Hello all you Caprilicious women out there, I hope you are all relaxed and ready for the weekend, ready to go partying in your statement jewellery.
I have some exciting news this week - Caprilicious is due to have a second exhibition in January 2015. I am negotiating with the good people of Raintree, where I had my first exhibition, to find us a suitable weekend at the end of January when I am due to be in Bangalore visiting with my mother.
Lipstick on your Collar
That's right, I've made this necklace before - last time, I used the jasper I acquired from my friend BN with a coral pink howlite - I happened to have some pale, blush pink howlite lying around and a few black veined jasper beads left over from last time and they just seemed to cry out to be put together. I am by no stretch of imagination a 'pink' person, but I just love the combination of pink and grey/black - very cool and sophisticated. You wouldn't catch me in a pink outfit though - one has to draw the line somewhere! There are plenty of greys, blacks and whites in my wardrobe that could be accesorised beautifully by this necklace when I take it out for it's test run.
For the longest time, I thought seahorses were mythical creatures, like unicorns, phoenix', dragons, dinosaurs and pixies - only kidding, honest. I love the little critters, they are the cutest and I am always on the look out for them. I found an aventurine carved into a seahorse, so smooth and shiny - an instant love affair. With a little wire bail, and the addition of agates and glass beads as well as pearls, it was transformed into a cruisers necklace - or for someone going on a holiday to an island paradise. I used the colours in this photograph to make this necklace.
Do you know the story of Salome?? It is from the New Testament - Salome, who by all accounts was a raving beauty and a femme fatale, who is hailed as the embodiment of female seductiveness and an icon of sensuality , did the Dance of the Seven Veils at her step fathers birthday bash - he offered her anything her little heart desired, and Salome, being as thick as two short planks, looked to her mom for an answer.
Her mom had dumped her first husband, and married his brother - she was extremely put out that John The Baptist had denounced her marriage as unlawful; and he didn't just say it once - he raved and ranted and denounced her from the rooftops, unfortunately prophets just don't
seem to know when to stop - to silence him she decided to get her daughter to demand that John be beheaded.
Salome could have asked for anything - gold, diamonds, pearls - but being a bit sweet and unworldly, she said 'what shall I ask for mommy??' and chose to obey her mother. The king had no choice but to behead the hapless John and present her with his head on a plate.
But on Herod's birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them: and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath, to give her whatsoever she would ask of him. But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist. And the king was struck sad: yet because of his oath, and for them that sat with him at table, he commanded it to be given. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.
My necklace is named Salome - I'm sure it wouldn't have looked out of place during the Dance of the Seven Veils - men will lose their heads over the wearer - but hopefully in a nicer way than poor old John. I've tried to put nuances of sensuality and fiery desire into this magnificent necklace and the haematite gleams brightly in contrast to the hand carved black jade and the paisley howlite beads in the second strand of this piece.
Her face is hand carved of ox bone, she wears a sterling silver and marcasite helmet, her helmet straps are fastened and she looks calm, yet resigned, as if off to do battle for a cause she believes in, wearing her regalia. A beautiful faceted citrine teardrop dangles below her chin - she is The Warrior Princess.
I teamed her with citrine and carnelian freeform nuggets, pearls and blue goldstone beads to make this piece.
Now that I've decided that there will be an exhibition, a bit of anxiety has started to creep up on me - yes, I know I'm being silly, and that I have five months to go - but I'm just a ' have everything ready ahead of time' type . So, I made some earrings - they will go on the website, and eventually make their way to the exhibition, or not, as the case may be - but at least I will have them ready in time.
These are sweet, and helped me watch one of my favourite movies 'The English Patient' for the n'th time as my pliers moved rhythmically along with the soundtrack. And then, with mental calm restored, now that I have enough earrings, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the truly righteous. Now all I have to do is to remember to carry them along - one time I did a jewellery party at my friend Gerry's house, and I left all my earrings and other little bits behind in the cupboard at home.
