Hello everyone, I'm glad you could join me today. We are bang in the middle of summer and at last the sun was shamed into showing his face - but who knows what next week will bring? Rather than worry about what is to come I decided to make the best of what we have and spent every day of the week splashing paint onto my garden furniture until it was all painted a uniform shade of sunlight yellow.
I'll bet you're thinking what on earth I was doing painting the furniture a 'Hi-Vis' colour. Well hold on, and I'll tell you. There is a method to my madness, I promise.
We were about to have a retractable poly tunnel like pool cover installed and I wanted to draw the eye away from what I thought would be an eyesore in our little garden. We needed the cover though, cleaning the pool was becoming increasingly a chore as the trees in the surrounding properties shed their leaves and seeds by the lorry load on a daily basis. It was quickly becoming a nuisance rather than a pleasure and something needed to be done, and quick.
This was the end result, and I think the two go well together. We will be able to extend the number of days we can use the pool and reduce the heating bills besides keeping it clean.
I bought a string of coral fossil slab nuggets - I'm not usually one for beige and brown, but these beads are so pretty I couldn't resist them.
Corals are invertebrates that are made up of colonies of tiny polyps, which secrete calcium carbonate to form an outer skeleton. We only get to see the exoskeleton part of the organism, eventually left behind once the coral dies, and turn these into pretty beads and jewellery. Most coral is beige, cream, yellow or black and very occasionally pink or red. .
Millions of years ago, coral lived in warm shallow water. Over time, as plates below the ocean floor shifted, the coral became buried under layers and layers of sediments. As the temperature and pressure changed, the coral eventually fossilised and turned into rock. Fossil corals are actually natural stones that formed when ancient corals were replaced by agate, their hard skeletons fossilising when they were saturated with silica rich water bubbling from limestone. Coral remains were gradually replaced with agate, a variety of naturally occurring chalcedony, or micro crystalline quartz. The fossilised coral typically appears as small flower-like patterns in the stone. You can read more here, if you are interested.
Hand carved bovine bone flowers, copper spacers and a pop of colour with turquoise beads were added to the piece ( I simply couldn't resist adding a bit of colour to what would otherwise be a very sombre necklace) and I think the necklace is very fetching. A couple of copper beads were left over and I added some bone flowers to make little earrings to match. As the necklace is pretty striking, all it needed was an unobtrusive pair of earrings.
That's me for this week folks. Next week I have a bit of time off and hope to play with a bit of fold forming and metal smithing. I will probably end up with lumps of twisted misshapen metal, or I might surprise us all and make something really interesting - who knows? I will keep you posted, as usual.
Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how lucky I am that we can meet like this today - and I mean this quite literally!! I'm sure you've noticed that my blog posts have all suddenly gone pale this week. I've had so much trouble with my website over the last couple of weeks, I was almost ready to throw in the towel and go to another web host. Weebly, the people I am currently with suddenly decided to update their software and it no longer supported some of the changes I had made which were working perfectly before they tinkered with it. My site suddenly disappeared from view and no matter how many times I refreshed it, I could not see any of the content. I couldn't think what happened and eventually, over a number of emails, late night phone calls to the USA and a bit of hissing and spitting and lot of alterations, I finally ended up with this new look website and blog.
The problem here is that I am a one woman show - apart from designing and making the jewellery having sourced the components, I take my own pictures, edit them and upload them onto the Caprilicious website, writing descriptions of each piece along the way. However, I am semi computer literate and mainly self taught. What they say about the maternal proclivities of 'Necessity' is quite true.
I changed the 'theme' of my website thrice in the last week, which meant that all the headers and fonts disappeared each time and yet another phone call had to be made. I now know the number to the Weebly help line off by heart and can recite it in my sleep. Hissing and spitting, and of course swearing under my breath, I repeated the boring task of uploading all the pictures onto the headers over and over until soon, I was no longer doing it under my breath and the air was blue around me. I used the word for intercourse more times than the good ladies in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I arrived at the point where I have a website and a blog and could spend a couple of enjoyable hours making up a necklace that I had designed in my minds eye while lying in bed last night.
