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 stopping by the Friday account of this weeks statement jewellery from Caprilicious. I attended a school reunion this week and ended up making little pieces of jewellery, as I was pushed for time.
I do not like to lay a piece of wire work down overnight - the wire seems to 'set' into shape and is difficult to manipulate again when it is next picked up. This is because of a phenomenon called work hardening. For those of you who are interested, this is how it happens.....
the lattice of crystals within the wire has a regular, nearly defect free pattern. As it is manipulated, dislocations occur in the crystalline structure and tiny micro-fractures appear from the stress, which in turn hold the wire in the shape into which it is bent - this property is utilised when making jewellery, but if over manipulated, the wire is in danger of snapping. When left overnight, the micro crystalline wire structure settles into it's new pattern and is stiff and hard to manipulate - there you are, a bit of science for you!
Inspired by the flowers in my garden and the yellow jade hand carved flowers I had been hoarding so carefully, this necklace is bright and pretty.
I had been wondering how to attach the flowers, and still show off their hand carved beauty to its best effect, and then I had an Eureka moment - of course! wire is the answer to any problem (well almost) - I should have known that! I wired the flowers onto the necklace of purple agate - and Voila!
I love these stars - they are dyed mother of pearl, and very light and pretty - but it is ever so hard to string them right. They have to be pieced together almost like a jigsaw puzzle if they are to lie flat - they had to be redone so many times, the air above them started to turn blue - but I would not be defeated - on I plodded, muttering and swearing under my breath, restringing them again and again, until I had the effect I wanted. I'll bet you cannot tell from looking at it how much work went into the dratted thing.
I made the clasp from a design by Nicole Hanna many moons ago, and had not yet found somewhere to use it - why not just use it in the bracelet where it was meant to go? - sure, but wouldn't that be too easy?? - this debate kept going around in my head, until I finally gave in and made the bracelet. Once I'd done that, I made another - the design is so pretty, I want to make loads of them in all different sizes and colours.
I found these lampwork beads at the Newmarket bead fair last year - they have been crying out to be used, and eventually got their turn to be transformed into earrings. They have these pretty spots on a white background, like little raindrops.
Indian Feathers Earrings
This is a design by Iza Malcyzk - I've had it for a long time, but hadn't tried it out - she gave it it's title and said it was an ethnic design - I think she means the North American Indian, I've never seen feathers like these in India! They didn't last too long on my shelf - they flew away to their new home in under ten minutes!
That's all for this week folks. Next week, I have decided to put together a necklace inspired by the 'shirt necklace' worn by Isabella Rossellini in the film Death Become Her. I've never seen anyone so beautiful and charismatic and the scene where she climbs out of the water, wearing only this necklace will stay with me a long time. I have been slowly collecting the beads and baubles required to make the Caprilicious version, and all I shall say now is that it will eventually go to one very special and lucky lady.
And now I'm off to a Statutory and Mandatory all day course at the hospital, where I shall learn some riveting facts about Manual Handling (my answer is to call a porter) and Health and Safety, Fire and other interesting stuff that I would never have known about if they hadn't made it mandatory for us to attend the lecture on an annual basis.
Have a lovely weekend, and I will be here next week, same time, same place
Hello 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 folks, it's hot outside - and I love it. Statement jewellery has had to be put aside for a short while to extract every ounce of pleasure from the sun while we can get it. We spent a long weekend in Germany, by the Baltic Sea - and anyone would have thought it was the Caribbean, it was so warm.
My friend Margrit loved the little cubist inspired brooch I made for her, as I hoped she would, and found an outfit to wear it with almost immediately. She has a lovely, airy, Scandinavian-style country cottage, and the most beautiful garden, full of the most fabulous and lush flowers, bigger and better than anything I have seen in England.
Equally, the slugs and snails (Schnecke - pronounced shnake as if spoken by Sean Connery) in her garden are bigger and eat more than any English slug I have met - she goes out every night with a torch to catch them in flagrante and drown them in a bucket of soap suds, and the deer (she calls them Bambi - aah! ) come in after she retires indoors for the night and chomp their way through anything the slugs haven't had yet - so it's a running battle to keep the garden going. Margrit needs to be vigilant indeed to keep her garden looking as lush as it does - I love my garden very much, but cannot imagine working quite so hard to keep it.
And the pièce de résistance.................drumroll................