That's all for this week, folks, I hope you have enjoyed looking at my bits and bobs - if you have, do leave me a message - I'm beginning to think I'm talking to myself.
One of my kittens, Wilfred has found a spool of wire and is chasing it around the room, whilst Charlie has bumped into a wall and got a huge bruise on his nose - £50 to the vet and a clutch of tablets later ( I'm so in the wrong profession), he looks like a rugby player after a particularly violent scrum. Thankfully he is a kitten and not a child, or they would have had me up for non accidental injuries!
Catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers, I hope the summer is treating you well - here in the UK it still hasn't caught up with us, but we live in hope, now that June is here. The foxgloves, whose seeds I collect from seedheads in the garden and strew around the garden and on the bank opposite the house every year, have come up and look ever so pretty. I'm not sure who the whimsical person was who named the flower, but I can just imagine Mr and Mrs Urban Fox - and there are at least two of them in the park opposite our house - slipping their paws into the flowers and going off, tripping the light fantastic, arm in arm.
So with that bit of whimsy at the forefront of my imagination, I set about making this weeks pieces - advance warning--- a lot of them involve flowers.
I bought strings of clear quartz beads in India in a prayer shop - they were strung into a 'Mala' which is meant to be an aid to meditation and prayer, clear the mind and get your chakras spinning. I'm afraid I bought them because they were pretty and shiny, and paired with pewter daisies, tiny turquoise beads and a very lovely turquoise clasp worn to one side, they make a very pretty necklace. If it helps the wearer with their psychic health, well, that's an added bonus, but I cannot vouch for that particular outcome. I had to string the third strand while wearing the piece and looking into a mirror, to get the daisies in exactly the right place, so that they would hang at the bottom of the necklace when the clasp is positioned to one side. It took me ages, to get the positioning just right, and Kevin and Betty looked on in amusement while I struggled - I couldn't use either of them as I needed to have the necklace on a 'real' person to get it just so.
Hand carved turquoise roses and teardrops are assembled using bead weaving and knotting techniques in this very different necklace which sits close to the base of the neck.
Necklaces with Afghani Pendants
I had two last pendants in my most recent delivery of pendants from Afghanistan and I made polymer clay beads to go with them over the weekend. As I had all the canes made and stored earlier, making the beads was quick and easy and the necklaces almost made themselves once the beads were ready.
Bright and sassy, the necklaces in the Tribal Bling section are able to effortlessly go from day to night, and from Eastern to Western attire - one just needs to be brave enough to wear them. I have strung them on two strands of beading wire so that although the pendants are heavier than most focals, the necklaces are robust and will take everyday wear and tear.
This is my little kiln, and I have ignored it for a while - I am always trying to run befor I can walk, and then, when I have a spectacular failure, I retreat to lick my wounds and the technique that unwittingly caused me grief gets put on the back burner.
I decided to break my duck and try some simple designs again. Having cracked a 20 gm packet of Precious Metal Clay in 99% silver, I made three pieces of jewellery, and these worked out more or less how I wanted them to - maybe I'll play some more!
I combined a piece made with silver with a polymer clay and resin 'cabochon' made with inspiration from a class taken with Debbie Carlton. The polymer clay is embellished with silver foil and the pattern on the clay looks like raindrops hitting parched earth - hence Summer Rain. I made earrings to match with a piece of leftover clay.
I hope you've liked what you've seen this week - do leave a comment and tell me what you think. That's a wrap for this week folks, catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, I hope you are all enjoying the weather, which is slowly showing signs of getting warmer. It is so nice to be able to shed the heavy winter gear, and wear fewer clothes - can't wait to get to the point where the sandals come out of the cupboard and onto my feet.
My mother went on a little tour of South India with her niece, and very kindly brought back some beads for me. I had asked her to look out for a string of Rudraksha beads - more about them later. The ones she sent are about 20mm in diameter, and I was a bit intimidated by their size, I had really wanted them a bit smaller. However, no one puts Caprilicious in a corner, and I decided to rise to the challenge. I made some polymer clay ruffle beads from a tutorial by Christelle Van Lingen, in a blend of red and gold, and put a necklace together with a copper electroplated oak leaf skeleton.