Xanadu is the summer capital of the Mongol warrior Kubla Khan in a poem written by Coleridge - he thought it up one night whilst lying in an opium fuelled stupor - I thought it a fitting name for a necklace I conjured up in bed while lying in a Weebly induced coma! Xanadu was thought to be a luxorious place of great beauty, riches and contentment. I bought the sterling silver pendant while in Jaipur a year and a half ago and it is so pretty, I've been sitting on it like Gollum and his 'pretties'. Only recently I decided it would be a shame to hoard it and brought it out of my stash to turn it into a piece of jewellery.
I added slices of bamboo coral, turquoise beads, silver beads and some pretty blue brass beadcaps to make Xanadu. It is longer than I usually make, about 25" long, and meant to be worn over an outfit with a high neckline. I love the combination of coral, turquoise and silver and the little silver box clasp finishes the piece perfectly.
Last weekend, I spent the days scrubbing my cast aluminium garden furniture with bleach, pressure washing them and sanding down all the paintwork - I used my Dremel here and was so pleased that at last I had a multipurpose piece of kit that actually worked well for me. Mike and I painted the table with some trepidation, I had chosen such a bright colour, but I think it looks good. We have done bits of the chairs, and will have them done by the end of this week, I hope.
I don't mind admitting that I am exhausted this week folks, I've had a busy time at the day job, as well as the mind numbing evenings with Weebly to contend with. I hope that this will be an end to my tale of woe. I apologise for crying on your shoulders, but Hey! what are friends for?? I'm going to settle down this weekend with a good book and a cuppa tea, I think I deserve a rest!
That's me for this week, take good care of yourselves and do keep your fingers crossed for me and the Caprilicious website. I'll catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello readers and lovers of statement jewellery, thanks for joining me again today. I had a couple of 'catch up' days off from the day job this week,doing nothing but lounging around the house, catching up on the energy that needs replenishing from time to time.
We had news that the show in Worcester that was cancelled a few weeks ago has been replaced by a smaller one-day affair, this time in the Guildhall in Worcester city centre. The event is on the 25th of July and if you are in the area, do come up and say hello, I'd love to see you.
The Pink Planet
The pink planet was discovered by NASA in 2013 - they haven't as yet given the poor little orphan a name - it is called GJ 504b and is dark cherry blossom/magenta in colour. The quest to find out more about it began in 2009, and the astronomers say GJ 504b is about four times the mass of Jupiter and has a temperature of around 237 Celsius. It's star is slightly hotter than the sun, and the pink planet orbits its star at nearly nine times the distance Jupiter orbits the sun. Don't my polymer clay beads look exactly like the pink planet?? I was really struck with the resemblance, which is entirely coincidental.
The beads for this necklace come from all around the world. The brass lost wax cast beads come from Kenya, the luminous ceramic beads, from my visit to the USA, the crystals are Chinese and I picked up the flat blue ceramic bead in India, and of course, the polymer clay pink planet beads were made by me here in the UK from a tutorial by a Frenchwoman on her blog Parole de Pâté - a truly international effort!
A Moroccan enamelled pendant teamed with dyed branch coral in black and gold form the basis of this necklace. The coral beads are light and because they are separated by tiny seed beads, they sit comfortably around the neck. The vendor of the pendant sent me the little Sufi dervish as a gift and I hung it on a chain on the back of this necklace to add a pretty touch to the back.
A beautiful silver tone bead came from Morocco, in the same parcel that delivered the pendant for 'Maroc'. I had a strand of amazonite slab nuggets and I decided to remake a necklace I had made previously, albeit slightly different from the first one.
When first put on, the necklace beads have to be settled around your neck by gently arranging them so that the ends of each consecutive bead faces in the opposite direction and gives the appearance of two rows of beads. Once that is done, it stays put for the entire time the necklace is around your neck. I love the seafoam green of the amazonite - very cool and refreshing on a summers day.
