Hello folks, another week has gone by with storms lashing the UK and high winds of over 60mph. We had a bit of damage in our garden - a couple of large pots blew over and smashed to smithereens - I cannot imagine how that could have happened as one of them was planted with a large rhododendron bush and was weighed down with broken bricks and tiles at the bottom. That was one wild and wooly night! The trees were bent over double and the cat decided to cause a disturbance indoors by bringing in a live mouse at 2am - the mouse ran off (not quite up a clock as under a bed), so now we have the pleasure of sharing our accomodation with a mouse. It's a good thing I'm not squeamish, but still, I'm not sure how I'll react if the mouse runs out in front of me.
As you might have read last week, it was Mike's birthday last week, and we celebrated in London. His birthday presents had been ordered in December, but only turned up a week after his birthday, which was a shame. However, he loves them, so that made up for the disappointment on the day. I wrote in 2013, and it seems like yesterday, of a kitsch collection of animal figurines called Tom's Drag. We saw them on a trip to Berlin and we loved them so much I made a point of taking a picture of the logo by the side of the figurines so I could find them again.
Unfortunately Tom died in 2012, but his partner Arno Mueller still runs the company using Toms designs, and we are now the proud owners of three little cats, only two of which have arrived from Germany, the third to arrive in March.
I made a necklace of little citrine teardrops with iolite beads between them The citrine beads are gently faceted and appear like crystals made of unrefined sugar. I posted a picture on instagram and the necklace was picked up even before I gave it a name or had good pictures of it on file. I had to rush to get some photographs before I posted it out to its forever home with a little pair of earrings to match.
Hematite is the mineral form of iron oxide and has a striking metallic lustre, similar to polished gunmetal. The word hematite comes from the Greek work "haima" meaning blood, referring to the mineral's red color when in powdered form. When heated enough, hematite becomes a paramagnet, where the atomic magnets just randomly point all different directions, making it weakly magnetic. Hematite helps to absorb negative energy in times of stress or worry. I've had these beads for a while now, as well as the amethyst druzy pendant and suddenly they appeared in the same drawer of my bead stash and demanded to be put together. Whether this was by magic or serendipity, I shall never know, but I think they look good together. Purple and black can look a bit gothic, but not in this case as the amethyst pendant is a pale lilac. The colours in amethyst are also from iron ore so the two seem made for each other. The word Confluence means two streams meeting to become the source of a river of a new name, as did the iron ore in the two materials of this necklace.
That's me for this week folks. Have a lovely week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello readers, happy 2017 to you in this my first post in January. I hope you are all ready for what promises to be a challenging year. New Year's Eve for Mike and I was a long weekend in Rome, eating lentils at the stroke of midnight to bring us good luck and loadsa money while watching the fireworks. Seeing a country through the eyes of the locals is a completely different experience from being a tourist and is so much more fun. We went to the supermarket, coffee shops and trattorias, a garden centre and wandered around the shops in EUR. We went to a few places which are off the beaten track in Rome and bombed around in a white knuckle ride with our friend driving with a manic cackle, shaking her fist, papping her horn and cheerfully swearing at the truck drivers in colourful Italian.
Fifteen minutes away from the centre of Rome is the Quartiere Coppede - I'd seen pictures of it and asked if we could go there. Gino Coppede, a Florentian architect built extensively there - his motto certainly must have been 'more is more'. This area is also known as the Art Nouveau district and it begins where a massive arch connects two apartment buildings with an iron chandelier hanging from the middle of it.
Other unusual ornaments on the apartment buildings were giant bees, lions' heads and standing figures perched above windows and under balconies. Fading frescoes and Latin inscriptions added to the abundant decoration in a combination of Byzantine, medieval and classical styles, with a dash of Art Deco and a flourish of the ornamental Floreale style, from the 19th-century Liberty period. Mosaic-tiled archways, intricate brickwork, turrets, towers and loggias were juxtaposed on buildings three to six stories high. Even the chimneys were decorated and embellished to within an inch of their lives and I went berserk with my camera, clicking away happily.
And then on to Trastevere for a cappucino and a bite to eat.
Of course we did the Centro Storica and Mike had the obligatory photograph on the Spanish Steps and by the Fontana Trevi. I went to Beny, a shoe shop I discovered during my last trip and checked out all their fabulous shoes.
Shoes, glorious shoes!
It would be rude not to, wouldn't it?
It was soon time to pack up and come back home - Monarch lost our suitcase and I'm still waiting for news of it four days down the line!
