Hello folks, thanks for joining me once again. I do so enjoy this weekly chat I have with you, my invisible friends. It would be nice if you posted back at me occasionally - are you sure I can't persuade you to leave me a comment?? I read them all and respond, I promise. We are soon to go on a short break to the Cote d'Azure, so I'll be telling you all about that next time. It will be nice to get some R & R for a short while and we are looking forward to it - except WIlfred the cat, who will have to go to prison for the duration.
I was only sixteen when this song was all the rage, in the Indian equivalent of a sixth form, or pre university college. The songs of Abba always make me shudder slightly as they bring back memories of the late seventies when I was young, diffident, and in a co-ed environment for the first time.
The boys at the college were extremely gauche and unsure of their reception should they make a move on the girls. I know the same is true of teenage boys everywhere, but especially and markedly so at this place, where the boys were in a co - ed environment for the first time themselves, in a fairly repressive society where the segregation of the sexes is the norm.
I was in a group of three girls, and there was this lad who followed us around carrying a portable cassette player in bright red plastic playing 'Nina, Pretty Ballerina' on a loop. We didn't know his name and he was known to us as 'Red Cassette'.
Mind you, at the time, in common with most teenage girls, I was conscious of my weight and felt more like a galumphing elephant than a ballerina.
This lad got on the bus with us every evening and walked 5 paces behind me all the way from the bus stop like a good Indian wife, till I reached my mother's house and went in past the huge iron gates - there was never a word between us in two years and this went on for the whole time that I attended the college. Today, it makes me laugh, but then, at the age of sixteen, it was a bit scary, as I had no idea how this saga would end - as it happened it was a damp squib, but at the time it seemed a lot like harassment. In hindsight, I should have turned around and asked him what the hell he wanted and he'd have probably slunk off, but he could have just as easily got his friends to follow me around making my life hell for the duration, so I was probably wise to leave him alone to his madness.
I have a confession, this was originally two necklaces - one with a single strand of feathers and the second, with three strands of nugget beads and Nepalese spacers. I just felt they went together and Ummmed and Aaahed all evening - I went to bed and woke up ready to remake the necklace - I cut them up before I could change my mind. I find that it is often difficult to make the decision to undo my work at the end of an evening when I am tired. I spend time telling myself that it is fine, and that it will be OK - but 'OK' is not what I'm aiming for and I always end up redoing the piece. I ought to know better and not bother wasting time trying to talk myself out of it. I hope that when it finds it's forever home, the woman who wears it feels like a Dancing Queen.
I've been playing with folding metal, fire, soldering, and patinas with some degree of success. I forgot to neutralise the piece I had left in an acid bath and absent mindedly wiped it on a skirt I was wearing only to find later on in the day that the acid had burned a big hole in my skirt - a bit more respect for the acid pickle is warranted, I think.
And no, I didn't make the flowers, they were bought pre made and I practiced sweat soldering them onto the copper circles that I cut with another of my new tools - I love new tools!!
I received a copy of Bead and Jewellery magazine, vol 80 in the post with a tutorial I wrote in it. The beads I submitted will be back soon and I will have to make something interesting with them.
That's me for this week folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, thanks for dropping by. This week, with a few days off from the day job, I had time to try everything my heart desired - I whacked copper into kingdom come with hammers, soldered wires onto the hammered jewellery, embellished a pendant with wire work and then hung it on a beaded necklace. I've said this before, and I'll say it again - it gives me so much pleasure to make my own components, much more than using shop bought.
The Copper Beech or Sylvatica Purpurea
Last week I played with hammers and fire, and boy, was that addictive. I had a few days off work and caught up with all the chores I had set aside for this week, all the time champing at the bit to get back to the conservatory and play with fire again. I cannot trust myself to use a torch in my craft room - for one thing I share it with Michael and our sizeable collection of books and waving a torch about in it would not be the sensible thing to do.
I made this leaf following a YouTube tutorial by Nicole Hanna, who apart from being a whiz with wire is one of the most generous people I know. She gives of her knowledge so freely and is extremely helpful to newbies in the wire world.
