Hello good people, how are you. I hope you're all ready for Christmas and your chestnuts are roasting on an open fire (I've often wondered whether that was a euphemism for something else - if you know, do tell). I've been very busy at Caprilicious. This year I ran an offer on Instagram to wrap and deliver peoples presents and had quite a few takers. Some people even ordered custom made jewellery for their friends and I rushed about sending them photographs of various beads and supplies, made up the pieces once the 'ingredients' were agreed, gift wrapped and posted them out. A bit too busy for my liking, but I didn't disappoint anyone, so that's a positive.
Consequently, I have no tree or Christmas decorations up - all I have is a rather sad row of cards, which look so pathetic, I shall put them away on Boxing Day. I'm working on Christmas day, anyway, so we've kinda decided to have a very muted celebration this year. The tree in the picture is last years tree, but hey, who's checking up on me?
In the Still of the Night
As I made this necklace, we had the DVD of 'DeLovely' playing for the twentieth time. Mike and I are fans of Cole Porter and old American traditional jazz music. This one is one of my favourite songs from the movie, so poignant and wistful, and it seemed to suit this necklace perfectly. The little beads are onion briolettes - they are like plump little buds with a pointy top like an onion, and they are very colourful and pretty. The necklace would look great in the neckline of a strappy dress.
Designed by Nicole Hanna, this pendant is extremely complex, with miles of wire twisting and turning on itself, pleated and folded until my fingertips were sore, and my brain befuddled from reading the pattern. It took me four days to make, as I had to take frequent rest from the scratches and piercings inflicted on my poor hands by the sharp ends of the frame wire. I hung it on a simple necklace of faceted tiger eye beads that glow with an inner fire. Mike said it looked almost Russian when I finished it with tourmaline teardrops, thence the name.
I've been meaning to make earrings for the longest time and I hurled myself headlong into finding components and putting these together. I've decided I will cut out some very funky shapes and mix and match them with the metal components and have a bit of fun. I'll have a few more to show you after Christmas. I went out and bought a couple of glossy magazines and placed the earrings on images of a couple of particularly attractive young ladies, and I think the photos turned out rather well. See what you make of them.
I added simple stud findings as well as ornamental studs with their own clip backs, so that people like me with torn lobes from many years of ear lobe abuse can also wear them comfortably.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a wonderful Christmas, chill out on Boxing Day and get ready to party next week on New Year's Eve - bring out the violins, I'm working on that day too!!
Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how are you. Only 11 days to the big day now and I have to say this year has been a bit bleah! I haven't been able to muster up the enthusiasm to bring the decorations up from the garden shed and now it seems like it is too late to even bother, as we'll be putting them away pretty soon. I'm working on Christmas day and New Years Eve so not much festive cheer in our house this holiday season. Still, rather than turn into the Grinch, I've been trying to make an effort to join in at the hospital.
I love Dragonflies, don't you? I love the shimmer of their wings as they zoom about their business and I make them over and over again, tirelessly. The latest one I made is called Dragonfly Dreams and made from a wire design by Nicole Hanna. I've made this one in the past, and I looked for pictures of the previous versions.
And here's this years iteration, Dragonfly Dreams..............
I even made a pair of earrings to go with the necklace.
I've been looking at the piece of embroidery I started, and it's still fugly! Nothing has changed!! Drat, I was hoping the embroidery fairy would have come by while I was asleep and done the needful, but no, it hasn't happened. To get away from it I bought three wire design tutorials and flung myself into a tangle of wire. I appear to have bought the most complicated ones I could find and my fingertips are shredded so badly that I've had to stop at regular intervals.
I was introduced to the poetry of Sanober Khan by a friend, and I fell in love. Little couplets, easy to read with a sweet wistfulness and some longer poems, all written eloquently, leaving you wanting to read more.
The malachite beads I used in the necklace look like little planets, I added seed pearls and a little box clasp and a very pretty necklace was born. Gratifyingly, someone else thought so and she picked it up almost straight away
I started on the second tutorial, and boy! this one's ever so difficult with twists and turns over and over, it's taken me a couple of days to get halfway through it. I'm having to stop ever so often to rest my poor fingers. I honestly think this one is one of the most difficult I've ever made, but it will be rewarding once it is done.