I love the teardrop shaped coral beads that go into this necklace - I've used these beads in various necklaces in all sorts of colours, but red is the one that attracts my eye the most. As I strung the necklace it struck me that the scarlet of the coral looked so much like poppies. Cats eye beads give the necklace pops of contrasting colour at irregular intervals, and a large Moroccan bead in contrasting navy blue provides focal interest.
The origin of the name of this necklace is instantly obvious, given the colour of the beads. Turquoise blue is one of my favourite colours and teamed with copper coiled wire beads and a handmade clasp, this necklace is made so that it can be worn in two ways and still have the copper beads to one side in an asymmetrical presentation - with the clasp at the back, or to one side. The copper wire was coiled on a mandrel, and the resulting coil was coiled again on a thicker piece of wire. The wire is coated invisibly with a coat of polymer so that it does not tarnish or react with the skin.
Although I had loads of time on my hands, I didn't spend any of it cooped up in the house playing with wire or polymer clay. It was sunny and warm, and a lot of my days off were spent playing the hedonist, lying in the garden under an umbrella, drinking pink lemonade, eating al fresco, reading and playing with Charlie and Wilfred.
I know a lot of my regular readers were surprised that I wrote a mid week post - didn't you see it?? Well, it was called Alchemy and you will find it here. It was entirely unrelated to jewellery and you will have to take a look to see what it was all about.
That's me for this week folks. I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place - have a lovely week in the meantime
Hello readers, and lovers of unusual handmade statement jewellery, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog this week.
Here it is again, Diwali, the mother and father of all Indian festivals - the entire subcontinent of India comes to a standstill - in fact the country hasn't really recovered yet from the previous big festival of Dussehra, which is celebrated twenty days before Diwali.
The very first Diwali started on the night of a new moon when lamps were lit to show Ram and his entourage their way back from exile in a forest - electricity hadn't been invented yet - and if it hadn't been for the kind people who used the last drops of their oil in a lamp, instead of in their cooking, Ram's exile might have lasted another fourteen years as he blundered about looking for the road to his home town ( maps and compasses hadn't been invented either and there had been quite a few changes in that area in fourteen years).
Indians like a nice long holiday, and Diwali is 3 days long, with a second day to pray to the Goddess of Wealth tagged onto the Ram story, as well as a third where we celebrate yet another demon being slayed (there were loads of them in those days apparently). Some people even have a 5 day celebration, but everyone knows that's swinging the lead a bit!
Ram was a very nice chap by all accounts, he agreed to go into exile without a whimper when his nasty step mom emotionally blackmailed his dad into sending him away. He took his wife and brother with him, and they had a fair old time, fighting demons, and making friends with monkeys - my grandmother told me these stories often, and my only response was a howl of outrage that Ram agreed to go without a fuss (I would have kicked and screamed and made such a racket that my step mother would have willingly left the country, just to get away from the noise).
Anyway, as the story goes, his wife is so beautiful that a demon lusts after her and abducts her. Ram is forced to go and fetch her back from Sri Lanka, using monkeys, bears and vultures as allies and the day he kills the demon is celebrated in the festival of Dussehra.
He then comes back home on Diwali day, gets his throne back and proceeds to annoy his wife by doubting her virtue (well, she had been abducted and imprisoned by a demon for many days - what's to doubt?? - a gentleman wouldn't have even gone there ) his wife leaves him and goes back to the jungle with her twin sons, which seems like the better option - I can't say I blame her. So, a not so happy ending then!
If you want to know more after this potted history, I recommend a book by Ashok Banker called The Prince of Ayodhya, it is really well written and a lot of fun to read.
I spent some time with my kiln at the weekend - here are a few pictures I took as I went along.....
This is my little kiln, the beautiful Paragon SC2 - not so pretty when the door is opened, though. The black dust is from the charcoal in the container used to fire bronze and copper clay.
The dry pieces of bronze are fired in a lidded stainless steel container in activated charcoal to prevent oxidation. Once cooled, the charcoal is sieved to remove the ash and find the sintered bronze.
The bronze pieces are put into a rock tumbler with water, liquid soap and stainless steel shot and rotated for an hour, while my assistant Wilfred watches over it carefully.