I set an aventurine onto the leaf in a fine silver bezel wire - I only melted one bezel, so that was pretty good going as this is only the first time I've attempted soldering a cabochon since I went to a class with Anna Mazon over a year ago.
The hardest task so far was cutting the copper sheet with the shears without injuring my fingers with the cut edges of the sheet of copper, and filing the edges of the leaf once I'd finished forming it. My hands looked as rough as a bear's backside by the time I had finished, but at least I hadn't cut or burned myself, or the house down.
The next step was to decide whether I'd done enough and use the leaf as a simple pendant, or to carry on embellishing it - and of course there was no contest. Given the chance I embellish anything that is stationary long enough for me to attack it with frills and furbelows.
I once again took a leaf out of Nicole's book and embellished one edge with copper wire work, and then antiqued the piece with Liver of Sulfur and shone it till it gleamed, with steel wool. When I was done, the piece resembled a leaf from the copper beech tree in my neighbourhood. The simplest thing to do would be to hang it from a jump ring as in the picture, but I decided to try and put it on a horizontal slant.
A string of green turquoise slab nuggets were pressed into action and Sylvatica, named after the copper beech appeared.
And I was hooked!
I made a pair of earrings - the copper sheet was fold formed into little half hoops, and I then soldered a sterling silver wire to one end and a jump ring to the other to make a flamboyant, but very light pair of earrings that resembled Fulani earrings from Mali, on a smaller scale, of course.
I made a couple of other little bits but they have yet to be refined and made up - as I said the worst part of this is filing the really sharp edges that appear when the metal is bashed repeatedly with a hammer.
My website is still playing the Scarlet Pimpernel, now you see it, now you don't - the good folks at Weebly are supposedly looking into it, but nothing has changed so far and I am fed up talking to them. I get a new person each time and have to begin the story all over - they don't seem to have any notes, or previous history they can look up - oh, for some continuity of care! I now know how patients must feel and yet I appreciate why I cannot deal with the same person each time. However, at least I have notes that I can refer to beforehand when I see my patients.
That's me for this week folks, have a lovely week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello everyone, I'm glad you could join me today. We are bang in the middle of summer and at last the sun was shamed into showing his face - but who knows what next week will bring? Rather than worry about what is to come I decided to make the best of what we have and spent every day of the week splashing paint onto my garden furniture until it was all painted a uniform shade of sunlight yellow.
I'll bet you're thinking what on earth I was doing painting the furniture a 'Hi-Vis' colour. Well hold on, and I'll tell you. There is a method to my madness, I promise.
We were about to have a retractable poly tunnel like pool cover installed and I wanted to draw the eye away from what I thought would be an eyesore in our little garden. We needed the cover though, cleaning the pool was becoming increasingly a chore as the trees in the surrounding properties shed their leaves and seeds by the lorry load on a daily basis. It was quickly becoming a nuisance rather than a pleasure and something needed to be done, and quick.
This was the end result, and I think the two go well together. We will be able to extend the number of days we can use the pool and reduce the heating bills besides keeping it clean.
I bought a string of coral fossil slab nuggets - I'm not usually one for beige and brown, but these beads are so pretty I couldn't resist them.
Corals are invertebrates that are made up of colonies of tiny polyps, which secrete calcium carbonate to form an outer skeleton. We only get to see the exoskeleton part of the organism, eventually left behind once the coral dies, and turn these into pretty beads and jewellery. Most coral is beige, cream, yellow or black and very occasionally pink or red. .
Millions of years ago, coral lived in warm shallow water. Over time, as plates below the ocean floor shifted, the coral became buried under layers and layers of sediments. As the temperature and pressure changed, the coral eventually fossilised and turned into rock. Fossil corals are actually natural stones that formed when ancient corals were replaced by agate, their hard skeletons fossilising when they were saturated with silica rich water bubbling from limestone. Coral remains were gradually replaced with agate, a variety of naturally occurring chalcedony, or micro crystalline quartz. The fossilised coral typically appears as small flower-like patterns in the stone. You can read more here, if you are interested.