I got home and went straight to my kiln where there was a little flower I made before I left home, waiting patiently for me to dig it out of the carbon I had fired it in. I cleaned it up and as I had no bags to unpack or clothes to sort out or put away, I had the time to make a little necklace with my flower which resembled a hollyhock while I caught up with the TV programmes recorded on the TIVO box.
Aren't the vapour coated druzy beads beautiful? I made the copper clasp using a design by Nicole Hanna, and the little butterfly wing dangle from polymer clay and resin. I do love making as many of my components as possible.
When I got back home, I found an email telling me that I had a tutorial published in Artisan Jewellery Times, an online digital magazine based in the USA. That was such a nice beginning to my year!
That's me for this week folks, have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello readers and lovers of statement jewellery, and a Merry Christmas to you all. Caprilicious Jewellery and I are so pleased that that we are in our fourth year together, and welcome once again all the people who joined the Caprilicious woman's club in 2015. We hope that next year will be even bigger and better for all of us - the future is bright, the future is statement jewellery!!
Women no longer want to wear the same type of jewellery that everyone else is wearing. After all, each one of you is unique, and so too should be your jewellery. And I'll go further - each one of your moods is unique and you need to express yourself in a different kind of attire to match your whims and fancies, not to mention the occasion. You need your jewellery and accessories to enhance your outfits - like punctuation marks in a sentence, and that's where Caprilicious and I take every care to ensure that you have it.
What looks like a simple strand of beads might take me a day or two to create: picking out the elements and comparing dimensions, ensuring balance and so on. If I cannot find the beads I have in mind and I have a vision of how I'd like them to be, I may even take the time to attempt to make them myself.
Clasps are sourced from all over the world - I am a clasp junkie and have boxes full of clasps - indeed, if I never bought another one, I'd have enough for a couple of years.
In spite of that, this year I found myself making clasps using my kiln, and wire weaves.
I love to talk about my jewellery and write a proper description of all the elements in the blurb that accompanies the photographs on the website and the Facebook page. And then there's the Caprilicious Jewellery Blog - it has grown so dear to me, as have my readers, some of whom aren't subscribers, but nevertheless read me each week.
So, I've had a lot of fun, and long may it continue. In 2016, I have my show at Raintree, Bangalore, which is in it's third year. I have quite a few followers in Bangalore who write to me each year, asking for the date of my show - for you guys, here's a 'Save the Date' announcement - the show will be on the 12th and 13th of February 2016 at Raintree. I am looking for a venue for a pre exhibition showing - perhaps a mid week cheese and wine event? If anyone wants to help me host one, do feel free to message me.
I love wire and cannot understand it when people say to me that they are 'not fans of wirework' - it smacks of a complete lack of understanding of the processes involved. In actual fact most jewellery is made from either sheet metal or wire - the wire is textured, shaped and soldered to make the jewellery that most people are used to. Wire is soldered onto sheet metal to make a bezel, and to make clasps. When heat is taken out of the equation, as it is in the work that wire artisans do, the whole enterprise becomes tricky, but Oh so interesting. Setting a stone so that it sits there for life, with no chance of falling out (as it sometimes can from a soldered bezel) can be difficult, but is ultimately rewarding.
Imagine a hump backed creature, bent over a lapful of snakes that twist and turn and move of their own free will. 'Oh bu@@&R', the creature exclaims on being almost stabbed in the eye - thankfully wire and beadwork has meant the deterioration of her eyesight so her glasses have saved her from blindness on many an occasion. She grabs at the wire in fistfuls, coaxing each snake into submission, but there's always one that escapes prompting fresh swear words until a blue Beijing fog envelops her from head to foot for a while. And then triumphant, she emerges, clutching the beginnings of what resembles a piece of jewellery - well readers, that poor hump backed creature is me! And while all this is happening, I am also watching TV, and pretending to listen to my husband rant at the politicians on the telly and sometimes even answering him pseudo intelligently! Multi tasking is my forte, these days.
Try grappling with two or three feet of wire - not just one length, but four or five at the same time, keeping them flat and equidistant from one another at all times and you might find it preferable to play in the middle lane of the M6 motorway. However, I love it and find it a challenge - no matter the detractors of wirework, it is such a pleasure when it comes together that it give me such a buzz.
This is what I made during the pre Christmas week. A lovely piece of blue agate druzy, accented with a lapis lazuli bead, wound and woven in miles of wire. The woven torque necklace opens at the front and is easily adjustable.