I said to Margrit, I don't need a tan, I'm brown already - and, in an aside, thinking I was being humorous I added 'and, I have no white bits', to which she replied, quick as a flash, 'neither have I' - sure enough, I looked around and there were loads of people in various states of undress, sunning themselves into a 'no white bits' situation.
All except Amelie, Margrit's young granddaughter, who stayed determinedly pale as a little starfish, and was even more overdressed than I was, which is saying something!
So that's all I did all week long, folks, roast myself gently on the sands along the Baltic coast. I had no time to make anything, and I've shown you the reason why.
I trust you are all enjoying the summer too, and I will have something for you next week - I've had a few ideas whilst on my travels.
Catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, I hope the summer is treating you well - here in the UK it still hasn't caught up with us, but we live in hope, now that June is here. The foxgloves, whose seeds I collect from seedheads in the garden and strew around the garden and on the bank opposite the house every year, have come up and look ever so pretty. I'm not sure who the whimsical person was who named the flower, but I can just imagine Mr and Mrs Urban Fox - and there are at least two of them in the park opposite our house - slipping their paws into the flowers and going off, tripping the light fantastic, arm in arm.
So with that bit of whimsy at the forefront of my imagination, I set about making this weeks pieces - advance warning--- a lot of them involve flowers.
I bought strings of clear quartz beads in India in a prayer shop - they were strung into a 'Mala' which is meant to be an aid to meditation and prayer, clear the mind and get your chakras spinning. I'm afraid I bought them because they were pretty and shiny, and paired with pewter daisies, tiny turquoise beads and a very lovely turquoise clasp worn to one side, they make a very pretty necklace. If it helps the wearer with their psychic health, well, that's an added bonus, but I cannot vouch for that particular outcome. I had to string the third strand while wearing the piece and looking into a mirror, to get the daisies in exactly the right place, so that they would hang at the bottom of the necklace when the clasp is positioned to one side. It took me ages, to get the positioning just right, and Kevin and Betty looked on in amusement while I struggled - I couldn't use either of them as I needed to have the necklace on a 'real' person to get it just so.
Hand carved turquoise roses and teardrops are assembled using bead weaving and knotting techniques in this very different necklace which sits close to the base of the neck.
Necklaces with Afghani Pendants
I had two last pendants in my most recent delivery of pendants from Afghanistan and I made polymer clay beads to go with them over the weekend. As I had all the canes made and stored earlier, making the beads was quick and easy and the necklaces almost made themselves once the beads were ready.
Bright and sassy, the necklaces in the Tribal Bling section are able to effortlessly go from day to night, and from Eastern to Western attire - one just needs to be brave enough to wear them. I have strung them on two strands of beading wire so that although the pendants are heavier than most focals, the necklaces are robust and will take everyday wear and tear.
This is my little kiln, and I have ignored it for a while - I am always trying to run befor I can walk, and then, when I have a spectacular failure, I retreat to lick my wounds and the technique that unwittingly caused me grief gets put on the back burner.
I decided to break my duck and try some simple designs again. Having cracked a 20 gm packet of Precious Metal Clay in 99% silver, I made three pieces of jewellery, and these worked out more or less how I wanted them to - maybe I'll play some more!
I combined a piece made with silver with a polymer clay and resin 'cabochon' made with inspiration from a class taken with Debbie Carlton. The polymer clay is embellished with silver foil and the pattern on the clay looks like raindrops hitting parched earth - hence Summer Rain. I made earrings to match with a piece of leftover clay.
I hope you've liked what you've seen this week - do leave a comment and tell me what you think. That's a wrap for this week folks, catch you next week, same time, same place
My muse was in the grip of an obsession she was powerless to resist, and swept me along with her enthusiasm. Everyone loves orchids, and I once harboured a secret longing to grow them in my conservatory, and get a really good collection going. However, when I thought about it more carefully, I remembered that I was married to a renowned murderer of pot plants - and why on earth should the poor orchids fare any better than all the plants in our house which have given up the ghost one by one, and kicked the bucket, happy to depart just to get away from the over zealous attentions of Mike??
So, having managed to tame my longings for an orchid arbour, I have ended up, from time to time making orchid jewellery. I bought these beautiful orchids online - they were vanished by my house elf for a long while - I got so fed up of looking for them ( my house got a spring clean in the bargain while I turned everything over), I bought another lot - and once Elfie realised that I would not be deprived, he gave up in disgust and threw the first lot back at me. Last week, I made some earrings with them, and they were bought up almost immediately. So here are some more I made to replace them.....
