery school because I couldn't use the saw, these scissors turned out to be invaluable. I had got used to the butane torch by this time and decided to try a bit of soldering - I've had the supplies for a while, but not got around to using them. This seemed as good a time as any.
And that's as far as I've got folks, I now have to find a way to turn these two leaves into jewellery, but there's a lot of finishing work to be done first.
After this masculine pursuit, I thought I'd go back and try a bit of gender reaffirmation, so flowers it had to be. A string of pretty peach quartz needles tinged gently with a pearly silver jumped out of my stash and I made up a simple necklace with a few brushed silver flowers. When I had finished I thought it needed a bit more to give it some 'oomph'. Pale green peridot, steel blue shell pearls and a pack of orange coral beads were pressed into action until I was satisfied.
That's me for this week folks. I shall no doubt spend a lot more time on my leaves and will have something to show you next week. Have a fabulous week, and I shall catch 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, 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 readers, how are you- I hope you've been enjoying the sunshine - we certainly have in the UK. Wirework and beads have been my friends this week - it has been difficult to tear myself away from the sunshine and go in to work, and I have spent whatever time I could spare sitting in the garden and playing with them.
I saw some aerial pictures on Pinterest and I was inspired to recreate them in polymer clay, on the one rainy day we had at the weekend. Elysian Fields is a series of pendants inspired by these photographs which I then made up into necklaces.
The Elysian Fields are beautiful meadows in Greek mythology where the favored of Zeus enjoy perfect happiness and where they compose poetry, sing, dance, and tend to their chariots according to Homer - that's the best the ancients could think of when they imagined perfect happiness?!?
The Parisians named the Avenue des Champs-Élysées after this mythical place ( more like Elysium, in my opinion and you can get more there than singing and mending chariots) - and anyone who has visited it will agree that it is truly one of the most beautiful avenues in the world - but you will need loads of money to find happiness there.
The turquoise blue of the scarab was offset by the grey and yellow of the wooden beads I found in India and the coral and turquoise beads I sourced from Nepal.
Incredibly, twice a year on the spring and autumn equinoxes, a shadow falls on the pyramid in the shape of a serpent. As the sun sets, this shadowy snake descends the steps to eventually join a stone serpent head at the base of the great staircase up the pyramid’s side.
The stepped structure of a bismuth crystal is the result of a higher growth rate around the outside edges which generates an electrical charge activating crystal growth to a higher degree than on the inside edges.
It is the only element that has been successfully converted into gold by Nobel laureate Niels Seaborg of Berkeley University in California.
It is diamagnetic - it repels both the North and South pole equally, and can levitate a magnet. It is the only metal that contracts on heating!
But more, much more than this, it is beautiful and lends itself to wire wrapping. There aren't too many artisans making this type of jewellery - some attach a bail using glue, this is the only other way it can be suspended - it shatters like glass on drilling it.
Sourcing some for Caprilicious became something of a quest/ treasure hunt - I got my crystals from a UK source for ease of delivery, and so I wouldn't have to pay exorbitant postage / customs duty, and couldn't wait to make them up into pendants.
Swarovski Rivoli Pendants
Swarovski makes these beautiful crystals, with a faceted top and a pointy back - they are fairly flat and are usually set in bezels that can be purchased in bead shops or handmade beaded girdles. Nicole Hanna decided to set a challenge to wire wrap these Rivolis - she issued half a tutorial and left us to finish the piece without too much addition or subtraction, even the tools were specified - all the contestants received the finished tutorial as a gift for participating. I had never set a Rivoli before, but am not averse to a challenge, so I gave it a go.
The main engineering difficulty was to secure the crystal securely to the wire bezel without the use of glue, prongs or any such elements, while keeping the design interesting, of course. I made a few of these, and the last one with the tutorial, as envisaged by our host, Ms Hanna.
And that's all I had time for, folks - I hope you enjoyed your visit with Caprilicious and come back next week, same time, same place. Have a great week in the meantime
Hello readers, nice to meet you here again. Last week we talked a bit about statement jewellery. This week we talk about why people wear jewellery in the first place - the potted story of jewellery, if you like.
