Caprilicious is all of two years old, today -thanks to all of you for your interest and making this such an enjoyable journey. I hope you like reading the blog, looking at my images and going along with my thought processes, scatty as they are, and that Year 3 will be bigger and better for Caprilicious, - with both you and I having fun along the way, I don't see why not.
Mike and I went to the Newmarket bead fair - we spent some time mooching around Cambridge, took a little 'chauffeured punt' on the river Cam, and spent an enjoyable weekend with our friend BN who lives in Cambridge. I have enough gemstone bead stock to last me a long, long time, but I couldn't resist a few beautiful lamp worked glass beads - I know how difficult they are to make, and some of the beads were simply beautiful - it seemed a shame to leave them behind. I don't know what I shall do with them - they don't fit anywhere in my jewellery box - but they were calling out to me, and sad person that I am, I can never resist a call from a pretty thing.
Wire hair combs caught my eye at the bead fair, so the first thing I made when I got back was an embellished hair ornament - I think it will look very pretty of an evening, with an upswept hair do - an anti Rapunzel moment.
Before we set off to Cambridge, my fingers were twitching so hard, I gave them some wire to keep them quiet - sometimes it's almost as if they have a mind/persona of their own, and need to keep busy - Oh well, I suppose that's a harmless enough addiction. These pendants with wire, druzy and semi precious gemstones appeared overnight - simple designs to keep the old fingers happy................
The copper wire used here was coated with a non tarnish 'enamel' and the yellow fire agate bead suits the coppery browns of the wire - a simple, but effective pendant on a co ordinating organza necklace.
Bluish - grey and orange are a great colour combination, and the pendant is very striking. I wired the focal piece with the wire embellished druzy to one side of the frame, leaving a bit of negative space as a counterbalance - this also made the focal stand out from the frame, giving it a three dimensional effect.
The Birthday Necklace
I plan to make a necklace every year to celebrate Caprilicious' birthday - something a bit different - perhaps with an expensive focal - something to set it apart from the rest. Last year I made a necklace with a Ghau box and coral beads - it now lives in India, and by all accounts, it's new owner loves it.
This year, I picked a pendant with ammonite fossils, a Shiva eye and abalone, set in sterling silver as the focal piece. Loads of pearls and an abalone clasp later, it turned into a statement piece, well worthy of being in the category of a birthday necklace.
Pearls are the symbol of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love - pearls were tears of joy that she shed when she was born from sea froth and they translate easily into the symbolism of love and beauty. Aphrodite's followers call her Pearl, or Pearl-of-the-Sea, and she is also known as Venus - who is depicted as being born out of a shell, not as a baby, but a fully grown adult, very naked woman - the epitome of beauty.
And this is the necklace by which I chose to wish Caprilicious a happy birthday in 2013!
When I look back over the last two years, it makes my heart glad - making one-of-a-kind jewellery has led me to all you one- of- a- kind people; and when you reach back out to me, it gives me a warm glow inside - a heady feeling - and it spurs me to want to make more stuff so I can reach more of you.
I have met some fabulous people along the way through Caprilicious - some in person - Maria, Bernadette, Ben amongst others; and some in the virtual world - Lucy, Eilidh, Sravasti, Reshma, Shruthi and Mortira, Linda, Pearl - I would never have 'met' you if not for Caprilicious; people from the polymer clay world - Allison, the Carlton cottage gang - so many of you have made an impact on my life and way of thinking.
The number of people I can reach out to depends on me, and what I make - a friend suggested I should buy in more of my components, or get someone else to make my designs up for me ' if not, it will only ever be a small business/hobby ' he advised - but, no, I think the greatest pleasure is from knowing that most of my pieces come out of my hands - be it from polymer clay, wire or from my kiln - I pick my own beads, and make my own jewellery the way I want - and those of you who like my creations and are kind enough to want to wear them will be friends for life.
So, Happy Birthday Caprilicious, and catch you sweet readers, next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, I hope you are all enjoying the weather, which is slowly showing signs of getting warmer. It is so nice to be able to shed the heavy winter gear, and wear fewer clothes - can't wait to get to the point where the sandals come out of the cupboard and onto my feet.
