Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello lovely people, I'm so glad we've survived just over 100 days of lockdown in one piece - now all we have to do is hold our collective breaths until a vaccine is available hopefully later on in the year, and we are home free. In the meantime, I plod on, sewing away industriously, trying out new techniques, and trying to make each of my necklaces different from the last one, and if possible, even more interesting and beautiful.
I spend a lot of time in my garden in the summertime and the flowers that bloom there tend to inspire me to make floral jewellery. My last big floral piece 'Hope Springs Eternal' got an "Honorable Mention" in the contest I entered it into; and a lot of you played a role in that, being kind enough to make the journey onto Facebook and vote for me. Thank you very much for that. However, I felt that Hope was the ultimate floral piece, with its lashings of Czech flower beads and froth of wisteria, and anything after it would either be a pale imitation or not be up to scratch.
I realised that I was trying to recreate in my necklace a flower bed with a mass of blooms, all higgledy piggledy, as if they had self seeded there and hadn't been planted by human hands. I prefer this to ordered rows of flowers, marching in twos and threes like crocodiles of schoolgirls, towards a central fountain - I find that sort of planting very pretentious, and akin to municipal gardens tended by fussy little old men. My gardens have no colour scheme - everything is allowed. It appeals to me, although purists may be shocked at my seemingly ill disciplined approach to flower beds.
A s I pondered about how I was going to achieve this effect, I came across Jessica Grimm, Dima Santina and Margaret Cobleigh. These ladies are American embroiderers who posted Japanese bead embroidery projects on their blogs - one look and I was hooked. I sent off for a book by an expert they all mentioned, Margaret Lee, and loved the flowers on the cover page. However, I just wanted the techniques, not to follow the projects to the letter. The next few photographs will take you through my daily progress with this necklace, which I have named Woodland Fantasy. The photographs are all taken with my phone - I'm thinking I need to take a few lessons on how to get the best from my phone as I'm using it more and more. I still like using my good DSLR camera for the final pictures, though.
At the end of Day 4 and midway into Day 5 I felt quite satisfied with the way my Woodland Fantasy was turning out, but there was still a niggling thought at the back of my mind - it lacked vibrancy, somehow and needed a vivid yellow to up the colour quotient - well, that's what I thought, and some of you might not agree with me. Also, if I had left well alone, it would have been closer to Margaret Lee's work than mine and of course, I couldn't allow that! So on went the bright yellow crystals, dotted here and there as if they were scattered there by an unseen hand, much like the way I throw Nigella and seeds into my flower beds so that the flowers pop up all over the place.
It rained most of the week, so beading was my major entertainment - and all while in splits of laughter as I binge watched Friday Night Dinner on Netflix. My husband thinks I'm crazy because I love silly comedy, but I'm unrepentant. I love Tamsin Greig and Mark Heap, they were so good in the Green Wing that I bought the boxed set, and Friday Night Dinner is very, very funny.
The week is almost over now, and I have yet to fill in the bare spots in the necklace with black beads and back, and edge it as well as find a way to hang it - it may be a while yet before I am finished with it. And here's a picture of Wilfred, bringing me a playmate - isn't he clever!! He certainly thought so!
That's me for this week, folks. Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.