Hello again readers, and welcome to the Caprilicious Jewellery blog for lovers of statement jewellery.
This week has been about playing with my little kiln and making components for earrings. I had a few packs of Art Clay Silver and thought it was time I used them while I had a couple of days off from the day job.
I wrote about the medium a long time ago, when I first went to a class, and it was just as much fun playing with the clay this week as it was when I was first enthused by it. Here are some of the earrings I made with the finished silver components.
As I hadn't used my kiln for ages I had to get reacquainted with it and the silver clay. It is a real bu**~r of a medium, pardon my French -but that was the politest expletive I used that day.
I made a few pieces, dried them out on a heated tray and then decided I didn't like them and reconstituted the clay to make another design. I figured it was better to scrap the design at the clay stage when it could be reused, rather than to carry on foolishly, hoping for the best and having to scrap it eventually when it came out of the kiln.
The air was blue around my head. However, by the time I finished I was working like a well oiled machine and I ended up with these five pairs of earring components that I was happy with and could fire in the kiln. I think the earrings are pretty, don't you?
The pendant in this piece is from India - a hammered disc with an ornate pattern and a peacock picked out in wire. As the peacock dances in the monsoon, I thought it went well with the spectrolite beads - they come in a beautiful inky blue/black - a puffy rain cloud in each bead, with little flashes of lightning shooting through. A couple of shiny silver beads, and some pearls and the necklace was done. As one of my friends said, it is a traditional pendant (and you couldn't get a more traditional Indian motif than a peacock) with a contemporary necklace. It certainly fits my design ethic - a mix and match of different cultural identities, and the ancient with the modern, yet making an interesting piece of jewellery that can be worn with just about anything.
The title for this piece comes from the cinnabar beads. Cinnabar was a vermilion pigment derived from Mercury sulphate - the ore used to refine elemental mercury or quicksilver. Cinnabar generally occurs as a vein-filling mineral associated with recent volcanic activity and alkaline hot springs. Quicksilver is literally 'living silver' because of the ability of mercury to move, being the only liquid metal at standard conditions for temperature and pressure.
Until it was widely realised that mercury was poisonous, it was used in the Near East and in China since as early as the Song dynasty, where it was used in colouring lacquerware and in cosmetics. Imagine the furore when the ladies found that they were literally 'dying to look beautiful'. It was bad enough when they couldn't walk because their feet were bound and deformed, but it must have been even worse when the ladies couldn't even lie indolently on their chaise - longues, looking beautiful in their red lippie and rouge for fear of doing themselves a mischief. Where was Max Factor in those days?? He would've made a killing (sorry, couldn't resist it)!
In the modern jewelry industry, the toxic pigment is replaced by a resin-based polymer that approximates the appearance of pigmented lacquer.
The pendant, set in silver is a mosaic of abalone and black lip oyster, set with coral and turquoise and the beads are an unusual matte grey agate, set off by the cinnabar.
So folks, it is back to the kiln for me this weekend - if you come by my house and it sits in the centre of a blue fog, you'll know I am having problems with my clay - but one can only hope that won't be the case. Have a lovely weekend, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello all, thanks for stopping by the Caprilicious Blog. The temperature is dropping like a stone outside and soon it will be winter. My poor garden is going to suffer, all frozen and laid bare - but we still have a few flowers in the garden - for a few days more, until the frost kills them off. I have tried my best to prolong the season by making a necklace inspired by the last flower left standing in the garden.
The flowers were made with amethyst and green quartz fragments and the necklace lasted all of ten minutes on my pages - I was so pleased it found a home!
The lady who bought it sent me this message - I am so glad she liked it, hope she sends me that picture.
The Pearl Princess
A face set in sterling silver from my stash was combined with luxurious peacock coloured Biwa pearls in this piece. The pendant was sold to me as 'Smithsonite' - I thought it was so pretty and different, I bought it and then went on an expedition to research the stone - sometimes I wish I hadn't - it turns an object of beauty into something so prosaic - Smithsonite is Zinc carbonate - ZnCo3 apparently! - nothing to get excited or to write home about - but yet - so different, and so pretty. It was discovered by and named after Smithson in the early 19th century and occurs as a secondary mineral in the weathering or oxidation zone of zinc-bearing ore deposits. I suppose this is as unromantic as a pearl being an object that came from a grain of sand surrounded by oyster spit! Yet, from such humble beginnings, inexplicably comes this beauty.
This one lasted on my shelves for about twenty four hours!
Smoke on the Water
Spectrolite is black labradorite - According to an Eskimo legend, the Northern Lights were once imprisoned in the rocks along the coast of labrador, and then a wandering Eskimo warrior found them and freed most of the lights with a mighty blow of his spear. Some of the lights were still trapped within the stone however making labradorite - one of my favourite stones. The black ones in this necklace are faceted and graduated, with beautiful flashes of blue grey in their depths, the colour of smoke when light shines through it. I teamed them with an electroplated maple leaf and hung a wire cage containing a red jade teardrop on the pendant bail - and here we have Smoke on the Water.................
After being so restrained with my colour choices, I felt the need to splash out a bit. I picked an artisan created pendant from Tibet in my favourite colours of turquoise and coral and matched it with citrine flat beads, coral pillars, and turquoise - a bit more colourful than the last three.
Jewel from the East
A few years ago, we spent time in Copenhagen, at the jazz festival in the Tivoli Gardens. The gardens are lit up at night, and this illumination was the inspiration for what are now known as Tivoli Lights - Mr Ben George from Tustin Ca, had the idea to use up a supply of automotive miniature incandescent lamps he had been selling. He put them inside plastic tubes to create decorative light strings, and The Tivoli Light was born. Tivoli tubes now contain LED lights and have been incorporated into building facades, aisles and steps and one finds them everywhere.
My necklace was inspired by the illuminations at the Tivoli Gardens - the Czech glass dagger beads glow with a blue iridescence, reflecting the colours in the picture above.
And that's a wrap for the week - hope you enjoyed looking at my pictures - do post me a comment, I'd love to hear from you. Take care now, and have a good week, catch you next week, same time, same place
I'm Neena Shilvock, and I'm crazily addicted to jewellery. I've been designing and making quirky and interesting statement necklaces for the last five years and my passion hasn't cooled off one little bit - in fact it has got worse, such that I'm even dreaming jewellery.
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I would love to hear from you - please leave a comment on the blog or send an email to jewellerybycaprilicious(at)gmail.com
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