Hand carved bovine bone flowers, copper spacers and a pop of colour with turquoise beads were added to the piece ( I simply couldn't resist adding a bit of colour to what would otherwise be a very sombre necklace) and I think the necklace is very fetching. A couple of copper beads were left over and I added some bone flowers to make little earrings to match. As the necklace is pretty striking, all it needed was an unobtrusive pair of earrings.
That's me for this week folks. Next week I have a bit of time off and hope to play with a bit of fold forming and metal smithing. I will probably end up with lumps of twisted misshapen metal, or I might surprise us all and make something really interesting - who knows? I will keep you posted, as usual.
Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how lucky I am that we can meet like this today - and I mean this quite literally!! I'm sure you've noticed that my blog posts have all suddenly gone pale this week. I've had so much trouble with my website over the last couple of weeks, I was almost ready to throw in the towel and go to another web host. Weebly, the people I am currently with suddenly decided to update their software and it no longer supported some of the changes I had made which were working perfectly before they tinkered with it. My site suddenly disappeared from view and no matter how many times I refreshed it, I could not see any of the content. I couldn't think what happened and eventually, over a number of emails, late night phone calls to the USA and a bit of hissing and spitting and lot of alterations, I finally ended up with this new look website and blog.
The problem here is that I am a one woman show - apart from designing and making the jewellery having sourced the components, I take my own pictures, edit them and upload them onto the Caprilicious website, writing descriptions of each piece along the way. However, I am semi computer literate and mainly self taught. What they say about the maternal proclivities of 'Necessity' is quite true.
I changed the 'theme' of my website thrice in the last week, which meant that all the headers and fonts disappeared each time and yet another phone call had to be made. I now know the number to the Weebly help line off by heart and can recite it in my sleep. Hissing and spitting, and of course swearing under my breath, I repeated the boring task of uploading all the pictures onto the headers over and over until soon, I was no longer doing it under my breath and the air was blue around me. I used the word for intercourse more times than the good ladies in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I arrived at the point where I have a website and a blog and could spend a couple of enjoyable hours making up a necklace that I had designed in my minds eye while lying in bed last night.
Xanadu is the summer capital of the Mongol warrior Kubla Khan in a poem written by Coleridge - he thought it up one night whilst lying in an opium fuelled stupor - I thought it a fitting name for a necklace I conjured up in bed while lying in a Weebly induced coma! Xanadu was thought to be a luxorious place of great beauty, riches and contentment. I bought the sterling silver pendant while in Jaipur a year and a half ago and it is so pretty, I've been sitting on it like Gollum and his 'pretties'. Only recently I decided it would be a shame to hoard it and brought it out of my stash to turn it into a piece of jewellery.
I added slices of bamboo coral, turquoise beads, silver beads and some pretty blue brass beadcaps to make Xanadu. It is longer than I usually make, about 25" long, and meant to be worn over an outfit with a high neckline. I love the combination of coral, turquoise and silver and the little silver box clasp finishes the piece perfectly.
Last weekend, I spent the days scrubbing my cast aluminium garden furniture with bleach, pressure washing them and sanding down all the paintwork - I used my Dremel here and was so pleased that at last I had a multipurpose piece of kit that actually worked well for me. Mike and I painted the table with some trepidation, I had chosen such a bright colour, but I think it looks good. We have done bits of the chairs, and will have them done by the end of this week, I hope.
I don't mind admitting that I am exhausted this week folks, I've had a busy time at the day job, as well as the mind numbing evenings with Weebly to contend with. I hope that this will be an end to my tale of woe. I apologise for crying on your shoulders, but Hey! what are friends for?? I'm going to settle down this weekend with a good book and a cuppa tea, I think I deserve a rest!
That's me for this week, take good care of yourselves and do keep your fingers crossed for me and the Caprilicious website. I'll catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello lovely readers, how are you today?? I hope you are fighting fit this winter and keeping snug as bugs in rugs this winter.
I suddenly find that my trip to India is fast approaching and I have nothing sorted out, with loads of loose ends to tie up at the day job. However, I've still found time to pursue my passion - playing with beads and baubles.