That's me for this week folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hello folks, aww, you came back for another peek at Caprilicious, thank you so much. It's been lovely to have you around all year. Before you go any further let me remind you that the Caprilicious payday giveaway is on for a couple of days more, until the 8th, so you still have a chance to grab those presents ( all for yourself, right? - I totally agree, you do deserve a treat!)
I can see the Christmas clock ticking away relentlessly in the sidebar - only eighteen days to go, it says. If you need some help, I'll take the pain of Christmas shopping away for you, I'll pack it, gift wrap and post out for you with a little card, you only have to say the word.
Do remember the Christmas post dates, please. I'd hate for you to be disappointed. Get your parcels out on time and all will be well. Last year, I had a flurry of parcels on the last postal day and I was up late into the night with ribbon and tape and wrapping paper and Michael went off in the morning to post the parcels looking like Santa himself with a sackful of gifts!
This week once again was all about wire. I've come to the end of two reels of wire, one kilogram of copper each, silver plated, and then coated in nylon to prevent a build up of tarnish. I love this nylon coated wire, and it has been a best seller for Caprilicious. Unfortunately it means that I cannot give my pieces the fancy patinas that are so fashionable today, but tarnished silver plated wire looks so ugly, I've had to get over that disappointment quickly. Also, the nylon coating means that I have to be very gentle and even handed with the wire. If I don't pay it sufficient attention, and the pliers slip, it leaves a gouge mark in the nylon which is very unsightly - I've got used to manipulating it almost completely with my fingers and using the pliers to coax it into place and to tuck the ends away at the very finish.
Anyway, I've got about three feet of 18 gauge wire left to use up next week before I can unpack my new reels from the wire company.
The pendant design is from a tutorial by Nicole Hanna - I've made it before, ages ago after I won it in a 'Finish It' competition she ran on her website. "What's a 'Finish it' competition", you ask? Nicole writes a tutorial, and sends out only half of it to those who enter. She allows the entrants to finish it any way they choose. She's always complimentary and very encouraging, even if you mangle her tutorial into an unrecognisable mess, and gives everyone who enters the full tutorial, and additionally there's a prize for the best design.
The necklace in the picture above was made after a visit to the Newmarket bead show where I bought that rather funky hand blown glass focal bead. The polymer clay colourful beads in the necklace are hollow and bright, made from a technique taught by Orly Fuchs Galen and I thought the piece was very vibrant and circus like, so I called it 'Trapeze'.
This time, I chose a more sombre palette, inspired by a picture I took early one morning of the park across the road. A slab nugget of blue/black agate, titanium coated druzy and Czech hand cut glass beads were pulled out of the stash and I'm sure you'll agree that this piece is very different from the last one. The original lives in India where the owner bought it because the necklace was 'funky'. This one was picked up a couple of days after I posted it on Instagram.
I worked on the wire left on the reel almost manically, trying to end it. The more I made, it seemed like there was even more left to use. I sat in front of the TV, fingers flying, cackling and muttering incantations to myself, cursing the reel of wire under my breath. My fingertips are numb and shredded by the fine wire which cuts into the pulp. Now that my ordeal is over and I've thrown the plastic core away, it seems so crazy, but at the time, I was determined that I would see the end of the reel. I made as many pairs of earrings as I could, after all it will soon be Christmas and there will be gifts I need to put together. I am working on Christmas day and I usually take in a grab bag of little bits for all the poor midwives and doctors who have had to give up their day for the greater good. I can announce proudly that I have finished the 20 Gauge wire, and have the dregs of the second reel of 18G - hopefully I can finish that one off by the end of next week, although 18G is thicker and more difficult to manipulate, and hence less fun to play with, calling for simple designs. As you can see, I haven't had time to put ear wires on them and have taken a few quick pictures with my phone for this blog post.
That's me for this week folks. I've started a piece of embroidered jewellery incorporating this strip of ribbon. Just now it is at the fugly stage and it is tempting to just put it aside and go back to the wire. In my experience embroidered pieces usually go through this stage and need a bit of perseverance, so I shall force myself to go back to it although just now the fugliness of it is very off putting.
Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Good Golly, Miss Molly! Only 25 days to Christmas!! How did that happen?? I wasn't looking and it snuck up on me. Oh well, we don't do cards anymore, so that's one thing I don't have to worry about. I just need to get a few pressies for people at work and that will be me done. Fortunately, Mike and I don't celebrate with gifts etc, just food and drink, so I don't have to look for something for him.
Just a reminder of Christmas last domestic post dates:-
Tuesday 18 December
The weekend saw us in Hampton Manor at the show organised by Mitchell Arts. It was part of the Christmas Fayre at the Manor and plenty of people were in attendance. I think it went well, and Toni and Tom of Mitchell Arts were smiling at the end of the day.
This week was all about wire. I bought a large roll of 20 gauge wire - a whole Kg of it a couple of years ago, and it is now running out, I can see the plastic spool. I already have a replacement spool, so wanted to see how many pieces I can make with the wire left on the old one. Also, I have a few tutorials I picked up along the way and thought this would be a good time to play with them. Quite a few are by Nicole Hanna - she writes very clear, explicit instructions, and as long as I remember to cut myself a bit more wire than she suggests, the jewellery turns out beautifully. I have quite a few tutorials for 'advanced wire skills' and even a couple for 'very advanced wire skills', so I pulled them up on my ipad and got on with a couple.
This is one for the very advanced weaver - fortunately I didn't see that before I started, or I might have been a bit intimidated. The piece involves twelve base wires and an element of mirroring that I had to work out and what seemed like hundreds of twists and turns and little curlicues. At last it was done and I strung it simply on a necklace of faceted teardrop shaped Czech fire polished beads. My fingertips were numb by the time I was through, but the pendant made up for it. A little teardrop shaped box clasp was a perfect ending to this lovely piece. I posted it on Instagram and it was snapped up even before I could post it on this website!!
I always wanted to try a design that could set a tall, thin stone and remembered that I had a tutorial for one of these pendants. Next time I will try the design with a quartz needle, I think.
This one was designed by Donna Spadafore and I've made it a few times. I love the curls and twists that hug the side of the 'stone' - the central piece in this one is a vintage broken brooch. I spent a while replacing the missing stones, filing down the broken brooch finding on the back so it wouldn't be scratchy on the skin and getting it ready to turn into a pendant, and here it is.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
P.S - before I forget, here's the code for this month's payday discount.
OHAPPYDAY! is the code and it is valid until the 8th of December. Happy shopping, and get all your Christmas presents in while you can, you have enough time to do it.
Hello folks, hope all is well with you and thanks for joining me today. I feel like I'm in party mode with Diwali jut gone and just over 30 days to Christmas. I've had a few days off from work and am feeling rejuvenated and revived - with me it's a case of a rest is as good as a change! I enjoy a good knees up and even though I'm no longer the party animal I once was, the start of the holiday season always perks me up.
This piece was made over the course of many many weeks as I made little bead circles around Swarovski Rivolis and put them away in a little box. When I thought I had enough, I put them together, although I soon realised I needed more, but had run out of the RIvolis. I had to wait a while till fresh supplies arrived, and then finally, after ages and ages I was ready to put them together. I set them into various shapes on a tray and took photographs of each one. I finally decided on the correct configuration and made the pendant up, then added a hand made chain of multicolour crystals and Arriba! the piece was ready. It reminds me of fiestas and carnivals, piñatas, sombreros and mardi gras - what more can I say?
Charles Venn danced to La Bamba last weekend as I sewed the piece together and I thought his dance epitomised the feelings evoked by this necklace.
The last picture shows the back of the necklace, all neatly covered by ultrasuede, to give a professional finish to the piece. Each circle is edged with seed beads and the whole piece is very joyful and fun. The chain allows the piece to be adjusted up or down and I am very proud of this one.
I've had these kiwi green aventurine beads in my stash for over a year and decided to make a piece with them - and I've never had so much trouble with a necklace. I made it up with a bunch of diamante spacer bars, but though it looked great, it refused to sit quietly and gracefully around the neck. It kept twisting around on itself like an impatient and irritating child squirming around in a chair. I cut it up, and changed the beads to the pretty four leaf clovers and it seemed fine, so I took it out to the conservatory and got some photographs and posted them online. As soon as I posted the pictures, the necklace was picked up by a young lady as a gift for her friend. Both of them are long term clients and I wanted to be sure that it was perfect for them.
