Hello readers, nice to be able to chat to you again today. In a marked contrast to the last couple of weeks, I've had a couple of days off which made all the difference and gave me a bit of a respite from the usual grind.
When I can, I like to go down to London - it is only an hour and ten minutes away from me on a train and the tickets are relatively inexpensive these days if booked in advance.
I had to go down anyway for a meeting to do with work, and rounded off the day by meeting Nimmy Victor of Sanskara Designs. Nimmy mainly makes beaded necklaces with gemstones and silver elements in a beautiful ethnic Indian style and I have often admired her designs from afar. We've never had the occasion to meet, and I thought it was time to remedy this. We arranged to meet at Camden Town tube station and spent the afternoon together checking out the shops, eating street food, and finishing off with a drink at the bar in Gilgamesh. It was great to meet someone like minded and bounce ideas off each other. I took her a polymer clay pendant I made, and she brought me some gemstones. She also gave me a carnelian cabochon and a Pietersite tumblestone saying, 'I'd like you to make something for me with these two, please.' That was it - no instructions, no colour choices- no pressure then! Here are some pictures from our visit to Camden town.
As you can see Camden Market is quirky and colourful. It was a bit quiet, but that was because it was a Monday afternoon, I'm sure it gets really busy around the weekend. It was freezing too, and we downed loads of hot tea to keep ourselves warm. We felt really sorry for the poor traders - they were in unheated premises, and weren't allowed electric fires due to the risk of fire. I caught the 9pm train back from Euston tired, but happy.
I decided that I was going to set the carnelian cabochon in a bead and soutache pendant. The tumblestone of course, would have to be wire wrapped. It's a long time since I've been back to the basic wire wrap that I learned six years ago, using square and half round silver wire, but I was determined that I would succeed in wrapping an awkward shaped slippery stone, which was also rather pretty, so I'd need to allow most of it to stay on display, rather than cover up it's beauty with wire squiggles and curlicues.
I glued the carnelian to a piece of backing and beaded around it until it was firmly held in place by a bezel of beads. Many soutache pattern books attach braid directly around the glued down cabochon, but I've never trusted glue as a permanent attachment and feel that if I'm going to take the trouble to make an elaborate piece of jewellery, I'd like it to last a little longer than the unknown lifespan of the glue I've used.
Once that was done, I encircled the stone with soutache braids and made some pretty curlicues at the ends, filled with corals and pearls. More beads and even more braid followed until I decided that I ought to stop before the pendant became too unwieldy. There was more to do, I had to embellish the edges with a picot and cover the back with ultrasuede. I also had to devise a method to hang the pendant. Decisions, decisions!!
And then a minor mishap occurred, and I ran out of beading thread! I hadn't kept up with my supplies, or lack thereof, and had run out of thread in the middle of a project! There's nothing worse than having to stop when you've just had an idea how to do something that seems incredibly important and ephemeral. I went online and bought another reel immediately, and was surprised and pleasantly astonished when it arrived in the post the next morning.
Ta Dah!! The Reveal
And it was done - I put a bail on it using beads, backed it with ultrasuede and that was it - or was it? I kept looking at it, and the bail seemed so plain, there wasn't any oomph! to it. So I picked it up again and added two more beads and all of a sudden, I was satisfied. Phew! There wasn't any more space to add a single bead - although momentarily I considered adding more to the picot edge, or even another edging behind the picot. But no, I put my foot down with a firm hand and that was definitely that. Besides, I still had the Pietersite tumblestone to deal with, so I got busy looking for my stash of silver square wire and clearing the decks of beads and other detritus from the soutache pendant.
This one had to be really, really simple, in stark contrast with the previous piece - after all, this is Caprilicious Jewellery, and I cater to every mood and caprice including my own. I went back to basics and made a spartan setting for this stone. It is a lot harder to do than it looks, but very rewarding. The stone was too fat and odd shaped to do much else with it unless I used my new found skills to solder together a frame. This way is just as nice, in my opinion - what do you think? Will she like it?? The pietersite itself has a chatoyancy that only just shows up at the bottom right of the stone in the photographs and is very pretty.
Caprilicious will be at The Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham on Friday, the 1st of December - if you are in the area, do drop in - we are there till 8pm.
That's me for this week folks, have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello again, readers, how are you all today? Britain is in a frenzy of anticipation - Team GB is not doing so badly at the Olympics in Rio and people are glued to their television sets. We are not that into sport and have taken advantage of the sunshine to relax in the garden and I made a few pieces of jewellery.