This week has all been about rivers and flat beads, but the two pieces that were born are as different from each other as chalk and cheese. Both focal beads have been in my stash for a couple of years. I tend to do that - pick them up when they catch my eye and leave them lying in the drawer until I suddenly get a flash of inspiration or they call out to me with a game plan.
The huge orange yellow focal bead has sat in my stash for almost three years and I had no clue what I was going to do with it. Inspiration struck over the weekend. I rolled out some polymer clay and cut out loads of flat beads from a sheet of clay. Cured, and strung with a couple of faux spindle whorls that I made earlier, and a few agate beads at the back of the necklace, the necklace is what Mike called 'a brave piece'. He almost didn't believe that anyone could wear it until I wore it to work on Monday morning! I think it looks just fine and it is so light for such an impactful piece that it is a pleasure to wear. Test Drive successful!!
The 'brave piece' needed an equally brave name and with it's African and tribal overtones, I called it Zambezi after the mightiest river in the world. And just so people weren't anxious about how to wear this piece, I threw in some styling suggestions when I posted it on this website. As you can see, I wore it with a simple black dress.
The Karnali is Nepals longest river, originating on the Tibetan Plateau near Lake Mansarovar. It joins the Sharada in India and they form the Ghaghra River, a major left bank tributary of the Ganges.
I bought the two focal beads for an arm and a leg (well, they were relatively expensive for two small beads) from a lady who sells artisan made Nepalese beads. They are so pretty I almost didn't begrudge her the price. Sat in the drawer for a couple of years, they saw a string of turquoise heishi beads that arrived in the post and jumped up and down to get my attention. 'Me,me,me', they cried. 'Oh, ok', said I, and put them in a necklace with a few exorbitantly expensive lapis lazuli heishis that arrived in the post on the same day.
I must start to get my clothes sorted and set out for the marathon packing session I have to go through next week. Have a great week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Good morning readers, as you open the Caprilicious Blog this morning, I am frantically getting stuff together for the Artisan Market tomorrow. This is the first time I have taken Caprilicious to a fair in the UK and I most definitely have butterflies in my tummy. One of my friends is kindly coming up from Cambridge to help me on the Saturday and hopefully all will be well. Do spare a thought for me tomorrow, and if you can come up and see me. As I said last week, introduce yourselves as readers of this blog, and I will give you a 15% discount - a kick start to your Christmas shopping!
Aida is an opera by Giuseppe Verdi. Set in Egypt, it was first performed at Cairo's Opera House in 1871 and continues to be a staple of the standard operatic repertoire.
As the story goes, the Egyptians capture and enslave Aida, an Ethiopian princess. An Egyptian military commander, Radamès, struggles to choose between his love for her and his loyalty to the Pharaoh. To complicate the story further, the Pharaoh's daughter Amneris is in love with Radamès, although he does not return her feelings. And on goes the triangle that is the basis of many a love story.
Coptic crosses are influenced by the Ankh, the symbol of eternal life - the Coptic Christian religion follows the Gospel of Mark and broke away from mainstream Christianity due to theological differences.
Modern coptic crosses incorporate the ankh, circles representing divinity and the resurrection, and the lotus flower, another important symbol in pagan Egypt, relating to creation and resurrection because of the way the lotus appears to emerge from water in the morning and descend in the evening.
The cross I have in this colourful necklace comes from Ethiopia and I teamed it with hand carved jade beads, chunks of waxy orange carnelian and colourful African seed beads in a necklace of many strands, all carelessly tousled into an attractive and messy necklace - I was trying for the inarticulately articulate look, and I hope I have achieved it.
Forever in Blue Jeans
An old favourite, Neil Diamond with Forever in Blue jeans on Jools Holland's show - he has aged well and thankfully is performing in his blue jeans rather than the awful spray on tight trousers he used to wear until not so long ago.
I was flicking through some of the wirework books I have in my little library, and I found a piece by Lisa Barth that I liked. Having made it before, I decided to up the level of difficulty by putting the stone at the end of a torque necklace and instead of attaching it at the end, I started with the pendant which meant that I had what seemed like miles of wire flailing about all over the place until I put my ring clamp to good use, helping me to hold the wires together.
I love the torque style that curves around the neck and can instantly be made bigger or smaller by moving the ends.
