Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello folks, how are you today? I'm betting that by now you're all going a bit stir crazy and long to go back to the office - every day's a duvet day and you wish it would all end! Well, settle down for the long haul, as this isn't going away anytime soon, unfortunately.
I'm sure you've all made adjustments to the way you live and work - I have an extremely uneasy situation where I work in the hospital on the 'front line', so to speak, and hubby is in a vulnerable group. For the first time in our married life, we've had to sleep in separate bedrooms, have moved our chairs two metres apart so that we can watch TV together, and have finished Amazon Prime video, so have had to take a Netflix sub out, just for something to do. One would have thought that there would be more to watch on the TV, even if it were repeats, but no, same old, same old!
Poor hubby was isolated well before the government said we should do it as I knew what was coming, and he keeps himself occupied by doing the housework and gardening as well as all the other stuff that needs doing - all I've taken on is the weekly shop.
Mike gets all dressed up in his suit and tie (he says he needs someplace to dress up to go to and the supermarket car park is all he's going to get for now) and drives me to the supermarket - my very own personal chauffeur. He sits in the car listening to Jazz FM, while I whiz round, loads the shopping into the boot and returns the trolley for me.
No more planned menus in my kitchen, as the ingredients are usually randomly available, so our meals are all Tuna Surprise! (the surprise was chunks of leftover sausage - sound terrible? - actually quite nice, although I wouldn't/probably couldn't do it again) and Hawaiian medley (ham and a can of pineapple chunks from the store cupboard) - whatever comes to hand, and can be jazzed up to make it taste palatable. NHS worker or not, I'm not standing in a queue at 7am to beat a bunch of OAPs to the last loaf of bread.
My daily dose of 'fun' has been sorting out my craft supplies and beads and I've found stuff that I never knew I had. The kind of stuff I bought because it was on sale, or was pretty and although I didn't know what to do with it just then, I was sure that one day, inspiration would strike. One of these was a brass charm from Vintaj which came to me in a large parcel from a store in the USA. At the time when I bought it, wire wrapping would have been my preferred way to use this little brass face but now I decided to use it in a bead embroidered pendant.
I made perforations at four points of the brass face and stitched her onto a piece of Lacy's Stiff Stuff, having wrapped a piece of Shibori ribbon around her head in a colourful turban. I wasn't sure whether she was going to be Chinese or Afro Caribbean, but once the turban was on her head, she was definitely from the latter ethnic group.
Once this decision was made, she needed long snaky locks, perhaps even dreadlocks, even longer than in the original piece and I wanted them to strand proud of the finished pendant, so I sewed on a stuffing of felt, where I thought the braids should be. I padded the 'turban' out with pieces of felt as well so that it would maintain the puffed out look forever.
The hair took a while as I wasn't satisfied with the original look, and had to cut out all the beads I'd sewn in all evening and sew them on again. She got a pretty dress in orange with blue polka dots - bright and sunny as a woman from a Caribbean island would wear.
Then it was time to put in the background - my preferred teacher for this technique is Kinga Nichols, using a technique she calls 'painting with beads'. Indeed, with some of the pieces I've made using this technique, people have asked me whether I've stuck the beads on! I've had to explain how I've stitched on each bead individually with two passes of the thread to ensure stability and strength, and of course I get so carried away that I can see their eyes glaze over by the time I'm done - The Rime of the Ancient Mariner has nothing on me when I'm in full flow about my passion!
And here she is, in all her glory - Calypso! She still has to be backed and edged, and I think a colourful fringe is in order to emphasise her exuberance.
I'm going to take my time over this one and consequently this may be one of the most work intensive pieces of jewellery I've ever made, but she will be beautiful, I'm sure of that.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a quiet week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place. Until then, stay at home, and wash those hands.
Take care, stay safe,