I was watching reruns of Series 3 of Absolutely Fabulous. Jennifer Saunders wore a beautiful necklace through most of the show and I fell in love with it - it is bright, bold and colourful, and big! So very Caprilicious! I decided to have a go at trying to make it out of polymer clay. I looked for a still picture of the necklace but could find nothing that was remotely of any use, it was as if the bloody woman moved on purpose just to keep me from getting a good look at it - I had to watch the recorded show over and over, making drawings to help me - my lack of drawing skills are legendary and even the simplest shapes elude me. I eventually decided to make it from memory in colours that caught my eye and when I went to hang it, I found a Nepalese thread work necklace that seemed perfect! An international effort, if ever there was one.
I asked Lorena Angulo, a Mexican artisan jeweller from San Antonio in Texas, whether she knew if the cascade of hearts signified anything and she replied that it looked very much like a Milagro heart - Milagros are religious folk charms that are traditionally used for healing purposes and as votive offerings in Mexico, southern Spain and in other Latin American countries. They are frequently attached to altars, shrines, and sacred objects found in places of worship, and they are often purchased in churches and cathedrals, or from street vendors.
Milagros come in a variety of shapes and dimensions and are fabricated from many different materials, depending on local customs. A lot of Lorena's work is influenced by her origins and she often makes these Milagros (or would that be Milagra?? who knows??), beautifully carved from precious metal clay.
I'm playing this on the blog today - just because..... It's a fabulous song and I love Alison Moyet, enjoy!
The Little Miss Collection
I bought these silver pendants with the most beautiful semi precious stones in Jaipur during my last holiday in India. I had no idea what I wanted to do with them, so they just sat in a box until one day, suddenly, Ms Muse remembered them and seemed to know how exactly how to string them. I used the three butterflies to make pretty necklaces which would be ideal for young ladies, and of course older ladies who are young at heart! The gemstones in these pendants are really pretty a Little Miss would look lovely in her first piece of heirloom jewellery.
Roger Hargreaves was an English author and illustrator of children's books, best remembered for the Mr. Men and Little Miss series, intended for very young readers. The simple and humorous stories, with brightly coloured, boldly drawn illustrations, have been part of popular culture since 1971. The stories are set in a fictional universe called "Misterland", which is inhabited by the Mr. Men and Little Misses themselves, as well as some ordinary human characters such as shopkeepers, doctors and postmen. There are also various animals and Walter the Worm appears frequently. The characters are human in their behaviours and attributes. After Roger's death, his son wrote a few more books in the series and in April 2004, his widow Christine sold the rights to the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters to UK entertainment group Chorion for a reported £28 million.
Little Miss Sunshine
Ametrine pebbles carry the butterfly pendant which has the most beautiful topaz and citrine gemstones and a few left over ametrines went into earrings to match.
Little Miss Fabulous
The butterfly is made in two colours of topaz and an amethyst. I strung it simply on a silver chain, and added little dangles in peridot, apatite, jade and amethyst on either side of the pendant. A little pink jade butterfly finishes the pendant, dangling from the extension chain at the back.
Little Miss Moonlight
There isn't really a Little Miss Moonlight in Hargreaves's series, but who knows, they might just make her up after this. This butterfly has iridescent moonstones as well as amethyst and turquoise and is strung on a necklace of square labradorite beads, with tiny pale pink seed pearls between the labradorites. I even made some earrings to go with the necklace. The box clasp, enhanced by a little moonstone also came from Jaipur and is very, very pretty.
I see these worn to a prom, or at a first dance, gifted to a bridesmaid or even worn by the bride. It is nice for young girls to develop an appreciation of fine things that they need to take care of and cherish, and a simple piece of heirloom jewellery may be one of the best ways to start.
That's me for this week folks. Have a fabulous weekend and I shall catch you next Friday, same time, same place. Until then
Hello readers, and lovers of unusual handmade statement jewellery, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog this week.
Here it is again, Diwali, the mother and father of all Indian festivals - the entire subcontinent of India comes to a standstill - in fact the country hasn't really recovered yet from the previous big festival of Dussehra, which is celebrated twenty days before Diwali.
The very first Diwali started on the night of a new moon when lamps were lit to show Ram and his entourage their way back from exile in a forest - electricity hadn't been invented yet - and if it hadn't been for the kind people who used the last drops of their oil in a lamp, instead of in their cooking, Ram's exile might have lasted another fourteen years as he blundered about looking for the road to his home town ( maps and compasses hadn't been invented either and there had been quite a few changes in that area in fourteen years).
Indians like a nice long holiday, and Diwali is 3 days long, with a second day to pray to the Goddess of Wealth tagged onto the Ram story, as well as a third where we celebrate yet another demon being slayed (there were loads of them in those days apparently). Some people even have a 5 day celebration, but everyone knows that's swinging the lead a bit!
