As a child, my excuses for work not handed in on time were extremely inventive to say the least - but now, I have surpassed all my previous efforts, and then some! My inner child is alive and well, having survived standing behind the blackboard for most of my chemistry lessons, and learning all of The Merchant of Venice off by heart as a form of punishment - so well, that I can rattle the whole play off today, a hundred years down the line.
It took me an entire evening to mold, cut out, dry, and sand my latest effort - Oh, I was mighty proud of my beautiful creation!
The next day, I was ready to fire it - but, I couldn't find the bl@@~y sheet of paper with the instructions - I hunted high and low, but in the end, with a sense of deja vu, conceded to myself that 'The house ate my instructions'.
I went back to my computer and downloaded a fresh set of instructions and followed them accurately, and guess what?? This time, 'The kiln ate my pendant'!
All I had left to show that I had actually put anything in the kiln (apart for the photographic evidence above - thank God for technology) were a few tiny pieces of sintered metal, and on scrabbling through the carbon particles, I found the little stone I had set into the pendant.
I think I went a bit hysterical at this point - well, it wasn't worth crying over, and that seemed to be the only other possible course of action. So, I sat there, on my haunches in a red towelling robe, clean and fresh from a prolonged soak in a hot bath while my kiln had been chomping away at my pendant, scrabbling around in carbon particles with blackened, dirty hands and a smudge on the side of my nose, laughing as if my sides would split - Mike thought he'd phone the men in white coats to take me away, but I escaped incarceration in a padded cell in the nick of time!
Inspirational Beading is a blog written by Mortira vanPelt of Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island. She makes the most exquisite beaded jewellery and likes to support her fellow artisans. She published an interview with Caprilicious Jewellery on her 'Inspired Beader' page and sent me a link - http://inspirationalbeading.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/inspired-beader-caprilicious-jewelry.html
Mortira likes to make eco friendly jewellery and says 'I often try to put a bit of a green spin on things, while also appealing to every type of beader. I also hope to create discussion and debate, so comments are always welcome, no matter how old a post is' - so do head over and leave a comment on her blog, if you are reading this.
Avatar was made in 2009, and is possibly the highest grossing film of all time. Neytiri was a Na'vi princess of the Omaticaya tribe and the female protagonist of that movie. She was portrayed as brave and fearless, and had a strong sense of loyalty. The entire movie was shot in shades of the most beautiful cobalt, turquoise and ultramarine blue.
I fell in love with the dyed jade medallion in this next piece, and teamed it with opaque turquoise crystals. The pendant is strong, and almost masculine, with the dragon motif, but it's colour is very feminine. Not entirely happy with the lack of movement in the piece, I added a turquoise teardrop bead, wire wrapped with shiny blue crystals. It is a very striking piece in Neytiri's colours, and it sits on my 'Oriental Inspirations' page on the website. The dragon motif seems to embody Neytiri's strength of character.
I love the colours, and the addition of a bit of wirework finishes it off beautifully in my opinion - what do you think? Leave a comment at the end of this post and tell me, why don't you??
Running With Scissors - as usual!
As if I wasn't despondent enough with the bronze clay fiasco, I decided court yet more failure by attempting to make canes using polymer clay.
Canes are cylinders of clay or glass that have a design running through them, and when the cylinder is sliced, each cross section contains the design. Each one is made up in a large cylinder so that it can be managed easily, and once the process is finished, the cane is reduced to the size required, and then a cross section made - lo, and behold (hopefully) a design appears. This is the theory, but.....
I find it very difficult not to cut it open and peek midway through the process - you need a the patience of Job (whoever he was) to make a cane without slicing it open every two minutes, and it has to be accepted that a whole load of clay might end up on the scrap heap. Added to this, once the cane is made, it has to be 'rested' overnight before it is cut open, or it smears and distorts and generally looks like rubbish - even more patience.
Can you see why this might not be a suitable endeavour for yours truly??
I decided to try out some tutorials by Marie Segal of Art From My Heart at http://mariesegal.blogspot.co.uk/_
These tutorials were probably written for someone more experienced than me (that's almost everybody) and involves the use of extruders and other implements - but I was going to die trying, and in actual fact, it wasn't so bad - have a look at my attempts - I think they are quite acceptable for a first time.
I only wish I was less annoyingly ambitious - most people make bullseyes and little flowers to start with - but no sirree, not me, I have to try out the daddy of all the canes available. Anyway, I now have five canes - next, to make something with them - probably next week.
You can see on the bottom right that I didn't wait to rest the cane before cutting it open - it is meant to be heart shaped at the centre.
The Purple Rose of Cairo
Another necklace with solar quartz set in sterling silver, the stalactite this time dyed purple, looking just like a purple flower, so I named it after one of my favourite movies. Teamed with amethyst teardrop nuggets, a few peridot, crystal beads and pearls, it turned into a delicate, and elegant necklace - very understated, but yet, making its own quiet, sweet melody. A little silver flower toggle clasp I had been hoarding for just such an occasion came in handy to finish this necklace off to perfection.
