Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello people, how are you this week? It is lovely to be with you again this Friday. I quite look forward to Thursday nights when Mike and I usually watch Question Time, and I bash away on my laptop to the tune of Mike's yells and jeers at Fiona Bruce's poor guests. The school holidays have meant that I've had no noisy accompaniment to my musings, but that's all set to change next week, once the kids go back to school, the overgrown kids go back to Parliament, and Fiona resumes her thankless task again.
I'm now at Day fourteen into the making of Cherry Blossom, and you've watched it evolve over the last couple of blog posts.
Cherry blossom is the national flower of Japan, although it grows in temperate zones all around the world. It holds a great deal of meaning for the Japanese - it is thought to symbolise mortality, due to its extreme beauty and the transient nature of its existence, that resembles the ephemeral nature of life. It was used as a jingoistic symbol to inspire Japanese soldiers to be "ready like the myriad cherry blossoms to scatter" and reportedly, kamikaze pilots painted the blossom on the sides of their aircraft or carried a sprig of it with them when they went on their missions, never to return.
Hanami is the Japanese tradition of drinking sake' under blossoming cherry trees which has been around since the fourth century AD. The cherry blossom season in Japan moves northward with the movement of warmer weather through the land. The blossoming begins in Okinawa in January, and reaches Kyoto and Tokyo at the end of March or the beginning of April. Flower viewing parties and Hanami move upward through the country, following the warm weather that causes the cherry trees to blossom.
Here are some pictures of my Cherry Blossom necklace as a ‘work in progress’. In it the Mucha inspired Art nouveau woman looks longingly at the cherry tree. I guess she's got to get some clothes on before she can go outdoors to a Hanami - she appears to be clutching a towel to her, having just got out of a scented bath. The cherry tree trunk is all gnarled and knobbly - I'm quite proud of that effect and there is dappled sunlight showing through the branches, graduating to a blue sky with fluffy clouds. There's a little grey path through a grassy knoll, and of course, the little cherry blossoms that graduate from a deep pink to a pearly white, as they drop to the ground. Of course, if this had been a painting or a tapestry, I'd have been able to give it a proper horizon and perspective, but as it is a much smaller piece, a lot of it is symbolic. The piece isn't as colourful as some of my jewellery, but I think it has a quiet serenity. I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.
Edged with little pink Czech glass beads from my expedition to Prague, and backed with green felt and covered over with pink ultrasuede, all I have to do next is to add some beads and a clasp to the back - there will be pictures for you next week. These pictures were all taken with my i-phone, and are unsatisfactory to my eyes, my apologies.
I find it strange that when I start out with a concept, it takes me ages to plan, assemble all the beads and threads I think I'll need and I'm almost hesitant to start it up. I sometimes loathe what I've made when it gets to its 'fugly' stage and have to put it away for a couple of days while I ponder how to attempt a rescue mission. And then, when it starts to come together, I can hardly bear to put it down. I don't want to go to bed, I sew feverishly until what I've envisioned comes to life. I don't know what I did before making jewellery took over my life, or what I'd do if I had to stop for some reason - for instance, if my muse upped and walked out on me! Oh well, it's best not to go too deep into such things, don't you think? One foot in front of the other, I plod on while I can.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a wonderful week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same, place.