Ram was a very nice chap by all accounts, he agreed to go into exile without a whimper when his nasty step mom emotionally blackmailed his dad into sending him away. He took his wife and brother with him, and they had a fair old time, fighting demons, and making friends with monkeys - my grandmother told me these stories often, and my only response was a howl of outrage that Ram agreed to go without a fuss (I would have kicked and screamed and made such a racket that my step mother would have willingly left the country, just to get away from the noise).
Anyway, as the story goes, his wife is so beautiful that a demon lusts after her and abducts her. Ram is forced to go and fetch her back from Sri Lanka, using monkeys, bears and vultures as allies and the day he kills the demon is celebrated in the festival of Dussehra.
He then comes back home on Diwali day, gets his throne back and proceeds to annoy his wife by doubting her virtue (well, she had been abducted and imprisoned by a demon for many days - what's to doubt?? - a gentleman wouldn't have even gone there ) his wife leaves him and goes back to the jungle with her twin sons, which seems like the better option - I can't say I blame her. So, a not so happy ending then!
If you want to know more after this potted history, I recommend a book by Ashok Banker called The Prince of Ayodhya, it is really well written and a lot of fun to read.
I spent some time with my kiln at the weekend - here are a few pictures I took as I went along.....
This is my little kiln, the beautiful Paragon SC2 - not so pretty when the door is opened, though. The black dust is from the charcoal in the container used to fire bronze and copper clay.
The dry pieces of bronze are fired in a lidded stainless steel container in activated charcoal to prevent oxidation. Once cooled, the charcoal is sieved to remove the ash and find the sintered bronze.
The bronze pieces are put into a rock tumbler with water, liquid soap and stainless steel shot and rotated for an hour, while my assistant Wilfred watches over it carefully.
Spanish Eyes - Juanita
As one of my friends said - red and gold - what's not to love?? - the coral complements the last pendant of the 'Spanish Sisters' series.
The dark blue in this necklace is a colour that is long associated with Egypt and Cleopatra. Teamed with tiny gold beads, the sea sediment jasper is very pretty.
The pendant was originally made with bronze clay and had empty space within. I decided that I would experiment with a sheet of polymer clay and fill up the space with colour. I think it looks rather attractive, especially with the blue and green Czech glass beads.
All of these necklaces will make interesting gifts, and once you've sorted out your gift list, you will have more time to spend on yourself and your loved ones - take the pain out of gift giving with Caprilicious.
While I waited for the kiln to do it's stuff and the pendants to be made, I played with a design by Nicole Hanna and made this little key. I am leaning towards sculptural pieces made with wire and you will see more of these in the coming months.
The Wings of Love
This necklace was made from the wings of the Jewel Beetle. I've made jewellery from these before and found that a lot of people were squeamish to begin with - but once they got over the initial shock, the colours in those wings were enough to draw in the most resistant individual.
I sent for more wings and added a wire wrapped smoky quartz teardrop to the pendant, and on a chain at the back of the necklace.
I think this certainly qualifies to go into the Bling album, don't you??
The next necklace does too - the blues and silvers in Nocturne are evocative of moonlit nights on a beach, a light breeze in your hair, holding hands with your loved one.
Wire lace was applied to the two impression jasper connectors on either side, and I made all the connectors and bead caps myself. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to make as many elements of my jewellery as I can - in my opinion it elevates my jewellery from being merely beads strung onto wire to individual pieces of art which are definitely one of a kind, and can only rarely be replicated.
That's my lot for this week folks. It struck me that in November, it will be three years since Caprilicious Jewellery came into existence. I have enjoyed every moment of this journey, and must thank you all, my supporters, for it. I shall have to think of some way to mark the occasion, but in the meanwhile thanks for being by my side. Have a fantastic week and catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, and lovers of unusual statement jewellery everywhere, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog. A couple of weekends ago, I played with bronze clay and made a few bits and bobs that I loved so much, I wanted to use them straight away. I've written about Precious Metal Clay before and I have to say it is great fun to play with when it turns out right - I've had a few hit and miss results, but this time it was most definitely a 'hit'. These are the pieces that came out of the kiln and were shined up in a rotary tumbler. They acquire a heat patina which goes from silvery to copper in the same piece which is quite lovely.
The Spanish Sisters
I am so used to picking up a focal element and tailoring the piece of jewellery to it, that making a focal element seemed to be like designing the necklace backwards - for instance, how many holes did I want in each pendant? - would it be a pendant, or would I change my mind and regret putting in too many/too few connection holes? - I really found it hard to make a decision so early in the conception of a piece, but gave myself a brain ache and forced myself to make those decisions as I went along.
