Hello folks, as this post appears in your inboxes, I shall be setting up at The Handmade Fair in the grounds of Ragey Hall. I've had the week off work to get organised and have been racing around preparing for the show. The weather forecast has never been watched as anxiously as it has this week and of course the weathermen are predicting low pressure and thunderstorms. Aw shucks! But surely the intrepid British won't be put off by a little thing like rain? We shall wait and see.
Earlier on I had planned a couple of necklaces and decided to make them even though it was going to be a last minute attempt. It felt like being back at medical school and swotting for exams right until the very last moment - I even used to read my notes in the car while my mother drove me to the exams, convinced that if I didn't I was sure to fail.
I made flowers from copper clay and that kept me busy all weekend. Copper clay seems to be much more forgiving than bronze and is easier to manipulate. I spent a load of time sanding and polishing and refining until the flowers went into the kiln and I could do no more. Oh joy! two of them came out looking perfect with a beautiful ready made heat patina which I decided to keep, and simply covered over with wax polish for posterity. The third one predictably, was a nightmare - it split during the first firing, so I held it back and repaired the split, and in the process accidentally broke off the bail. I then had to replace that with a new bail, all the while holding the piece like a snowflake - and believe me, it is very difficult to file a snowflake or attach something to it.
In the end, it came out of the kiln looking as if nothing had ever gone wrong with it and butter wouldn't melt. I breathed again. The necklaces were kept deliberately simple as a contrast from my multi strand pieces, to be able to offer differing designs to my customers. I made the clasps from a design tutorial by Kristine Schroeder while waiting for the flowers to sinter in the kiln.
I had a few pairs of earrings planned, and this was as good a time as any to make tham up.
These dragonflies were sent over from the USA, but I bought the wrong ones - there was no hole to hang them from.
They languished in my stash until I decided enough was enough and that I should follow my own slogan - 'have wire, can do'....
I wired the dragonflies to colourful circlets and hung them on sterling silver earwires. A couple more pairs of earrings, and I was done. I announced that the tool kit was closed and embarked on the mammoth task of organising my jewellery into piles to take, and piles to leave behind. Unfortunately the minute I decided to leave a necklace behind, it threw such a tantrum that I was forced to give in and add it to the box that was going with me, until in the finish I had only a few pieces left in the drawer at home. This of course, would only make the task of deciding which ones to display harder on the day - I knew that but simply could not find it in me to leave my babies at home.
A Tiffin Carrier Trolley
For those of you who don't know what a tiffin carrier is, it is a lunchbox, usually stainless steel, in 3 - 4 tiers which carries a lunchtime hot meal. The boxes are packed in a cylindrical PVC case, and collected by a 'tiffin carrier wallah' who delivers it to the educational institution/ office in time for the midday break. He then collects it after lunch and takes it back to wherever it came from.
I saw a friend use a make up box that closely resembled a tiffin carrier and I sent away for one - so here's my jewellery case for the show. It packs away over 100 necklaces. My tiffin carrier trolley is now all filled up and ready to go.
We were allowed onto the site to set up on the day before the show - we took some of the heavy stuff like tables and chairs to the stall. The approach road to the marquee was about half a mile long through luscious greenery and we got to park up close to it and offload the contents of the boot.
The marquee was a hive of activity with people setting up all around us. I found the forlorn little space allocated to me and a little bubble of hysterical laughter welled up from deep inside. It was so tiny that just putting my handbag into it seemed to half fill it up. And I had paid an arm and a leg for this tiny space!! Now what?? My table refused to go into the space and had to be put in on the slant. I wish I had seen this earlier, I'd have got some little shelves to put on the walls. The brochures all show the larger stalls with shiny happy people, smiling all over their faces in what appeared to be acres of space. Now, a quick rethink of the set up was required, including the contents of my tiffin carrier case.
This lady was opposite me, she probably wasn't too happy to be placed so close to another jewellery stall. I, however was not bothered as my jewellery is completely different to hers and our client base will not be the same. The Caprilicious woman wouldn't wear her jewellery, and I daresay her customers wouldn't touch my jewellery with a bargepole. I went over to chat to her - her stall is bigger than mine, but only by a tiny bit and she had paid the equivalent of three limbs to my two, for it. She told me to go to Ikea and buy another smaller table, and that mine was sticking out into the aisle, 'so you will need to get permission from the organisers.' There's no way I was going to buy another piece of furniture that I won't have storage space for at home, and might never use again. My table, although on the skew, will not be in the aisle when I finally set it up.
