Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello readers and lovers of statement jewellery everywhere, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog. Sun?? What is she talking about? I hear you ask - well, the UK has had the most beautiful September and we cannot believe that winter and Jack Frost will soon be here. But the real raison d'etre for the title is the solar quartz I recently acquired.
Solar Quartz is a slice of agatized stalactite, with mossy inclusions. It is usually pale grey or white, and can be dyed in brilliant colours. The radiating central core of the stalactite, with the mossy inclusions makes the cut section resemble a flower, or if you want to use your imagination a bit more, the sun. If you believe in the metaphysical qualities of gemstones, here's a little snippet for you...
These were the two pieces I got from a vendor in Jaipur - they were so irresistibly beautiful, I had to put them into a setting straight away. I used sterling silver wire for one of them, and copper for the other. They were quite hard to wrap, considering all the wavy edges I had to contend with, but a bit of perseverance, a lot of grunting and growling, muttering and mumbling, sweating and swearing, and hooray! two pendants appeared.
The quartz reminds me of a cocktail served at a restaurant I once went to in Drogheda, Ireland - it is called Paradise and contains light rum, Malibu, Blue Curacao, Pineapple juice and Grenadine. The way the liqueurs are layered makes the cocktail visually appealing though quite disgustingly sweet (that's just my opinion) - drink two of them and everything (one) becomes appealing!
I own one of these torq necklaces, and they are fabulous especially when travelling - one just needs to pack a bunch of pendants and there's an instant change of jewellery and a very contemporary necklace that no one else is likely to have.
These faux 'lapis' beads were made from polymer clay - with this necklace in mind. The pendants from Afghanistan are on the heavy side and when teamed with gemstone beads ( they aren't called 'stones' for nothing) the weight of the piece could become unwearable, especially with the larger slab nuggets I wanted to use.
I wasn't prepared for how beautiful the Afghani pendant and the 'lapis' nuggets would look when put together in a piece of jewellery - I was astounded and the only way to describe it was 'Lush' - hence it's name.
I made a trek up to the Cotswolds for a two day polymer clay workshop - this is the third year running that I have gone to it - we carry our own selection of tools, including pasta machines - everything but the kitchen sink, in the boots of our cars, and stay at hotels, pubs and B&Bs around Broadway. We were around 40 of us this year, who came and went over 3 days, and it was a lovely atmosphere of camaraderie and sharing of ideas and techniques.
We had teachers from France and the USA this year and although I didn't actually finish any of my pieces while I was there, (too busy gassing and looking around in awe at the other students - if one of my teachers from school was reading this, she'd ask 'what's new?' ) I came back home and was sufficiently enthused to complete the most colourful piece I had begun.
There is a second piece that I will probably finish this weekend - it is pale and contemporary and interestingly beautiful - but I plump for colour, every time!
The inspiration for the colours in the piece below came from this picture - Loretta Lam, our teacher, got us to mix the colours in the right proportions, and make the beads for the necklace out of Ultralight clay - which is just as well for such large beads which otherwise would have felt like the heavy bells around a cow's neck - I don't fancy making jewellery for the bovine!
This necklace has strong sculptural shapes and is hard work to make - the beads are first shaped and cured, then segments of veneer, made beforehand in the colours required, are applied piece by piece, and cured as they are applied one at a time - the beads spend almost a whole day in the oven being cured - and then of course they need to be sanded and buffed to a shine. The necklace is reversible and I love it for being so colourful and modern. I've even made a second one using some left over beads and veneers I transported home carefully between sheets of deli paper.
Challenge - Wire Bracelet
The challenge allowed us three beads and three pieces of wire, 10" long each, and an unspecified amount of fine wire or solder to bind them with. I used non tarnish enamelled copper and made this bracelet.
That's this week's shenanigans folks, have a good week and I'll catch you next week, 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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