I decided that there was one bead too many between the spacers in one of the strings, so repaired that, and then had to adjust another, and yet another until there were just too many adjustments and the necklace was no longer viable. I sat through the night, remaking the necklace to my satisfaction up until 4am and finally it was done, packed and ready for posting out before I went to bed.
Amalia is a cocktail based on kiwi fruit, devised by Michael Rousseau in honour of his mother in Four Seasons Hotel, Mexico. Amalia was also the name of the wife of Don Facundo Bacardi who founded the Bacardi company with his creation of the first light bodied rum with the unique quality of smoothness, in the 19th century.
Amalia - the recipe
1/2 Kiwi Fruit
50mls of Bacardi White rum
30 mls of Elderflower Cordial
15 mls freshly squeezed lime juice
5 sprigs of mint
50 mls of ginger ale
It certainly sounds good, perhaps one of you will try it out and let me know if it's as good as the necklace named after it.
The black ceramic beads were calling out to be used and I finally relented. The pendant is designed by Nicole Hanna, and is one of her most difficult, verging on the point of sadistic, designs. There were nine of the thicker base wires, approximately a foot long each, and they were bound together with a very fine wire. The process went on and on, until I was squinting desperately at it, begging it to end, but no, there were some more wires that needed to be woven and moved in one direction or another. And then finally it was done, the last wire anchored, the last piece of binding wire trimmed. My fingers ached and burned, but there was a feeling of pleasure deep inside, a feeling of achievement which was wonderful.
Caprilicious exhibits at Hampton Manor this week with Mitchell Galleries and I will go along on Sunday to take a look as I don't have to do any of the work apart from turn up and look good.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a lovely week and I'll catch you next Friday.
Hello, my lovelies, thanks for joining me again today. I hope you've all had a good week - I have been preparing for my annual appraisal at work, and attending various yearly statutory and mandatory training without which my paperwork cannot be signed off. This has meant a relatively easy week at work and I've had time to play with beads and baubles.
On last weeks blog I told you about the pendant I had begun to make around a focal of jasper Intarsia. I finished it during the week and proceeded to make up the necklace using a string of Sea Urchin spines in my stash.
Sea urchins are found on rocky shores and shallow, sandy areas as well as coral reefs. They have a globe shaped body that is covered with large number of long spines. Bony plates form the shell that provides protection for the soft inner parts. They hide in the crevices of rocks and reefs during the daytime, and at night, they wander out to feed on floating food particles and algae. A sea urchin’s spines are its first line of defense. The length and sharpness of an urchin’s spines vary from species to species. Some species have stubby, blunt spines, while other species have long, sharp, venom-filled spines.
The roe of the sea urchins, called Uni are edible and are a delicacy eaten raw as sushi and sashimi.
I love the spines, once cleaned and turned into beads they are hollow and light, and tinkle gently when they move. They have a fairly tribal look when strung into a necklace, but I wanted to soften that effect by adding some colour to the piece.
The Intarsia pendant stone looked like a seascape to me and I decided to make a triangular pendant with a beaded beach scene with sand and sea, and long fronds of beaded 'coral' with loads of colour, textural interest and shimmery movement, and hang it on a strand of sea urchin spines.
There was almost half a strand of sea urchin spine beads left over and I had a flash of inspiration - I took the dull, matte brown spines and jazzed them up with loops of chain and shiny titanium coated quartz and crystals. I was inspired to do this by a photograph I took of the beach opposite the hotel when we were in Nice a few years ago. The chain represents the moonlight rippling over the waves. I love the contrast it makes. What do you think??
Plage La Nuit
The Intarsia Seascape pendant was a delight to make, with its coral fronds and beaded texture, and it took ages to put together. I've also been putting together a number of beaded circles, of different sizes, around Swarovski Rivolis, a bit like a little old lady knitting patchwork squares for a quilt. I arranged them on a tray and started to connect them invisibly. I will have a necklace made up with my patchwork circles next week. I can't wait to see how it turns out, that's half the fun of an unplanned piece.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place,
Hello folks, as this post comes out to you on the third day of Diwali, I thought I'd wish those of you who celebrate lots of love and light in the year ahead. I lit a couple of diyas in my porch, just in case the Goddess of Wealth comes a-calling - who knows, this year, it might be our turn for a visit!
