Hello readers and lovers of statement jewellery everywhere, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog. This week I've had time to put together a few multistrand necklaces - getting ready for Bling season in the main - there are only 89 days to Christmas and it will soon be the time of year for pretty things and gifts. I hope that some of you will be sufficiently enthused by what you are looking at to pick up your gifts from Caprilicious. I am happy to gift wrap and send the parcel to an address of your choice with a little card from you, all you have to do is ask.
The Shaman's Necklace
'Shaman are spiritual guides and practitioners, not of the divine, but of the very elements. Unlike some other mystics, shaman commune with forces that are not strictly benevolent. The elements are chaotic, and left to their own devices, they rage against one another in unending primal fury. It is the call of the shaman to bring balance to this chaos.'
Labradorite is a Feldspar with a rich play of colours called Labradorescence, first discovered in Labrador, Canada. The North American Indians call it the Stone of Shamans - it is meant to aid clarity of thought, protect against negativity and from misfortune, thus bringing balance to chaos.
I love it because it shines so beautifully when moved in the light -at one angle it is a boring grey stone, but move it a bit and Wow! it flashes with such brilliant colour one is simply carried away by its beauty. Combined with rare and beautiful grossular green garnets and a copper wire surround, the labradorite is superb.
Inspired by Isabella Rossellini's shirt necklace in Death Becomes Her, this is my first 'Bling' necklace of the year. Ms Rossellini would look beautiful in a sack, but when she rose out of the water and glided over to her robe purring like a little panther, I just knew that one day I would make a necklace like hers. With plenty of crystals and hammered gold tone links, it shines beautifully, and although I haven't gone overboard, it is still pretty opulent.
Coral, freshwater pearls and an ornate clasp - my muse was in seventh heaven. A pair of earrings complete the parure which is going to be worn with a black and cream lace dress and a little black net fascinator at a wedding.
Daytime Bling - Monet
This painting of water lilies by Monet has so many beautiful colours, and I have been collecting pictures of them to use as inspiration for a piece of jewellery for the longest time - here is the picture, and the necklace - You like?? I love...
This necklace was made for a moonlit walk along the edge of the sea, the breeze blowing in your hair, scarf and skirt billowing - dancing in the moonlight. The pearls and blue jade are ethereal, lending themselves to romance on a moonlit night. If I knew the lady in the picture, I would offer her this necklace.
These two pairs of earrings are so organic, they almost made themselves - I just took the wire where it seemed to want to go and after a while, the earrings appeared as if by magic - they both started with the same material in the same quantities, but ended up being so different. The difficulty with organic designs is to know when to stop with the curls and squiggles and say "The End" !
That's it for this week folks. I have to report that my kittens are pretty useless at being helpers - they sleep most of the day and when awake fight with one another or eat me out of home and hearth - I sound like my mother complaining about her 'helpers' !! I go to my third Polydays in the Cotswolds this week and am sure to bring back some fabulous ideas to Caprilicious. See you next week, same time, same place
I bought a couple of tutorials previously from Nicole Hanna, who is a young woman, (well, compared to me she is a littl'un - unfortunately, these days a lot of people fall into that category) who has got the 'wire world' weaving - one by one she has infected people with this bug, and I am a recent infectee (??). She is also incredibly generous, and set up a competition where she put out an unfinished tutorial on her blog, and the competitors had to finish the piece in whatever way they saw fit. I resisted the urge for the longest time, and finally, made a couple of three pieces which I submitted - not to win really, but just because I could! As I said, I am new to wire weaving, and I'm sure there are plenty of worthy people who will make the most beautiful stuff. Also, the half tutorial was a starting point, and I was kinda testing myself to see how many ways I could use it - I might just carry on, well after the competition is over.
It reminded me of the books I read as a child, where a tattered piece of a map has to be deciphered to claim a lost treasure, and hundreds of people are fighting over this torn and tattered, barely decipherable piece of paper in the hope of getting to the treasure first.
Named for the God of the Sea - this pendant has a rather masculine brown picture jasper bead, with beautiful splashes of red, and I added swirls of wire, and turquoise beads for femininity. Too much wire, woven too closely together, in my opinion detracts from the femininity of a piece - I like the embellishment of negative space, and although not a 'girly' person, and like my jewellery large, I tend to appease my feminine side more.
So, this pendant is meant to represent Neptune rising out of the waves - what do you think??
My second piece was called Through the Moon Gate - I saw them in China - they are circular openings in a garden wall that act as a pedestrian passageway, a traditional element in Chinese gardens. Moon Gates have many different spiritual meanings, depending on the tiles on the gate. The sloping roofs of the gate represent the half moon of the Chinese Summers and the tips of the tiles of the roof have talismans on the ends of them.
I put scroll like imaginary dragon heads on either end of the 'roof' - Chinese dragons are symbols of power, strength and good luck, and used by Emperors as the yang that complements the yin, which is the phoenix.
I raised the degree of difficulty by using a turquoise doughnut - I had to figure out a way to hold it in, without it having a bead hole through which the wire would pass, and then work out how to finish off the ends of the wire. Since the doughnut is encircled by bead encrusted wire, it spins around inside the bezel, and the tactility of that unexpected result pleased me - I like nice surprises!
I eventually used eight and a half feet of the thicker wire, and miles and miles of the finer wire to weave the pendant - and it took me an entire day - but what fun it was. My fingers were sore and my joints creaked in protest, in the wire workers equivalent of writers cramp. But, here it is, and I think the pain was worth it in the end.