The Spanish sisters, Bonita, Rosita and Jovita came out all shiny and bright eyed and went into little necklaces.
The three girls look wide eyed and up for any kind of mischief, what with those flowers painted on their cheeks, and instinctively I put them into colourful pieces of jewellery. Now that the season for brown ( perhaps I should call it russet to make it sound better) is here, one needs to counteract the reduction in daylight hours, the cooler temperatures and rain/snow by wearing cheerful clothes and accessories - in my book, that's called making your own sunshine.
A fourth Spanish sister awaits my attention, but she has to wait till later. Instead, I turned my mind to wire wrapping a little face cabochon I made from the last bit of clay in the packet - I cannot waste even the tiniest scrap, I'm just made that way. I quickly pressed it into a mould I made some time ago - I made a Sleeping Goddess last year inspired by a sculpture in Angkor Wat, but this time, I made a smaller piece inspired by a Carnival Queen. Since I had named the Spanish sisters, I didn't want her to feel unloved, so I called her Marina, the Carnival Queen.
Hung on a leather necklace from a hidden bail, I am confident that Marina will be loved by her owner, she is rather pretty even though I say so myself.
The other pieces of bronze also went into necklaces and a pair of earrings, and I daresay the rest will follow in a couple of weeks.
Anatolia is the Asian part of Turkey, and was once called Asia Minor. The pendant from Afghanistan used in this necklace seemed to evoke the images of the belly dancers from Istanbul - the rustling bells in the fringe make a sound that is most definitely Eastern. The beads are made of polymer clay - the green ones were made to resemble Chevron Millefiori beads. The necklace would look great in the open neck of a white shirt, worn over blue jeans - a very stylish and effective though simple ensemble. Add hair gel, dark glasses and knee high boots and look like someone attending a film festival in Cannes! Equally wear it with an Eastern ensemble - this is definitely a piece of tribal fusion.
I have a new page 'Gifts' on the website which over time, I intend to fill with fairly inexpensive but pretty items of jewellery specifically meant for gifting away (or for yourself, if you have been good and feel you should keep it). Of course, a lot of the stuff on the 'Mini Statement' pages are priced so that they too could be gifted away - don't forget to look into those pages.
And, don't forget, I will be happy to gift wrap them and send them on to an address your choice if you require that service - make it easy on yourself.
Now that we can actually use the 'C' word, it is time to get ready for the holidays, and the most sensible thing to do, I find (in my rare moments of being sensible), is to spread out the buying of presents over a period of time so that the finances balance out. I'm certainly always broke come Christmas, and it is a real pain because I want to go to the sales on Boxing Day and bend that poor credit card entirely out of shape. Every year, I say I will be good and every year, I do it again - no more resolutions, I say, this time around.
I shall work on the Bling! section of the web over the next week or so, in time for the office parties. That's it for the week folks, catch you next Friday, same time, same place, have a lovely week in the meantime
Hello readers, how nice of you to drop by - autumn will soon be here and the colours of my new statement jewellery collection are reflecting this. No, they are not brown and grey - they are bigger and brighter than ever, to zhush up the autumnal hues of rust, must and dust that most dress designers pick as being suitable for us during this season.
I will let you in on an open secret - I am a very shy person - and when I tell people this, they laugh at me disbelievingly. I am even intimidated by hairdressers because I cannot relate to them, and small talk with a stranger is a no go area for me - I usually come out looking like someone else's mop - they seem to have a pack instinct when they see me coming - there's no 'Hello moddom, would you like a coffee?' - it's all snip, snip, snip - and when they've finished, they make me look like the person they perceive - a raggedy Orphan Annie type on a bad hair day - and that's cos she's exactly who they see when I slink in, looking apologetic for breathing the same air!
At the age of - well, older than many of you - I am now qualified to tell you how I overcame this using my passion for jewellery, and perhaps you will find you can do it too.
1) Spark A Conversation - Effortlessly
This is where Caprilicious comes in - wear one of your pieces of statement jewellery and you will find people coming up to you and complimenting you on what you are wearing. It doesn't have to be a massive piece of jewellery and you don't have to be blinged up to the eyeballs.
Take Glamour Puss - one of the pieces I made this week - all it is is a piece of pink and black agate - but it is presented on a pink stainless steel torque, wire wrapped, with an extremely shiny Swarovski crystal square wrapped onto it - a definite conversational opening gambit if ever there was one.
Obviously, no one can guarantee that people are going to walk up to you - you may have to do the walking - find someone in a nice ensemble and tell them you like it - instant spark! they will compliment you back ( people love a compliment and usually reciprocate - I'm sure you've noticed that) and Bob's your uncle!