There's even space for me to sit behind my display although getting in and out may be impossible - ah well, I'll work that one out when I need to. Perhaps I shall just sit there, imprisoned by my jewellery! Or, swing out over my display on a rope like Tarzan, which is how the vendors in the vegetable markets in India get in and out of their overstocked stalls. You can see the rope dangling from the ceiling in the foreground of this picture, that the vendor uses to swing in and out of his stall - the first time Mike saw this he was gobsmacked - he got the guy to go back and forth just to reassure himself that this was really the way it was done, and left him a hefty tip which caused my mother to go into meltdown at her profligate son in law!
Mike got busy putting up my banner and drilling in some screws to hold picture frames in which I plan to display some of my necklaces. And then, we were done. I didn't take any stock as a night sheet with padlocks to cover the stock for security would have been an extra outlay. I had already paid extra for Wifi, for a plug point to recharge my phone if required and run my PayPal card reader as well as a couple of spotlights, and stumped up for public liability insurance for up to £5 million. So, just an arm and a leg, and a few fingers off the other hand, then!
I came home and collected all my bits and bobs together in the middle of the living room floor and went slightly green about the gills - there was just so much to carry - display items, packaging, jewellery - and all to fit in such a tiny space!
We looked at each other and shrugged, we shall just have to grin and bear it. I have always tried to do the best I can in every endeavour and this will be no different, if it doesn't go well, it won't be for lack of trying.
I shall post pictures as I go along, so do take a look at the Caprilicious Facebook page or Instagram feed. I will catch you next week with a full update. Have a fabulous weekend, and look out for me next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, thanks for popping by, it is lovely to see you again this week.
It has been a fabulous week at Caprilicious- all my beads and braids arrived and I spent ages sorting them into containers and getting ready for a marathon with the beading needles.
To my (pleasant) surprise the needles aren't giving me as much trouble as I expected and I haven't ended up with fingers like salt cellars, leaking blood all over my work - maybe that's whom the phrase blood sweat and tears originated from - an embroiderer.
The cotton and silks I used as a teenager used to tie themselves in knots as if by magic and the needles could have been called Beater and Biter, the amount of damage they did to my fingers. Given that I was a teenager then and my mother probably thought I was a goblin changeling, it may have been just about par for the course!
Zardosi - the Eastern version of Soutache Embroidery
Zardosi embroidery came to India from Persia. It was once used to embellish the attire of the Kings and the royals in India. It was also used to adorn walls of the royal tents, scabbards, wall hangings and the paraphernalia of regal elephants and horses. It involves making elaborate designs using gold and silver threads, studded pearls and precious stones, pure silver wire and gold leaf embellished with beads and sequins - the phrase 'over egging the pudding' does not begin to describe some of the embroidery work found on bridal garments. The design is traced on the fabric, which is then stretched over a wooden frame. A fine crochet hook is used to feed the thread through the fabric from underneath - I have a little video for you that demonstrates a simple chain stitch.
Now that I have picked up a needle again after a gap of so many years, I have a renewed respect for these artisans, who start their training usually at a very young age, while helping their parents earn a living. I was determined that the thread I used was going to be robust - there would be no bead shedding where my jewellery was concerned, thank you very much!
I decided to research the best thread available and track it down, and finally picked Fireline, which is the strongest fibre per diameter ever created. It has an unbelievably high tensile strength and has been recommended in numerous how-to articles on beadworking. Although a bit more expensive that it's alternatives, I prefer to stump up the cash than die of embarrassment when the work falls apart.
FireLine is made of gel-spun braided polyethylene thread, and perfect for when the project includes sharp-edged beads, such as crystals, semi-precious stones or bugle beads. It is highly durable when compared to regular thread that can fray and tear. It was originally used as fishing line and comes in many strengths - 4lb, 6lb and 10 lb ( I assume that is the weight of the fish that can be caught on this line - but how does the fish know this??) and goes through the eye of a very fine beading needle. I first bought crystal clear Fireline - and found I couldn't see it well enough to load it onto the needle and then discovered black which suits me just fine for now.
Messenger of Love
"it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower,
In other words, it's all a matter of relativity and perspective!
Bumble Bee jasper is essentially a sedimentary rock matrix of volcanic ash–deep earth mud with sulfur layers. It is largely composed of layered gypsum, sulfur and hematite. This stone comes from the Solfataras surrounding Mount Papandayan in Indonesia. The natives there call it batu badar blerang, which can be roughly translated as ‘coal becoming sulfur.’ I found these fine specimens in a shop in Jaipur and the yellow and black attracted me so much, I knew I had to buy some, even though it was fairly expensive.