Have a fabulous weekend folks, and once again, Merry Christmas to you all. I will catch you all next week, same time, same place.
Hello readers, welcome to this week's story from Caprilicious Jewellery. I've been playing with polymer clay, as we slowly recover from my poor hubby's bout of food poisoning - I use the word 'we' advisedly, as I suffered seriously and vicariously, along with him. However, all is well now, and I am back, and ready to play.
My 'Tribal Bling' line was entirely depleted during my recent exhibition - not one of the necklaces came back with me. The pendants are from Afghanistan and the ladies in India seemed to love them. The USP of these necklaces is that I make all the beads myself, so all of them are undoubtedly one of a kind with a fusion look that will go with both ethnic and bohemian western clothing.
I recently had a few more pendants delivered and set out to make beads to go with them. I deliberately made them bright and cheerful - a mood elevator around your neck. I want the wearer to get an instant lift as soon as these pieces come out of their wardrobes.
I also made faux Tibetan mala beads, making a veneer out of red and black clay and gold foil. I antiqued the beads with a needle tool and white pastel chalks and cured them. I then dipped them in liquid clay on a wooden skewer and attacked them with a heat gun to get a shiny but antique effect. I think they look pretty authentic, and loads of people messaged me on Facebook to ask how they were made. This collage is for them. If anyone wants further clarification, you know where I am.
Pale Moon Rising
An agate druzy cabochon, dyed in a delectable shade of peach is the focal piece for this necklace. I set it in wire lace and embellished it with onyx and freshwater pearls. The plan was to add a few more rows of beads beneath the pearls, but something made me stop - and I think the pendant is just perfect as it is. I strung it on a kyanite necklace - this gemstone always reminds me of silvery moonlight, and a few pale green hand carved jade butterflies flit around, making this a very pretty piece, indeed.
Dancing in the Dark
These two pendants are very similar and I used my polymer clay beads to make a couple of very jazzy pieces. They certainly bring a smile to my face and I'm sure they will be loved by their eventual owner - whoever she may be.
These can be worn just as well with a saree, as with a white shirt/tunic, jeans and wild hair! A very high visibility, bohemian look indeed and guaranteed to have you dancing in the dark.
That's all I have for you, readers - have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers, thanks for stopping by to read about the statement jewellery made at Caprilicious this week. It was my privilege to provide a piece of jewellery to the Children's Unit at the hospital as a raffle prize - the manager who requested it of me was very complimentary about the piece I handed in - I was quietly pleased with it myself, and the reaction on the Facebook page was heartening when I posted some pictures there. The carved jade flower had been lying around in my stash, just waiting to be used and this is a very worthy cause, very close to my heart.
If you're wondering what the mention of statement jewellery in the opening line was all about - I've been reading blogging guides - and the theory is that a googlebot, which in my imagination looks like the picture above, worms it's way into a website and if the raison d'être of the blog is mentioned in the first few sentences, the botworm gets the message - and when people look for 'Handmade Statement Jewellery', the Caprilicious Jewellery website comes up in a Google search - having done this for a few weeks, I was quite gratified to find that I haven't been misguided by the bloggers guide.
However, I don't know any woman who goes to Google when she wants to look for handmade statement jewellery! I certainly wouldn't do a Google search to look for jewellery, would you?? What beats me is that knowing this fact doesn't make me chase the botworm any less frantically - just shows how competitive I really am, I suppose, and also that I like to test a theory before I accept it as common wisdom.
Anatevka was a fictional shtetl in Imperial Russia where the musical Fiddler on the Roof was set. We went to the Eutin Festival in Germany, where they had this musical on, inspiring me to create this necklace.
I acquired a necklace of hand knotted shell pearls in beautiful colours of bronze/ cream, peach and shades of grey - the pearls are large and very beautiful, and though I normally would have cut up the necklace to restring the pearls, this one was so well made, I couldn't bring myself to wantonly destroy someones painstaking work - in fact, I had to agree that I couldn't have done it better ( a rare admission for me ).
I decided to make a pendant for it, and string it onto the necklace directly. An agate druzy cabochon, surrounded by wire lace, with pearls and crystals thrown in just grew and grew until two days later, my muse declared it finished. Although wire lace looks pretty, it is hard work on the finger tips which resembled Shreddies by the time I was done - but hey! I love the way it looks, so won't complain. The pendant is very baroque in appearance, and suits the necklace - and the name!
If you want to know what shell pearls are, here's a link to a very well written article I found during my research - I couldn't have put it better myself.