2) Have Something to Say Prepared
When someone compliments your jewellery, don't just mumble your thanks or go the 'this old thing??....' routine- smile widely, tell them a little story about it - perhaps even how clever you were to find it - if it's a piece by Caprilicious and you have read the blog, there's a backstory all ready for you to tell.
At Caprilicious, I attempt to make jewellery that is interesting and different - I have the occasional daytime, everyday piece - but even that is usually different from the norm - you have plenty to talk about.
These little lampwork beads were turned into daytime earrings, but they are so pretty, I'm sure you will be noticed when you wear them. I turned the leftover beads into bracelets with braided leather, so you can have a whole ensemble if you want one.
They are made to resemble the spinning top I had as a child - I was only allowed to play with it if I promised to be very, very careful (?), and eventually it was used by both my siblings, probably with the same proviso, and in turn, by their children. It still exists in my mother's cupboard - waiting for her great grandchildren, I guess! Unfortunately, their toys of choice are likely to be an internet enabled mobile phone, so mum has wasted her efforts to save what has now become an antique heirloom - perhaps it will be worth something one of these days.
3) Ms. Attention - To - Detail
Be Little Miss Attention-To-Detail - wear the right piece for your neckline, to coordinate with your outfit - and if you are in Caprilicious Woman mode, dare to wear jewellery in a completely contrasting colour to your outfit - after all, an orange necklace with the outfit in the picture would be drowned out by the colour of the vest - the blue necklace is definitely the better fit.
4) Get Up Close and Personal
Once you have complimented someone about their jewellery, and received one in return, you have chatted about your sources for said jewellery and smiled at each other, you are fast becoming friends - after all you have found something in common - your love for pretty jewellery!
Introduce her to someone you know, she reciprocates - and before you know it, you have a networking session going on right there, under your very shy nose - did you know that was going to happen?? I did! There are a few more tips on Reggie Darling's fabulous blog - Reggie's Advice For the Tongue-Tied Guest at Table Amongst Strangers, and I recommend this post to you. And of course, you must never get so carried away by your success by turning into a Conversation Hog! Click on the link to find out how not to do it.
5) Be Different - and Revel in It
When I was younger, all I wanted to do was to be like everyone else, to merge seamlessly into the background - I blame my mother for this (as I type I can hear her grumbling in the background 'you blame your mother for everything') - I was expected to be a Little Miss Muffet - but I was also expected to go out and fight my corner in the world of modern medicine when I grew up!
And then I ended up in Britain, and have found that a lot of the time I stick out like a sore thumb, and there is no Marks & Spencer camouflage that works. It took a bit of getting used to, but I'm over the worst. I'm happy to be me and revel in being different.
I wear Caprilicious all the time, and that helps me walk tall ( I'm only 5'2") and people come up to me and talk about my jewellery. I like to take the stuff I make on test runs, but sometimes they get sold before I get a chance - here's one of the pieces I made last week that lasted fifteen minutes on my pages...
It is most definitely evening wear, and I didn't have an occasion to wear it before someone from work snapped it up.
A statement jewelry piece by Caprilicious will give you confidence, help you stand out in the crowd of 'samey people', and allow you to start a natural conversation - the death knell to shyness. The end result is a helpful, natural connection. The best part? It’s a great excuse to start shopping!
That's it for this week folks. Have a good weekend and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello, fancy meeting you here - yes you, in your statement jewellery by Caprilicious, trying to blend in with the furniture and failing miserably in the attempt. Let me ask you a question - why did you wear Caprilicious if you didn't want to be noticed?? You should have known you'd turn heads - what you're wearing is making you sit up, walk tall and look happy - and that's what people notice about you when you wear your Caprilicious Jewellery.
I love this song - the word 'Happy' is repeated so many times, it's almost an affirmation - all you have to do is sing along.
Affirmations work by breaking patterns of negative thoughts, negative speech, and in turn, negative actions and by helping us believe in the potential of an action we desire to manifest. Try it sometime - acknowledge your own self-worth; and your confidence will soar. Look good, walk tall, feel great - you are a powerhouse; you are indestructible.
This week, I set about remodelling my website - I now have a new page called 'She Sells Sea Shells' - I love shells and abalone, and have a number of pieces that seemed to group themselves together and demand a page of their own, and I gave in.
Two abalone pendants, set in silver were the basis for a couple of necklaces - teamed with Biwa pearls - unusually shaped cultured pearls from freshwater mussels.
First produced in the 1930s in Lake Biwa in Japan, their quality rivals that of cultured saltwater pearls, and they are just as beautiful. I love Biwa pearls because they are so different from the usual image one has of pearls.
