Hello people, how's tricks? 33 days to the big day now, and I've been so busy making up commissioned pieces of jewellery for people as gifts, I haven't had too much time to build up the Caprilicious jewellery box. The good news is that I've finally finished the Non Brexit Fish necklace ( I will have to find it a better name!) but haven't had the time to take pictures. These will be done by the end of the week and it will be on Instagram and the Caprilicious Facebook page.
I also made up a couple of necklaces but am not too happy with them. When I'm not absolutely happy with a piece, I put it away to look at when I have recovered from the trauma of making it. If I'm not happy at the end, the piece has usually given me trouble either in the engineering or the design and it has been a serious annoyance all the way through.
Another Birdie Necklace
I really went to town making these little birds and this one will be the third in the series this year - I have enough birds for one more and will definitely call it a day - for now, at least.
Making the birds reminds me of childhood, when I played with plasticine and attempted little blobby men and women, whole families of them - it is so much fun to squeeze a little ball of clay and produce a beak and a tail and in the shake of a lambs tail, there's a little bird in my hands. All that is left is to embellish it with flowers and leaves on every available surface and cure a whole flock of them to get a native art sort of feel to any jewellery made with them.
Girl With a Pearl Earring ( a la Caprilicious)
Girl with a Pearl Earring is an oil painting by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, painted in around 1665. Going by various names over the centuries, it became known by its present title after the large pearl earring worn by the girl portrayed there. The work has been in the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hague since 1902 and has been the subject of various literary treatments - books, plays, and a movie. It is thought to be one of the ten most famous pictures in the world and voted the most beautiful in the Netherlands by the Dutch public.
I received a string of the most beautiful, luminescent baroque pearls and simply had to make earrings from them - I hung them on stud findings so that they can be worn comfortably in case like me, the wearer has tender ear lobes that are easily torn.
I have discovered these amazing earring backs that support my ear lobes and prevent studs from sagging lifting them up high and tight to look great.
Whether you have earrings with poor support, heavy earrings, stretched ear lobes, or even a bad piercing, these Earring Back Supports will save the day - I have a pair in silver and gold tone and just slide them on instead of the backs that originally came with the earrings - I wasn't able to wear studs for years and years, and now I can! They are available everywhere, and I suggest you buy yourself a pair or two - no, I'm not being paid to endorse these, it is entirely my opinion that they really work. I'm going to look for some to carry on the Caprilicious website and will let you know when they are available.
The surgical steel posts are hypoallergenic and the earrings are pretty and ever so feminine with the little froth of tiny gemstones individually wired to the top. They took ages to make and are quite fiddly - they also cured me of the wire withdrawal pangs I was just beginning to experience, and how!
Where Light Falls
We went to Coventry Cathedral at the weekend to a beautiful though short sound and light show, commemorating the people who worked hard to save the Cathedral from the incendiary bombs in the Second World War. It was pretty cold, and we were wrapped up in hats, scarves, furry boots, winter coats and gloves, with many more layers in between, making us look like a cross between Michelin men and penguins, waddling back and forth between the cathedral and the pubs around it in a vain attempt to get warm. I took a little video of it for the blog, and you, my lovely readers.
That's me for this week, folks, have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” ~Leonardo da Vinci
Hello people of the ether, I'm so pleased to make contact with you again today. I hope you've all been wrapped up warm as we are set for a wet and chilly winter- those of us in the UK certainly are.
It has already started snowing in parts of North America and that I think is one of the benefits of living alongside the North Atlantic Drift, the warm ocean current stretching from Florida to north-western Europe. As the warm waters of the drift flow toward western Europe it moderates our climate here in the UK, allowing for winters that are less cold than would be expected at our latitude. Without the North Atlantic Drift, many places in Europe and the United Kingdom would be as cold as Canada. Brrr!! Thank you Florida for keeping us warm (ish)!
Even so, in such a tiny country there is a marked difference in the weather between the North and the South. This was brought home to me as I was in London for a couple of days at the beginning of the week, and up in Edinburgh at the end. Boy! Was it cold up there. There's a lot to be said for living in the balmy Midlands as I do - no surprises here. I went up to Edinburgh to a meeting, but managed to take some pictures and do a bit of sight seeing while I was there.
Edinburgh is built in the most beautiful sandstone, but the buildings in the centre have got grimy with age and some of them look dark and forbidding, very Gothic. You get a feel for the grisly history of the place - a lot of blood has flown down those streets. Parts of the castle are from the 12th century. On this occasion, we had no time to go into the castle so we took a walk in the bracing cold wind around the periphery and serendipitously caught the most beautiful sunset.
The city is built on an undulating hill and a walk that looks completely feasible on a map could in reality turn out to be a steep climb (read hike) up an almost vertical slope. Great for mountain goats, but not for those growing older with all the aches and pains that entails. Still, we managed a lot of walking, up and down the Royal Mile - the shops were a bit disappointing - unless one craves whisky, woolens, fudge, or tourist tat, with the odd Celtic Jeweller thrown in, we couldn't find anything to spend our money on - just as well, I thought, and boarded the train for the four hour journey back home.