Spanish Eyes - Juanita
As one of my friends said - red and gold - what's not to love?? - the coral complements the last pendant of the 'Spanish Sisters' series.
The dark blue in this necklace is a colour that is long associated with Egypt and Cleopatra. Teamed with tiny gold beads, the sea sediment jasper is very pretty.
The pendant was originally made with bronze clay and had empty space within. I decided that I would experiment with a sheet of polymer clay and fill up the space with colour. I think it looks rather attractive, especially with the blue and green Czech glass beads.
All of these necklaces will make interesting gifts, and once you've sorted out your gift list, you will have more time to spend on yourself and your loved ones - take the pain out of gift giving with Caprilicious.
While I waited for the kiln to do it's stuff and the pendants to be made, I played with a design by Nicole Hanna and made this little key. I am leaning towards sculptural pieces made with wire and you will see more of these in the coming months.
The Wings of Love
This necklace was made from the wings of the Jewel Beetle. I've made jewellery from these before and found that a lot of people were squeamish to begin with - but once they got over the initial shock, the colours in those wings were enough to draw in the most resistant individual.
I sent for more wings and added a wire wrapped smoky quartz teardrop to the pendant, and on a chain at the back of the necklace.
I think this certainly qualifies to go into the Bling album, don't you??
The next necklace does too - the blues and silvers in Nocturne are evocative of moonlit nights on a beach, a light breeze in your hair, holding hands with your loved one.
Wire lace was applied to the two impression jasper connectors on either side, and I made all the connectors and bead caps myself. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to make as many elements of my jewellery as I can - in my opinion it elevates my jewellery from being merely beads strung onto wire to individual pieces of art which are definitely one of a kind, and can only rarely be replicated.
That's my lot for this week folks. It struck me that in November, it will be three years since Caprilicious Jewellery came into existence. I have enjoyed every moment of this journey, and must thank you all, my supporters, for it. I shall have to think of some way to mark the occasion, but in the meanwhile thanks for being by my side. Have a fantastic week and catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello readers and lovers of statement jewellery everywhere, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog. This week I've had time to put together a few multistrand necklaces - getting ready for Bling season in the main - there are only 89 days to Christmas and it will soon be the time of year for pretty things and gifts. I hope that some of you will be sufficiently enthused by what you are looking at to pick up your gifts from Caprilicious. I am happy to gift wrap and send the parcel to an address of your choice with a little card from you, all you have to do is ask.
The Shaman's Necklace
'Shaman are spiritual guides and practitioners, not of the divine, but of the very elements. Unlike some other mystics, shaman commune with forces that are not strictly benevolent. The elements are chaotic, and left to their own devices, they rage against one another in unending primal fury. It is the call of the shaman to bring balance to this chaos.'
Labradorite is a Feldspar with a rich play of colours called Labradorescence, first discovered in Labrador, Canada. The North American Indians call it the Stone of Shamans - it is meant to aid clarity of thought, protect against negativity and from misfortune, thus bringing balance to chaos.
I love it because it shines so beautifully when moved in the light -at one angle it is a boring grey stone, but move it a bit and Wow! it flashes with such brilliant colour one is simply carried away by its beauty. Combined with rare and beautiful grossular green garnets and a copper wire surround, the labradorite is superb.
Inspired by Isabella Rossellini's shirt necklace in Death Becomes Her, this is my first 'Bling' necklace of the year. Ms Rossellini would look beautiful in a sack, but when she rose out of the water and glided over to her robe purring like a little panther, I just knew that one day I would make a necklace like hers. With plenty of crystals and hammered gold tone links, it shines beautifully, and although I haven't gone overboard, it is still pretty opulent.
Coral, freshwater pearls and an ornate clasp - my muse was in seventh heaven. A pair of earrings complete the parure which is going to be worn with a black and cream lace dress and a little black net fascinator at a wedding.
Daytime Bling - Monet
This painting of water lilies by Monet has so many beautiful colours, and I have been collecting pictures of them to use as inspiration for a piece of jewellery for the longest time - here is the picture, and the necklace - You like?? I love...