And while I had these on the go, I played with wire and made......yet more orchids! They were sufficiently similar in size to turn them into earrings, once I decided how to hang them.
I made the ear wires up myself - shop bought ones simply wouldn't do - they had to be shaped and hammered into position with a nylon mallet to give the wire strength and keep it all from falling apart. The wires are coated with nylon, so that they do not react badly to skin ( or is it the other way round?? - anyway, you know what I mean).
I bought this beautiful ox bone face from Robyn of Indounik, a lovely lady who lives in Indonesia. I was looking for a face to make a piece of jewellery to fit one of my favourite songs 'Clare', by Fairground Attraction - Clare is a 'serpentine seductress' , trained in New Orleans in the dark arts of voodoo. I have other bone faces, but this one, with the design carved into it seemed to fit the bill perfectly - the piece I planned was a pendant with loads of swirling wire, with a seductive, dark look - in the end, the piece took 9 feet of 20 gauge wire and miles of fine weaving wire, and once the copper in the pendant was treated with chemicals and darkened, she looks a lot like what I envisaged in my mind - I am happy with her. I showed it to Robyn, and she remarked that the free flow of the wire must have been a bit like meditation 'Wow, Neena, that's a truly incredible piece - so intricate and so intriguing. I'll bet that's like me shunting bits of paper and photos and other things around a scrapbook page, you find going where the wire wanders like a form of meditation '.
An old friend came to spend the weekend with us, and as we chatted and rehashed old times, I played with a spool of wire and this little rose was born. It seemed to be entirely the natural thing to do once the formalities of the meal had been dispensed with.
And finally, last but not least, after all those floral offerings, I made a linear pendant, inspired by the work of Nicole Hanna - well, it has very soft lines - I used a lamp work glass bead in orange and turquoise as the focus - I am in awe of people who make pretty things with glass - it is such a difficult thing to do. I have recently bought a large stash of lamp work beads in whimsical colours and designs and no doubt you will see them from time to time.
That's all I had time for this week, folks, have a fabulous weekend, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, I hope you are all feeling better than I am today - Mike and I have had the flu for nearly two weeks now - I had a week off work and spent Easter in bed. But, things are looking up now, and I am looking forward to the weekend.
This whole week I stayed warm in my armchair, making little bits and bobs with wire and beads.
The Islamic origins of these Moroccan beads are obvious - they come from a shop in Casablanca, as do these pictures of the Hassan II Mosque.
The amazonite slab nuggets in this piece are cut in such a way that when strung, it gives an illusion of there being two strands of beads - a very clever way to cut the stones, as two strands of these undoubtedly beautiful gemstones would be too heavy - and expensive!
The Butterfly's Wedding
I acquired a pendant made of a sheet of mother-of-pearl from my friend BN, and it lay around the house for a while, my house elf moved it from spot to spot - until one day, I decided to make something with it before the elf 'disappeared' it forever! I sat down with it one evening, and played with wire - I meant to cover over the brown markings on the edge of the pendant - to my mind, they marred what would otherwise be a pretty, shiny sheet of MOP. But by the time I was done, I had used the entire pendant as a backing sheet for a profusion of leaves, vines, and tendrils in a fanciful garden populated by crystal butterflies. The piece reminded me of a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen called 'The Butterfly' - you can read it if you have the time and want to find out what happened - just click on the link - it is the story of a butterfly who was looking for a bride, and the most famous quote from that tale is “Just living is not enough, said the butterfly, one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower for company.”
I've been experimenting with using donuts as focal beads, held in an asymmetric wire weave, which is harder than you might think. These donuts have no aperture where the wire may be passed vertically through them - the central hole has to accommodate the wire, which has to pass through it gracefully, and yet securely. I tried out yet another method, using approximately four feet of the heavier gauge wire, and twenty feet of the fine weaving wire - and another evening bit the dust! The stone here is a blue agate geode with druzy, which is a coating of fine crystals on the stone fracture surface, in the centre.
More Earrings and a Giveaway
Although I felt better with each day, I hadn't the strength to summon my muse and put her to work - I felt as if I was chasing her all around the room, and boy, was she eluding me.
I gave up in disgust, and made some earrings with ideas I had had earlier, but just not executed yet.