Metaphysically sulfur, in particular “assists one in the removal of negative willfulness and in the elimination of distracting intellectual thoughts and emotions that could affect the emotional and intellectual bodies.” Anyway, these are throwaway comments, as I mainly bought them for their beauty.
I set about embroidering a frame around the cabochon with tiny beads and soutache, creamy yellow pearls and jade, adding more and more layers till I was happy with it. It fascinates me, the way a soutache design evolves - I feel like it is happening to someone else and I am merely an onlooker, and that I cannot go to bed until I find out how it ends. Consequently, I had a few late nights making this one, and when it was done and backed with ultrasuede, I took this picture using my phone. My cat, Charlie wandered in carrying a mouse, wanting to know why I was up at 3 am and photo bombed this picture. I strung it with three rows of black onyx and tiny creamy seed pearls, finished off with a shell flower for a clasp, and then it was done!
I bought a few dragonflies from a mail order catalogue, and as it often happens, I got the size wrong. I thought I was getting tiny, light creatures that I could add to earrings. Instead, what I received was the elephantine equivalent of the dragonfly world. I've had them sitting around for a while, until one day in an Eureka! moment, I decided to play with cold enamels that I had stashed away.
I spent a relaxed evening with little bottles of coloured resin, dripping them gently into the cells in each dragonfly - I even embellished one of them with tiny crystals and left the cold enamel to set. A few days later I went back to the craft room and the enamels had set gratifyingly hard and the little insects were looking quite sweet and colourful. I haven't yet decided how I will use the little branches, they too, were a bit larger than I anticipated. I wound the dragonflies onto a torque necklace - you know I love a good torque necklace and I think they look pretty summery, don't you??
I hope you've enjoyed your read and will come back next Friday for an update. Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hello folks, thanks for joining me this week - it's been a funny old week, with the weather echoing my mood. A bitter Siberian wind has been blowing across the UK precluding all but the hardiest individual from going out into the garden.
IK Events, who were meant to be running the craft show last week ceased trading, leaving all of us in the lurch with a promise to return our money, requesting us to be patient - strangely, the director of the events management company, Isobel Newport, opened another company 'Solstice Commercial Limited' on the 1st of July, just the day before IK Events ceased trading. I understand that the new venture is a HR company from the spanking brand new website - I wish her the best of luck with the new venture.
I'm told that every cloud has a silver lining and while waiting for it to announce itself I plodded on with the day job and the usual hurly burly of day to day life.
I made a similar necklace last year, and loved it so much that I made this one with the beads that were left over. Since the last one has gone to a good home and I made this from memory, they are similar but different. I usually find repetition to be very boring and unstimulating and I try never to do it. However, sometimes I love a design so much that a similar piece pops out of my consciousness before I can say 'Kalamazoo'.
While on a train to a neighbouring town, going to a meeting to do with the day job, I exchanged desultory emails with a lady in Mumbai. As a result of this conversation, which was conducted while I travelled across two counties, with a change of trains in between, I have a request to make earrings and necklaces in silver and bronze for her company. I am itching to get started and have dusted off my savvy with regards to my kiln, and researched ideas and methodology for this new and unexpected collaboration. This came as the result of a throwaway conversation stemming from me telling her how much I liked her new range of clothing. I shall tell you more, once it comes into being.
Design and Engineering
I took part in Nicole Hanna's July 2015 'Finish It!' tutorial contest. As usual she gave us the beginnings of a tutorial and we were asked to make a piece with the items in the 'recipe' using the list she gave us. This time, Nicole was even more Machiavellian than usual - she stopped the tutorial almost as soon as she got to a couple of three pages.
As far as I am concerned, everyone's a winner, because she gives the tutorial gratis to all the participants. I made a pendant using all the ingredients, but got so carried away with the making of it, I forgot to allow for a place from which I could hang a bail. This is of course, completely against the principles of design, as the piece now has no function other than as a component for another, larger one.
Here it is, the useless article! It is pretty, though, so I will put it into something, sometime. Just now it is an irritating reminder of ineptitude!
There is, of course no place to hang it from and the little circle above the arch remains unfilled, because I had used up all the wire specified in the tutorial.
Obviously, I wasn't about to give up, so after a couple of days, I tried again. This is the one I submitted from attempt No. 2, using all the ingredients in the recipe.
Once I sent her my entry, Nicole sent me her tutorial and I can see that with my first attempt I was sort of going in the direction she had envisaged, until I failed to think about the engineering of the piece. However, I like the second one I made too - it has a lot of swirly movement - what do you think?? I would have shown the picture of Nicole's finished piece here, but the contest ends tonight at midnight, Nicole time, and it wouldn't be fair on the other contestants.