Through The Moon Gate
I had one more day left to submit a piece with Nicole's unfinished tutorial if I wanted to - she allowed multiple pieces - by this time, I felt I could make the first half in my sleep - so I did, but this time, I upped the degree of difficulty yet another notch - I decided to make earrings - with a smaller bead than specified in the tutorial, with two pieces that had to match, and mirror one another - which is more difficult than you can imagine. Both earrings have to be made simultaneously, as a difference of a millimeter will look terrible when they are set down together.
Now to figure out what to do with it - the rules allow more beads, more wire - in fact, more anything - hmmmmmm!
The upside down tear drop shape flatters the face, and the perfectly matched carnelian beads are dramatic and dressy. I didn't add any more wire in the end - the earrings would have been too heavy. At 2.8 inches long from the top of the bail to the tip of the freshwater pearl dangle, they are bound to be easy to wear, and Barbara, who got to model them (it) certainly likes them.
Oh, Happy Day!
I wanted a pretty and colourful piece to take on holiday with me - polymer clay jewellery is ideal for travelling with - the jewellery is light, and relatively inexpensive - no one will attempt to steal it or mug you for it, and it looks fab in the holiday pics. Lotions are not a problem, and the pieces travel well, just thrown into a case - not like metal/wire which might bend or break, and all in all it is a win, win, win situation. This necklace was inspired by Donna Kato's squiggle beads from her book, but as I wanted it to be as colourful as I could make it, I made a rainbow blend using a tutorial from Polymer Clay Central - I just love the colours and the way the necklace looks - it makes me want to sing - Oh Happy Day.....
That's it for now, folks - I will write again when I get back from my holiday in gay Paree - catch you next week
Last week I posed the vexatious question - mould or mold? - and obviously more people are reading this than my counter lets on - people very kindly posted their answers to my question - there was one suggestion on Facebook that it depended on where I learned to spell - the answer is, in India, from nuns, and an Anglo Indian lady - the lovely Nora Jessie Laffery who supervised my homework as my parents were busy anaesthetists, working hard all day.
I have mentioned the different patinas I have been trying out on my kiln fired copper - there has been Liver of Sulphur, Kosher salt and ammonia fumes, salt and vinegar crisps, proprietary Patina kits from Vintaj, patinas from the USA from a lady who calls herself Miss FickleMedia (this name brings to mind a cat whip and thigh high patent leather boots - but she is actually called Shannon LeVart, from Missouri USA, and is probably nothing like my imagination has conjured up) and now a Butane torch.
To think that this jewellery making lark started with some beads, a couple of toggle clasps, a reel of Tigertail (it has 49 strands of fine stainless steel wire coated with nylon and is very strong) and some crimps to end the necklaces I wanted to make in a small storage chest of drawers!
I now have a chemistry kit, a kiln, a library of jewellery making books, two new cupboards to release my dining table for its original purpose, kilometres of wire in different gauges, three drawers of gemstones and beads, a Butane torch, boxes of polymer clay, resin, acrylic paint and alcohol inks, moulds (molds??!) - and this list grows. No wonder I spend all my waking hours thinking up ways to use all these up - and this will never happen, the way new stuff keeps finding its way back to our house - we should have shares in Royal Mail!
But I am enjoying it, so onwards and upwards I go! I have some pictures here of my journey into jewellery making over the last few years.
Girl About Town Earrings
Livin' La Vida Loca
Donna Spadfore aka Gailavira wrote this very complicated tutorial for the wirework surrounding the focal, and I have made this many times in different forms. Her tutorial was for a pendant, but I readjusted it so I could attach it to a frame and added wooden beads, the roses I made from the same clay as the face - stone roses!, and some turquoise ovals. A lot of work went into this necklace, and I am sure it will be well received - it has a mellow vibe which belies its name - La vida loca - but look into the focal and you will know where I am coming from.
The next piece came to me when I was relaxing in a hot bath, looking up at the ceiling. I painted it with stars when we first moved in, having taken a fancy to a passage from The Merchant of Venice in a conversation between Lorenzo and Jessica in Act 5 Scene 1...
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears.
Soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patens of bright gold.
We read The Merchant of Venice in school, and I knew it particularly well having been made to learn it almost off by heart as punishment for various minor misdemeanours and infringements of tiresome rules - I was always taken by the idea of the patens of gold, and I got some of my own - so some good came of all that! (ssh, don't tell those nuns!)
I made a Man in the moon which I stained with alcohol inks and studded with tiny watch parts from my Steampunk stash. Another moon shape from the same mould was converted into a whimsical sun with the addition of some brass filigree circles, these were painted and distressed in copper acrylic paint. I decided to make a necklace with the sun, moon and stars, all in one and named it Celeste after the Celestial bodies in it.
I haven't had time to make much more than these offerings this week - the rigours of the day job have overtaken me. I hope to be able to add some self made components to each piece I make and along with bought elements, like gemstones, beads etc, have pieces of jewellery on offer that are most definitely one of a kind. People who have bought from Caprilicious have commented that the jewellery they received in the post is better than in the pictures on the site - maybe that's an indictment of my photography skills - I don't mind that one little bit - my fervent wish is to put a smile on your face when you open a package from me.
Have a good week and I will catch up with you next Friday.