Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello readers, I hope you have all had a good week and are ready to relax at the weekend. I have been slowly getting over the visual overload of the last week - so many sights, so many statues and pieces of art, so much to take in that the photographs I took were only a drop in the ocean of memories I wish to hold on to.
We went to the Ponte Vecchio, a 13th century bridge over the river Arno. It connects the Oltrarno ( the artisan district) to the main city of Florence. Butchers initially occupied the shops but the present tenants are jewellers, art dealers and souvenir sellers. In the 16th century the Vasari Corridor was built on top of the bridge by the Medici rulers of Florence to move freely and safely from their home in Palazzo Pitti to the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi, which is when the butcher's shops changed hands to become goldsmith's shops. As the rents were very high, the goldsmiths extended their shops outwards and they still hang over the water as if by magic, in a charming, higgledy piggledy manner.
I peered into the jewellers windows as we crossed the bridge. They had hundreds of Euros worth of silver and gold in them and at first I was quite fascinated.
Unfortunately there was no place to sit down and a load of other people including pick pockets, street vendors who shook fists full of leather bracelets in your face in an alarmingly threatening manner if you didn't look like you'd buy from them, a colourfully dressed African man who informed us that 'Yoo arrr maai fadder and yoo arrr mai maader', and tried to extract money from us to care for his siblings, presumably also our children, caused us to walk briskly away and seek refuge in a cafe on the other side of the bridge.
Pity, that, I'd have quite liked to have spent a bit more time there.
And then I found Angela Caputi - a fabulous boutique in the artisan district selling art statement jewellery made of resin, lucite, and acrylics.
Her jewellery has caught the attention of haute couture stylists and museums. She is displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York, at Museo degli Argenti and Galleria del Costume in Florence. Very contemporary and hi-falutin', but the prices - OMG! they made me go weak at the knees - given the materials used, they were highly overpriced, but I guess one is paying for the store in the centre of Florence and all the other overheads, as well as the name. I took in all the beautiful things around me and came away shaking my head muttering, like the woman from Goodness Gracious Me, ' I can make this at home for nothing!!'
Well, of course I cant, but it gave me solace to think so.
This is a necklace I had planned before I went on holiday. I made the faux amber beads myself out of translucent polymer clay coloured with alcohol inks, antiqued and inlaid with 'coral' and 'turquoise' and 'repaired' using wire. The Moroccan amulet is extra large and very colourful and needed the balance of the large amber beads. I added a bit of colour with red resin beads - I figured that if Angela Caputi can do it, so can I!
I saw a necklace on a tourist in Florence and immediately thought of a way I could create a similar one using beads I recently rediscovered when rummaging around in my stash. I think there is a method to my madness as far as the untidiness of my work surfaces goes - I have the compulsive need to tidy up as I go along and while doing this find strings of beads bought long ago and forgotten, just waiting to be found. I sent off for Czech glass flower beads to match and when they arrived put them together with a beautiful little silver clasp.
These little embellishments make a piece for me - a pretty clasp, a charm dangling from the back of the necklace, a beautiful focal bead. I collect them obsessively and jealously, and am slow to release them, which is a bit stupid, I know, but hey, a girl has to have some fixations in her life. Little lever back earrings with a couple of the left over flowers finish off this ensemble.
Well people, this has become the story of Little and Large! I hope you have enjoyed your read and liked the pictures of Firenze I had for you. That's me for the week, I'll catch you next week, same time, same place. Until then,
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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