I know that many of you read this blog regularly - certainly more than the twenty three kind people who have publicly declared their affiliation by pressing the 'follow this blog' logo - can I ask you to please click on it
- make a poor artisan who is doing her best happy, eh?? and rack up some points in heaven!
I promise it won't rear up out of your computer and bite you - all that will happen will be that the blog will drop into your inboxes each week, with a silent 'plop' , and there will be a smile on my face - it is safe, I promise - please, pretty please..... I've even put the link on the end of this sentence for you - you won't even have to scroll back up to the top right of this page, where it normally lives.
Them's my shenanigans for this week folks, thanks for stopping by. Catch you next week, same time, same place.
I don't know how you are faring, but we have had a fantastic week here in the Midlands, warm and sunny, culminating today in thunderstorms. For a while it didn't feel like this was the UK at all - could have been in the Southern Mediterranean - fantastic! - you could almost feel the country holding its collective breath - terrified that this was it - and our summer was going to be a flash in the pan.
It is no wonder my thoughts turned to warmer climes and I made some faux ivory using polymer clay - I made quite a few beads and pendants and mindful of the promise I made to myself to use at least one of my moulds each week, I made a little butterfly, which will eventually end up as a focal piece for a necklace. These were all from a tutorial by Tina Holden (http://beadcomber.blogspot.co.uk/ )- she makes some fantastic stuff, and her tutorials are very explicit - and the best thing about them is --- they work! There's nothing worse than shelling out hard earned cash for tutorials and then wasting time, energy and material on turning out a duff object - it really hacks me off. Tina's shop however, has the real deal and I have bought a few tutorials from her.
I played with some alcohol inks to colour the butterfly, forgetting to put my gloves on - and what an unholy mess I made - my hands looked like I had gone to bed with fake tan on - shan't be doing that again in a hurry!
I was on quite the ecology kick this week - I made a necklace to resemble coral using little opaque red seed beads and a pendant I sourced from my favourite Nepalese shop in Kathmandu. Coral reefs are home to fish, molluscs, crustaceans and other sealife, and are endangered from climate change, overuse of reef resources, pollution of the sea causing overgrowth of harmful algae, over fishing and the use of cyanide and blast fishing.
My husband took one look at it and remarked how ethnic it looked - the reds and golds, and of course the pendant which is unmistakeably Eastern, of course. However, as the week went by, I seemed to make one ethnic looking piece after the other - a bit of Asian, a pinch of African, and in the latter part of the week, a dollop of Peruvian - who knows what was going on in my head??? Next, my muse decided I was going to be elephant / ivory friendly - so the faux ivory beads I had made went into two necklaces, celebrating the African elephant at dawn, in bold yellows and reds, and at dusk, in the blues of the watering hole.
Serengeti Dreams - Sunrise and Sunset
I really enjoyed making the bunches of grapes for my Bacchanalia necklace - I thought people who didn't like statement pieces may, however, enjoy little bunches of grapes to wear as pendant and earring sets. Of course I went overboard when I was ordering the beads - they were soooooo pretty and almost irresistible - so I bought more than one colour and made them up into my first ever 'range' - Ooh, Caprilicious is growing up - ' A range', no less! I thought to myself!
Of course, if one of you wants a Bacchanalia necklace - I can be persuaded to make one for you - it wont be the same of course, but very similar to the one in this picture. It has glass bunches of grapes, and polymer clay leaves and twigs, with blue dragons vein agate grapes on the other side. The design is in the customers photograph gallery of a large jewellery wholesaler in the USA - Fire Mountain Gems - I sent it in and after about a week was delighted to receive an acceptance email - and I must tell you, they don't accept stuff easily. It is a very busy necklace, but very pretty, even though I say so myself.
I buy a few things from this chap who travels to Peru regularly and brings back little bits and bobs - something different - I get bored if I use the same stuff over and over - and I like the challenge of putting together items that wouldn't normally be seen in the same room, let alone the same piece of jewellery - so when he showed me this pendant, I had to have it. It was so delicate and sweet, I made it up with dyed peacock blue baroque pearls and Czech crystal beads into an Art Nouveau inspired piece - with two strands of linked chain - it was fun making the links of the chain - almost hypnotic - indeed, so hypnotic, that I dozed off, and when I woke, there was more than I needed, and I had to cut some off! The whole piece is set off by a vintage crystal clasp - this is so pretty and shiny, it appeals to the magpie in me. Anyway, here is the Peruvian Princess - I think she is very sweet and youthful - what say you??
This has been a fun and busy week - my mother arrives next week and will be with me for a month - I will endeavour to keep going with my creations. I have booked into an enamelling course for a couple of days at In The Studio in Kegworth, but will spend the rest of the four weeks pampering her - she is 84 - and she deserves a bit of pampering after the year she's had!
I hope to have a few things to show you next week, see you then,