And with this, I decided to put my Lacemania aside for a while - and my fingertips heaved a huge sigh of relief!!
I've had two new helpers this week - Charlie and Wilfred have moved in with us - they must have been techies in a previous life, they are fascinated by the moving cursor on my laptop screen, and keep trying to help me type this blog and won't take no for an answer.
They are also interior decorators of sorts, and are helping me to remodel my house and change the decor, by systematically destroying anything they dislike - Mike's 40 year old German oil lamp (he's had it 40 years, but it was an antique when he first bought it) is something they have taken a dislike to - only he refuses to part with it - the boys are most annoyed that it is now out of reach!
With my fingertips sore and out of commission, I decided to give them a rest. I have these peacock feather pendants in from Indonesia - the ends have been fringed, much like a Rastafarians dreadlocks, with beads, and I love the effect. I used shards of electroplated quartz needles in the necklace, strung with spacers of crackle quartz in a deep peacock blue and a couple of enamelled beads from India. The quartz needles remind me of the silver rain that sheets down during a monsoon - the rain in the UK though persistent, is usually gentler.
Durga is a wrathful form of Parvati, otherwise known as Mrs Shiva, and the mother of Ganesh the elephant God. Kali is an even more angry form - women of all ages, at different times of their cycles have fleeting resemblances to one or another avatar of this multipurpose Goddess.
According to legend, Parvathi was peed off at something- or someone (possibly, but not necessarily hubby), and she knitted her brows together in a frown - a third eye originated there ( watch out - the gaze from that third eye when provoked into opening can burn you into a frazzle). When someone else peed the already irritated Durga off, she went wild, hair unbound, arms akimbo - and she didn't stop until she killed the annoyance, hung his head around her neck and drank his blood.
She laughed and laughed, and did a dance that a whirling dervish would have envied, until suddenly to her horror, she found that she was trampling on her poor husband Shiva - Oops! she said and stuck her tongue out - and an ancient photographer took her picture (or maybe the wind changed and her facial expression stuck), so she is doomed to being immortalised as the crazy one with her tongue stuck out, hair wild, with strings of demon's heads hung about her person.
This story, I am sure will resonate with my female readers - we've all been there, pootling along, minding our own, when along comes this nuisance - whether we turn into Durga or Kali depends on the irritant!
Anyway, I digress - this necklace is made of a pendant from the Banjara tribe in India, with two paisa coins from 1962. I put them on a rope, which can be tied so that the pendant sits where you would like it to and can be worn with all sorts of necklines. It looks like something Durga might like to wear - well, she's most definitely a Caprilicious woman....................
That's it for this week folks. Charlie has destroyed a bunch of silk flowers I had prettifying a dull corner of the house, and the two brothers are now flicking the flowers around the house like crazed confetti - I'd better go and rescue what's left of those poor flowers. Have a fab weekend, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello good people, here's your weekly dose of statement jewellery from Caprilicious. Once I have posted this, I am off to Hamburg, to visit with a friend and have a few days away by the Baltic in her lovely bungalow by the sea - not that I'm rushing or anything, just saying.....
My muse capriliciously tripped along from one style of jewellery to another, seemingly without a cohesive thought in her head, and I followed, led by the nose - I just do as I am bid and see what transpires (hubby often wonders why I won't follow him in quite the same way).............................
I blame my mother for my lacemania.
She was/is a true lacemaniac, and in my childhood dressed my sister and me in imports from around the globe - she turned up her nose at what was produced in India. Every outfit we had was edged with a hint of lace (imports were expensive, thankfully), and that has left it's mark on us - both of us drool over lace when we see it, but today I would combine it with other elements to detract from the 'girly' effect. Chunky jewellery, leather waistcoats, boho bracelets, trilby hats, slouchy boots, 50's sunnies (not all at the same time, admittedly - the gangsta rap look doesn't suit me either) - these are what I wear 'for badness', a word learned from Gabrielle, an old Irish friend!
I learned this style of wire work from an Indonesian friend - in her country these wire medallions are made into brooches to pin back their headscarves and it takes hours to painstakingly coil fine wire around a thicker wire, and then curve and coil the thicker wire into shape, embellishing it with beads as one goes along, without the use of any tools other than a pair of wire snips - but the final effect is so pretty, it is most definitely a labour of love.
Chantilly lace has been made since the 16th century - handmade in France and Belgium and worn by fashionable ladies in Europe and America - and much loved by brides even today.