People originally began to cover their bodies with skins from the animals they hunted for food to shelter themselves from the elements - but jewellery doesn't appear to serve any such purpose - so why then has it become an important part of our psyche??
These shells, coated with red ochre are the oldest known ornaments - thirteen of them were found in a cave in Morocco, dated to 82,000 years ago by archeologists. They are thought to have come from Tunisia where the snail that once lived in these shells originated. They were probably used as beads as they have perforations to indicate this.
Picture from National Geographic News.
Decorating and beautifying the body with jewellery made of animal hide, leather, bones, shells, feathers and berries are well known early forms of jewellery.
However, simple adornment may not have been the only reason for the wearing of jewellery - advertising wealth and status, hoarding wealth in the form of precious metals, and using jewellery as coinage to make purchases has been described in many societies.
Procreation and the perpetuation of our gene pool is a basic human instinct - and jewellery aids in the 'plumage' factor - something bright and attractive that flashes and glints, drawing attention to the wearer.
Amulets to provide protection - Gods and Saints, hopefully appeased into working away furiously in the background to protect us from all manner of evil are often worn as charms and pendants. This one is St Christopher - patron Saint of travellers.
These are Ghau Boxes - worn in Tibet and Nepal - they are decorative portable shrines, and are ornate boxes holding prayer scrolls, miniature idols and lucky turquoise and coral nuggets worn as pendants - now that's getting closer to the kind of statement jewellery we know and love.
When times are hard, people are willing to try anything to make them feel better. With the 'belt and braces' approach and mysticism from the East raising its head and bringing words like 'Chakras' and crystal healing into our collective consciousness, there are reams (or Mega Bytes) written about the power of various minerals and gemstones.
Initially, 'tumble stones' used to be carried in pockets and pouches, but then it seemed to become important that the stone was in contact with the skin of the wearer. Jewellery makers found a niche market for believers, and prettified them to be worn as a statement. These wands have been made so that the points are free of metal, to allow the energy to flow out of them into the wearer.
Expression of Self
Today jewellery is used more as a means of self-expression. How do you feel when you wake up? - delicate or bold, colorful or subdued, happy and exuberant or fed up - your subconscious will pick out your clothes and jewellery to reflect your mood.
Have you ever thought about why you pick one set of clothing or accessories in favour of another on any given day??
Next week I will visit 'How to Wear Statement Jewellery' - in the meantime, lets take a look at some of the pieces I made at Caprilicious this week.
I made a necklace I called A Circlet of Stars - it was the first piece I made this year and my sister fell in love with it and bought it from me. I decided to make a similar piece, but this time the fire polished beads I used to embellish the piece were in dark tones.
'Dark star I see you in the morning
I played with polymer clay and made some beads - of course playing with clay entails a whole day of fun, what with the curing and sanding and buffing - only then are the pieces ready to make up into jewellery - and so, the weekend vanished in a twinkling, making these, amongst other beads. They look like the rings around a planet to me - what do you think??
The Kris Kros Pendant
This is a simple design by Lisa Barth - a bit fiddly to make, and meant to embellish the front of a dull stone. It looks extremely elegant, and this was borne out by the fact that the pendant flew out of my hands within a couple of hours. I will certainly be making a few more of these, with some variations - my boredom threshold is low and I couldn't make the same thing over and over again - which is just as well for a 'one of a kind' jewellery website! The stone here is a carved rose quartz leaf, in a pale pink. The contrast between the masculine and feminine is what makes this piece, I think.
I thought I would add hair accessories to my repertoire - I have made a few hair combs in the past, and I will add to this collection over time. Embellished hairpins and hair sticks are in fashion - and these are my effort....
Great for a Rapunzel moment and there's even a tutorial by Melissa of Tangible Daydreams on how to release your hair in a 'swoosh' movement like a film star.
I am a firm believer that it is absolutely fine to wear a bit of bling to work - and if you are meeting up with friends after, your jewellery should be perfect for that too - a dual purpose piece of jewellery is always welcome. With that in mind, I added some shiny crystals to what would have been an otherwise sedate necklace - sea sediment jasper with a brass Nepalese bead.