I spent most of this week in London and while I was there on business, I managed to use some of my time off having fun and seeing some interesting sights.
Mike and I had as afternoon wandering around Camden Market, eating at the colourful food stalls and looking into all the kitschy stalls, trying on hats and generally having ourselves a great time. We ended up in a restaurant and bar called Shaka Zulu - the place was so overrun with artefacts, even Africa probably doesn't look so determinedly African. Kitsch never looked so good (or should that read bad??). I felt that I needed to photograph almost everything, everywhere I turned, there was yet another image waiting to be clicked. In a way I'm glad the lights were dimmed low - the place probably needs hundreds of people to dust it and a ray of sunlight illuminating a cobweb would have taken the shine off it somewhat.
Camden High Street was colourful too, I love the quirky vibe of the place and that one might see almost anything, anytime! A Mad Hatter was having his own little tea party and anyone who fancied herself in the role of Alice was welcome to join the fun and see what happened.
And then on to the Jazz Cafe, where they had a fabulous show called Sunday Soul. We got there when doors opened just before six and found a little ledge to sit on and rest our weary legs, tired from tramping around Camden. The other people at the cafe didn't seem to mind standing around for hours and hours, but I'm afraid we wouldn't have been able to. It was certainly a fabulous band and they played some great music that night.
Historians are still arguing about the major cause of World War I (better known as The Great War or WW1), thought to be caused by a great many elements, some long-term and some short-term. Together these reasons created a brutal war involving many countries across the globe and killing a vast number of the world’s population. England, Germany, France and Russia, along with others, all wanted to expand their 'Empires'.
The murder of the Archduke and heir to the throne of Austria, Franz Ferdinand, was the putative 'spark', because it gave Austria an excuse to attack Serbia as it tried to increase its borders by annexing another nation.
Historians have maintained that the word MAIN summarises the main issues surrounding the cause of the First World War:
Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red was a display in 2014 marking one hundred years since Britain entered into the First World War. Each poppy represented a fatality during the war and throughout the summer they added more and more poppies to the display. The poppies were ceramic and handmade using techniques which were used by potters during the First World War.
Every year, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, people fall silent in the UK to mark Armistice day. For a month before, red poppies are sold to benefit the Royal British Legion which cares for war veterans and the words 'Lest We Forget' are used over and over.
And then, the arms barons rub their hands with glee as we go off and join yet another war, bombing Iraq or Afghanistan or Yemen, murdering and killing in the name of good - yet the mnemonic MAIN more or less still holds good. There's never been a war fought over principles - they have always been about the accumulation of wealth and power and all the jingoism in the world cannot hide that fact. And yet, year on year, people let their kids join armies around the world, poor kids who know no better, set to become pawns in the game of 'Supremacy' and no more than cannon fodder.
For all the rhetoric in the world, I'm afraid we've still gorn and forgotten!!
As the nation commemorates the centenary of the end of the First World War, a new installation at the Tower of London, Beyond the Deepening Shadow: The Tower Remembers will fill the moat with thousands of individual flames: a public act of remembrance for the lives of the fallen, honouring their sacrifice.
We got there too late to watch the lighting ceremony, but in time to see the lit torches and the poor Beefeater left out in the cold, lit up to cast a strategic spooky shadow on the Tower - Lest We Forget. I felt sorry for the poor Beefeater shivering in the cold November night as we took ourselves off to Coppa, a really cute restaurant around the corner from the Tower with little warm pods under a netting of lights.
Intarsia is a term that is used to describe stone inlay, where pieces of similar thickness are cut and shaped to fit closely together without spaces or gaps, forming a pictorial or geometric design. The Latin term, pietre dure, is essentially stone marquetry, which first appeared in Rome in the 16th century and reached maturity in Florence. The stones are loosely assembled and then each one is glued in place to a base, typically of marble, obsidian, onyx, jade, granite, quartz, or even ceramic.
Intarsia differs from mosaics and micromosaics, where small piece of glass, stone, shell, or bone are set into a mortar with grout in between the pieces.