If my mother could have laid her hands on Chantilly lace when we were growing up, who knows what damage she would have inflicted on our psyches - todays little hints of 'badness' would have become a deluge, to counteract the Little Miss Muffet-ness of my childhood - Phew!
Whilst I love the colour that polymer clay and beads have brought into my life, it is no secret that wire is my first love.
I make this pendant time and time again - inspired by the work of Nicole Hanna , and I love it. It's asymmetry draws me to this design. The markings on the matte blue agate complement the wire work.
And as I went about my business, pottering about the house and going back and forth to work, my muse caught sight of a polymer clay faux bone medallion I made earlier, meaning to eventually turn it into a tribal piece - she decided the medallion had waited long enough and clicked her fingers -lo and behold, Zanzibar came into being!
A silk, vaguely Chinese looking silk choker was unearthed, my stash raided for colourful wooden beads and Cowrie shells, and they were all put together using waxed linen.
I think the necklace is fun and can be easily worn in summer with T shirts and linens, as well as in winter over jumpers.
I have always wanted to go to Zanzibar which is an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, once a Portuguese and then a British protectorate, a Spice Island that sounds warm and exotic - one day perhaps.
Just now, I shall have to make do with the necklace.
The Sarayu is a river that runs through the north of India and is a tributary of the Ganges. The turquoise beads in this necklace carrying the conch shell pendant, and the flow of the necklace, reminded me of a river - I used the 'stare hard at it and call it the first name that jumps into your head' technique. This technique works well when I like a piece of jewellery - Bang, a name jumps up and bites me on the nose - if, however, I don't feel any rapport with it, I could go cross eyed and anoxic from holding my breath and concentrating hard with no results. Needless to say, such pieces end up on the scrap heap.
The pendant is a black and gold disc from Indonesia - one I made earlier was red, black and gold and equally beautiful.
Earlier on in the year I made a pair of earrings I called The Bollywood Barbie Earrings - what I imagined Barbie would wear if she went to Bollywood. In the process of researching this for my blog, I came across Rachel Chitra's blog - she had written a post about the scarcity of dolls in India. We had quite a few virtual conversations, and I thought no more of it. Rachel is an Indian journalist and blogger and sent me this link today - she very kindly wrote a little blog post about Caprilicious Jewellery.
That's me done before my little mini break in Hohwacht. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same place same time
P.S - I know more of you read me than you let on - go on, put your heads above the parapet and leave me a comment, show me some love darnit, I deserve it - wouldn't you agree?? - the app might ask for your email id, but don't be frightened - it is just to make sure you are human and not a robot selling snake oil from Outer Mongolia
Hello, and thanks for stopping by. Let's start with some music while you read on ................
This is Kevin, my latest model.
I bought her on ebay - she is a polystyrene dress form on a pedestal. In this picture, she has just been given a decoupaging (is there such a word?? - Francophiles are wincing at my poor usage of the language).
Why Kevin?? Well, it may sound silly to have an obviously female model with a male name - but I recently read an article about gender and sex (in my other avatar as gynaecologist) - and suddenly it felt necessary to give my model a gender inappropriate name. In the famous words of Simone de Beauvoir, “Women are not born, they are made.” At the end of the day, the making of a man or a woman is a never-ending process that begins well before birth. And the ritual announcement at birth that it is in fact one or the other instantly transforms an “it” into a “he” or a “she” assigning it to a lifetime as a male or as a female.
This attribution is made public and lasting through the event of naming. Mike said, why not Mabel, or Lucy - but Kevin she was named and Kevin she shall remain!
This is what Kevin was like when she first arrived and I decided to make her a bit more interesting to look at.
Decoupage was what I decided on - it has been a long time since I played with paper, glue and scissors, and a long weekend at the Bank Holiday seemed to be the best time for it. I researched it thoroughly on the internet - there is a lot of information out there, but it seemed that a lot of it was incomplete - so, I took photographs as I went along - perhaps decoupage virgins like me might be pleased with the info in my little mini tutorial.
Amit was made from a little Balinese hand carved bone Ganesh. Last week, I made Mushika and his Master, and the Ganesh in that pendant was in profile - when I was looking at images of these, I couldn't choose between the two, so bought both. In Sanskrit Amit means 'Boundless, Limitless or Infinite'. It is one of the 108 names of Hindu God Ganesh - although how one manages to have 108 names (and why one needs that many??) without a severe crisis of identity simply beats me.
These beautiful pendants from Afghanistan came to me in the post - I loved them so much, I set about making new beads to go with them straight away. It would be easy enough to just string them with beads from my hoard, but I just love the thought of hand made rustic looking beads that bring a sort of magic to a piece of jewellery.
