Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello folks, how are you today? The air is getting distinctly nippy and although fortunately it isn't hurricane season in the UK, we've had our first named storm this week - Aileen has brought winds of 75mph to the UK. The leaves are still green on the trees around us, but not for long. The garden is looking a bit bedraggled and loads of flowers need deadheading, but I haven't had the time.
As the nights get longer and the days decidedly cooler, necklines creep upwards towards the chin and sleeves grow longer. It isn't cold enough for swaddling oneself in coats and scarves but necklaces close to the neck aren't as effective any more. I've been working on a new line of jewellery for a little boutique in Birmingham and while I made these, I made a few for Caprilicious.
Lagenlook - What is it?
The necklaces, we have established, need to be designed so that they can be worn with high necklines and sweaters. I love Lagenlook clothes, and spring and autumn are when they really come into their own. I've always dressed this way, in loose and flowing garments, with waistcoats, and asymmetrical hemlines and was amazed to discover that this style actually has a name! Lagenlook - or the layered look. It refers to a fashion movement that started in Japan and Europe around 3 decades ago. It has developed a strong niche in Europe and the UK but is only slowly starting to infiltrate Australia and the USA.
Of course, working as a NHS consultant in an ultra conservative country, my daytime look has to be toned down somewhat, but, given the chance, I love my harem pants from Indonesia, loose, long shirts, waistcoats, and colourful shoes that I buy in India - they are called 'Joothis' and are made of embroidered leather and originate in Rajasthan.
Having spent half my life attempting to conform with my peers, it was a lightbulb moment when I realised that I would never truly blend in; neither in the East, nor in the West and that I should be my own person. That one flash of insight has injected so much colour and fun into my life. My imagination has truly taken flight and I don't feel the need to squeeze my feet into prissy little kitten heels and my body into Chanel suits - I feel so much better for that!
So then, these new pieces of jewellery are designed for quirky people, bohemian souls and people who celebrate the word 'different'. Ladies who like 'normal' may not like these, but there are plenty of other pieces on the website that would appeal to them. I've asked one of our senior midwives to come over to model these pieces for the website - Jackie is also a lover of Lagenlook, and is a very striking woman. I asked her if she would like to model for Caprilicious, and she said yes straight away. I have a day off on the Tuesday next week and she's coming in after work to wear the pieces for me. I shall have my nose to the grindstone all weekend, putting the finishing touches to the necklaces.
Ok, I know what you're thinking - 'where's this jewellery then, what's this hype all about? It's not like her, she's usually showing us pictures of her jewellery from every conceivable angle'. I have to say, I haven't any pictures, mainly because most of the pieces are half finished, some of them need to go back in the oven, others need embellishing, and still others are in my head and will be made over the weekend. However, here's one picture I took of a half finished necklace - I took it to show a friend who wanted to know what I was working on.
Why do these necklaces take so long to make? - the bottom piece has an insert of fold formed copper embedded into it - after it was fold formed and annealed it was textured with dimpling pliers, and a couple of sterling silver balls soldered to it. A patina and shine with steel wool completed the preparation of the copper which was embedded in black clay. Another piece was crafted resembling a shard of wood, and a third resembling bone. The necklet was made to look like faux bone, all of them were patinated and buffed, and a way to connect the four pieces devised. I then used waxed linen thread in macrame knots to provide the fringe. Oh, I forgot the pieces of copper wire that I cut up and balled the ends in a flame. This piece is the most outrageous piece in the collection, in comparison the others are very tame, including the ones still in my head. And the fun of it all is that I have used every jewellery making skill I have learned over the years, except metal clay.
And I'm afraid that's it, that's all I have for you this week. Have a fabulous 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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