Wish me well and spare me a thought over the weekend. I hope it won't be too cold, and the weather will play nicely, unfortunately these are all variables that can make or break a weekend market in the UK. Have a great week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello folks, how are you today - still rocking the statement jewellery look, I hope. The sun is shining, well, most of the time out here in the UK and all's well with the world.
I decided that I have done all I can in readiness for the Craft Fair next weekend. As you know, it was cancelled a few weeks ago and rescheduled to the Guildhall in Worcester on the 25th of this month. Now that the date is fast approaching I find that I am packed and ready to get on with it, and in my mind I have already moved on to other things.
I bought a couple of leaf skeleton pendants when I was in the USA. I made them myself in previous years, and it isn't a difficult process; just a bit laborious and time consuming. However, this time, I took a short cut and brought a few leaves back with me.
Oh, to be in Baja, California where the sun shines relentlessly, the sea is a deep blue, with dolphins and whales frolicking around you when you go for a swim, and the surf is always up. Pamela Anderson lookalikes, all bosoms, teeth and blonde hair jog along the beach in tiny bikinis, and golden athletic men in budgie smugglers ride the waves towards you (no, not the Hoff, never the Hoff, this is my daydream, thank you very much) ........and POP! the bubble bursts - I am in green and cloudy England with my lovely silver top man and I am content. I can lounge around in my PJ's and not worry about sucking my tummy in, or the state of the hair on my legs - yes, readers, all women do that when they see good looking men in budgie smugglers, it isn't the prerogative of the young!
The cottonwood tree is indigenous to America and provided wood for dugout canoes to the Native Americans. The leaves are very distinctive, but what I liked best was that there was space between the veins for me to embellish the leaves further - if you know me, you'll know that I can embellish in my sleep - Mike swears he'd wake up with braided eyelashes with pom poms on the end if he lay still for any length of time (and I wondered why he thrashed around so much through the night - it is out of fear of being a sitting duck target for my creative talents). I added little turquoise seed beads, labradorite and faceted red jade - and as if that weren't enough, a wire swirl carrying gemstone dangles in front of the leaf.
I love the kyanite nuggets used in the necklace, but it felt like they would make the necklace a bit dark, so I jump started it to a brighter level with seed pearls between the nuggets and luminous coin pearls as accent beads. A butterfly toggle clasp, and I decided I could do no more. Kyanite is a beautiful gemstone - an inky blue with a silvery tinge which comes from aluminium deposits in the stone. I am sure that wherever it ends up, this necklace will be well loved.
Listen to the Rain
A maple leaf skeleton on a turquoise bead necklace, broken up by dyed blue paisley howlite beads and crystals makes this a beautiful summer necklace, light and easy to wear with summer whites. I bought a pair of Xuron super fine Round Nose Pliers to satisfy my inner tool junkie, and wanted to try them out. I undid a string of tiny apatite beads and wired them into a chain. It was very hard to do as the beads are tiny and the bead holes smaller still and I had to use very fine wire. However, it was worth it in the end, though my hands were sore and I was going blind from squinting at it. The addition of Czech glass 'raindrops' at the end of the chains reminds me of raindrops dripping from a windowsill.
I have to share this email with you - this is from a lady I have never met, all the way from Singapore. She took the time to write to me, and she doesn't even like necklaces! I was fit to burst with pride when I saw it. Thank you Mary, I really appreciate the gesture.
That's all I have to share with you this week folks. The garden is responding to all the care we are lavishing on it, but the cats are turning into murderers. In fact we might just as well call our garden 'The Killing Fields', the number of decapitated, dismembered bodies we find regularly in it. The bodies were at first brought indoors as gifts, but I soon disabused them of the illusion that I like cheap presents - I like mine boxed and beribboned, thank you very much!
Have a fabulous weekend - we are looking forward to some sunshine and I, like everyone else in the UK have got into the habit of looking at the long term weather forecast and tapping the barometer hopefully on a daily basis.
Catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers and lovers of statement jewellery, thanks for joining me again today. I had a couple of 'catch up' days off from the day job this week,doing nothing but lounging around the house, catching up on the energy that needs replenishing from time to time.
