Hello readers, I'm glad to see you back again for another installment of the goings on at Caprilicious. I've had another quiet week, working away at the salt mines, getting into the swing of things and gently acclimatising myself to the change in time zone. I've been going to bed every night at 10pm like a little old lady, leaving Mike to watch telly on his own till silly o'clock as is our norm. I'm slowly getting back into the zone though, and by next week I will be keeping him company late into the night twiddling my wire and playing with my beads.
This weekend I am going to Bristol for a polymer clay meeting - loads of us are descending on this poor unsuspecting hotel and we are going to wallow and play with clay all weekend, guided by experts from the USA and UK. It always reminds me of the Roald Dahl story 'The Witches' - a bunch of women, muttering incantations and hovering over a modern cauldron - the oven, making magic out of lumps of clay. Of course, polymeristas are all lovely people and everyone is all smiles and bonhomie and not in the least witchlike.
Ths year I have decided to take the plunge and apply to take Caprilicious to some expensive and upmarket shows. Before I went to India, I read about Kirstie Allsop's Handmade Show at Ragley Hall in May 2017. She usually holds the show at Hampton Court in London each year, and this is the first time she is coming to Warwickshire. I saw that there was an application form to enter, as the show is quite closely curated, and was pleasantly surprised when I made the cut. I've only rented a tiny space as a test case, and have agreed with the organisers that I might want to go to Hampton Court in September if it goes well.
Ragley Hall in Alcester was originally built in 711 AD and changed hands with the fortunes of it's owners a number of times. It is now owned by the 9th Marquess of Hertford whose parents saved it from falling into disrepair and it is now run as a thriving business with events, weddings and tours as well as a farm. The event itself will be held under cover, which is important as May is likely to be rainy and sometimes chilly if we are unlucky.
I was asked if I wanted to provide promotional material for the goodie bags for Press and VIP's - well, I suppose in for a penny and all that, so I agreed. They asked me to provide a photograph of what I planned to send them and I sent a picture of the earrings I propose to make. They require 250 - 300 pairs so I can see that I will be making earrings each weekend for the forseeable future! Fortunately I picked a design that is simple to make, but quite effective, in my opinion - what do you think?? I have a tutorial on how to make these on the website, mainly as an aide memoire and I am so glad I did that, as it can be quite easy to forget the exact way of replicating a design after all the trouble taken to fathom the best way to do it.
Video of last years show at Hampton Court
I'm sorry this post is so short, but I'll have loads to tell you after Polymania next week. Have a fabulous weekend and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello, readers, nice to chat with you again. It's been a long hard week at the salt mines, complicated by a horrendous accident at work when I managed to pour a boiling hot cup of tea over my legs and end up with a scald injury and blisters. Mike had to come and rescue me from work and drive me home, and I spent the next couple of days doped up on pain killers, curled up in my bed. All I can say about this sorry episode is that thankfully I am not male or my family jewels would have been in jeopardy, with the risk of being cooked by the hot tea. As it is, I am having to go in to work with a rolling gait like a drunken sailor due to all the swaddling around my injuries to prevent the blisters from chafing.
I need to get better soon as I fly out to Boston USA, mid next week and I am keeping my fingers, and toes crossed that all will be well.
Before the week went pear shaped on me, I made a few pretty things that I shall show you in a minute. But first, I was ever so proud of my little polymer clay tutorial for the use of chalks on polymer clay - for some reason it caught people's imagination, and two of the great and the good featured it on their blogs within the same week. First, it got a mention in Pearl Blay's Beading Gems Journal - Pearl writes a daily journal with a lot of helpful tips for jewellery makers and I follow her blog every day.
And then, within the week, it was noticed by The Daily Polymer Arts Blog, which is another blog, this time for polymeristas, written by Sage Bray of The Polymer Arts Magazine that I follow faithfully.
The Silver Sufi
Back in early April, I made a necklace using a whirling dervish pendant. I loved the pendant so much, I imported yet another from Istanbul and made a second necklace. As you can imagine, it can be quite difficult to take similar ingredients and make two entirely different pieces of jewellery within a short space of time. The first one stays on your mind and try as you might, it feels as if it is almost impossible to get away from it and think up another design. I decided to use uncut rough nuggets of lapis lazuli so that I could get as far away from the first piece as possible. A couple of Murano lentil beads and a bamboo coral nugget provided interesting accents.
I also remade Essaouira - the first necklace I made drew so much interest and so many requests that I felt compelled to send for more beads and remake the piece as best as possible - being a handmade piece of jewellery, it is never the same as the first one, just similar to it.
I am enamoured by the instantly recognisable work of MargitB, a polymerista from Germany. To my mind, she is a pioneer in the use of chalk on polymer clay. Her use of colour is unerring and joyous and I made the beads for this necklace heavily inspired by her work. She wrote a little tutorial on Flickr and I used it - the beads that resulted reminded me of my visit to the Moulin Rouge. I went there in the mid-nineties with my friend Sheela and it was one hell of a riot of colour. The Moulin Rouge is credited with the invention of the Can Can and although it was over twenty years ago that we went there, I still remember the atmosphere and the colours of the spectacular show.
Zen is a school of Buddhism that developed in China, the essence of which attempts to understand the meaning of life. It puts a great store on meditation and gardens have been built to encourage a calm and meditative state of mind in countries where Zen Buddhism is practised. The gardens have eight elements, each with a symbolic meaning - these elements are bridges, islands, flowers or plants, sand, stones, trees, water and waterfalls.
Each one of these can be simulated using stones and natural driftwood, planted in sand or pebbles raked into concentric circles representing tranquility, balance and style. Lotus, iris, azaleas, rhododendrons and flowering cherry are the few flowers actually found in Zen Gardens.
The beads in this necklace were made using a tutorial for faux ancient Roman glass by Ginger Davis Allman and the centrepiece, from a book by Ronna Sarvas Weltman. I think they go well together, and so did Ginger. I sent her a picture and she sent me an email that had me beaming from ear to ear. This is what she said
I'm glad Ginger liked it and I love her comments, though living in the UK for so long (and being my mother's daughter) made it difficult not to feel a bit embarassed at her exuberant enthusiasm - we are not used to such extravagant praise in Britain!
Next week I fly out to the USA to visit with one of my oldest friends from medical school in Boston, attend a Big Fat Indian Wedding in Cleveland, meet a load of class fellows from medical school who will attend this wedding and generally have a good time - or at least, that's the plan.
That's all I have for you this week folks, see you next week with a quick catch up, 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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