If you want to enter into the spirit of it, follow the link to Nicole's blog - a Pinterest board has been set up and will be available to view and vote from midnight on the 31st July until the 7th of August - you can even vote for my piece if you like!
I am satisfied with my tutorial as the prize; even though I may never actually make it, I like to know how things are done. I have quite a few tutorials that I am yet too inexperienced to use only because I feel the need to work out the mechanics of 'how did she do that?'. Curiosity killed the cat - or depleted its bank balance, as they say! (What bank balance??)
That's it for this week, folks. I have already started on my order - which shall be kept under wraps until it comes to pass. Have a lovely weekend, and I will catch you next Friday, same time, same place
This lovely piano solo by Kevin Kerr expresses the emotions I have tried to capture in this necklace. To me summertime is all about butterflies and dragonflies, mellow sunlight, tinkling music and flowers - I don't think about the slugs and snails and weeds and rain that are such a nuisance - I must be a romantic at heart, although I would deny it hotly, if someone said that about me.
Happy Friday, readers and thanks for joining me today. This week, I've written two posts - the last one about Statement Jewellery, posted on Wednesday will be a guest post on a friend's blog later on in the year - but you caught sight of it first, right here. I didn't want to add this weeks pieces of jewellery to the guest post and decided to write a separate one instead.
My muse see sawed wildly this week from the conventional and pretty, to the wild and crazy. I kick started the weekend by making wire and resin dragonflies. The problem with this was that each coating of resin took at least a couple of days to set - this gave my mischievous muse time to draw my attention to all sorts of other ideas - I was a bit overloaded on the ideas front and my mind was spinning out of control!
And while I waited for the resin to set, off Ms Muse trotted dragging me in her wake, this time in the direction of Cubism and Pablo Picasso. A few lessons ( quite a few, actually - because I cannot draw) off the internet in drawing a face from two different perspectives and I set about making this piece, which in the end was made into a brooch by the addition of a pin.
It was an awful, grey and rainy weekend, which might have sparked the need for bright colour.
I love it, but I do feel the need to offer apologies to Pablo.
In my defence, it is more difficult than one would think, especially for someone who cannot draw in one perspective, let alone two at the same time! - try it and see how you go - and then, once it has been drawn, to successfully convert it to a polymer clay piece - eeps! not sure I'll be doing this again any time soon.
This is a gift for a very wacky and fun friend of mine - we are to visit her in Hamburg soon, I hope she will love it as much as I do.
And the dragonflies showed no sign of being ready yet, so on we went, my muse and I, plodding on with another piece.
Images from the Subconscious - Mind Games!
While I was researching the making of the 'Picasso' pin, I looked at a whole load of stuff on the internet that set my mind a buzzing - among others, the art of Romero Britto, and the South American god of Fertility - the Kokopelli - colourful images that seemed to stay with me in my dreams. No wonder then, that my next piece was shaped by them.
This is Kokopelli, a Native American fertility deity. He is usually depicted as a hump backed and feathered flute player, and he takes care of both the harvest and fertility - which in the end mean one and the same!
I was looking for a colourful piece to replicate in Polymer clay, but passed him up in favour of the cubist face - another time perhaps, I thought.............
And the dragonflies were still wet........sigh! Oh well!
Conus snails are venomous though beautiful and are the species of snail whose shells are seen in most collections.The species most dangerous to humans are the larger ones which prey on small bottom-dwelling fish; the smaller species mostly hunt and eat marine worms. They have a venom gland and a hollow tooth like a harpoon or proboscis through which they inject and paralyse their prey before eating it.
This pendant came from Indonesia and is set with cross sections of conus shells in coloured resin, and I added faceted onyx, and pyrite nuggets which gleam in the light - they aren't called 'Fools Gold' for nothing!
'Zehr' is the Arabic word for poison - although Zehra means beautiful! Either way, I think the name fits this pendant - would you agree??
This peacock feather pendant came from Indonesia as well - I was quite taken with the way the edges of the feather had been beaded like a Rastafarian's dreads - hard work, and done so neatly - I have a great deal of admiration for the artist who made it. It can't be fun to play with feathers and glue and beads - just imagine the mess at the end of it.
Together with a string of freshwater pearls and a couple of enamelled Indian beads, bought during my last trip home, a simple, but elegant necklace was born.
Of course the word Mayuri really means a peahen and is a misnomer - the poor peahen hasn't been born with the elegance of the male bird - but hey, let's not quibble, eh!