I wish I could've grown wings when I wandered around Edinburgh, life would have been so much easier!
Birdie Necklace (More Birdie necklaces!!??)
I'm sorry, I changed my mind. I know I said I wouldn't make any more but I love making the little critters with tiny wings and flowers on their tails - this time I made them in various colours and put them together with beads I made earlier. I've been using a tutorial by Debbie Crothers to turn the beads extremely shiny - this involves zapping them with a very, very hot wallpaper stripper - it is most definitely not just a heat gun, this is more like a dragon snorting fire out of your fist, but the beads go beautifully shiny, get a glass like finish and are never sticky as they sometimes are with varnish.
I sprinkled the necklaces liberally with a medley of agate beads, African glass and jade and produced a couple of colourful, fun pieces that can be worn both summer and winter.
Last week I made the 'Empress', a beautiful necklace of green onyx and seed pearls with a micro pave connector. I made earrings to go with this necklace using diamante ear cuffs and butterflies with green onyx. I think they go beautifully together, what d'you think??
The calm of a frozen white
I found this little poem on a website that I visit randomly and thought I'd share - the link to the website is in the title, do take a look if the fancy takes you.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a wonderful week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello nice people, thanks for coming back today. It was Halloween last week, Diwali the week before, and Guy Fawkes day at the weekend - the fireworks were going off everywhere.
I've been in London for a few days and will be in Edinburgh for a few more. I was at exams at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists - doing the examining, I hasten to add. The College is moving to new premises near London Bridge and it was sad that we were there for the very last time. I've been going to 'the College' in Sussex Place for exams and events since 1989, and soon it will belong to the London School of Economics. It was such a familiar place and we took it for granted, a second home that we knew so well, complained about the food and met our colleagues and friends, and now, we'll have to get used to someplace else.
I wandered around Camden market the evening before, browsing the shops and people watching.
Before I went out to London, I made Empress - a long necklace with four strands of green onyx and tiny pearl beads with a beautiful bar spacer of micro pave diamante. The spacer isn't very photogenic, although I've tried to go as close as possible with a macro lens in a couple of pictures. In real life though, it is very very pretty! To help give it length I've used a black cord at the back - this one is beautifully wound, with no loose ends and will last forever. I usually do not like the idea of cord, probably because the ones I've seen are sloppily made with loose and fraying ends. When I found these, I thought they were worthy of a Caprilicious effort. A little bead cap on either side made of wire and green silver lined seed beads works well with the onyx.
I'm in Edinburgh as you read this and will be home soon. I want to tackle my Non Brexit Fish over the next two days, once I've rested up a bit. I am keen to finish it but want to take my time over the engineering of it - I don't want to create a useless article like the steering wheel mug holder in the picture.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you on friday as usual, same time, same place.
Good day folks, glad you could join me again. It struck me that I've been writing this blog almost every Friday, week on week, for nigh on eight years and I've really enjoyed it. Just when I think no one's reading it, someone pops up out of the ether and tells me how they have enjoyed my burblings - it would seem that people are just too shy or can't be a*sed to leave me a comment. Oh well, to the three people who are definitely reading this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
The Non Brexit Fish Necklace
This week I've been making fantasy fish in the style of Kinga Nichols, but incorporating Shibori silk in the tail and fins. It has taken simply ages and I'm in the final push of edging the piece and finding a way to hang it. It will be a large statement necklace, an heirloom piece which will hopefully find a forever home and be well loved. I've taken pictures as I've gone along and am happy to share these with you, before the final reveal.
The piece is temporarily called the Non Brexit Fish necklace, as it has been embroidered over the long evenings sat in front of the TV watching the Parliament Channel, while Brexit isn't being 'done', which has turned into quite the soap opera.
Do forgive the quality of the pictures - they were taken each evening just before getting up to bed using my phone. Better pictures will follow eventually, of course.
The Monet Earrings
This is a small series of earrings made using a veneer I made with polymer clay, crackle techniques, and alcohol ink. I used colours that reminded me of the pictures I took in Paris and Giverny a few years ago at the Musée de l'Orangerie, the permanent home of eight large Water Lilies murals by Claude Monet.
The last picture was the actual lily pond where these beautiful paintings were created, in Giverny, at the home of Claude Monet. What these pictures cannot show are the bullfrogs - the croaking noises were unbelievable and when I zoomed into the pond, I saw what it was that was making the unholy racket that we were hearing.
More Last but not Least Necklaces
A couple more of these simple daytime necklaces to add to the 'Last but not Least' series, made from beads leftover from other projects and orphan beads and will therefore come over at an extremely reasonable price. These were made with hand carved gemstone roses - and they are as different from each other as chalk and cheese. The first one is sober and sophisticated and the second is fun and flirty, colourful and very Kahloesque.