With intarsia, the pieces are different shapes, sizes, and material; no grout or mortar is used; and the cutting must be exact so that there are no spaces or gaps between the stones. How amazing is that!!!
I just love the idea that this little piece of stone in my hot little hand has been cut and set by a lapidary's nimble fingers into a piece of one of a kind, intricate art, and I am humbled to be able to use it in my jewellery. I set one in a bezel of tiny beads and proceeded to turn it into a seascape.
The pendant will be triangular with lush fronds of a 'coral' reef dangling from it and I have some very interesting beads that are earmarked for the necklace. Having spent quite a few days in London this week, I haven't had time to finish this piece, but I'll have it for you next week. Here are some preliminary pictures of the work in progress.
That's me for this week, folks. It has been a fun, but exhausting week and I have yet a few more days to go as I have house guests over the weekend to celebrate Diwali mainly by stuffing ourselves silly with food and drink. Have a fabulous week, and I shall catch you next week, same time, same place.
Good day, good folks on the internet, I'm so happy to catch up with you again this week.
Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat - 53 days now, and everyone is getting their gifts together.
As usual, Caprilicious will offer a free parcel wrapping service, so if you need that, please let me know when you pay for your item. I will also include a card, with any message you wish to add (the only thing I cannot promise is neat and tidy handwriting, but I will do my best!)
I've just realised that Caprilicious Jewellery will be seven years old this November - wow, seven long years have gone by and I'm still at it! And I have no plans to stop for the foreseeable future as I'm enjoying myself so much, and as long as I have you to encourage me in my endeavours to make interesting and fun pieces I will go on! I generally take stock at this time of year. I started out as a jewellery school drop out, went on to simple beading and necklace making, wire work, polymer clay and resin, metal clay, soutache, fold forming and soldering and now have set off on a journey into bead work jewellery. I now use all of these modalities and sometimes try to use more than one in a piece, which turns them into mixed media pieces.
The jewellery all comes out of my imagination, and because I like to incorporate unusual and handmade elements, conceived and made entirely at Caprilicious, I never find anyone attempting to copy me. As imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and to imitate someone is to pay the person a genuine compliment in my opinion (and I know that others differ) I wonder sometimes whether I should feel a bit offended that no one tries to imitate Caprilicious, and then I know that I'm happy this way.
I finished a piece of jewellery I started the week before. Bubbles is a wire doodle necklace, where I have filled negative space with a wire doodle that to my eye looks likes a froth of bubbles. It seemed like it would be an easy piece to make when I started out, but in fact it turned out to be very tedious and time consuming.I made it with mixed metals, both of them enamel coated and therefore tarnish free. A little cabochon of druzy agate was anchored to one side with a wire rose and leaf and a handmade chain finished the piece off beautifully. This will be a piece that can be worn to work as it is very simple, and can even be worn over a roll neck by simply increasing the length of the extender chain so that the piece hangs a bit lower. Of course, it will look lovely on an evening out, so it is very versatile.
I've been beading around Swarovski rivolis to make a fairly complicated necklace while watching TV all week, but that piece may take a while yet. I ran out of Rivolis and have sent for some more, by the time I finish this piece, I will be well experienced at beading around cabochons. I also made some polymer clay flower beads, and the challenge is now to find places to incorporate them, of course, there's no hurry and they can sit and wait a while in a box that is full of beads that I made earlier.
The raw amethyst points in this necklace have been sitting in my stash for over a year. I received the micro pave diamante butterflies in the post this morning and was instantly smitten and just had to use a couple of them the same day. I think sometimes elements speak to me, begging to be used and I cannot deny them. And so was born this sweet necklace. I wondered whether the butterflies would look good with a darker bead, but of course I can make that next time - the amethyst was shrieking for attention and when I closed my eyes, I could see exactly what the necklace would look like. Flirtatious Frou Frou, the butterfly necklace! The light flashes off the butterflies and they are quite difficult to photograph - but believe me, they are very, very pretty.
Payday Deal Announcement - Happy Birthday Caprilicious!