The weekend was spent pottering away at my craft table, conjuring up some pretty beads, polishing them and getting them prepared for stringing. Here they are in the oven, curing. My poor oven hasn't seem too much food in it since I started making stuff with polymer clay. It is used on a weekly basis, almost exclusively for crafting purposes, unless Mike bungs a cottage pie in it on the odd occasion. Since we are always on a diet and our house is an almost carbohydrate free zone except for high days and holidays, polymer clay is king in our oven!
And here they are - pendants and handmade beads put together into new, one of a kind necklaces..................
The word "Arya" itself is a Sanskrit and Avestan/Old Persian word that means "noble". I strung this one with seed beads wound with wire, adding old coins studded with red glass.
The word Karishma means a 'miracle' or someone saved from an inevitable doom. This necklace has my own colourful polymer clay beads - I added little bead caps of red and blue to go with the pendant.
I seem to want to make flowers all the time - perhaps it is that time of year! These beads are flower shaped discs stacked one on top of the other, with some faux ostrich beads to provide contrast. I used every piece of leftover clay on my table, so there is a multi colour feel to this necklace, and the beads seem to be happy to be together, in spite of their disparate origins. Kareena is a name that can mean 'Flower', or 'Innocence' and I thought it would go well with this necklace. Readers who are into Bollywood will know that Karishma and Kareena are sisters from a famous Bollywood dynasty - India does seem to go with the dynastic concept and the cult of personality, right from politics, down to Bollywood.
I do love the peacock - you cannot ask for better colours that nature put into that beautiful bird, and I always have one or two pieces of 'peacock' jewellery on my books. I started this pendant a few weeks ago, and added to it bit by bit until I was ready for a reveal. I added a handmade necklace so that it would hang just the way I wanted - given my penchant for asymmetry.
The little teardrop shaped blue agate druzy glints in the light, but unfortunately, I am unable to capture that in a photograph.
That's it for this week folks, catch you next week. I have plans to use my kiln this weekend as I am on call and it promises to be dull and pi**ing down with rain. Hopefully it is better for you, wherever you are.
See you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello folks, I hope you have had a satisfying week and are ready for some fun this weekend.
A piece of great news - Caprilicious Jewellery is soon to be available at an outlet in Abu Dhabi - I have sent off the first consignment, and if the jewellery sells well there, I might do regular business. More about this next week.
I had to share this - I sold this pendant last week to a lady who asked me what inspired me to make it - she was obviously well into Art Nouveau jewellery - she had written a thesis on the subject, and she said the pendant reminded her of Lucas von Cranach's Tintenfisch und Schmetterling - I had actually seen the aforementioned pendant on a website during one of my periodic browses of the internet - but to be compared with a master jeweller - very humbling.
Who knows what stays in your brain when you look at images constantly, as I do - or, if this pendant was indeed influenced by Lucas von Cranach - all I can say is, I see the octopus, but not necessarily the butterfly - I leave you to decide whether they do actually have some resemblance to one another.
I went to Shrewsbury this week, to the workshop of the lovely Jules Harper to learn how to prepare precious metal clay pieces for the application of enamel. I went on an enamelling and a precious metal clay (silver) course last year at In The Studio, but this time around, wanted one on one tuition. Now that I have a bit of experience, there were so many questions bothering me - one cannot keep bobbing up and down in a class with loads of people - you sound like a smart aleck and eat into other peoples time.
Jules taught me how to fire copper and bronze clay properly, and to prepare them and enamel them - most exciting of all, the little lentil bead I made with copper clay and enamelled on both sides - it would look so sweet in earring designs, and is light because it is completely hollow. She is a very patient teacher, and the time just flew by - that's a sure sign of a lot of fun - maybe not quite so much for her, though. I thought it was around 5pm when I left her place, and it was only when I was halfway home, I realised it was in fact well past 7pm - sorry Jules!
Here's a link to her website if anyone is interested http://www.artclayjewellery.co.uk/
Now that the weather is slowly getting better, I want to play with my kiln and make some colourful pieces in it, and thanks to Jules now, it wont be such an anxiety ridden operation.
Having 'borrowed' the necklace on the right in reds and golds, to wear to a dinner party, I received so many compliments that I felt i needed to make another, this time in the cool colours of blue and silver - to my eye, it looks like the necklace has been bathed in moonlight - but, I will leave it to you to decide if the name is apt, and which one you prefer.
