Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello readers, thanks for joining me once again on this fine Friday morning. Ms Muse and I have been working hard this week, arms moving in a blur like bees wings - I had a few days off from work in combination with a Bank Holiday, and in consequence, we have a lot of pretty things to show you this week.
I have decided to take Caprilicious to a craft fair in June, and quite a few little pieces were made up in readiness for this event as I am trying to be well organised and prepared for it in advance. As a consequence, Greased Lightning had nothing on us this week. I did slow Ms Muse down by making some of my regular pieces as well - beads kept on coming at me through the post and I couldn't resist using them.
Jewels from the Sea
I've been hoarding this pendant made of a cross section of a conch shell, wound around with sterling silver wire, garnets and blue jade for over two years now - I wanted the perfect beads to carry this beautiful and unusual piece of jewellery and when I saw these sea urchin spines, I just knew that I had found a match.
In most people's imagination, a sea urchin or cucumber is quite an attractive object - however, there is a sting in this tale.
Sea urchins are actually covered with spines, which are made of a calcified skeleton and multi-functional - they keep the creature from desiccating and away from the harmful effects of UV radiation, they help it move and also protect it from predators. The urchins in the picture to the left have been denuded of their spines to make them pretty - in actuality, they look like the creature below, which is a purple sea urchin.
They cluster in shallow waters where currents bring food to their mouths, but if stepped on by an unwary human the spines can break off into the skin of the foot - the tips themselves are not poisonous, but there are tiny organs between them that release venom. According to an article I read, their gonads are pretty tasty and are thought to be an aphrodisiac by the Japanese - there you are, another tidbit of useless information - just when you thought this blog wouldn't amuse you! Follow the link by clicking on the picture to read more about this most interesting fact.
Anyway, back to the spines, which are ever so pretty and tinkle gently when jingled against each other. They are delicate but robust, and one wouldn't believe that these pretty objects are capable of causing any harm - but you just need to take a swim in the coast off Hawaii to find out just how mean they can be to the unwary human who treads on them ( but looking at it from the urchin's viewpoint - serves them right, eh?? After all, who likes to be stood on by the equivalent of Ten Ton Tessie?). They come in many sizes, and this particular one suited this pendant beautifully.
Nishikigoi or the koi carp is thought to be a symbol of luck, prosperity, and good fortune within Japan. The koi signifies perseverance and strength, due to the fish’s tendency to swim upstream, and resist simply going with the flow against poor odds. A hand carved alabaster pendant of a koi carp pond, complete with lotus leaves and seed heads, was wrapped in copper wire and hung on a necklace of rose quartz nuggets.
Another peacock feather, all beaded up like a Rastafarian with little iridescent beads, hung on a necklace of Indian Agate beads. I never tire of this bird and it's beauty.
Wanting to use some of the polymer clay beads I had made earlier, I was inspired by this image of the beauty of a sandstorm - as I write this, I am aware that beauty is in the eye of the beholder - and to me sitting safely in front of a computer, the image is fabulous - the poor people who live through the sandstorms no doubt hate them - as do the people who tread on a sea urchin - it is no laughing matter!
And then, just as we were beginning to wind down for the week a parcel arrived from Istanbul - Ms Muse was at it like a ferret up an entry and I had no peace until these last two necklaces were made. I was unable to think up any more imaginative names for them, so in spite of her whining at me to whizz another one up, Ms Muse will have to put up with Topkapi 2 and Topkapi 3. If you wish you can take another look at Topkapi 1 here.
Setting myself a challenge with some extremely pretty heart shaped lampwork glass beads, 9 feet of 20g wire each and unlimited amounts of fine wire, I made pendants using the same design, and the aim was to make each one slightly different from the other. So late at night, while we watched the last movie on the telly and the cats snored gently on the hearth, I made these three pendants. Hung on Nepalese threadwork necklaces, I think they look very pretty and are similar, but different from one another. They now form part of a series called Birds Do it, Bees do it......
See, I told you I'd been busy! Ms Muse and I are taking a well-deserved rest today and then a few polymer clay pendants are on the cards for the weekend.
Have a fab week, and catch you next Friday, 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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