Temple of the Stars
With a couple of days off from work, I had time to try out some new techniques - a labradorite cabochon from my hoard was crying out for attention. The stone is hand carved, and flashes a brilliant blue in the light and I didn't want to create an over embellished setting. I worked out how to set it in wire prongs - wire workers almost feel cause to be ashamed if there is a need to apply solder or glue to anything we make - we take great pride in using cold connections. I was very chuffed when Pearl Blay of The Beading Gem's Journal said she liked the photograph on G+. The stone itself in meant to have many metaphysical qualities including a beneficial effect on the Throat Chakra, as does copper - if you are a believer, this one is for you!!
What is Statement Jewellery??
Hello readers - this is the start of a series of blog posts to explain the ethos of Caprilicious Jewellery and why a piece of statement jewellery is the perfect accessory to make any casual outfit go from basic to spectacular!
The idea for this post came to me when I was talking to one of my colleagues at my day job about Caprilicious, and he stopped me in my tracks by asking me (with a very puzzled look on his face) 'What on earth is Statement Jewellery' ?? - at first I laughed because I thought he was joking, and then I realised he truly had no idea what I had been talking about.
I had to step back and think for a minute before I answered - I had never before been asked to explain it. And then, as a wonderful coincidence, I was asked by a fellow blogger if I would write a guest post about this very subject, and I jumped at the chance.
So, what is Statement Jewellery?? and what's the difference between a statement piece and a signature piece???.....
To my mind, statement pieces make you feel good, reflect your personality and the way you are feeling at that particular moment.
They stand out and are noticed as unique and individual - making your wardrobe basics come together in a way that makes for visual interest.
Larger pieces will obviously make an impact more easily, but small and delicate can make as much of a statement - they just give out a different message about you at that point in time.
A statement piece should make you feel happy with your look, reflect your personality, and help you to walk tall, and feel confident.
In any given week, a woman might want to wear leather, copper and spikes in a very edgy and modern look on one day, and vintage lace and flowers on another - as I said, it's the way she feels when she wakes up that particular morning.
Signature pieces are statements that people recognise as your particular style - Cleopatra eyes, Jackie Onassis sunglasses and pearls or Frida Kahlo and her monobrow and flowers are examples.
The wearing of jewellery could easily be your signature - can you hear people say 'Ooh, she always wears the most interesting jewellery!!' when they talk about you??
To be continued next week..
In the meantime, do take a look at the pieces made at Caprilicious recently.
I made the butterfly with miles of wire, and as if that wasn't enough wire, I made a couple of twisted rope sections to bind it down into a necklace. I watched a real butterfly flit around in my garden as I sat weaving in the dappled sunlight and thought how lovely it looked - like the embodiment of a piece of music hand written on a page, and I had the urge to unchain my little wire butterfly.
This picture was my inspiration for the piece 'Safari Sunset' . The pendant is made of annealed corrugated glass from Italy and has a tiger stripe on it, which got me thinking of a safari. I wrapped in about twenty feet of wire and attached a tree silhouette to the front of the frame. The little sunstone squares and orange agate beads are from India and my sister in law brought me the trade beads from a safari holiday. I love the warm colours of this piece. The copper wire has been patinated and waxed to hold the patina.
The two pieces I made this week are almost diametrically opposite to each other - one of the days I will have to sit my muse down and ask her why she is so capricious - of course, I know the answer - she is a Caprilicious Woman and she lives by her strapline - Delicious jewellery for the Capricious Woman!!
That's my lot for this week folks - have a great weekend and I'll see you next week, same time, same place
p.s. The other two articles in this three part series can be found here and here.
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 readers, thanks for dropping by. We've had some wonderful weather in the UK and the garden is coming along nicely, although it is way away from being at top dead centre. I have been out and about with my camera, recording what is for us, spring in full cry.
This is my neighbours Laburnum tree - it is beautiful in spring, and then fades away into obscurity for the rest of the year - but isn't it just so beautiful??
My muse decided that I would go back to my roots this week. The first piece I felt compelled to make was with the last of my Nepalese pendants - that reminds me, I really ought to go and hunt down some more.