The Greek word "amethystos" may be translated as "not drunken", from Greek a-, "not" + methustos, "intoxicated". Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it. According to a 16th century French poem, Dionysus, the god of intoxication, of wine and grapes was pursuing a maiden named Amethystos, who refused his affections. Amethystos prayed to the gods to remain chaste, a prayer which the goddess Artemis answered, transforming her into a white stone. Humbled by Amethystos's desire to remain chaste, Dionysus poured wine over the stone as an offering, dyeing the crystals purple.
Amethyst is a purple quartz found deep within volcanic rock, and its colour comes from manganese and iron impurities. The Agapanthus or Nile lily is an amethyst coloured flower, and the little nuggets of amethyst in this next necklace brought the buds of this very pretty flower to mind. I had a load of these in my garden, but unfortunately, as the name suggests, it likes warmer climates and all of my plants died. I might try to grow it indoors this year. I love the geodes/ druzy form of any gemstone, where the natural striations are left in, as part of the stone, and the pendant I used was sourced with great difficulty. It came to me all the way from Brazil, after a lot of bargaining with the vendor, to secure the best price. I thought it was so regal, I crowned it with a scroll of wire filigree work. A little jade butterfly, prehnite nuggets and some green crystals set the purple of the amethyst nuggets off beautifully.
That's all I had time for this week folks. We are off to Giverny, and will visit Monet's garden, and then on to Paris where I want to see his paintings at the Musee de l'Orangerie.
This photo of Musee de l'Orangerie is courtesy of TripAdvisor
I have enjoyed the Impressionists for ages and have a few prints on my walls - can't wait to see the real thing. The poor cat will be most unhappy to go into the cattery , but, needs must. I hope the weather will play nicely with us, and I will catch you when I get back,
Have a great week,
Hello folks, I hope you have all had a good week.
I have been busy at the day job, and picking out a present for my husband - he has just had a birthday, and we have a wedding anniversary later on this month. Please forgive me if I go all romantic and soppy on you, but that's the way I'm feeling - I will snap back to the more recognisable snarly, irritable self - he's sure to annoy me soon enough!
So this week its all flowers, and sweetness and light - as I said, do forgive me, it's not often I go soppy like this.
The week started with a bunch of coral tear drop beads I teamed up with some really bright red and green Nepalese Yin Yang beads - when I first had the Nepalese beads, I wondered what on earth I would do with them - they were that bright - but nestled in the middle of this Lei, or garland, they look very much at home.
A Haku (Hawaiian) is a braid - I got this from Wikipedia, in the process of researching my coral Lei. In my heightened state of hopeless romanticism, I thought this was soooo sweet (sick bucket, now, quick ) so I thought I'd share this with you.
Haku mele - to braid a song. A song composed out of affection for an individual is considered a lei.
Anyway, the Lei I made is not sickly sweet, fortunately my muse isn't following my mental state, I am lucky in that, if nothing else!
Of pomegranate studded fish and love - the moon
This is the painting I bought for Mike as a wedding anniversary present. I saw it while browsing idly on Face book - the artist was from Bangalore - I come from there too, so it seemed like kismet that I should find it at a moment when I was at my most romantic (!). I originally thought I'd visit the artist in India, later on this year, but the jewel colours of this painting attracted me so much that I could not resist it. I found her shop on Etsy - here's a link, http://www.etsy.com/shop/youandispelljoy?ref=seller_info and bought it straight away, so that it would be here in time for the day.
This is what the wonderful Kalyani Ganapathy has to say about herself in her profile on Etsy - and I think that exuberance of feeling is well demonstrated in my painting - can't wait to get it back in its new frame - I am sure he will love it too.
More flowers! I have got it bad, haven't I ?? - never mind, this phase wont last too long!
I made another Nepalese pendant oriented necklace, and used some carved coral roses - they are so pretty, and they contrast so well with the bland white howlite beads also in this piece. To add texture and interest, I put in some translucent black crackle agate - I would love to make a necklace of just these beads, but really nice ones are quite expensive, so I just bought a few - maybe one day!
Still on a floral note, but this time, a darker theme ( yes, slowly getting back to normality, then), Nightshade comes from a genus that produces the potato, tomatoes, petunias, gooseberries, aubergines, chili peppers, and tobacco. Deadly Nightshade produces belladonna or atropine which has been used as a poison.
The lovely puffy, faceted onyx squares (which gave me a whole load of trouble - well, I would insist on using what is meant for a bracelet in a necklace, so its really my fault), contrast with the coral roses and turquoise pillars - very showy, and definitely night time jewellery - worn on a cruise perhaps?? - who knows where it will end up!