My mother went on a little tour of South India with her niece, and very kindly brought back some beads for me. I had asked her to look out for a string of Rudraksha beads - more about them later. The ones she sent are about 20mm in diameter, and I was a bit intimidated by their size, I had really wanted them a bit smaller. However, no one puts Caprilicious in a corner, and I decided to rise to the challenge. I made some polymer clay ruffle beads from a tutorial by Christelle Van Lingen, in a blend of red and gold, and put a necklace together with a copper electroplated oak leaf skeleton.
Rudraksha is a large evergreen broad-leaved tree whose seed is traditionally used for prayer beads in Hinduism. The seed is borne by several species of Elaeocarpus. Rudraksha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the name Rudra ("Shiva") and akṣha ("eyes").
Rudraksha beads are often worn by Indian 'sadhus' or holy men, who are devotees of Shiva.
In a complete about turn from the oak leaf necklace, I made a couple of light and pretty summery pieces to go into the English Country Garden collection - a little pendant - Primrose, and a necklace made of all the shiny, pretty floral elements I could find - The Summer Bouquet. The inspiration for this came from a throwaway comment by a presenter on last Sunday's airing of 'The Antiques Roadshow' while valuing a tiara - he mentioned that tiaras were often turned upside down and worn as necklaces in Victorian times - so I made a modern day tiara/ necklace - it is extremely light and pretty, and looks like a wildflower bouquet.
Winner - Bead Barmy Readers Gallery Competition April 2013
Linda Jones, a well known and influential jewellery designer, and author, writes a blog for the WireWorkers Guild, which is a forum for people who love wire. She offered to feature me on her blog in May, and sent me a questionnaire. I filled it out, and she emailed me back - she was so complimentary, I have had a job fitting my head through the door and am literally floating around the room. This is a screen capture of her email
What can I say - other than thank you, Linda Jones! And here it is http://wireworkersguild.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/caprilicous-jewellery.html?showComment=1366967638186#c8771846690699081699
When I finally managed to come down to earth , I finished off the last piece I made this week and took these photographs of The Spirit of Ecstasy. The art nouveau wire work surrounding the focal was behind the idea for the name.
The Spirit of Ecstasy, also called "Emily", "Silver Lady" or "Flying Lady", was designed by English sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes and carries with it a story about a secret passion between the second Lord Montague of Beaulieu, a pioneer of the automobile movement, and editor of The Car Illustrated magazine from 1902 and his secret love and the model for the emblem, Eleanor Velasco Thornton. Eleanor was John Walter's secretary, and their love was to remain hidden, limited to their circle of friends, for more than a decade. The reason for the secrecy was Eleanor's impoverished social and economic status, which was an obstacle to their love. John-Walter, succumbing to family pressures, married Lady Cecil Victoria Constance, but the secret love affair continued.
Spirit of Ecstasy
The rough cut black tourmaline gleams gently, and the severity of the black is relieved by the multi-coloured, shiny crystal spacers, and the graceful swoops of the wings of the focal. The polymer clay 'cabochon' is smooth, although its surface appears corrugated, and was made from a tutorial by Sophy Dumoulin of CraftArt Edu. I just love this technique - although time consuming, it is fabulous - and you have to wait till the absolute end, to see if the piece you have made is any good - for someone short on patience, it is a good exercise! The toggle clasp is pretty too, but this time, I put it at the back of the neck, where it should rightfully belong - when I tried to bring it to the front, as I do with a lot of pretty clasps, it fought a major battle with the focal, and lost. I consoled it by explaining that the back of the wearer is visible too, especially if she has her hair short, or swept up - or it could remain a delicious secret between the necklace and the wearer ( must be going doolally tap - I am now talking to a clasp!).
That's as much as I had time for, sweet people, I am exhausted by the repeated expansion and deflation of my head after all the accolades Caprilicious has received this week - and I know I will have to work hard to stay worthy of what has been said.
Catch you next week, same time, same place
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
People have often asked me how and why I name my jewellery, and occasionally, when short of inspiration, I have berated myself for starting this, my very own little tradition. However, mid moan, even I have to agree that it is better to have a query about a piece with a name - than have someone ask me -' how much is SC24590? '.