Rudraksha is a large evergreen broad-leaved tree whose seed is traditionally used for prayer beads in Hinduism. The seed is borne by several species of Elaeocarpus. Rudraksha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the name Rudra ("Shiva") and akṣha ("eyes").
Rudraksha beads are often worn by Indian 'sadhus' or holy men, who are devotees of Shiva.
In a complete about turn from the oak leaf necklace, I made a couple of light and pretty summery pieces to go into the English Country Garden collection - a little pendant - Primrose, and a necklace made of all the shiny, pretty floral elements I could find - The Summer Bouquet. The inspiration for this came from a throwaway comment by a presenter on last Sunday's airing of 'The Antiques Roadshow' while valuing a tiara - he mentioned that tiaras were often turned upside down and worn as necklaces in Victorian times - so I made a modern day tiara/ necklace - it is extremely light and pretty, and looks like a wildflower bouquet.
Winner - Bead Barmy Readers Gallery Competition April 2013
Linda Jones, a well known and influential jewellery designer, and author, writes a blog for the WireWorkers Guild, which is a forum for people who love wire. She offered to feature me on her blog in May, and sent me a questionnaire. I filled it out, and she emailed me back - she was so complimentary, I have had a job fitting my head through the door and am literally floating around the room. This is a screen capture of her email
What can I say - other than thank you, Linda Jones! And here it is http://wireworkersguild.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/caprilicous-jewellery.html?showComment=1366967638186#c8771846690699081699
When I finally managed to come down to earth , I finished off the last piece I made this week and took these photographs of The Spirit of Ecstasy. The art nouveau wire work surrounding the focal was behind the idea for the name.
The Spirit of Ecstasy, also called "Emily", "Silver Lady" or "Flying Lady", was designed by English sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes and carries with it a story about a secret passion between the second Lord Montague of Beaulieu, a pioneer of the automobile movement, and editor of The Car Illustrated magazine from 1902 and his secret love and the model for the emblem, Eleanor Velasco Thornton. Eleanor was John Walter's secretary, and their love was to remain hidden, limited to their circle of friends, for more than a decade. The reason for the secrecy was Eleanor's impoverished social and economic status, which was an obstacle to their love. John-Walter, succumbing to family pressures, married Lady Cecil Victoria Constance, but the secret love affair continued.
Spirit of Ecstasy
The rough cut black tourmaline gleams gently, and the severity of the black is relieved by the multi-coloured, shiny crystal spacers, and the graceful swoops of the wings of the focal. The polymer clay 'cabochon' is smooth, although its surface appears corrugated, and was made from a tutorial by Sophy Dumoulin of CraftArt Edu. I just love this technique - although time consuming, it is fabulous - and you have to wait till the absolute end, to see if the piece you have made is any good - for someone short on patience, it is a good exercise! The toggle clasp is pretty too, but this time, I put it at the back of the neck, where it should rightfully belong - when I tried to bring it to the front, as I do with a lot of pretty clasps, it fought a major battle with the focal, and lost. I consoled it by explaining that the back of the wearer is visible too, especially if she has her hair short, or swept up - or it could remain a delicious secret between the necklace and the wearer ( must be going doolally tap - I am now talking to a clasp!).
That's as much as I had time for, sweet people, I am exhausted by the repeated expansion and deflation of my head after all the accolades Caprilicious has received this week - and I know I will have to work hard to stay worthy of what has been said.
Catch you next week, same time, same place
Good day everyone, I trust you had a good week. I have been very rested, as I took some time off the day job, and found I had no pressing matters to attend to, so could chill, and make as many pieces of jewellery as I like, with little or no interruption.
This week, I tried out a new technique - chainmaille.