My mother turned 87 on the 22nd - she is fit and well - in fact she's fitter than I am - she walks on a treadmill every day for an hour, and takes painting lessons, to which she has to climb two flights of stairs. On that day, I felt well enough to want to play with clay, and although I didn't spend too much time in my craft room, I managed to make these little sweetpeas, and turned them into earrings that evening. I decided to host a giveaway - yes I know the last one was a disaster, logistics wise, but what can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment. So, the earrings are on Facebook till Sunday the 27th - all people are required to do is to like them and share the image on their page - I will draw the five people who win the earrings from a random number generator.
That's me for this week folks, thanks for stopping by, have a great week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place
I have recently begun to scour blogs with tips about photography in the time when I am not working or making jewellery, and found a blog post called " Thirteen Things Your Camera Wishes You Knew" and found out that apparently, I have let my inner chimp roam free - I will have to talk sternly to myself from now on!
I have spent a lot of time wishing I knew more about my camera, sometimes getting a bit annoyed with it because it seems so complicated - I never thought how I might be offending it by my ineptitude.
"Photographers call it “chimping” when someone looks at every shot on the LCD after it is taken. The name comes from people looking at the camera and repeatedly saying “oooh” like a chimpanzee."
This photograph is from Zambio.
This is a limited edition archival print by Kalyani Ganapathy, an extremely talented painter from my home town, Bangalore. Her paintings are filled with whimsy, and they speak to my funny bone - she says, sometimes my work reminds her of her own - obviously a kindred spirit thang going on here! I am the proud possessor of one of her original paintings.
I thought about what happens when gossip becomes vicious, and how rumours are born - and my next piece was conceived right there. I made some triangular flat bangles from polymer clay and added bits of coloured spots in different shapes and sizes on one side, spilling over and through the centre, turning into a completely different coloured spots on the other side - this is how Chinese Whispers work - they are converted into quite something else by the time they spread far and wide - the dark side of a good gossip.
I like the idea of quirky jewellery which is contemporary at the same time - something that makes you smile while making you look good, don't you??
We went to the German Christmas Market in Birmingham over the weekend - unfortunately, there wasn't a single thing that was German in it! Even the sausages were Lincolnshire and Cumberland - the burgers were made from kangaroo, ostrich, reindeer and Aberdeen Angus meat - not really known for hailing from Germany - the whole thing defied the Trade Descriptions Act! But I took some pictures - and here are some for you to look through.....
Meet Coral, the Goth - she is actually a pharmacist who has a degree in Infectious diseases and comes from Mauritius - I saw her in an otherwise empty Jazz club, and was blown away by her pizzazz - I overcame my natural reticence and went in to chat to her - she most obligingly posed for me - and once again, with her friend when they came out of the club. Isn't she fabulous?? - she says she doesn't feel the cold!!
This flower blooms obligingly in the dead of winter, through the snow and frost, and comes back faithfully every year - it grows in shade, so I grow it under my evergreen trees in the shade of my garden fence and I can see it from my bedroom - it is probably the only colour in the garden in winter.
The Saga of the Caprilicious Rose Giveaway
I pulled out some polymer clay and made a bunch of pretty roses in the orange, yellow and red combination on the Caprilicious logo - and then I thought, wouldn't it be nice to give them away as a birthday gift from Caprilicious - so that's what I did - a bit ( a lot) of confusion ensued from this one single light bulb moment - I didn't realise how hard it was to give things away.
I did say at the start that people would have to pay for the postage - just the jewellery was free. One of the ladies took exception to having to pay for postage - and then it ensued that she thought I was asking for payment for the pendant - too late, I had offered it to someone else by then.
Paypal began to play me up and charged people double the amount, so I had to cancel and resend the invoices, one person asked for earrings after they had all gone - but as she is a bit of a favourite, I will make more for her.
I posted news of the giveaway on the jewellery forum I belong to on Facebook, thinking to give something back to the ladies who offer constructive criticism, and stroke and soothe the old ego (stroking is always welcome) when I post my pictures on the forum, but the administrators deleted the post - no giveaways allowed! - PHEW! - it began to look like the proverbial badly organised p**s up in a brewery!
Anyway, all but one lot have been posted out now - I worried that they might be too fragile to go in the post, so had to put in a load of wadding - which in turn made the postage costs go up - remind me please, not to do this again - or to do it with more robust, easily posted items - I ought to think things through rather than acting on a light bulb moment!!
Made of the Mist
Silvery quartz points were interspersed with Czech glass teardrops that seem to glow in the light. One of the points was wrapped with enamelled copper wire and Japanese rectangular glass beads and used as a pendant - I think the silver of the quartz resembles the gray mist - there's something mystical and magical about them - it was as if sorceress had imprisoned the mist and hung it around my neck. The necklace is both delicate and substantial at the same time and deserves a good home...... any takers??
