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,
The view from the Tea Bar - is my gurning little friend trying to tell Mike something?
Hello all, I hope you have been enjoying your summer - in the UK we have had approximately 20 days of warmth, mainly in dribs and drabs - last weekend was good though, with a chance to sit outside in the sun - barbeque food flying off the shelves in the supermarkets - no one celebrates a sunny day like we do in the UK - we have so few. We have a thermometer mounted on the fence outside a kitchen window from the counter we call the 'tea bar' ( we drink a lot of tea in this house) and Mike tells me the temperature on the fence about twenty times a day - and it has been .... warm ... ish.
To celebrate our 30 seconds of summer, I made a couple of pieces with warm coral - I had some enamelled pendants made earlier, to which I had added polymer clay bezels, and I pulled out my collection of coral and turquoise and set to work. The first piece was inspired by the pendant, which reminded me of a tropical sunset, and the Flame of the Forest trees which are so common in India. We had some in school, and they had long flat seed pods, which we used to cover with silver paper from cigarette packets - we had no access to foil in those days, or Toys'rus - heaven forbid - and use them in mock sword fights. They are certainly a beautiful tree when in bloom, and the coral shards I used mimic them perfectly.
The second pendant was made using a cloisonne technique, where cells made of wire are used to keep the enamel colours apart - I made something resembling a 'tablet' - perhaps for a shy person as a gift to express his love - what can say it better than hearts and flowers - and very non calorific too. I added wire flowers and a heart, and more coral and turquoise, and this one is one of a kind - most definitely. A lot of people from a jewellery forum I belong to recognised it as my work, even before they read my name on my post - I think wire is truly something I love to play with, and obviously, it shows!
My newly acquired stash of crystal beads was by now feeling ignored, after all the attention it got last week, so to placate it, I made some dragonfly earrings - what better symbol of summer than a dragonfly - and here they are. The wings are made of Czech pressed glass daggers, and the earrings are on extra long kidney earwires.
I acquired a number of pendants, beads and baubles from a Nepalese artisan of the Limbu tribe in Kathmandu. The owner of the company supports indigenous tribal women, and the designs are made in the mountainous regions of Eastern Nepal, bordering on Bhutan and Sikkhim. Although relatively expensive, they are so beautiful, I was not able to resist them.
I want to make 'East meets West' fusion pieces of jewellery, that go with any sort of apparel, and have scoured the recesses of my mind for new ideas with traditional elements. The artisans themselves are well paid by the company that sold them to me, it warms my heart to find ethical vendors from the East, there is so much to be said for paying a fair price if it gets back to the right people.
Do feel free to leave me a message if you like the pieces that follow on these pages, as I use up the stuff I bought - they are too pretty to be put away in a drawer and forgotten about. I have enough for two to three weeks of enjoyable creating - it is bound to take me that long to find different ways of showing off these beauties, as I am keen for them to be as fantabulous as they deserve.
Yes, I have been busy - what with buying these, looking at them over and over, rummaging in the old stash, making the necklaces, photographing them and putting them online, both in the Facebook shop and on this website, doing a weeks work at the day job - Phew! - but I just got so excited when I acquired these, I couldn't resist making them up. I did buy a few more, but I have had to go looking for Lapis Lazuli beads to make them up - what I have is so pretty, it needs just the right beads to go with it - so have spent time sourcing the lapis beads, as well as all the other things I have had to keep up with this week.
Next week, I look forward to a visit from an old friend - we haven't met since 1971 and I might not have time to do much in the way of jewellery making. I leave you with a picture a friend from a jewellery making forum put up on her site. See you next week.
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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