I found the pendant in my hoard, and teamed its coral and turquoise inlay with bronze shell pearls, blue dyed jade and red agate - the birth of Zeenat, which means decoration, or adornment in Arabic.
Mushika and his Master
Ganesh, the Elephant God has the head of an elephant and the body of a man. The story my grandmother told me about this was that one day Ganesh's mom was bathing and she had asked him to mind the door against intruders. Halfway through her bath, his dad wanted to come indoors, and was refused entry by the lad - his insolence irritated his dad ( who was well known to have anger management issues) so much, that he cut off his head in a fit of pique ( he did much worse things when he was really riled! although in the picture he looks like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth). There were no social services in those days, unfortunately or dad would have been in BIG TROUBLE.
Mom then gets out of the bath, humming to herself, and is horrified when she sees what has happened to her darling, obedient son - she threatens dad with murder and mayhem, and following a ding-dong row, he agrees to put things right and is issued with a high decibel deadline .....'or else'.... - he sends someone out for a new head - the half blind idiot who went looking (the calibre of servants was shocking in those days) brought back an elephant's head - the deadline was upon him and dad thought he'd just stick the head on and hope for the best, maybe even hide mom's glasses so she couldn't see too well........and the rest is history! Ganesh is known to love his food - well, you would comfort eat too if you were a cute little boy one day and this happened to you - and besides, he is half elephant, and everyone knows elephant's eat a lot (that's his excuse and he's sticking to it).
As for Mushika, he was once a beautiful and vain celestial being, who got on the wrong side of a sage and was turned into a mouse for his pains! He made such a nuisance of himself with his bad behaviour (everyone knows that mice are ill mannered), that eventually Ganesh caught him and decided to sit on him much like other children ride on their dogs. Poor Mushika was in deadly danger of being squashed to death by this portly elephant/child, and begged him to loose some weight - but we all know how hard that is, so by a sleight of hand, the elephant god made himself lighter (wish I knew how to do that) whenever he rode the mouse, and they lived together happily ever after.
I managed to run through approximately 2 Kilos of wire and had to send off for new supplies - this is in addition to the fine weaving wire, and the silver wire I have used over the last year and a half.
I brought this piece of glass back from Murano - it looks like someone has dropped a pebble into a body of water and made a SPLASH! Embellished with miles of wire, it makes a beautiful pendant.
I am now officially the jewellery designer for Look in the Bag's new collection of silk scarves. They are a small company, founded by a graphic designer and her husband. She draws and paints the designs and then transforms them magically into silk scarves - well it is magical to me, because I have no idea how it is done - probably child's play to her! They market the scarves, each with it's own little bag and a piece of jewellery to match, on their website - I have bought some as gifts myself, and am proud to be associated with the brand. Andrew, has some fantastic tales to tell about the 'models' who wear their scarves ( He's definitely a budding novelist), and Neelam designs the scarves and draws all the illustrations - I just love the whimsical way they present their wares.
Here they are, worn by Neelam's models - my photographs are from the ones I sent out for approval as I went along making the collection to her specifications.
I made them up one design after another earlier on in the year, with Neelam abroad having the scarves made up to her satisfaction. I must acknowledge 2good claymates for the fabulous tutorial they posted on their website, from which I took some of my ideas for the scarf jewellery.
The photographs of the prototypes went back and forth, till we agreed on the design, and I made the requisite number up for her. Each time I made one of the pieces, I fell in love with the scarf and decided that I was going to have to buy it - until the next one! Fickle, huh??
That's it for this week - hope you've enjoyed the read - have a good week, and see 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, and thanks for dropping by the Caprilicious Blog. I hope you have all had a good week - we have rising temperatures here in the UK, and this has naturally turned our thoughts to the summer that is so tantalisingly near, but yet,..............
But first, I took on a couple of challenges this week - I do so love a good challenge. To my mind, it sets the creative juices flowing, and focuses ones mind on a task, rather than thoughts aimlessly milling around like a swarm of ants.
I spotted the first challenge on Facebook - it was a 'finish this' challenge by Nicole Hanna - she published half a tutorial for a piece of wire-work jewellery, and the competition was open to anyone who cared to join - I saw the notice only two days before the competition ended, so I set to work almost immediately. I'm aiming for the completed tutorial that she is offering to all the participants, that's prize enough for me.