At last, finally, the dragonflies were ready to be used - and about time too!!
The Dance of The Dragonfly
I think it was worth the wait, don't you?? As a bonus, I have a few leftover dragon flies, which will eventually work their way into other pieces, later on.
That's a wrap for this week folks, I'll catch you again next week, same time, same place. Have a lovely week
Hello readers, this week I have spent some time thinking about the essential Caprilicious Woman - the woman who wears my jewellery. I was idly looking at photographs I have taken of the jewellery I have made over the last couple of years and I realised that the jewellery on the website is extremely eclectic - there doesn't seem to be a theme running through it.
For instance, some websites I have looked at have sweet and simple, very pretty pieces that appeal to someone who dresses like a fragrant rose. Yet others have large, bohemian pieces that are a cross - cultural patchwork for people who like to dress in a more exotic manner.
The Caprilicious website, however, caters to both these tastes - in fact they may be the same woman in two different moods, on two different days. That, in essence is what a Caprilicious woman is - someone who cannot be corralled into a box, a blithe free spirit who changes her attire with her moods and looks great in all of them! A bit schizophrenic, you say?? You might think so, I couldn't possibly comment!
Why the introspection? Well, I made some sweet and pretty floral earrings in one half of the week, and then the wind changed, and so did my mood - and out came Oshun - a very tribal piece of jewellery.
As I've mentioned before, I tend to make jewellery while watching the telly of an evening, much like a knitter, and I lay the finished piece out on the coffee table till it is photographed and ready to put on the website.
I caught Mike standing at the table one morning, and he said he couldn't believe the same person had made the two pieces of jewellery - that got me thinking ....I just wondered what on earth was going on in my tiny mind that I could find both pieces of jewellery equally engaging - and then I realised - that's what a being a Caprilicious Woman was all about.
I bought these really pretty orchids - and my house elf promptly stole them from me - I turned the house upside down looking for them - I've even mentioned the story on my blog - and then one day, there they were - just sitting on the side of my table, as if butter wouldn't melt and they'd been there all the time. But I know better - I know it is my malign house elf playing games with me - so to foil him, I made them up into jewellery ( he doesn't like made up pieces, only components!) and having photographed them, put them away in my cupboard - aha! take that, malign house elf! Kapow!!
I have been trying to make Ranunculus flowers out of polymer clay - and ending up with only mush - but finally, finally, I made these really pretty flowers that actually look like ranunculi. You can't see it very well in these pictures, but each layer of petals is in a different shade of the same colour.
The Kaleidoscope Saga
This story started with a polymer clay cane I made for a friend - she was picking a design for a commissioned piece of jewellery, and this cane was a reject. I hate wasting stuff, so I put together this kaleidoscope cane, and made a bunch of earrings with it - the last one was made with the end of the cane, turned into a swirly bead. I stuck a spike on it, and connected them with some wire - here it is....
Dog Rose Earrings
I made these flowers in my kiln last year - but didn't know what I wanted to do with them. I wanted them to be different - but what would make them stand out from the earrings made by everyone elas?? - it took me an year to figure that out. I am very proud of them because they are entirely handmade - well, I bought the tear drop shaped jade beads - but you knew that - you didn't expect me to go rock hounding as well as everything else, did you??
Anyway, I finally decided that the addition of colour would make them 'pop' - and that word immediately brings to mind polymer clay, which is quintessentially mouldable colour. The ear wires were made with 20 gauge wire, hammered and polished, the headpins to carry the jade drops made with the same wire. So here, I present my very first entirely handmade pair of earrings..... (drumroll)................
Once I made these, I was on a roll - I had a pair of hydrangeas which received a similar treatment, and a little vine leaf pendant charm was hung with a polymer clay backing sheet with a real leaf impressed into it, and cut out in the shape of a leaf.
Oshun is an Orisha - the beautiful and benevolent Yoruba deity of rivers, love, feminine beauty, love, life, sex, fertility, and art. I was given the beautiful wooden tribal head by my friend BN - I gave my Orisha a shock of hair made of a clutch of beads, some shells, and made the necklace with wooden beads I found in India. My sister in law brought me the trade beads while on a trip to Kenya, and I used some of them to add colour to the piece.
The tribal look is an antidote to 'sweet and pretty' - and I have gone as wild as I dared with this piece. It can be worn with neat and tidy clothes as an almost shocking counter balance, or as an accessory to summer linens and slouchy trousers, with loads of chunky bracelets and fringes and feathers, in a sort of uncontrolled, joyful clutter. Go as Tribal as you dare - it is such a fabulous look, you can but enjoy it. I have loads of pieces on my Out of Africa page - I enjoy making them, and I certainly enjoy wearing them.