This necklace was made for a moonlit walk along the edge of the sea, the breeze blowing in your hair, scarf and skirt billowing - dancing in the moonlight. The pearls and blue jade are ethereal, lending themselves to romance on a moonlit night. If I knew the lady in the picture, I would offer her this necklace.
These two pairs of earrings are so organic, they almost made themselves - I just took the wire where it seemed to want to go and after a while, the earrings appeared as if by magic - they both started with the same material in the same quantities, but ended up being so different. The difficulty with organic designs is to know when to stop with the curls and squiggles and say "The End" !
That's it for this week folks. I have to report that my kittens are pretty useless at being helpers - they sleep most of the day and when awake fight with one another or eat me out of home and hearth - I sound like my mother complaining about her 'helpers' !! I go to my third Polydays in the Cotswolds this week and am sure to bring back some fabulous ideas to Caprilicious. See you next week, same time, same place
Hello 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 good people, here's your weekly dose of statement jewellery from Caprilicious. Once I have posted this, I am off to Hamburg, to visit with a friend and have a few days away by the Baltic in her lovely bungalow by the sea - not that I'm rushing or anything, just saying.....
My muse capriliciously tripped along from one style of jewellery to another, seemingly without a cohesive thought in her head, and I followed, led by the nose - I just do as I am bid and see what transpires (hubby often wonders why I won't follow him in quite the same way).............................
I blame my mother for my lacemania.
She was/is a true lacemaniac, and in my childhood dressed my sister and me in imports from around the globe - she turned up her nose at what was produced in India. Every outfit we had was edged with a hint of lace (imports were expensive, thankfully), and that has left it's mark on us - both of us drool over lace when we see it, but today I would combine it with other elements to detract from the 'girly' effect. Chunky jewellery, leather waistcoats, boho bracelets, trilby hats, slouchy boots, 50's sunnies (not all at the same time, admittedly - the gangsta rap look doesn't suit me either) - these are what I wear 'for badness', a word learned from Gabrielle, an old Irish friend!
I learned this style of wire work from an Indonesian friend - in her country these wire medallions are made into brooches to pin back their headscarves and it takes hours to painstakingly coil fine wire around a thicker wire, and then curve and coil the thicker wire into shape, embellishing it with beads as one goes along, without the use of any tools other than a pair of wire snips - but the final effect is so pretty, it is most definitely a labour of love.
Chantilly lace has been made since the 16th century - handmade in France and Belgium and worn by fashionable ladies in Europe and America - and much loved by brides even today.
If my mother could have laid her hands on Chantilly lace when we were growing up, who knows what damage she would have inflicted on our psyches - todays little hints of 'badness' would have become a deluge, to counteract the Little Miss Muffet-ness of my childhood - Phew!
Whilst I love the colour that polymer clay and beads have brought into my life, it is no secret that wire is my first love.
I make this pendant time and time again - inspired by the work of Nicole Hanna , and I love it. It's asymmetry draws me to this design. The markings on the matte blue agate complement the wire work.
And as I went about my business, pottering about the house and going back and forth to work, my muse caught sight of a polymer clay faux bone medallion I made earlier, meaning to eventually turn it into a tribal piece - she decided the medallion had waited long enough and clicked her fingers -lo and behold, Zanzibar came into being!
A silk, vaguely Chinese looking silk choker was unearthed, my stash raided for colourful wooden beads and Cowrie shells, and they were all put together using waxed linen.
I think the necklace is fun and can be easily worn in summer with T shirts and linens, as well as in winter over jumpers.
I have always wanted to go to Zanzibar which is an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, once a Portuguese and then a British protectorate, a Spice Island that sounds warm and exotic - one day perhaps.
Just now, I shall have to make do with the necklace.
