Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello folks, and good day to you. I hope you're all feeling mellow in the lead up to autumn. I've been back to work a week, and it seems as if I was never away. I think putting my trip to Prague on this blog may help me get the holiday feeling back, although it will be short lived, as I am working again this weekend.
So, we went to Prague. Having been before we didn't have to submit ourselves to hectic sightseeing and could take it at a leisurely pace. I also didn't book breakfast at the hotel - I never eat before midday but for some stupid reason, we end up rushing to get to breakfast, getting there just as they are about to clear it away, husband grumbling in my ear about the food he isn't getting and how all the 'good bacon' will all be gone. This way we woke up late, went for a swim in the Four Seasons hotel's fabulous hydrotherapy pool and then brunch at the place where we wanted to do a bit of light refreshing of the memories we had from over ten years ago. I managed to fit in some bead shopping, and a couple of jazz concerts in the evenings.
Research into the bead situation in Prague led me to Koralky Komponenty and I spent a good hour picking up beads - hubby was dispatched to a Chinese restaurant next door to have a coffee, while I played Supermarket Sweep. Czech glass beads are some of the best - all the beads are of uniform size, with the same size holes which accommodate multiple passes of the thread so that the beads are secure with the correct tension in the piece of jewellery. I have bought many an embroidered and sequined piece of clothing only to find that by the time the outfit is taken off half the embellishments are missing and there are whiskers of bare thread all over the place. This cannot be allowed to happen with jewellery, so the thread used is of microfilament fused nylon akin to fishing line. I use thread that can carry a load of 6lbs and above, and double sew each bead - belt and braces!
Here are some of the pictures I took in Prague. As you can see, there's a lot to see when one looks up at the roof tops. For some reason, the good people of Prague embellished their rooftops as well as everything else they did at eye level. By the time I had finished, I had a massive pain in the neck! As someone who enjoys embellishment, it seemed like I had found my own tribe of people, at last.
Everywhere we walked in the Old Town there was something to look at, but the real interesting bits seemed to be stuck on the rooftops, tucked away so that only people who risked a twisted ankle or a pain in the neck would get to see them. We also sat at many cafes, and loads of people watching was done. It seemed like almost everyone was a tourist and that was disappointing - there didn't seem to be the type of impossibly chic people around that one sees in Paris or Italy. The food wasn't that inspiring - mainly meat based, with great big knuckles of pork dominating the cuisine. They hadn't really heard of vegetables, salads or indeed chunky chips.
We went to the Mucha museum, and on another occasion a permanent exhibition of some of Dali's works - now his brain was one hell of a confused mess but interesting to try and decipher. I loved the glass perfume bottles he designed, they were very contemporary looking. Perhaps Jean-Paul Gaultier got his inspiration there?
Dancing Cheek to Cheek
We fetched up at the Fred and Ginger building and took the elevator to the top floor. The price of a drink bought us some fabulous views over Prague. As massive fans of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, we thought Frank Gehry had designed a building that was truly 'dancing cheek to cheek'. I could almost see the feathers flying off Ginger's costume as they did in the famous clip above.
The last time we were in Prague, we were knee deep in sightseeing tours and had no time to go to the Mucha Museum, so we managed to find it, tucked away in a side street leading off the posh shopping street, Pařížská with all the designer shops that held no appeal for me. When I first came to the UK in the early eighties and wanted to brighten up the artexed walls of my little hospital flat, I found a load of posters by Mucha and they moved with me every six months to every new job. I thought I ought to go and see the birthplace of these posters that had made my life more bearable in those bleak years as a junior doctor.
Alfons Mucha, who was born a hundred years before me was an artist who got his lucky break when someone needed a poster for Sarah Bernhardt, the renowned actress of the time and the guy who did them regularly was off sick. Alfons had been practicing painting her in his spare time at the printmakers where he worked and his ready made painting was used. Sarah loved it so much, he was commissioned to do more and more and then Wham! that was the birth of his prolific career. Everyone could do with a break like that, and to think that it caused him to end up on my walls for over five years. Anyway, to cut a long story short, he eventually ended up designing stamps for the new Czech Republic and a lot of revolutionary paintings and posters, but is probably best known outside his country for his Art Nouveau paintings. He died of pneumonia after being interrogated by the Nazis but by then there was a large body of work, some of which was on the walls of this fabulous museum.
I've had a pack of Vintaj art nouveau brass flowers that I imported from the USA ages ago and had no idea what to do with - well, their time had come! I made three lovely pairs of earrings with them using Shibori silk and some of the beads I bought in Prague. Each one turned out different and they are long and showy, but light as a feather. I hung them on ear studs to give the ear lobes added protection.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch up with you next Friday, same time, same place.