A couple of warm days at the beginning of the week, and my thoughts turned to butterflies and dragonflies - those entrancing creatures who embody summertime. Unfortunately, the rest of the week was only fit for ducks as it rained persistently - but the inspiration stayed with me and I made one of each of these, and hung them as pendants.
That's it for this week folks, catch you next week, same time, same place - have a fabulous week
Hello, I hope all of you reading this are having a good summer - in the UK, we are about six weeks behind the rest of Europe, hopefully we will be paid back in October when it lasts six weeks longer than it does on the Continent - but, somehow, I don't think so, do you??
I made a necklace with graduated coral heishi beads and a single fog quartz focal - I loved the idea of a fog contained in a bead - I wish we could do that, come winter. A load of people liked it - and thank you to those that did. However, one lady put a comment under the picture 'Gaudy!', she spat! I chose to think she got the spelling wrong and actually meant 'Gaudi'! People are the strangest creatures - if they don't like something, they seem to have a compulsion to make sure the designer knows it - I wonder why?
They could vote with their feet, or fingers in this case, and just click over to something that suits them better. One lady saw fit to comment that my little flight of fancy about a pendant I had made was 'pure BS' and that I should 'cut it out' - a lesson in good manners was in order, I think. At the end of the day, all designs are born from somebody's flight of fancy - I just verbalize mine, is all! Anyway, let me show you some pictures of Parc Guell in Barcelona, designed by Gaudi - I say vibrant, some say gaudy......................
I think she meant Gaudi - don't you???
If not, I invite her to use her finger..........
Ammonites are cephalopods that lived 240 - 60 million years ago, and are now extinct. They are related to the cuttlefish and octopus, and are thought to have lived in shallow water, as the predator of the day. Many specimens found in Madagascar and Alberta display iridescence. These iridescent ammonites are often of gem quality (ammolite) when polished - ammolite is very, very expensive. I just love the little critters, and buy them whenever I can - I do not understand my fascination with them, as I usually look for highly coloured objects. I decided to make some up as earrings in polymer clay, using a faux Raku pottery technique - this involves the use of real gold and silver foil, alcohol inks and layers of transparent clay - so I played, and these are what I made.......
The little elongated shapes were from left-over veneer, and I shall make earrings out of them. I made so many ammonites, that I offered them up for a swap on a jewellery makers swap shop on Facebook, and got a string of coral in return for four beads - a win, win result!
The last little critter was turned into a pendant with a bit of wire work to one side, and a wire embellished leather thong - very now, I think.
Charis is a Greek word for grace - and specifically relates to the three Charities - goddesses of beauty and were Aphrodite's attendants. When Aphrodite rose from a cushion of foam in the sea and reached the island of Cythera, where the Graces were, they dressed her in jewels, placed her in a chariot, and led her to Olympus, where Aphrodite became one of the Olympians.
They were Aglaia (Beauty or Splendor), Euphrosyne (Mirth) and Thalia (Good Cheer), the daughters of Zeus and the nymph Eurynome. Considered the embodiment of grace and beauty, they brought joy to gods and men and inspired artists. This story inspired artists like Botticelli and Rubens, and I thought this necklace could easily be worn by one of the Graces in the painting below - it is simple, and elegant.
I have been busy producing little earrings and pendants - a friend of mine up in Cheshire has offered to invite her friends round to a jewellery party for Caprilicious - my very first! I am anxious that I must get the mix right, and have something for everyone - I don't want anyone to go away disappointed, since some of them will be driving a fair distance to see what I have on offer.
These lovely ceramic flowers and donuts are in pretty summer colours, and I hung them on suede cord that can be tied around the neck - the donuts have contrasting suede tassels and lamp work beads, and look like Chinese lanterns.
Miles and miles of wire has been wrapped this week, and my hands are quite tired and sore. If you want to have a closer look at the pieces I have made specifically for the party, here's the link :- https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.512787555442719.1073741880.171880539533424&&l=fc852cbf61
I am at work at the day job all weekend, and hopefully it will remain quiet enough for me to make a few little bits and bobs - I want to make some butterflies and dragonflies in wire - I just love them and they are so right for summer.
Catch you next week, same time, same place - have a lovely week in the meanwhile
There are loads of jokes around Christmas - the best ones I read recently go like this .....
I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included. ~Bernard Manning
The last one isn't a joke, and it would seem to me that when people have friends and family visiting them, they squabble and scowl, and sit around harrumphing over their sherry and the Queen's Speech, and others, who have no one to visit would give their all to have someone to go to - its a weird old world!