The Sarayu is a river that runs through the north of India and is a tributary of the Ganges. The turquoise beads in this necklace carrying the conch shell pendant, and the flow of the necklace, reminded me of a river - I used the 'stare hard at it and call it the first name that jumps into your head' technique. This technique works well when I like a piece of jewellery - Bang, a name jumps up and bites me on the nose - if, however, I don't feel any rapport with it, I could go cross eyed and anoxic from holding my breath and concentrating hard with no results. Needless to say, such pieces end up on the scrap heap.
The pendant is a black and gold disc from Indonesia - one I made earlier was red, black and gold and equally beautiful.
Earlier on in the year I made a pair of earrings I called The Bollywood Barbie Earrings - what I imagined Barbie would wear if she went to Bollywood. In the process of researching this for my blog, I came across Rachel Chitra's blog - she had written a post about the scarcity of dolls in India. We had quite a few virtual conversations, and I thought no more of it. Rachel is an Indian journalist and blogger and sent me this link today - she very kindly wrote a little blog post about Caprilicious Jewellery.
That's me done before my little mini break in Hohwacht. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same place same time
P.S - I know more of you read me than you let on - go on, put your heads above the parapet and leave me a comment, show me some love darnit, I deserve it - wouldn't you agree?? - the app might ask for your email id, but don't be frightened - it is just to make sure you are human and not a robot selling snake oil from Outer Mongolia
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, I hope you are all feeling better than I am today - Mike and I have had the flu for nearly two weeks now - I had a week off work and spent Easter in bed. But, things are looking up now, and I am looking forward to the weekend.
This whole week I stayed warm in my armchair, making little bits and bobs with wire and beads.
The Islamic origins of these Moroccan beads are obvious - they come from a shop in Casablanca, as do these pictures of the Hassan II Mosque.
The amazonite slab nuggets in this piece are cut in such a way that when strung, it gives an illusion of there being two strands of beads - a very clever way to cut the stones, as two strands of these undoubtedly beautiful gemstones would be too heavy - and expensive!
The Butterfly's Wedding
I acquired a pendant made of a sheet of mother-of-pearl from my friend BN, and it lay around the house for a while, my house elf moved it from spot to spot - until one day, I decided to make something with it before the elf 'disappeared' it forever! I sat down with it one evening, and played with wire - I meant to cover over the brown markings on the edge of the pendant - to my mind, they marred what would otherwise be a pretty, shiny sheet of MOP. But by the time I was done, I had used the entire pendant as a backing sheet for a profusion of leaves, vines, and tendrils in a fanciful garden populated by crystal butterflies. The piece reminded me of a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen called 'The Butterfly' - you can read it if you have the time and want to find out what happened - just click on the link - it is the story of a butterfly who was looking for a bride, and the most famous quote from that tale is “Just living is not enough, said the butterfly, one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower for company.”
I've been experimenting with using donuts as focal beads, held in an asymmetric wire weave, which is harder than you might think. These donuts have no aperture where the wire may be passed vertically through them - the central hole has to accommodate the wire, which has to pass through it gracefully, and yet securely. I tried out yet another method, using approximately four feet of the heavier gauge wire, and twenty feet of the fine weaving wire - and another evening bit the dust! The stone here is a blue agate geode with druzy, which is a coating of fine crystals on the stone fracture surface, in the centre.
More Earrings and a Giveaway
Although I felt better with each day, I hadn't the strength to summon my muse and put her to work - I felt as if I was chasing her all around the room, and boy, was she eluding me.
I gave up in disgust, and made some earrings with ideas I had had earlier, but just not executed yet.
My mother turned 87 on the 22nd - she is fit and well - in fact she's fitter than I am - she walks on a treadmill every day for an hour, and takes painting lessons, to which she has to climb two flights of stairs. On that day, I felt well enough to want to play with clay, and although I didn't spend too much time in my craft room, I managed to make these little sweetpeas, and turned them into earrings that evening. I decided to host a giveaway - yes I know the last one was a disaster, logistics wise, but what can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment. So, the earrings are on Facebook till Sunday the 27th - all people are required to do is to like them and share the image on their page - I will draw the five people who win the earrings from a random number generator.
That's me for this week folks, thanks for stopping by, have a great week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place