We had news that the show in Worcester that was cancelled a few weeks ago has been replaced by a smaller one-day affair, this time in the Guildhall in Worcester city centre. The event is on the 25th of July and if you are in the area, do come up and say hello, I'd love to see you.
The Pink Planet
The pink planet was discovered by NASA in 2013 - they haven't as yet given the poor little orphan a name - it is called GJ 504b and is dark cherry blossom/magenta in colour. The quest to find out more about it began in 2009, and the astronomers say GJ 504b is about four times the mass of Jupiter and has a temperature of around 237 Celsius. It's star is slightly hotter than the sun, and the pink planet orbits its star at nearly nine times the distance Jupiter orbits the sun. Don't my polymer clay beads look exactly like the pink planet?? I was really struck with the resemblance, which is entirely coincidental.
The beads for this necklace come from all around the world. The brass lost wax cast beads come from Kenya, the luminous ceramic beads, from my visit to the USA, the crystals are Chinese and I picked up the flat blue ceramic bead in India, and of course, the polymer clay pink planet beads were made by me here in the UK from a tutorial by a Frenchwoman on her blog Parole de Pâté - a truly international effort!
A Moroccan enamelled pendant teamed with dyed branch coral in black and gold form the basis of this necklace. The coral beads are light and because they are separated by tiny seed beads, they sit comfortably around the neck. The vendor of the pendant sent me the little Sufi dervish as a gift and I hung it on a chain on the back of this necklace to add a pretty touch to the back.
A beautiful silver tone bead came from Morocco, in the same parcel that delivered the pendant for 'Maroc'. I had a strand of amazonite slab nuggets and I decided to remake a necklace I had made previously, albeit slightly different from the first one.
When first put on, the necklace beads have to be settled around your neck by gently arranging them so that the ends of each consecutive bead faces in the opposite direction and gives the appearance of two rows of beads. Once that is done, it stays put for the entire time the necklace is around your neck. I love the seafoam green of the amazonite - very cool and refreshing on a summers day.
I love the teardrop shaped coral beads that go into this necklace - I've used these beads in various necklaces in all sorts of colours, but red is the one that attracts my eye the most. As I strung the necklace it struck me that the scarlet of the coral looked so much like poppies. Cats eye beads give the necklace pops of contrasting colour at irregular intervals, and a large Moroccan bead in contrasting navy blue provides focal interest.
The origin of the name of this necklace is instantly obvious, given the colour of the beads. Turquoise blue is one of my favourite colours and teamed with copper coiled wire beads and a handmade clasp, this necklace is made so that it can be worn in two ways and still have the copper beads to one side in an asymmetrical presentation - with the clasp at the back, or to one side. The copper wire was coiled on a mandrel, and the resulting coil was coiled again on a thicker piece of wire. The wire is coated invisibly with a coat of polymer so that it does not tarnish or react with the skin.
Although I had loads of time on my hands, I didn't spend any of it cooped up in the house playing with wire or polymer clay. It was sunny and warm, and a lot of my days off were spent playing the hedonist, lying in the garden under an umbrella, drinking pink lemonade, eating al fresco, reading and playing with Charlie and Wilfred.
I know a lot of my regular readers were surprised that I wrote a mid week post - didn't you see it?? Well, it was called Alchemy and you will find it here. It was entirely unrelated to jewellery and you will have to take a look to see what it was all about.
That's me for this week folks. I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place - have a lovely week in the meantime
Hello readers, and a Happy New Year to you all, and the warmest wishes for love, beauty and fabulousness in 2015. Everyone else has wished you peace and good health, right - but I'd like to add a wish for a soupçon of fabulousness - the quality that brightens up your life and adds a bit of zing- us Caprilicious women need that!
Having been on call on New Year's Eve, I relaxed the next day by playing with clay without any intention of actually producing anything. I just kneaded and rolled and made snakes - just like being a child with plasticine - until I decided to try out the box of coloured chalks that had been delivered to my door just before Christmas. I was inspired to use chalk on polymer clay by a number of artists - it seems to be the latest fad, but no one actually says how they do it - perhaps it is a trade secret.
