Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello readers, and a very Mery Christmas to you all. I hope Santa has put a lot of thought into the presents he is bringing you, especially those of you who are getting pieces of Caprilicious Jewellery.
Life at the day job has been very hectic recently and I'm quite looking forward to the long break over Christmas. I shall lie in, have long bubble baths in candlelight, light a fire and cook roast beef for Christmas lunch with a few friends, eat chocolate and drink champagne (no, that's one step too far!). When my friends have gone, there will be loads of time to play with clay and beads - plus ça change, plus ça même chose!
An Epic Fail - I've Been Humptied!
Last week, I was inspired by previous successes to make clay flowers. I love the pale gold of bronze, and the beautiful play of colours when the pieces come out of a hot kiln after being fired in a closed, carbon filled container at 800 degrees C for two hours. I opened a fresh package of bronze clay which looks just like a mud pie when it comes out of it's plastic wrap, and got started.
I made three flowers - a poppy, a violet/pansy and a hibiscus. Working out the making of the pieces was so much fun and I got carried away with the hibiscus. I fired the two smaller pendants while I lovingly gazed at the hibiscus, stroking the petals sensuously like one would the thigh of a lover, sanding it to remove any irregularities and prettifying it with little shiny cubic zirconia.
Perhaps I knew I was in over my head and that the hibiscus was doomed to fail? Anyway, I prevaricated, telling myself I had to get it perfect before firing it - until eventually I could do no more with it. I came home early from work one afternoon, and my heart quickened - finally, it was time to fire my beauty.
So onto the steel mesh she went, lovingly snuggled up in a fibre blanket, with supports for the petals and pistil that might just go floppy in the kiln.
Just ten minutes in the kiln at 500 degrees to burn off the binder and I brought her out to cool while I raised the temperature in the kiln to 800 degrees C.
When cool enough to touch, I picked her up and put her on a bed of carbon, gently nestling her into it so she wouldn't flop at high temperatures. And suddenly, it happened - crunch! came a little sound, and one of the petals had broken in three. OMG! Oh well, I could take it indoors and fix it, I reckoned. So I sat down with clay paste, trying to fix the hibiscus - unfortunately it was a bit like trying to fix Humpty Dumpty and eventually, the whole thing disintegrated in my hands.
Oh yes, I learned some lessons, and yes, there will be another hibiscus - and I shall persevere till it works. I have kept a photo diary of what I did, and will take pictures again so that when I do get it right, I will know what works, for future reference.
At least I had the two other flower pendants to play with! To stave off the depression that threatened to descend on me after the loss of my beauty, I made two necklaces with them. I sat down with wire and made a couple of clasps to go onto the ends of the necklaces and picked out a few strings of gemstone beads, spacer beads, accents, generally busying myself with putting the elements together for a couple of necklaces. Every now and then a self pitying thought surfaced for having Humptied such a beautiful pendant, but I refused to allow it to overwhelm me and forged on. Here are the necklaces I made.
The little flower could just as easily be a violet as a pansy and the purple agate was interspersed with loads of tiny little colourful gemstone beads, and a little bronze leaf I made earlier dangling from the clasp.
The centre of this flower was purposefully made rough and darkened with alcohol ink. A couple of lost wax cast Kenyan beads pick up the colour of the flower and provide and accent. Along with the blue dyed jade, the necklace looks rather pretty, even though I say so myself. What do you think??
While I spent daylight hours making and refining the flowers including the hibiscus that got Humptied, I sat in front of the telly in the evenings sewing tiny beads and braids around a druzy cabochon and came up with this little pendant hung on a non tarnish copper torque necklace. It looks a lot like a sun, and is rather bright and so named after a Beatle's song, Here Comes the Sun.
That's me for this week, folks. All that's left is for me to wish you a very happy Christmas, and I shall catch up with 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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