Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Last week was Thanksgiving in America, Obama pardoned a turkey - though loads of people languish in Guantanamo Bay, it was the turkey that got lucky, and I hope it was duly grateful.
But, did you know that the cranberry is probably what the early American settlers were - or should have been, most grateful for?? The Native Indians introduced the settlers to this berry, which was probably the first superfood - cranberries are meant to be high in antioxidants, and prevent heart disease, and were even then, being used as laxatives, blood purifiers, to treat fevers, stomach cramps and anaemia following childbirth. This berry kept more people in good health than a load of other cures such as the application of leeches and other fun interventions dreamed up by the medics of the time.
Cranberries are grown in the bogs in places like Wisconsin and Massachusetts and have now made their way onto the table at feasts - once it was discovered that the sour berry could be sweetened - remember the story of the spoonful of sugar, and the medicine??
The beautiful watermelon tourmalines used in this necklace give it it's name. The tiny haematite heishi beads were found in the bead fair in Newmarket a few weeks ago - I think they go perfectly together. I used sterling silver accent beads and clasp - I thought the delicacy of the necklace merited a special treatment. I do not make 'delicates' easily and struggled a bit with this piece, but in the end, I quite like it - I'm sure not everyone wants to make a 'Big Bang' of a statement - there is room for subtlety, especially during the daytime!
Persephone, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, was skipping along, trying out this berry and that, singing softly to herself, when Hades, the God of the Underworld came crashing out of a cleft in the ground, raped her and took her off to live with him - her mother Demeter, was so distraught, she caused all the plants to wither and die and forbid the earth to produce. In alarm, Zeus set up a search party, and found her - her husband was persuaded to let her go - he was made an offer he couldn't refuse - but the wily old dog, Hades had fed the greedy woman with pomegranate seeds (she'd eat anything, obviously) - so she was condemned to return to him for four months of the year. This is meant to be a personification of the story of the seasons, and Persephone is also the Goddess of spring and fertility.
The maple leaf in this necklace was picked and skeletonised in high summer this year - I have only just found a use for it. I used my new camera and a new technique to take these pictures, and was mighty chuffed when I was complimented on one of them.
I spent the entire weekend playing with polymer clay and a tutorial by Alice Stroppel - trying to make a profile face cane - I had to learn to make tiny eyes, and lips and eyelid canes, and then put them together, stick a nose on it, and Voila! - sigh, if only it was that easy. Anyway, I made two sizes of cane - a big one and a little one, according to her instructions and they now sit proudly on my table. I have yet to decide what to do with them - Alice has some very witty and fun bracelets on her pages - I might draw some inspiration there. I have no time to play with clay during the week, so will have to wait till the next weekend for that. Here are some pictures of the process..........
This is one of my favourite genres of necklace - the torque - winding loads and loads of wire and beads around a single 2mm wire with it's integral clasp is very rewarding - this time I used snowflake obsidian fragments - this is lava that cooled very quickly, trapping white inclusions, like snowflakes - adding Czech glass, and a resin rose, a Murano glass leaf and some iridescent glass leaves as an asymmetric focal. The necklaces take a while to make - if you can imagine twisting each bead onto thin wire, and then the whole 'garland' onto the 2mm wire - but the results are amazing.
That's as much as I had time for this week folks. I have to make a load of Christmas presents, and most exciting of all, there are plans afoot to hold a little exhibition in India when I go on holiday to visit my family in January.
Have a great week, and I will catch you next weekend, same time, same place