I coloured the clay discs I cut out with a background pigment, and then added tiny amounts of a contrasting colour - I loved the effect so much, I spent a while ensuring that the pigment stayed attached to the clay.
I tend to take photographs as I go along when I am claying just as an aide-mémoire in case I want to make the same thing again - and to show you part of the process that goes into making Caprilicious Jewellery. I know that quite a few people are curious about the 'how', from the questions I get.
And then I thought, why not put together a mini tutorial?? There were loads of times I would have been exceedingly grateful for a little instruction that helped me to make a cogent piece of jewellery - so it is for beginners I wrote this mini tutorial. I know that a few very experienced clayers sometimes read my blog - it is not my intention to introduce grannies to eggs.
The pigment adheres to the clay if liquid clay is painted onto the clay discs before curing them - this is an alternative way, but it will not give you the shiny and deep effect in the earrings above. However, this method is pretty too and I made some earrings using it.
I play this clip from this unlikely couples' concert in Brussels - you'd never have dreamt of saying Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga in the same breath a few years ago now, would you - yet here they are making sweet music together, and revelling in it. I watched this concert, and loved it so much, I bought the CD - and my motto for this year is.... you guessed it, ANYTHING GOES!!
The Caprilicious women amongst you - and I hope that's most of my readers - will have already recognised that anything does indeed go. Art jewellery is just that - art you can wear - and should be accessible to everyone.
Just to show you what's out there - exciting and new in the use of new materials, I put together a montage for you - click on them to go to their respective websites.
When I last spoke to my mother I asked her what she thought - and she said that although she might not buy my stuff (!) because she's been brought up to buy precious metals, she enjoys the work I put into my pieces, be it wire or polymer clay - now, how diplomatic was that - for someone who's usually as blunt as the back of a knife!
On reflection, I think my mom might be quite pleased with what I make if she took a look at some of these!! I however, want to go as avant garde as I dare - and have been discussing playing with concrete. The concrete isn't bought in a builders yard - it is jewellery grade and doesn't chip. Watch this space...
This is what Nicole Hanna has to say on the subject of 'perception'
When someone says to you your artistry is not real… it’s not “real” wire wrapping, it’s not “real” jewelry… their perception of what is “real” is based on their limited personal experiences as regards the subject in question, likely bred from a similar situation in which perceived opinions were delivered to them in a similarly negative light.
So there, she said it first!! And I say again - ANYTHING GOES, if you wear it with panache and aplomb!
Pixie People Earrings
I seem to turn to my face cane at regular intervals - this time I made earrings from it. Because all the work went into the actual making of the cane, putting the earrings together was relatively simple and they turned out bright and pretty.
I made another WIngs of Love necklace - I just love those beetle wings - the colour is simply divine. I have enough stock of the wings to make one further necklace - I want to take a couple of pieces to my exhibition as they are not widely available there - something entirely new for the good folk of Bangalore, who I hope will love them - perhaps once they get over their initial squeamishness.
This is a replica of a piece I made earlier with turquoise chip nuggets and pyrite - the pendant is similar too. I try not to replicate my designs, but sometimes I love one so much that if I have similar materials in stock my muse will not move me along in another direction, she forces me to make the same thing over and over.
Having been on call on New Year's Eve, I will be working on the first weekend of the year. I hope to start packing my stock for the exhibition, so that I get some sort of a handle on what I have ready, and what I have yet to put together.
I hope all of you welcomed in the New Year with panache, that a lot of Caprilicious Jewellery was worn, and loads of compliments were had. Do send me photographs if you have any.
Here's wishing you all the best for 2015. Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next week as usual, same time, same place
Look into My Eyes
Happy Friday readers, I hope all of you are well this fine morning and rocking it with your statement jewellery.
This week started with my muse following one of my previous avatars and going into a mesmeric mode.