Naiads were water nymphs who lived in the most beautiful streams and rivers, and spent their days gently washing the freckles from the faces of the girls who bathed in the water and generally being sweet and gentle - until of course an unwary young man came by - and then they all rushed up and threw themselves at him, until the poor sap was overwhelmed and gave up his life to join them in the underwater world.
One of these is a bit more unconventional than the other - but it's that unconventional asymmetry that makes it a piece by Caprilicious. The colourful crackle agate lozenges go with the lilac Biwa pearls and the abalone - lilac was a colour much beloved by my grandmother - every year my mom bought her a saree in either 'lilac or ash colour', as requested by her on her birthday. Much as I loved her, I wouldn't really want the jewellery I make to be grandmotherly in any way, Heaven forbid!!
Kohima is the capital of Nagaland, a north eastern border state in India, sharing boundaries with Myanmar. When I was little my cousins, with whom I spent a lot of time, moved to Nagaland with their father who was posted there by the Indian Army - they came back with the most beautiful artefacts and shawls - I think some of the artefacts still exist in their house after all of 45 years - I would have loved to go and visit them there, but it never happened, perhaps I was too young to make the journey.
I got the little brass medallions and spacer beads from a vendor in Nagaland and strung a two stranded necklace, with a simple button clasp.
This picture was my inspiration for my next piece - it is made from stock photo manipulation, an art form I recently discovered, by LeeAnne Cortus. In this art form, bits of stock photographs are Photoshopped together to form a coherent picture and you can see more by clicking on the link above.
I went to an all day party on Sunday - Nicole Hanna was celebrating 5000 'likes' on Facebook and handing out wirework designs to party guests all day, one or two every hour. It was a fabulous day, with hundreds of virtual guests held fast in front of their computers. She handed out about sixteen of them - I got all but one, and that was because my cousin phoned me from Toronto and we had a long natter,forgetting all about the giveaway.
I stayed up till 5am on Monday morning - she released one every ten minutes in the last hour, and then fell into a deep and grateful slumber. I made up one of the designs, putting a Caprilicious spin on it and this is what appeared......
I had the design from an earlier giveaway and these were the first pair I made - they went in a diplomatic pouch to live with a nice lady in Bangladesh!
As I've been writing , we've had a minor panic - Wilfred just tried to go up the chimney - all I could do was watch with my mouth open as his brother Charlie chased him up the flue till all I could see was the white tip of his tail. I yelled for Mike (which probably frightened Wilf into going further up into the space) and we had to coax him down with some food - I had visions of having to call the fire brigade and a bunch of men in hob nailed boots tramping all over my floor - and no, that is not one of my fantasies! We've now stuffed the flue with newspaper - Phew!
That's it for this week folks, have a lovely 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
This lovely piano solo by Kevin Kerr expresses the emotions I have tried to capture in this necklace. To me summertime is all about butterflies and dragonflies, mellow sunlight, tinkling music and flowers - I don't think about the slugs and snails and weeds and rain that are such a nuisance - I must be a romantic at heart, although I would deny it hotly, if someone said that about me.
Happy Friday, readers and thanks for joining me today. This week, I've written two posts - the last one about Statement Jewellery, posted on Wednesday will be a guest post on a friend's blog later on in the year - but you caught sight of it first, right here. I didn't want to add this weeks pieces of jewellery to the guest post and decided to write a separate one instead.
My muse see sawed wildly this week from the conventional and pretty, to the wild and crazy. I kick started the weekend by making wire and resin dragonflies. The problem with this was that each coating of resin took at least a couple of days to set - this gave my mischievous muse time to draw my attention to all sorts of other ideas - I was a bit overloaded on the ideas front and my mind was spinning out of control!
And while I waited for the resin to set, off Ms Muse trotted dragging me in her wake, this time in the direction of Cubism and Pablo Picasso. A few lessons ( quite a few, actually - because I cannot draw) off the internet in drawing a face from two different perspectives and I set about making this piece, which in the end was made into a brooch by the addition of a pin.
It was an awful, grey and rainy weekend, which might have sparked the need for bright colour.
I love it, but I do feel the need to offer apologies to Pablo.
In my defence, it is more difficult than one would think, especially for someone who cannot draw in one perspective, let alone two at the same time! - try it and see how you go - and then, once it has been drawn, to successfully convert it to a polymer clay piece - eeps! not sure I'll be doing this again any time soon.
This is a gift for a very wacky and fun friend of mine - we are to visit her in Hamburg soon, I hope she will love it as much as I do.
And the dragonflies showed no sign of being ready yet, so on we went, my muse and I, plodding on with another piece.