That's all I had time for this week folks. Have a good one, and I will catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, I trust you have all had a good week. The flowers are a-blooming and everything looks so pretty when we walk into our garden or drive around town. The warmth of the unaccustomed summer sun in the UK has brought out the romantic in me and this mood has touched all that I have made this week.
I had a bunch of coloured baroque pearls and I strung them onto mono filament invisible nylon, using jeweller's glue to get them to stay in place. Of course, the nylon had a mind of it's own, so did the pearls, and as for the glue - let's not even go there - a few newly invented swear words later, this necklace appeared - my husband wondered whether I was developing Tourette's syndrome and I had to take time out to reassure him that it was all for real and the air around me wasn't blue due to a psychiatric disorder. I had to prise my fingers apart after soaking them in warm water to take some pictures of my latest creation.
Anyway, it was all worth it in the end, and I can present Summer Holiday...............
This is an ideal piece to carry away on holiday, light and pretty, and with so many colours, it will go with anything - Summer Holiday seemed apt.
The next piece was almost to claw back the now distant memory of our holiday in the spring, and Peter Cincotti's rendition of I Love Paris says it all. Romance was firmly back on the agenda.
Shiny heart shaped Czech glass beads, little crystals and rose quartz wired onto a torque sit around the neck in this piece like a garland of flowers. I didn't put any crystals at the back of the necklace - the stiffness of the torque would cause the wired flowers and leaves to dig the wearer in the neck - who wants that in the heat of a warm summer evening, when this piece should really float elegantly around the neck? Not me, that's who!
Peacock from the Ocean
Abalone or Paua is a snail, found in temperate waters around the world from the genus Haliotis ( no, not Halitosis - pay attention now!), meaning 'sea - ear'. It has a flattish shell, which is dull on the outside, and beautifully coloured on the inside, with a mother of pearl nacre. The snail has a strong foot, and clings to a rock surface on the ocean bed, and has to be prised off - this can be extremely difficult, and I was surprised to read that divers have perished in the attempt.
"Abalone grip so hard that unless you catch one by surprise, you are unable to pry it off the basin. Divers used to drown while collecting abalone . . . a diver would pry an abalone loose, stick his fingers under the shell to lift it and then in surprise and pain when the ab clamps down would drop his ab bar. At that point, there would be no way to get his hand loose and he would drown. (Tank diving is illegal when gathering abalone.)"
This is called the 'Abalone's Revenge'.
One question - how does one catch an abalone by surprise?? - there is no mention of this anywhere - maybe you have to leap out at it from behind a rock, all guns blazing?? Clint Eastwood, eat your heart out!
Red Abalone are harvested mainly for the Sushi restaurant trade - males and females are put into large tanks on moonlit nights ( they prefer to mate on full moon nights), with soft violin music, candlelight, and a bottle of wine (yes, joke!).
An Abalone Farm - a far cry from 'bring on the violins'!
They produce baby abalones, which are collected and given a diet of kelp smoothies and snail spaghetti, which is a slurry of bran, seaweed and other nutrients made into a dough, extruded through a pasta machine and baked, to help them grow till they are large enough to be eaten. The shells are used for jewellery, but have to be ground and polished by experts as the dust is very toxic, and causes lung diseases.
No wonder then, the shells are expensive - however, the colours are so beautiful, I am sure you will agree it is worth all that trouble. I made a polymer clay ruffle bead in abalone colours, and put a necklace together. The colours are gorgeous and I could only hope that my ruffle bead would be up to the task of complementing the abalone shell beads - what do you think??
This necklace, made with crystals and diamante encrusted spacers, has been one of Caprilicious' more successful designs. It has been reproduced in quite a few colours, and at the jewellery party at my friends place, the hostess picked it up almost immediately - when she showed it off to her friends, they fell in love with it, and I had orders for the same piece, having asked her permission first, of course. I sent off for strings of crystals and spacers and clasps, and I made the first of the necklaces on order this week. Fortunately, I have the design and the suppliers written down, and this is one of the few that can actually be remade.