Chainmaille is the practice of linking rings to create interesting patterns, or more traditionally "sheets" of flexible metal for the purpose of armor or decoration. The name comes from the French word maille, derived from the Latin macula, which means a 'mesh of net'. The basic weaves use jump rings, which are open rings not intended to be soldered. For decorative use, the supportive structure of the weaves is enough to ensure the rings don't pull open.
I bought a rhodochrosite carved pendant a while ago - rhodochrosite is a reddish pink stone - the pink color of rhodochrosite is caused by the element manganese and it is formed when manganese is dissolved by ground water and combines with a carbonate material, then drips off the ceiling of caves and crevices deep underground. It is commonly found in the form of stalactites and stalagmites in the caves of Argentina. The Incas, who called it Inca Rose, believed that rhodochrosite is the blood of their former kings and queens that was turned to stone.
I am by no stretch of imagination a 'pink lady' - but I had to have the pendant - the carving called out to me - 'buy me Neena, buy me' it implored. I searched for a suitable way to tone down the pinkness - I bought Morganite - too pink, tektite - too black, rose quartz - even more 'too pink', and finally, after my bead stash was swollen with unsuitable (!) elements, I found frosted red agate - orangey pink/ red beads, smudged with inky black, and frosted over like the bloom on a grape - lovely!
The Mermaid's Song
This necklace just grrrrrew - couldnt stop it - I made a seahorse, a couple of starfish, and a 'fisherman's net' around the mermaid with fish and other shells caught up in it - and then thought I would try the chainmaille techniques out here to link the beads together - well, easier said than done - it is ever such a fiddly technique, and certainly not suited to sitting in front of the telly with a tray in your lap. But, I persevered and in the end, I am glad I did.
Love knots are very basic chain maille links, with three rings linked together, rather like a Russian wedding ring, and the individual bead links leading off the centre of the knot. All was well till I decided I didn't like the placement of one or two of the elements - it has to be just so for me - and for you - and everything needed to be taken apart and redone - but in the end, I liked the effect - a little more ornate than using just the one ring between elements, I may try this again, and who knows, one day, I might surprise myself with a bracelet made of chainmaille links (don't hold your breath, Neena!).
Diamond White is a necklace made of clear quartz needles with pewter coloured vintage focal beads from another necklace I cannibalised. It is also a cider with a hight alcohol content (12.5%) here in the UK and it had a certain following amongst my friends when I was young. I decided that I would use the name of an old favourite for this rather nice necklace. One of my friends said it made her think of winter - but hey, our non summer is almost over - and we have to face a bleak winter - what better way than to wear nice jewellery - wearing pretty stuff puts a smile on my face, anyway.
Here Comes The Sun
Confused?? - the weather here certainly is - one day it is hot and sunny, and the next it is raining cats and dogs and freezing cold - my jewellery efforts reflect that seesaw - so on this particular day, after a swim and a barbeque meal (no clearing up - yippee!), I sat down with a reel of copper wire and some peridot beads and made this.....
I love the green of peridot - wish it wasn't quite so expensive - but in common with amethysts and aquamarine, it is too expensive to buy in large amounts. Peridot is one of the few gemstones that occur in only one color, an olive green. The intensity and tint of the green comes from the iron in the crystal structure. It is also called Olivine - due to its colour, and is classed as a precious gem. I got the faceted teardrops on a visit to Capri, where they seem to have large deposits of the gemstone, and I used two of them in these copper wire earrings.
And while the barbeque was sizzling and Mike was slaving away over it, I put the polymer clay flowers I made a few weeks ago onto brooch backs and popped them in the oven to cure.
The Paisley pattern has been around for simply ages - its origins are claimed by the peoples of both India and Persia, but its Western name derives from the Scottish town of Paisley. In India, it is a common design, and thought to be a stylised mango. It was popularised in the Western world by the East India Company, and adopted by Liberty into the 'Liberty Print'. I am very familiar with this design, as it is very common in the gold thread work in South India, where I am from, originally, so I decided to make a paisley 'mango' in silver, with some delicious multicoloured tourmaline I acquired earlier, and add a fine silver daisy made from Precious Metal Clay in my kiln. I used wire netting to fill out the paisley shape with tourmaline beads, and hung it from the daisy on a silver chain - sweet!