I have now been doing this consistently for an year, and have now got quite used to it. It gives a piece a character - sometimes, I design the piece to look like a concept I have dreamed up - and sometimes, the piece is made, and then I look at it and a name comes to me. This usually happens fairly seamlessly - and the few times I have been unable to find a name for it, I have realised it was because I was not happy with the piece for one reason or another, and have taken it apart. Ergo, if I cannot name it, it will not be allowed to exist ( insert a throat slitting movement of the right hand here).
I love tutorials - freebies are nice, but when folk take a load of time to photograph every little step, and make a living out of teaching all they know, I am happy to support them. Most times the tutorials work out and make life so much easier - who want's to waste time reinventing the wheel?? CraftArt EDU is a website that has all sorts of tutorials, and I indulge in them on and off - one such was a tutorial by Sophy Dumoulin for hollow polymer clay fossil beads. I spent an enjoyable evening making four beads - when finished they looked like dragon eggs - I imagined incubating them in a warm place only to find a baby dragon tapping it's way out of the eggshell - that's how the name Dragonseed was born.
My buffing wheel truly came into its own and the beads have a lovely soft sheen. I was dying to make them up into something, but had to wait - I had some very dear friends visiting us over the weekend to help celebrate our wedding anniversary.
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the painting I bought for my (most definitely) better half, from Kalyani Ganapathy. It came back in a lovely shiny black frame and I am pleased to say that Mike loved it. We are running short of wall space, but we found a little niche for it - I have a little nook with a little pressed glass plate from Iceland which resembles a geyser, an antique Victorian plate, a silk rose and a metal frog with an emergency cigarette in its mouth on a plinth made of a single piece of oak - an eclectic collection of whimsical objects - and my pomegranate fish fitted in there as if they were painted for that little corner. Have a look at Kalyani's Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/kalyaniganapathysart?fref=ts
It is filled with grown up whimsy, and the colours are so fabulous, they send my right brain spinning with delight, my heart aching with lust to acquire more and my fingers itching to get to my credit card!
My mother, who still takes painting lessons at 85, was a bit peeved that I paid for a painting - she probably reckons ' why pay for something when she could do it at home with a smaaallll aubergine' .... a classic line from Goodness Gracious Me, one of my favourite TV series. This particular sketch is a parody of Indian mothers, every one, bless them - but my answer to that is there's aubergines, and there's AUBERGINES - and this one is an AUBERGINE!! Thank you, Kalyani Ganapathy!
I decided I would wrap the 'fossils' in wire, rather than drill holes into them and hang them as pendants ( I think I am still secretly afraid of the Dremel - but I'm not telling anyone, including me). I wrapped them in copper wire and enjoyed making the curlicues and spirals I learned from Rachel Murgatroyd at In The Studio, many moons ago - the pendants are large at 3.5 to 4.5" long, but light and pretty, and, most definitely different!
This must be the week of the dragon for Caprilicious - I found this wonderful black Hetian Jade Chinese pendant in the shape of a dragon - black jade is actually a very dark green, and comes from the depths of the earth where lava has solidified with mineral inclusions such as carbon and iron. Hetian jade is best known as 'mutton fat jade' when it is a creamy white, and can be very expensive. The black form, though less expensive, is still very beautiful, and I found this pendant in my quest for unusual shapes and colours. I teamed this pendant with green aventurine and faceted onyx beads in a two strand necklace. The name Tanita derives from Semitic roots meaning "serpent lady" - the ultimate serpent being the dragon, of course. This was also the name of the Phoenician goddess of love, fertility, the moon and the stars.
My friend's daughter whom I have known since she was knee high to a grasshopper (Omigod, I am old enough to say that - and for it to be true!) fell in love with a pair of earrings made with the wings of the Thai Jewel Beetle (or Sternocera aequisignata, when it's at home). Both my friend and I thought she might have been squeamish about the fact that the jewellery was made out of insect wings, but, no, to my surprise she even asked for a necklace to be made to go with it! The wings are weightless and rustle pleasantly in a beetlish (!) manner, and I came up with a simple but effective design for a single layer of wings around her neck. As her hair has been coloured green recently - it should look perfect on her - I hope she will send me a picture when she wears it.
That's all for this week folks, thanks for stopping by - catch you next week, same time, same place,
Have a good weekend,