Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
The 'Unfinished Symphony' saga
Hello readers, how are you this fine morning?? I thought it was time we had some music - it's been ages since I played some on the blog. You will see why I chose this song in a minute - apart from the fact that this is one of the few I can play on the piano - I have to tell you that it was not my ambition to be a pianist, and that reflected itself in my playing, which was truly terrible - I needed earplugs when I played, but I somehow got to Grade 5, which has more to do with persistence than enthusiasm - I got out of it as soon as possible, which annoyed my mother no end - she envisaged this super daughter, who would be at concert pianist level, probably a brain surgeon, and a nuclear physicist/ mathematician in her spare time - no pressure then!!
Spring is in the air - and how do I know this for certain?? Not because of the beautiful primroses that have obligingly come back, or the skies growing lighter, or the temperatures rising - Oh, no, I know this for sure because my husband has his annual project on the go. My lawn, tended lovingly by a chap called Mr GreenThumb has been dug up and is, as I write a churned up, horrible mess.
Being a retired builder, Mike seems to need the annual fix of concrete and mud to keep him satisfied - this year he says the lawn isn't good enough, and requires a pad of some kind for the garden furniture. I hope that when I retire, I don't suddenly develop a penchant for my earlier career - stop me, won't you, if I start eyeing up uteri, and please, call the men in white suits if I attempt to extract body parts with my bare hands.
Anyway, he needs his annual fix, and I let it happen - this allows me to put my foot down with a firm hand the rest of the year, and still feel virtuous about it! - only one project per calendar year is allowed here.
Nicole Hanna, most generous weaver of wire and writer of tutorials, threw us a challenge - to finish one of her tutorials in any way we saw fit, with a tight control on the ingredients used. She has published an album of all the pieces entered in the competition, including mine, which you can see here, should you be so inclined.
It is certainly amazing how the design has been interpreted in so many different ways. The contestants were all sent the finished tutorial, and a chance to vote for a design to win. Here's a picture of my piece, and the piece as Nicole Hanna envisages it - just proves there's more than one way to skin a cat; or weave a pendant, even. Mine looks so complicated and tangled - perhaps reflecting my state of mind when I made it - who knows??
I swapped some beads my mother gave me for a bagful of gemstone beads, so I spent some time making a couple of pendants with rhodochrosite beads- they were meant to be earrings, but midway through the process, I realised they would be too heavy for the ears, so they have now been converted into pendants. This, of course meant that I didn't have to make them exactly alike - so though I started off making them together, and duplicating each flourish and swirl, I let go of this painful process once I decided they were in fact destined to be pendants.
I spent the rest of the week making scarf jewellery for my friend from Look in the Bag - some to go with scarves she has designed, and others made to be sold exclusively through their outlet.
This is one of the wire designs I came up with, and no doubt there will be more. In the meanwhile, I have played with the Bargello cane, taught at a class by Jana Benzon Roberts - I just love it so much, and I feared that I might forget how to make it if I left it too long, my memory is like a sieve these days.
While playing with designs for scarf jewellery, I came up with various prototypes to pick from. One of the rejects was this cane, which I then reduced further and turned into a kaleidoscope cane. I have been talking about these bits of scarf jewellery for a while now - you must think they are a figment of my imagination, as nothing has appeared on these pages. Not so, friends - I am waiting for the scarves to be made up - and all will be revealed by Neelam, on her website/blog - after all, she commissioned them, and so they are hers to reveal, when she sees fit.
And here's my very first kaleidoscope cane! Now I have something completely different to work with, once I am finished with the scarf jewellery in a couple of weeks. This is one of the things I love about polymer clay - there's absolutely no wastage at all - it gladdens the heart of a woman who chases after every dropped bead, giving it a stern telling off for daring to run away from home.
Here are some earrings I made with the first two pieces I cut from the cane - I think they are sweet.
More Biker Pearls
Pearls have come into their own - they are no longer the preserve of the cologne scented, blue rinse, toffee nosed brigade, and I have been looking for funky and different ways to wear them. I have made this necklace before, but couldn't resist making some more - this time, I got some large black and grey pearls, as well as the regular creamy ones, and black, blue and white leather.
Won't these look fabulous with your denims and leathers and perhaps a biker or jeans jacket - boho biker pearls for casual wear!
I must go now and make sure that Mike's enthusiasm isn't running away with him - I now know why builders often give you a quote that doesn't resemble what you end up spending - it's because of all the last minute 'lightbulb moments' that happen along the way - however, to be fair to him, he does do a great job, and I have enjoyed the fruits of all his previous labours.
Have a great week, and I'll 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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