I love Hollywood's version of Christmas - snow, Cary Grant raising an eyebrow and looking all square jawed, rugged, and manly, and Yuletide egg nog. Listening to a reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas is guaranteed to bring a little smile - or tear!
I wouldn't really know, not having any family in the UK - Indian Christmases are entirely different - colourful, crazy, and weirdly/wonderfully unexplainable to the uninitiated, as most things Indian are!!
It is time to thank people for all they have done for me during the rest of the year, and in the last few years, I have been making jewellery as gifts for people. It would be so much easier and less time consuming to just go out and buy a whole load of stuff, all neatly packaged, and walk around handing it out like a (rather well tanned!) Mrs. Santa Claus, but I think it is fabulous to give a part of oneself - I am proud of my jewellery and think that it is almost a gift of a piece of me and my alter ego - Caprilicious - a lot of time, effort and care has gone into the design and creation of my gifts.
All last week, I made three necklaces and bracelet sets, and twelve pendants - polishing, buffing, checking for imperfections (reject, reject!!) packing, writing cards, and loading all of them into the boot of my car took simply ages, but now, I can rest, decorate my tree, and generally make plans for the simple Shilvock Christmas.
I will give you a sneak peek at some of the gifts I made - no one on my list reads this blog ( I don't think) so you are safe to have a look.
A school mate of mine from India bought Aurora - and she asked for a pair of earrings to match - I made these with tiny labradorite beads and wire. Aurora is a fairly somber piece, and I thought to lighten the mood a bit, and also to make the earrings light. However, she objected strenuously... This is what she had to say ......
" Neen..the earrings you made are not just pretty...they are very pretty :) just felt that Aurora has a classic look to her..you know all beautiful and quiet and strong and dignity flows out of her...and the earrings came across as pretty lil' fun things to wear, plus the turq and wired silver in the earrings are a lot lot more than the Aurora has.
Of course, the customer is always right!! So, suitably chastened, I have sent off for some more labradorite, as I had used up all my faceted nuggets, and will send her another pair a bit later on. Have a look at what I made - I would love to hear your views. The colour is a bit mismatched as the pictures were shot at different times of day, in different light, and different backgrounds, so do please bear that in mind.
After that stint of wire weaving, my finger tips were sore, so my muse led me by the hand to my bead stash, to make up some strands of beads I bought recently. These beautiful purple agate beads are translucent, and very slightly striated - like a crayon colouring held up to the light. I had just received the amethyst beads in the post that morning - they are carved with a dragon, and inlaid with gold - The Chinese are fabulous with this sort of art - I have some Ink sticks with dragons inlaid into them - gorgeous and opulent, just like the colour of the agate. Matching them was easy, and I teamed them with one of my most recent finds - a toggle clasp with a framed dragonfly - it was too beautiful to be placed at the back, so I put it to one side of the necklace - I love that look and make a lot of my pieces in this way (my jewellery style reflects my personality - what you see is what you get! - I am not from the school of hidden, unplumbed depths which have to be searched for).
Columbines, or aquilegias are spring meadow flowers - they are also called Granny's Bonnets in the UK. I love the delicate flower heads, and they are so easy to grow - and best of all, they are hardy, and come back year after year - I shake a few seeds into my hand from ripe seed pods in my garden, and scatter them into the flower beds - I have had great success with this method - my kind of gardening - eazy peazy lemon squezee!
The Sea Sprite
This necklace was made with a string of sea sediment jasper, a couple of Nepalese artisan designed beads and an enamelled bead from my cupboard. The Nepalese beads are made of wood, coloured and inlaid with brass wire in the shape of flowers. The sea sediment jasper is so beautiful it doesn't need much effort to create a pretty necklace out of it.
Cool Water Woman
The lovely blue of these dyed lava rock beads reminded me of the ad for Davidoff's Cool Water Woman - these beads are flat and lie against the wearer in a most flattering way. A pair of Nepalese wooden beads and a dragonfly clasp, as well as a pyrite slab nugget add interest to the wonderfully tactile necklace. The Nepalese beads have a Yin Yang design with inlaid brass wire, and are coloured blue and lavender, a fairly rare colour combination - very pretty!