The Wings of Love
A Hungarian jewellery maker I once bought a bracelet from posted a piece of embroidered jewellery she created around a beetle's wing - I was startled and thought then that she was joking, but not so - the naturally beautiful elytra (wings) of the Green Jewel beetle (Sternocera aequisignata) shift in color from green to hints of blue at the edges, and the surface is shiny and iridescent, giving the effect of sunlight on an oil-slick. The beetles have a short life span of 3-4 days, and when they die, they loose their wings, which are then collected up for use in various objects, and jewellery. No beetles are harmed in the making of this jewellery (phew!).
A bit more research revealed that beetle wings have been used for centuries by Indian civilizations, cut into tiny spangle shapes and sequins to adorn a range of objects, their reflective properties admired as a means to ward off evil spirits. The beetles, in beautiful colours are like living jewels, and in Victorian England it was the height of cool to have live jewel beetles tethered by tiny gold chains to your décolletage! The beetles were caged and fed, and covered with gemstones, if they weren't colourful enough, and taken on regular outings pinned to the lady's chest!
I set out looking for these wings, and found a vendor in Thailand, where these beetles are found, and am now the proud owner of a large number of these wings, this means that I will need to think up plenty of designs to use all of them, but I have no doubt that they will be liked - anyone who likes shiny, pretty things, is bound to like these. I made some earrings, just to get the feel of this new acquisition - but I just know that they will fly out of my hands real quick! I did worry a little about the word 'beetle' which does not conjure up the nicest image - but hey, if the Victorians could wear real live beetles, why shouldn't we wear the wings, beautiful as they are - just takes a bit of getting used to - and we do wear leather from dead animals all the time, don't we??
A bit more about those Victorians - they loved insect jewellery - apparently. For example, Caddisfly larvae glue together tiny stones, grains of sand, and bits of litter to form cases that camouflage and protect them from their natural enemies. When gold nuggets, shells, or semiprecious stones, were added to their cages, they incorporated these into their protective cases, which was later harvested and made into earrings, necklaces, tie tacks, and pins. Amber jewellery - or fossilised insect jewellery was also very popular, and remains so today.
Though light, the wings are quite robust. I accidentally stood on one and it didn't break (and I am no featherweight)! I will of course provide stoppers, as the earrings are very light - but the converse of that is that they can be made long as you like, without fearing for your earlobes! They make a pleasant swishing sound when they knock against each other - a sort of rustle - brings to mind long silk gowns - which is just the right mental image for these beautiful jewel coloured earrings.
The Flemish artist Jan Fabre created the ‘Heaven of Delight’ using 1.6 million of these wings! Fabre and his team of thirty people took 4 months to glue all of the beetle shells to the ceiling and a chandelier in the Heaven of Delight Hall of Mirrors, of the Royal Palace in Brussels. I would have associated the colours and the name with a more exotic place than Brussels, but Fabre really loved these beetle wings and used them extensively in a lot of his art.
I hope you have enjoyed the tale of the beetles - I really got stuck into my research about them, and found so much to talk about. The wings are truly beautiful, and I am surprised that they are not more commonly used in jewellery. I must mention Agi Kiss from Moonsafari Beads who set me off on this journey - you can see her piece here - http://www.etsy.com/shop/MoonsafariBeads
That's all for now folks. Catch you later
Cold and frosted over with icing sugar, the garden looked so pretty and magical, bringing fanciful thoughts to mind - and a degree of yearning for spring and the promise of summer and warmth. I thought I'd make a dragonfly - my first attempt at it, and once I'd shaped the wire and made the dragonfly, had to decide what to do with it. There was no particular design in mind - just the dragonfly that I had and a few lengths of wire woven leaves. Just at this point, I stumbled across a poem written by a woman who calls herself Susie - published in www.fairiesworld.com - this is how it goes
Down past my garden, underneath the trees,
There is a place of magic that no-one ever sees,
A little grassy clearing, plain at ones first sight;
But if you take the time to see, you shall find delight.