So here it is - the big Birthday Announcement
As it is a birthday month, I am going to celebrate in style. In the past I did a giveaway and only one person got lucky and I think seven years deserves a damn good blowout. So this year, I'm going to offer a Code for 20% off any piece of jewellery, from the 1st to the 7th of every month till November 2019. The code will be advertised on this page, my Instagram feed and Facebook page in the last week of every month, and hopefully more than one person will benefit from Caprilicious' birthday happiness. Spread a Little Happiness, I say, and why not? The code cannot be used with any other offers, of course, and I'm sure you will understand why. Depending on the vagaries of my mood and the weather, the offer will extend to just one or two pieces of jewellery, or all the pieces on the website - this month, it extends to all the jewellery on the Caprilicious website.
The code till the 7th of November is HappyBirthday.
Beat the festive rush and get all your gifts and parcels in the post on time in the UK. I send international parcels out by courier so the last date depends on the couriers.
Royal Mail last post timings for 2018
Tuesday 18 December
That's me for another week, folks. I am in London for some of next week, but I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Good day, good people, and welcome back. Arctic winds are a-blowing and Halloween is on it's way. We turn the clocks back this weekend and it will be dark earlier and earlier - the only thing to remember that it doesn't last and spring will soon be back. In the meantime, Christmas will soon be here and is just around the corner - as of today there are sixty days left!
I'd like to take a moment to wish the new iteration of the Mitchell Gallery well - the art gallery in Warwick where I have displayed my jewellery for over a year has given way to an interesting and potentially lucrative initiative and a spanking new and beautiful website, allowing the artists time to paint as well as be involved with the sales side of things. I have been invited to display some of my jewellery at the Hampton Manor Christmas Fayre and if anyone is in the area, do come along and take a look, it sounds like it will be fabulous. This time, I will just deliver the goods to Toni and Tom, and they will be displayed and sold by the gallery, so I don't have to do any of the hard work. They have a spanking new website, and I am deeply honoured to be listed as one of their "selection of emerging and internationally-renowned painters, sculptors and designers".
I have been totally seduced by bead embroidery this week and have decided that that is the way forward for me. The technique called 'Painting with Beads' attracts me, filling a negative space with colourful beads is so much fun that I am absolutely smitten. I made a bracelet with hand carved carnelian flowers. The bracelet is covered with leather on one side and ultrasuede on the other, and sandwiched between the two layers is an aluminium cuff blank. It isn't much fun to stitch through leather, and I used half a dozen needles. By the time I was done the needles were bent completely out of shape.
I 'painted' away merrily with little gemstone nuggets and seed beads, embellished the bracelet and generally had a fun time doing it. I think it looks great, would you agree?
I found the diamante pendant in this necklace quite by accident, while I was looking for something else altogether. I fell in love with the rectangular piece of green quartz, as well as the scroll work around the quartz, carrying the diamante' and the integral bead cap to hold a tassel. I sent away for green onyx beads to match the quartz, and made a tassel of seed pearls - while I was collecting the beads together I found a baroque green crystal pendant, so I used that as well, right at the centre of the tassel.
Katerina or Catherine the Great was Empress of Russia in the eighteenth century - she was a wise and ruthless woman who took the throne from her husband Peter the Third in a coup d'etat. She wore the most beautiful baroque jewellery, and was known to be fond of emeralds. The necklace I made was inspired by images of these pieces of jewellery and is ideal for the festive season, as well as being perfect to carry to destination weddings and parties where one would be anxious about carrying precious jewels.
I've played with other little bits and bobs, a few beads in polymer clay when someone who bought a necklace for her friend asked me to make earrings to match, and some practice with bead embroidery around Swarovski Rivolis. I'm working all weekend, so may not have too much time to play with beads and baubles, however, I'll catch you next week, same time, same place. Have a great week, folks,
Hello good people, how are you? Hurtling towards winter as we are, I'm not looking forward to the cold and the dark, especially as we will be putting the clock back at the end of the month. The heating is on at home and we are snuggling under the duvets, trying to stay warm for longer. However, we still have the festive period to come - if it weren't for Christmas, it would be so dull by the time December arrives.
'Persian Pickles' or Paisley
The original Persian droplet-like motif – the boteh or buta – is thought to have been a representation of a floral spray combined with a cypress tree, a Zoroastrian symbol of life and eternity. The seed-like shape is also thought to represent fertility, has connections with Hinduism, and also bears an intriguing resemblance to the famous yin-yang symbol. It is still a hugely popular motif in Iran and South and Central Asian countries and is woven using silver and gold threads on to silks and fine wool for weddings and other celebrations.
