Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello readers, and lovers of unusual handmade statement jewellery, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog this week.
Here it is again, Diwali, the mother and father of all Indian festivals - the entire subcontinent of India comes to a standstill - in fact the country hasn't really recovered yet from the previous big festival of Dussehra, which is celebrated twenty days before Diwali.
The very first Diwali started on the night of a new moon when lamps were lit to show Ram and his entourage their way back from exile in a forest - electricity hadn't been invented yet - and if it hadn't been for the kind people who used the last drops of their oil in a lamp, instead of in their cooking, Ram's exile might have lasted another fourteen years as he blundered about looking for the road to his home town ( maps and compasses hadn't been invented either and there had been quite a few changes in that area in fourteen years).
Indians like a nice long holiday, and Diwali is 3 days long, with a second day to pray to the Goddess of Wealth tagged onto the Ram story, as well as a third where we celebrate yet another demon being slayed (there were loads of them in those days apparently). Some people even have a 5 day celebration, but everyone knows that's swinging the lead a bit!
Ram was a very nice chap by all accounts, he agreed to go into exile without a whimper when his nasty step mom emotionally blackmailed his dad into sending him away. He took his wife and brother with him, and they had a fair old time, fighting demons, and making friends with monkeys - my grandmother told me these stories often, and my only response was a howl of outrage that Ram agreed to go without a fuss (I would have kicked and screamed and made such a racket that my step mother would have willingly left the country, just to get away from the noise).
Anyway, as the story goes, his wife is so beautiful that a demon lusts after her and abducts her. Ram is forced to go and fetch her back from Sri Lanka, using monkeys, bears and vultures as allies and the day he kills the demon is celebrated in the festival of Dussehra.
He then comes back home on Diwali day, gets his throne back and proceeds to annoy his wife by doubting her virtue (well, she had been abducted and imprisoned by a demon for many days - what's to doubt?? - a gentleman wouldn't have even gone there ) his wife leaves him and goes back to the jungle with her twin sons, which seems like the better option - I can't say I blame her. So, a not so happy ending then!
If you want to know more after this potted history, I recommend a book by Ashok Banker called The Prince of Ayodhya, it is really well written and a lot of fun to read.
I spent some time with my kiln at the weekend - here are a few pictures I took as I went along.....
This is my little kiln, the beautiful Paragon SC2 - not so pretty when the door is opened, though. The black dust is from the charcoal in the container used to fire bronze and copper clay.
The dry pieces of bronze are fired in a lidded stainless steel container in activated charcoal to prevent oxidation. Once cooled, the charcoal is sieved to remove the ash and find the sintered bronze.
The bronze pieces are put into a rock tumbler with water, liquid soap and stainless steel shot and rotated for an hour, while my assistant Wilfred watches over it carefully.
Spanish Eyes - Juanita
As one of my friends said - red and gold - what's not to love?? - the coral complements the last pendant of the 'Spanish Sisters' series.
The dark blue in this necklace is a colour that is long associated with Egypt and Cleopatra. Teamed with tiny gold beads, the sea sediment jasper is very pretty.
The pendant was originally made with bronze clay and had empty space within. I decided that I would experiment with a sheet of polymer clay and fill up the space with colour. I think it looks rather attractive, especially with the blue and green Czech glass beads.
All of these necklaces will make interesting gifts, and once you've sorted out your gift list, you will have more time to spend on yourself and your loved ones - take the pain out of gift giving with Caprilicious.
While I waited for the kiln to do it's stuff and the pendants to be made, I played with a design by Nicole Hanna and made this little key. I am leaning towards sculptural pieces made with wire and you will see more of these in the coming months.
The Wings of Love
This necklace was made from the wings of the Jewel Beetle. I've made jewellery from these before and found that a lot of people were squeamish to begin with - but once they got over the initial shock, the colours in those wings were enough to draw in the most resistant individual.
I sent for more wings and added a wire wrapped smoky quartz teardrop to the pendant, and on a chain at the back of the necklace.
I think this certainly qualifies to go into the Bling album, don't you??
The next necklace does too - the blues and silvers in Nocturne are evocative of moonlit nights on a beach, a light breeze in your hair, holding hands with your loved one.
Wire lace was applied to the two impression jasper connectors on either side, and I made all the connectors and bead caps myself. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to make as many elements of my jewellery as I can - in my opinion it elevates my jewellery from being merely beads strung onto wire to individual pieces of art which are definitely one of a kind, and can only rarely be replicated.
That's my lot for this week folks. It struck me that in November, it will be three years since Caprilicious Jewellery came into existence. I have enjoyed every moment of this journey, and must thank you all, my supporters, for it. I shall have to think of some way to mark the occasion, but in the meanwhile thanks for being by my side. Have a fantastic week and catch you next week, same time, same place