That's all for this week folks, have a fab weekend and don't wear yourselves out over Christmas. I will catch up with you next week, same time, same place,
Last week, as I posted, I was turning over the question of what to do with my wire lace peacock - it started life as a pair of Peruvian threadwork pendant/earrings, which I embellished with crystals and put together with some copper wire and yet more crystals to make a peacock - but I didn't quite know what to do with it - I threw the question open to a couple of jewellery makers groups - one in the UK, and the other predominantly with members from the USA - and having got loads of inspiration and ideas, decided on a simple handmade chain incorporating pearly beads and crystals to match the peacock, and to hang it asymmetrically. In folk art, peacocks are often drawn looking backwards at their tails - this may be because they are vain creatures, but the artists use it as a symbol of renewal as the feathers are renewed each year.
I made my peacock look back at its tail feathers too - I loved the curved shape it gave the neck - and it was lovely to be able to bend wire in the direction that it wants to go for once! I titled the piece Scherezade as it seemed to be so 'Arabian Night's Dreams', with its brilliant colours - and I love the haunting music by Nikolai Rimsky - Korsakov. I think the dancer in the ballet below might have worn this piece! The design seemed to flow - all I had was the bare minimum of an idea and my box of crystal beads, and one thing just followed the next till I felt as if I woke up and the finished article was staring me in the face - maybe I didn't make it after all and it was the elves that visited in the night - however, Santa's grotto, this ain't!
Once this piece was finished, I felt drained - it had absorbed all my creative energies and I turned my thoughts to simpler pieces that give me just as much pleasure. I had a few pendants and pieces of polymer clay I had made earlier, so I set about making them up into items that were wearable.
I like my jewellery to tell a story - as if you haven't guessed by now from reading my blog! I continually research my inspirations on the internet, gathering ideas and stories poetry and music, as the piece comes into being.
I made a water lily, on a lily pad out of polymer clay - hadn't quite decided what to do with it, but realised that by a happy accident, I had put in a fold over in the leaf that could be used as a bail. The two wires I had cured into the piece so I could attach it to something then became redundant - so I cut one off, and attached a little lamp worked glass and bead dragonfly to the other, which I coiled into a spring, so that the dragonfly appeared to be hovering over the waterlily - from that idea it was easy to take it further, into creating a lily pond with fish and snails and dandelion heads - I let my imagination run riot - and turned out a pleasant and summery piece with a three dimensional aspect to it.
Flowers in a Tornado
I have had these tornado beads for ages - I made them up from a tutorial by Lisa Niven Kelly of Beaducation, and I love their organic shape - it struck me - I mut be the only person - or one of a minute number of people - who needs a tutorial to make a messy bead - most people have to learn how to make their jewellery neat and tidy, but I had to do it the other way around! I paired them with some lucite beads and knotted waxed blue cotton for a light and pretty summer necklace. However, mindful that summer is a time for sun tan lotion, perspiration ( ladies glow! - I am told, but lets call a spade a big shovel here) I put wire in at the top, to keep the look pristine for longer! I made earrings to match too. It is a tangled necklace - but I have a secret weapon to keep the threads from turning into a hopeless knot - large safety pins! - placed strategically across the strands will allow transport of the necklace, completely safely, without the nuisance of untangling it each time it is worn - of course you have to remember to put the pins in when you take it off.
I had an abalone shell pendant set in Sterling silver, and I made up a little necklace in complementary colours to go with it - am wearing (test driving) it at the moment, and it feels just right around the neck. Some lovely zebra dyed blue howlite arrived in the mail, and I couldn't wait to use it, it was so pretty - I had a pewter dragonfly clasp that I was keen to use, and as it was meant for two strands, the howlite was put together with opaque blue seed beads, chrysocolla rectangles and silver coloured spacers, with a dangling dragonfly to match - there are earrings to go with this piece as well, on some lovely extra long surgical steel kidney wires - cant wait to see how they will go down.
I want to say a special thank you to those who write on the Caprilicious Jewellery Page on Facebook and leave comments on my website/blog - your encouragement means a lot, thank you very much. Also, those who have come back to buy a second piece from me - I often wonder whether you liked your jewellery if you don't write back - but when you buy a second piece - I am sure you did! My pieces of jewellery are like my little babies - and I send them out into the world - I can only hope you love them as much as I do - am I being fanciful?? and a bit overly sentimental, bordering on silly?? -almost certainly, but then I am new to this and am not blase' as yet - please forgive my enthusiasm :)
Catch you next week with another instalment of the Caprilicious Blog
I'm Neena Shilvock, and I'm crazily addicted to jewellery. I've been designing and making quirky and interesting statement necklaces for the last five years and my passion hasn't cooled off one little bit - in fact it has got worse, such that I'm even dreaming jewellery.
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I would love to hear from you - please leave a comment on the blog or send an email to jewellerybycaprilicious(at)gmail.com
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