Imports from the East India Company via the ‘silk routes’ brought the textile pattern to Europe in the 18th century, and following the arrival of luxurious Kashmir shawls some of which were very expensive, the pattern took the continent by storm. The shawls were soon imitated throughout Europe, mainly in Wales and the town of Paisley in Scotland. From that point onward the English term for the motif was ‘paisley’, though it is also known in the United States among quilt-makers as ‘Persian pickles’ or in the Welsh textile industry as ‘Welsh pears’.
Arthur Liberty, William Morris and the Arts-and-Crafts movement adapted the print, and it became an integral part of the Aesthetic Movement and the Art Nouveau Movement – shorthand for sophisticated, arty bohemianism. The Beatles, in the 60's once again revived the pattern by wearing it at their concerts and it became emblematic of the ‘summer of love’ and the aesthetic of the psychedelic era. Various designers have insisted that it has a deep meaning, that it symbolises the tree of life, the seed palm, thus fertility and it has remained exotic and cool with a rock vibe.
So, that's the background of my 'Persian Pickle'. When I was growing up, my mother called it the 'mango', which was as fanciful as she got. While I was researching the paisley I read that it could signify halved fresh figs, mangoes, gourds, licks of flame, or Cypress trees (sacred to the Zoroastrians); kidneys, tadpoles, tear drops, pears, or sperm! I even came across a Jehovah's Witness message board that wanted paisley to be "taboo" because it is considered a representation of sperm! What?? Have they ever looked down a telescope at a sperm? I have, and it is definitely not paisley shaped!!
I decided to release two of the pieces of labradorite I bought in Jaipur a few years ago, into the world. The paisley pattern appealed and with inspiration from Kinga Nichols, I started out on a paisley pattern I drew on a piece of Lacy's Stiff Stuff (not a made up Harry Potterish name, I promise).
That took the bulk of an evening, and I then started to fill in the gaps around the labradorite with tiny seed beads the next day. The labradorite is a startlingly deep blue when held up to the light, otherwise it is a dull grey. Another couple of evenings of zen enjoyment went by.
Finally, the paisley was filled in to my satisfaction and I encircled it with diamante cup chain and soutache braids and made a little flourish at the top of the 'mango'. Somewhere along the line, I decided I was going to hang the finished pendant on a blue necklace cord and hang citrine nuggets from the pendant.
Before I could do that I had to decide how the paisley was going to be hung - and after a long period of deliberation I made a final decision. This was very important as I needed to sew in the jump rings for the citrine dangles, and cover them with a layer of felt, and then another layer of ultrasuede. Once that die was cast, there would be no going back!
On day four, I added to loops to use as bails to hang the necklace - as I wanted the pendant to hang asymmetrically, the loops had to differ in length, and I decided to go all the way and make them in different colours. I liked the way the pendant was shaping up when I hung it from a knob on my beading lamp, but the green bail looked a bit stark. I added blue tassels with seed beads and Czech glass petals, taking inspiration from Kay Bonitz. The seed beads in this piece are all 15/0 which are smaller than 1mm in diameter and 11/0 which are 1mm - not terribly good for the eyes, fingers and feet. Feet?? you ask? Yes, they are so tiny they often fall from your hands to the floor, and it is inadvisable to walk around in bare feet. It certainly hurts like hell if one is trod on because they are invisible when so far away.
The Finished 'Pickle' - Perfectly Paisley!!
So here it is, the finished article. It is looking for that perfectly flamboyant woman who will love it's high visibility.
One of my customers asked how it hung on a real person, so I whipped on a shawl and took a quick picture and here it is. I think it would look much better on a dark, high necked little black dress, and I'll leave you to use your imagination to produce that image.
That's me for this week, folks. This pendant took me five evenings to make and I had no time for anything else. I do enjoy the beadwork, it is a lot of fun to watch the piece grow and evolve. When I start out, perhaps on Day 2-3, it looks awful, and I often have to put it away for a few days before I can face picking it up again. This piece, however, was a delight to bead from the start, so it flowed beautifully.
Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.