Images from the Subconscious - Mind Games!
While I was researching the making of the 'Picasso' pin, I looked at a whole load of stuff on the internet that set my mind a buzzing - among others, the art of Romero Britto, and the South American god of Fertility - the Kokopelli - colourful images that seemed to stay with me in my dreams. No wonder then, that my next piece was shaped by them.
This is Kokopelli, a Native American fertility deity. He is usually depicted as a hump backed and feathered flute player, and he takes care of both the harvest and fertility - which in the end mean one and the same!
I was looking for a colourful piece to replicate in Polymer clay, but passed him up in favour of the cubist face - another time perhaps, I thought.............
And the dragonflies were still wet........sigh! Oh well!
Conus snails are venomous though beautiful and are the species of snail whose shells are seen in most collections.The species most dangerous to humans are the larger ones which prey on small bottom-dwelling fish; the smaller species mostly hunt and eat marine worms. They have a venom gland and a hollow tooth like a harpoon or proboscis through which they inject and paralyse their prey before eating it.
This pendant came from Indonesia and is set with cross sections of conus shells in coloured resin, and I added faceted onyx, and pyrite nuggets which gleam in the light - they aren't called 'Fools Gold' for nothing!
'Zehr' is the Arabic word for poison - although Zehra means beautiful! Either way, I think the name fits this pendant - would you agree??
This peacock feather pendant came from Indonesia as well - I was quite taken with the way the edges of the feather had been beaded like a Rastafarian's dreads - hard work, and done so neatly - I have a great deal of admiration for the artist who made it. It can't be fun to play with feathers and glue and beads - just imagine the mess at the end of it.
Together with a string of freshwater pearls and a couple of enamelled Indian beads, bought during my last trip home, a simple, but elegant necklace was born.
Of course the word Mayuri really means a peahen and is a misnomer - the poor peahen hasn't been born with the elegance of the male bird - but hey, let's not quibble, eh!
At last, finally, the dragonflies were ready to be used - and about time too!!
The Dance of The Dragonfly
I think it was worth the wait, don't you?? As a bonus, I have a few leftover dragon flies, which will eventually work their way into other pieces, later on.
That's a wrap for this week folks, I'll catch you again next week, same time, same place. Have a lovely week
What is Statement Jewellery??
Hello readers - this is the start of a series of blog posts to explain the ethos of Caprilicious Jewellery and why a piece of statement jewellery is the perfect accessory to make any casual outfit go from basic to spectacular!
The idea for this post came to me when I was talking to one of my colleagues at my day job about Caprilicious, and he stopped me in my tracks by asking me (with a very puzzled look on his face) 'What on earth is Statement Jewellery' ?? - at first I laughed because I thought he was joking, and then I realised he truly had no idea what I had been talking about.
I had to step back and think for a minute before I answered - I had never before been asked to explain it. And then, as a wonderful coincidence, I was asked by a fellow blogger if I would write a guest post about this very subject, and I jumped at the chance.
So, what is Statement Jewellery?? and what's the difference between a statement piece and a signature piece???.....
To my mind, statement pieces make you feel good, reflect your personality and the way you are feeling at that particular moment.
They stand out and are noticed as unique and individual - making your wardrobe basics come together in a way that makes for visual interest.
Larger pieces will obviously make an impact more easily, but small and delicate can make as much of a statement - they just give out a different message about you at that point in time.
A statement piece should make you feel happy with your look, reflect your personality, and help you to walk tall, and feel confident.
In any given week, a woman might want to wear leather, copper and spikes in a very edgy and modern look on one day, and vintage lace and flowers on another - as I said, it's the way she feels when she wakes up that particular morning.
Signature pieces are statements that people recognise as your particular style - Cleopatra eyes, Jackie Onassis sunglasses and pearls or Frida Kahlo and her monobrow and flowers are examples.
The wearing of jewellery could easily be your signature - can you hear people say 'Ooh, she always wears the most interesting jewellery!!' when they talk about you??
To be continued next week..
In the meantime, do take a look at the pieces made at Caprilicious recently.
I made the butterfly with miles of wire, and as if that wasn't enough wire, I made a couple of twisted rope sections to bind it down into a necklace. I watched a real butterfly flit around in my garden as I sat weaving in the dappled sunlight and thought how lovely it looked - like the embodiment of a piece of music hand written on a page, and I had the urge to unchain my little wire butterfly.
This picture was my inspiration for the piece 'Safari Sunset' . The pendant is made of annealed corrugated glass from Italy and has a tiger stripe on it, which got me thinking of a safari. I wrapped in about twenty feet of wire and attached a tree silhouette to the front of the frame. The little sunstone squares and orange agate beads are from India and my sister in law brought me the trade beads from a safari holiday. I love the warm colours of this piece. The copper wire has been patinated and waxed to hold the patina.