The Unfinished Symphony
We were given a recipe for the ingredients, and weren't allowed to make more than one substitution, or add any others. The results will be shown in an album on Flickr, and when I have the whole tutorial, I will make the pendant accordingly and am most interested to see how different it will be from mine.
I played with clay all last weekend, and made up a bunch of scarf jewellery for my friends from Look in the Bag. Once I had finished, my workspace looked like a bomb had gone off over it and I despaired of ever tidying it. I find it hard to work in a messy environment, and when I saw the next challenge, it inspired me to try and clear my table of all the stuff I had on it.
"Clean-up, Fix-up" your workspace BLOG HOP
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson of Sharyl's Jewelry and Reflections challenged us to clear up our workspace and blog about it. She has a long list of participants from all around the world - jewellery making, chronic untidiness and the internet, have brought us together. If you clink on the link above, you will find the list of the other participants in this challenge.
Well, I have two workspaces - one for the weekends, when I have time to play with clay, and another where I sit of an evening, in front of the telly with Mike, and the beads and wirework come out to play. There is a third, in the conservatory where I have my kiln and enamels, but as it isn't very active, there isn't much point talking about it for now, although I hope this will change fairly soon.
I had just finished making the multi strand necklace with beads, and wire and polymer clay pieces you will find below, and my stuff was all over the place. I keep a limited amount of beads and some findings right by my chair, in boxes on the floor, being too lazy to get up and walk to my storage area each time I need something. Unfortunately, I do not have a 'before' picture to show you, just the 'after' one - you can see the boxes balanced precariously on each other, but all the beads went back into their respective boxes without too much trouble, and the wire was coaxed into going back onto the shelf, so the area looks relatively tidy - and that's the best I could do! As you can see, the pliers refused to move and stayed sat on one of the last naughty spools of wire in a sulk - they should have gone onto the plier holders on the top shelf - I left the refuseniks be, as I didn't have any energy left after that monumental effort.
This is the room where I play with clay - it is only tiny, and I have a trestle table to work on, a trolley with paints and stuff on it, a computer table with the buffer, all jostling for space with a filing cabinet, a cupboard that holds our coats and outdoor wear, another cupboard meant for cleaning implements which I share with my cleaning lady ( and am sneakily encroaching on when she isn't looking, shelf by shelf ), a wall that is lined with books, and shelves that hold photography equipment - a lot to fit into that tiny space. I consider it nothing short of a miracle that I can see the white ceramic tile I use as my work surface.
I took all the clay off the table and put it back into boxes under the table, all my implements were wiped down with wet wipes, and stashed in their mugs and glasses - all the mugs that get chipped in our house find their way to my work space - they know I'll give them a good home in my efforts to stay organised. A set of library steps have been encroached on - I use any flat surface to hold something temporarily - and that quickly becomes a permanent fixture, but as these steps are my husband's pride and joy, I daren't do that for longer than a day or I will find all my stuff unceremoniously dumped on my table when he goes in to look for a book!
Anyway, this is as tidy as it gets - but very far from being all shipshape and Bristol fashion. I have to tell you that before I went all 'crafty' the room was a third bedroom, converted into a sort of library for all the books Mike and I own. I used to play with clay in the kitchen, but that meant I had to clear up my clutter every evening, and projects had to be finished or binned at the end of the day - we all know, that doesn't work one little teeny weeny bit!
I made this polymer clay veneer for another project, but then ended up using it to make a few small pendants instead. I used one of these pendants in a bohemian necklace in bright colours - just right for the summer ahead. The inspiration was beach jewellery from Thailand - usually made with macrame, but I decided to use the look, and recreate it in my own way.
There were a pair of earrings to match, and I think this necklace will look great with summer whites. I used polymer clay beads, wire, African trade beads, which my sister in law kindly found for me when she was on a safari holiday, and I had a ball putting this piece together.
That's it for this week folks, cleaning up after myself has exhausted me and I need to lie down with a cold compress on my head, catch you next week, same time, same place - have a lovely weekend