That's about all I have had time for this week folks, it looks like another scorcher here in the UK over the weekend. Have fun, and I will catch up with you next week, same time, same place
Welcome, readers, to the Caprilicious Blog. Wandering around the garden centre last weekend, I fell in love with the most beautiful statue of Kwan Yin. We have a small garden, and didn't quite know where I would put her - but she simply had to be brought home. I have never felt so strongly drawn to an inanimate object, and with a few surprised glances in my direction, Mike dutifully trotted off to order the statue and pay for her delivery. The serenity of her face is almost infectious - and of course, we could all do with some of that - serenity, not an infection!
Last week, I made some squiggle earrings - they were tacked on at the end of the blog. They were very difficult to make, and of course, it is always a nightmare to get free form earrings to be equal and opposite and mirror one another exactly.
However, the degree of difficulty was a challenge, and it seemed to work out - more or less - they are light and pretty, but don't accurately reflect the amount of work that has gone into them, or the degree of difficulty. Perhaps, that's as it should be!
My friend BN tried on a pendant I had made earlier - Bluebells - and said it was a bit big for her at 2" in diameter. She wondered if I could make a smaller one - once again a challenge, as most of my pieces are on the larger side. Both of them are here for you to compare - Bluebells, and Baby Bluebells.
I do so enjoy rising to a challenge, and with both pendants patinated and the patina preserved with micro crystalline wax, I cannot decide which one is best - can you??
At this point, I should have given up wire work, and gone on to something less onerous on the hands, but instead, ploughed on with a Ssssssserpent! With four lengths of copper wire, each about 2 feet long, the serpent slowly but surely wound its way around my neck, with frequent stops to rest my fingers. It took over ten hours to wrap and shape this necklace, and finish it to my satisfaction. When presented to a Wire Workers group on Facebook, the notifications on my page went wild for a couple of days - they understood the work that had gone into it, and were gratifyingly enthusiastic.
The legend of Nagina, remembered from my childhood was that snakes partner for life, and if one of a pair is killed, the image of the 'murderer' stays on the retina of the dead snake, which only another snake can see. The female of the species being deadlier than the male, and all that, Nagina would hunt out the murderer of her spouse, and from then on, his days were numbered. Perhaps the male snake just goes off and finds another spouse and does not bother with all this exhausting avenging of the beloveds death jazz ( or am I being sexist here??).
This legend was made into a Bollywood movie in the late eighties, with Nagina transmogrifying into a beautiful woman ( of course!) who sang and danced and swayed like a snake, every time a flute like instrument was played, with many costume changes, including pale grey contact lenses when in snake/woman form, and writhed orgiastically, morphing back and forth from snake to woman in order to wreak her revenge. The song is on You tube - she came over all peculiar and unnecessary as soon as she heard this instrument and looked like she was about to do herself a mischief! If you want to see it, you will have to find it on You Tube - I refuse to have it on the blog - type the word Nagina into a You Tube search, and voila!
I foreswore wire for a while after this, my hands and wrist hurt so much, Mike had to massage them to get the circulation going again.
One of Gerry's friends at the jewellery party gave me a box of beads from a necklace she had loved, but had sadly broken - some of the beads were missing, and she asked me to replace them with coral and turquoise, and make her a symmetrical necklace, about 18" long. Symmetry is not my strong point, but hey, the customer is always right! So, here goes.....
These pictures were sent out to her and I was gratified to find a message in my inbox saying she loved them.
The Wings of Love
These earrings were sitting forlornly in a box, waiting patiently for a new home. Their chance to shine came the other day when one of my old friends walked in with her son, looking for a gift for the son's teacher. Gratifyingly, the young lad fell in love with so many of my pieces - he is about 11 years old, and he oohed and aahed over the pieces I was showing his mother - he was the best salesman I could have hoped for - he got his mom to buy a couple of items for herself, and just flipped out over the colours on these wings.
I showed them the remaining wings in my stash, and pictures of the stuff made earlier, and his mother ordered a pendant to go with these earrings - all I can say is, K can you come work for me?? and what a lucky teacher!
For those who haven't seen them before, these are the wings of an Indonesian beetle - the wings are collected after it dies, and made into jewellery - they are not coloured or varnished - this is nature in all her beauty - no wonder they are called 'Jewel Beetles'. The beautiful iridescence of the beetle wings will endure and remain splendid for many decades - examples survive from India that are over one hundred years old, including use as decoration in Victorian tea - cosies.
This week has just flown by and the weekend is here again - I am down to work at the day job on Saturday, and hopefully it isn't raining on Sunday as we have plans to go to the Upton on Severn Jazz Festival. That's all I have time for this week, have a great weekend, catch you same time, same place
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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