If you come to see this place, take heed:
you've found the Dell.
And so was born the idea of the Dragonfly's Dell. I know that dragonfly's are attracted to water, so there had to be an element of blue in the necklace, and I found some beautiful cobalt blue Cat's eye beads in my stash that I had forgotten about. I spent a restless night trying to imagine the necklace, but gave up in the end - the old brain was freezing over!
I looked at an article about jewellery trends - and it would appear that my love for the statement collar necklace has been borne out - it is and has been a lasting trend since autumn of last year - I must have had a premonition when I started to make them the year before - how smart is that!
It seems that collar necklaces can never truly go out of fashion. Their simple design makes them such a perfect statement piece, one that completes the whole look just by itself. The best thing about these necklaces is that they come in so many different styles which make them perfect for every occasion. And the latest is the detachable collar in a Peter Pan or Tuxedo style, to be worn over a T shirt or an outfit with a high neckline to glitz it up.
People think that collars are night time wear and showy - but if you look at the latest trend, ladies are wearing it as just the one piece of jewellery with a white shirt and denims, and it looks fabulous. I certainly wear my necklaces to my day job - apart from anything else it gives my patients something to focus on rather than the anxiety of what they think I am about to inflict on them!
So out of a fanciful idea and the following of a growing trend, came the idea for the Dragon's Dell Collar, made of a heavy duty silver plated copper wire frame, with its lapels at the front, and open at the front so as to be fully adjustable. Took it for a test drive, and it sits beautifully at the base of the neck. My anxiety with all wire jewellery is the spiky ends that can make life hell for the wearer - I certainly wouldn't wear a piece of jewellery if it was uncomfortable - it would remind me of my first pair of scratchy/ itchy Tweed trousers - I actually took said trousers off in the car during one very long and memorable journey! -I certainly wouldn't want to put anyone else through that- belated apologies to the very shocked Japanese people in the tourist bus who watched me do it - there are a few photographs floating around in Japan, I dare say!
The Daisies' Dance - from Daisy Time by Marjorie Picthall
Buttercups have honeyed hearts,
Bees they love the clover,
But I love the daisies' dance
All the meadow over.
Daisies are the sweetest flowers, reminding one that summer is here - daisy chains are meant to represent the sun, the earth and the never ending circle of life and this is probably the reason why they are joined up into garlands. To me they represent the sheer joy of the warmth of the sun after months and months of cold frost and bone chilling wind.
I grow loads of them in my garden - these are Shasta daisies - they have such a pretty ruffled edge, and the best thing about them is that all we do is cut them back in the autumn, and they grow back in summer - free from the stress of covering them up from the frost and having an empty spot to replant each year.
I thought it might be fun to try and recreate them - but that was easier said than done. My polymer clay efforts weren't up to scratch, so I chucked them, and started again with my favourite medium - wire. Although my daisies dont look like the ones above, they are pretty, and there are so many different types of daisy, so, if you look at them at a certain angle in a certain light, with a slight squint, they are pretty authentic, I'd say! The leaves of the real daisy aren't so pretty though, so I have used artistic licence and added colour with Czech 'Jablonex' crystal leaves as well as a few of wire. So I have Daisies and leaves dancing across my necklace - The Daisies' Dance.
Finally gave up on the postal system - between Royal Mail and the Postal system in the USA, the armband I posted out over two weeks ago has got completely lost - it certainly doesn't take two weeks for mail to get from here to there - just hope it's not lying in some dusty dead letter office and that the postman's wife likes it. Made a copper wire choker as a replacement ( in case the armband does turn up, didn't want her to have two of the same) and will try posting it out again - I hope I have better luck this time round.
Have a fabulous week, and I will catch up with you soon.