I qualified as a clinical hypnotherapist a number of years ago, and still use my skills from time to time, although not as much as I would have hoped - a girl can't do everything! But, when this polymer clay bead formed itself in my hands it reminded me of a traditional stage hypnotist's induction tool. I made two, but lost one to the process ( i.e. it was consigned to the scrap pile) but I saved this one in the nick of time. I put it into my 'orphan beads' box- and one day, my muse decided that this pendant would be made with it, using the tutorial I won from a competition on the lovely Nicole Hanna's website.
I love the way the swirls of colour go towards the centre point - perhaps it should be worn by someone trying to persuade people into following their will - or someone who is trying to keep those eyes focused at a point away from their cleavage!!
There are earrings to match and I have talked about them in a previous post.
Spellbound - The Keeper of Secrets
This jade pendant came from China - I bet you guessed that! I love the face on her - Les Dawson (the late comedian who was famous for his mother in law jokes) would have said that the face reminded him of his own MIL.
In an attempt to soften her profile a bit and make her look less like Les' mother in law, I added a frame of woven wire - I did think of adding other embellishments - but the severe lines of the face go with the straight lines of the frame - curlicues would have been out of place here - although she did get one or two - and a dangling bead, I simply couldn't resist.
Raziel is the Hebrew Archangel and Keeper of Secrets and is the ruling God of the Second Heaven - I think the face on this pendant looks a lot like a Raziel - don't you??
And finally, after all the work put into it, the necklace is a true statement piece - certainly arresting and worthy of a second look when it is worn.
Precious Metal Clay Pendants
I have talked a bit about precious metal clay before - it is a great medium that yields silver that is 99% pure, as opposed to Sterling Silver, which is only 92.5%. The heat in the kiln scared me a bit to start with, but I am rapidly getting more relaxed about it. I made a couple of pendants earlier and strung them on some extremely pretty semi precious gemstone necklaces.
This pendant has tiny feet carved into it, and I set a little red cubic zirconium into the second toe on one foot - like a bejeweled toe ring. Strung with labradorite and peridot the necklace is extremely delicate and pretty. This particular string of beads has exceptional labradorescence - it flashes every time the light shines on it from various angles.
With this little scrap of deeply engraved silver, I went a bit overboard when I was setting the cubic zirconia - I put in so many stones, that the piece twinkles like a starlit sky. I found the beautiful, tiny squares of apatite in India and when teamed together, the result is soothing and pleasing to the eye. Someone who likes their statement jewellery a bit on the small side will love these pieces from my kiln.
A couple of pairs of earrings rolled off my pliers while I was watching late night movies with Mike - there has to be some benefit to being an insomniac! These were made with inspiration from mini tutorials donated to the cause of wire workers everywhere by the very generous Nicole Hanna.
The Dragonfly's Dell
I acquired this slice of agate from my friend BN - it has beautiful striations deep within when held up to the light, but when held against the skin, it resembles the blue green waters of a still and glassy lake - the warm summer weather has brought out the dragonflies and I was reminded of a poem I read by someone who calls herself SusieA, published in Fairies World.
Down past my garden, underneath the trees,
There is a place of magic that no-one ever sees,
A little grassy clearing, plain at ones first sight;
But if you take the time to see, you shall find delight.
If you come to see this place, take heed:
you've found the Dell.
I wire wrapped the stone, and then added a dragonfly to the bail, along with some extremely shiny iridescent Czech fire polished beads - when I finally decided it was finished, I thought any respectable dragonfly worth it's salt ought to love it in this dell!
And finally, my last piece this week - drumroll................
Made with a handmade toggle clasp as the focal, and a string of graduated turquoise heishi beads. Lot's of blue air around me - I dropped the beads, and spent time scrabbling around on the floor on my hands and knees, and then reassembling them into the graduation on a bead board, swearing softly to myself all the while - then stringing them so that the focal bit was to one side with the larger beads at the bottom of the necklace.
One of my friends asked if I would write a guest post for her blog on 'What is Statement Jewellery and How to Wear it' - I began to put some thoughts together - I found that I had so much to say, that I decided to start a mini series here, on the Caprilicious Blog - each week, I'll start off with a paragraph or two on how to rock your statement jewellery - I am very excited about this little project - if you have any questions for me, do post a comment and I'll try my very best to answer them.
That's it for this week folks, have a fabulous weekend and I'll 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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