The two pieces I made this week are almost diametrically opposite to each other - one of the days I will have to sit my muse down and ask her why she is so capricious - of course, I know the answer - she is a Caprilicious Woman and she lives by her strapline - Delicious jewellery for the Capricious Woman!!
That's my lot for this week folks - have a great weekend and I'll see you next week, same time, same place
p.s. The other two articles in this three part series can be found here and here.
Hello readers, thanks for dropping by. We've had some wonderful weather in the UK and the garden is coming along nicely, although it is way away from being at top dead centre. I have been out and about with my camera, recording what is for us, spring in full cry.
This is my neighbours Laburnum tree - it is beautiful in spring, and then fades away into obscurity for the rest of the year - but isn't it just so beautiful??
My muse decided that I would go back to my roots this week. The first piece I felt compelled to make was with the last of my Nepalese pendants - that reminds me, I really ought to go and hunt down some more.
I found the pendant in my hoard, and teamed its coral and turquoise inlay with bronze shell pearls, blue dyed jade and red agate - the birth of Zeenat, which means decoration, or adornment in Arabic.
Mushika and his Master
Ganesh, the Elephant God has the head of an elephant and the body of a man. The story my grandmother told me about this was that one day Ganesh's mom was bathing and she had asked him to mind the door against intruders. Halfway through her bath, his dad wanted to come indoors, and was refused entry by the lad - his insolence irritated his dad ( who was well known to have anger management issues) so much, that he cut off his head in a fit of pique ( he did much worse things when he was really riled! although in the picture he looks like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth). There were no social services in those days, unfortunately or dad would have been in BIG TROUBLE.
Mom then gets out of the bath, humming to herself, and is horrified when she sees what has happened to her darling, obedient son - she threatens dad with murder and mayhem, and following a ding-dong row, he agrees to put things right and is issued with a high decibel deadline .....'or else'.... - he sends someone out for a new head - the half blind idiot who went looking (the calibre of servants was shocking in those days) brought back an elephant's head - the deadline was upon him and dad thought he'd just stick the head on and hope for the best, maybe even hide mom's glasses so she couldn't see too well........and the rest is history! Ganesh is known to love his food - well, you would comfort eat too if you were a cute little boy one day and this happened to you - and besides, he is half elephant, and everyone knows elephant's eat a lot (that's his excuse and he's sticking to it).
As for Mushika, he was once a beautiful and vain celestial being, who got on the wrong side of a sage and was turned into a mouse for his pains! He made such a nuisance of himself with his bad behaviour (everyone knows that mice are ill mannered), that eventually Ganesh caught him and decided to sit on him much like other children ride on their dogs. Poor Mushika was in deadly danger of being squashed to death by this portly elephant/child, and begged him to loose some weight - but we all know how hard that is, so by a sleight of hand, the elephant god made himself lighter (wish I knew how to do that) whenever he rode the mouse, and they lived together happily ever after.
I managed to run through approximately 2 Kilos of wire and had to send off for new supplies - this is in addition to the fine weaving wire, and the silver wire I have used over the last year and a half.
I brought this piece of glass back from Murano - it looks like someone has dropped a pebble into a body of water and made a SPLASH! Embellished with miles of wire, it makes a beautiful pendant.
I am now officially the jewellery designer for Look in the Bag's new collection of silk scarves. They are a small company, founded by a graphic designer and her husband. She draws and paints the designs and then transforms them magically into silk scarves - well it is magical to me, because I have no idea how it is done - probably child's play to her! They market the scarves, each with it's own little bag and a piece of jewellery to match, on their website - I have bought some as gifts myself, and am proud to be associated with the brand. Andrew, has some fantastic tales to tell about the 'models' who wear their scarves ( He's definitely a budding novelist), and Neelam designs the scarves and draws all the illustrations - I just love the whimsical way they present their wares.
Here they are, worn by Neelam's models - my photographs are from the ones I sent out for approval as I went along making the collection to her specifications.
I made them up one design after another earlier on in the year, with Neelam abroad having the scarves made up to her satisfaction. I must acknowledge 2good claymates for the fabulous tutorial they posted on their website, from which I took some of my ideas for the scarf jewellery.
The photographs of the prototypes went back and forth, till we agreed on the design, and I made the requisite number up for her. Each time I made one of the pieces, I fell in love with the scarf and decided that I was going to have to buy it - until the next one! Fickle, huh??
That's it for this week - hope you've enjoyed the read - have a good week, and see you next week, same time, same place