Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello everyone, how are you today. I've had a relaxed, quiet week without too many ups or downs, and am grateful for it. One of my customers sent me a package full of beads, broken necklaces and other bits and bobs, asking me to make whatever I could of them and throw the rest away. I love this sort of challenge and sat down one evening with a pair of snips, and put the beads together in piles of varying sizes before I could decide what to do with them.
There was a pile of small beads, and another of very large ones and I wracked my brain cells to come up with a solution. Of course, the challenge is to not waste a single bead so for the first necklace, I collected together all the tiny beads, crystals, amethyst chips and brightly coloured elements I could find and put them in a wirework necklace. The proceeds from this necklace will go to the neonatal unit at the hospital.
I think the necklace is particularly pretty - a riot of colour, with every single bead coming from the stash donated by the lovely D - thank you very much. My contribution is the non tarnish silver plated enamelled wire and the skin off my fingertips! All the little beads in the bead soup were used up in this necklace, and I am pleased with the result.
In the second pile of large beads, I found some silvery turban beads and turquoise nuggets. Put together with a faux amber donut pendant I made a few months ago and some red agate beads and there appeared a pretty necklace that I was proud to wear to work on a test drive.
Spindle whorls are African trade beads made predominantly in Mali. They were used worldwide for thousands of years, originally as tools in the cotton spinning industry to increase or maintain the speed of spin. In more recent years they have become much sought after as interesting beads and incorporated into the very fashionable genre of 'Tribal' jewellery.
The whorls were made from clay, amber, antler, bone, coral, glass, metal and wood. Local materials such as chalk, limestone, mudstone, and soapstone, have been used in those found in Mali and Guinea.
Used as weights for traditional cotton spinning, the whorls are fitted at the bottom of the spindle shafts, which are used as supported spindles to spin very fine threads. The bottom tip of the shaft rests in a small bowl placed in the weavers lap or on a table to one side.
I made facsimiles of the spindle whorls using polymer clay - a tutorial was featured in Bead and Jewellery Magazine earlier on in the year entitled 'Doodle Beads', referring to the doodles drawn on the polymer clay once it had been daubed generously with pastel chalk. I had some white ceramic beads that I bought on a trip to India and a couple of coral chunks which I put into a necklace. An Afghani coin decorates the handmade extension chain at the back. The coral appears aged and the necklace appears like an ancient artefact.I took it for a test run, and I got loads of compliments so I took a selfie at lunchtime while I was standing by the microwave waiting for my food to be heated.
This weekend, I shall start to pack my jewellery into a case ready to take to the IDEAS Etsy Craft Market at The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham on Friday the 1st of December. If any of you are around, do drop by.
The Custard Factory is where Bird's Custard Powder was first made - all the way till 1964 when production moved to Banbury.
The Custard Factory is the most powerful collection of creative and digital businesses, independent retailers and event venues outside London. Along with its sister project, Fazeley Studios, it forms the heart of Birmingham’s creative and digital district. Just over five minutes walk from the Bullring, it is home to over 500 businesses and hosts a regular calendar of fairs, festivals and gigs, as well as corporate and private events and weddings.
Digbeth comes alive on the first Friday of each month with exhibitions, late-night openings, special events, culture in unexpected spaces, live music, street food and more.
With different things to see and do each month anything could happen on a First Friday night out which runs from 6pm ‘til late. Maps are available online a few days before the event and at participating venues on the day. The Custard Factory venue will be open till 8pm on the Friday so it is bound to be a long, but hopefully a fun day meeting real people who like my jewellery, rather than the virtual reality of a www address.
That's me for this week folks, have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place,