One more necklace in The Eastern Promise series - I tried this pendant on one or two different strands of beads, and what seemed to be just right for it was a lovely strand of light orange sponge coral cylinders, and some large turquoise beads. The coral is lighter coloured than any I have used previously, a pale orange rather than red, and it struck me that the colour was like a Persimmon or Sharon fruit. I had been hoarding these beads for a while now, and this seemed the perfect time to use them - the pendant was so large, it needed to be balanced with a multi strand necklace, or one with chunky beads. When finished, the name Persimmon Poetry just came to mind - and stuck - so here it is .......
And finally, I decided to go back to wire wrapping a cabochon - with a simple neat wrap - the kind that attracted me to wire work in the first place - I just wanted to see if I could do it again, after all the wild and woven stuff I have got used to making - this piece is simple and sweet, but I couldn't resist twisting the square wire and making loops around the cabochon with the addition of tiny green aventurine beads, like little planets surrounding the sun. The cabochon is a green and black druzy, and is very pretty - a very soothing shade of green.
That's as much as I have had time for this week folks, thanks for stopping by, see you next week, same time, same place
No, I don't mean blood from a stone, you read it right first time - Light from a Stone - this epitomises Labradorite. This greyish brown stone is, at first sight boring - in fact it resembles something you might find lurking at the bottom of a cat litter tray - but, wait .... move the stone till it catches the light - and you get that fabulous flash of light from within it's depths - a flash of yellow, blue and green - and you are hooked!
Labradorite is a feldspar, first found in Canada, formed by the slow cooling of magma, giving the crystals time to arrange themselves in large clusters before being locked into place in layers - these layers reflect light at different angles, giving that characteristic flash - the Schiller effect.
The Inuit thought the Northern Lights had been captured by the stone, it is that beautiful. I once bought a bracelet with a large slab nugget - and was immediately hooked - grey brown is difficult to design with, and of course, the stone needs to move to catch the light, so still photographs do not do it justice - Oh well, I can but try - I am not sure if any one will be discerning enough to actually want the necklace, but I love it, and will happily wear it myself.
The Harnessed Peacock
This is my nod to Mary Wesley, whose books I read and enjoyed a long time ago - she published her first book at the age of seventy, and wrote a number of best sellers after that - the women in her books are all extremely unconventional, and she has a sharp and dry wit. Harnessing Peacocks is one of her books, and it was also made into a motion picture. Mary had a red lacquered coffin made for herself by a local artisan, and kept it in her living room - she offered to be photographed in it for an interview by a magazine - politely declined, of course! I love that story, she must have been such fun - even her biography is called Wild Mary.
The copper non tarnish wire bird has a crystal tear drop dangling from its beak, and brilliant green and blue crystal and glass 'tail feathers'. I kept the chain simple, but not so simple that I didn't embellish it with a few crystal dangles.
This one was made to complement a turquoise clasp - I used zebra howlite, square onyx beads, shiny crystals, blue glass beads, dichroic glass rectangles and pressed glass beads in the shape of pansies all the way from Czechoslovakia. I love Czech glass - they have some beautiful beads, and I buy them whenever I can find them. They looked like sweeties from my childhood when I finished the necklace, hence the name.
I made these pendants for Scherezade - to wear when she told her prince stories, night after night, holding his interest by withholding the ending - just to live another day, and tell yet another story - a cruel tale, but, we got all these stories from her plight, and she got a stay of execution - and he got the girl - a win win (win) situation, by all accounts!
The druzy cabochons came all the way from Jakarta, I love the crystalline centres that sparkle in the light - once again difficult to photograph. I have been taking online photography lessons and tips, but might make my way to some real ones at the local college come January, I so hate not being able to share my enthusiasm with you. Lashings of wire, and tiny gemstone beads embellish the druzy, but I have kept the whole thing simple, on a ribbon instead of making a whole necklace around it to keep the focus on the pendant itself - this will turn heads anyway, so a whole 'statement necklace' will probably be a bit of overkill.
I have a few more cabochons, and have been trying to set one into a pendant in the shape of a lotus - and struggling, I don't mind admitting. There's something missing, and I just can't put my finger on it - don't you just hate that feeling - but I have put it away for the time being and hope that when I look at it again, inspiration will strike me like a bolt of lightning and I can show it to you next week. Till then, have a lovely weekend, and a fabulous week. See you same time, same place,