This week I will be in London and then Edinburgh - both day job related trips, but will find time to socialise with friends and Caprilicious women in both cities. I am really looking forward to it, but this means that I probably won't have too much time for Caprilicious.
That's me for this week folks, have a fab week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello good people, wherever you are, I'm glad you turned out for Caprilicious again. Only 61 days to Christmas - wow! doesn't time fly?? Caprilicious turned eight this week and I marked the day with a discount code - in fact it is still valid till 1/11 in case you're interested.
This week has been all about fish - I decided to make a beaded statement piece with a couple of fish swimming upstream towards the necklace from which they are suspended and I spent many happy hours researching pictures of fish, and imagining how I would achieve a particular effect.
In the end I decided on using a lavish amount of Shibori silk in the tail and fins and making the fish in shades of white and pale pink beads.
The piece has just come out of the 'fugly' stage and I can show you how far I've got to with it.
The fins are going to have a froth of beads at their tips, extending inwards towards the body. It may take a while to complete, but I intend it to be a really interesting and fun statement piece.
The Last Leaf
As a young girl I was a voracious reader and spent every waking moment with my nose in a book, while my sister was out climbing trees and spinning tops with the lads in the neighbourhood. Mom had to make sure I was reading stuff that was appropriate for my age and sometimes had to resort to books that had been the 'in thing' when she herself was a child. Thus, I was introduced to the short stories of O. Henry. This one was published in the early 1900's and is about Johnsy, a poor young girl who is seriously ill with pneumonia. She believes that when the ivy vine on the wall outside her window loses all its leaves, she will also die. Her neighbour Behrman, an artist, tricks her by painting a leaf on the wall. Johnsy recovers, but (in a twist typical of O. Henry) Behrman, who caught pneumonia while painting the leaf, dies.
The copper leaf in this piece was made in my kiln and I teamed it with coin pearls dyed in oil slick rainbow colours. I love the shape of the Monstera leaf, and sought to recreate it in copper - there were lots of problems along the way, but I persevered and got a nice piece of jewellery for my efforts.
The pendant is a double sided brass tag used by Tibetan men to secure their waist belts or sash. It is embossed with the signs of the Chinese Zodiac, known as Sheng Xiao, which is based on a twelve-year cycle, each year in that cycle related to an animal sign. These signs in order are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. There is thought to be a relationship between human and the 12 zodiacal animals, and it is believed that the years represented by the animals affect the characters of people in the same way like the western astrology signs. I've hung it on Black dyed howlite teardrops and basalt beads, separated by lost wax cast African brass beads. Black and antique gold is a very fetching combination and this necklace can be worn day and night.
It's been a busy old week with Brexit (or non - Brexit) and we've been glued to the TV watching the crazy and the churlish battle it out, while nothing actually happened. No wonder my fishy piece came on in leaps and bounds.
That's me for this week folks. Have a fabulous week and I shall get back to you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, thanks for coming back for another squiz at Caprilicious. This coming week is our birthday week and I'm ever so happy to report that I've enjoyed every minute of the eight years that we've been around. Here are the couple of necklaces I made last week.
A roundly-despised and unfairly-maligned seductress of the bible who ran afoul of the priests, Jezebel, along with her husband Ahab, instituted the worship of the 'false God' Baal. In addition, she violently purged the prophets of Yahweh from Israel, damaging the reputation of the Omride Dynasty. For these offences, the Omride Dynasty was annihilated, with Jezebel herself suffering the gruesome death of defenestration, which basically means that they chucked her, kicking and screaming out of a window and her body was eaten by dogs!
Jezebel wore loads of jewellery, makeup, and henna tattoos on her hands - so was quite contemporary, then. She wore a lot of purple, which would have come from a dye her homeland was known for producing. This single fact remained in my mind for some reason (and also I like bad girls!), and when this necklace was done, it screamed 'Jezebel!!!' to me.
Last But Not The Least - Aventurine Rose
Last week I told you about this little series of necklaces I've been making from left over and orphan beads. I made another using a carved aventurine rose, raw hemimorphite nuggets and carnelian.
I love how the colour combination of burnt sugar and pale blue turned out - I must have put them together subconsciously as I'd saved the leftover beads in a single plastic baggie. The rose was an afterthought, recently found in the depths of my bead stash.
The next piece was commissioned, and built around a little silver pendant from Jaipur with garnets, iolite and peridot. I have no doubt it will be well loved.
So, as I said, it's been eight years - when I originally sought out teachers to help me understand the technical aspects of jewellery making, so that I could actually create something with a professional finish, I knew nothing of design.
At the classes I took, most of the students arrived with an idea of what they wanted to make and took home a piece that they had created. I, on the other hand had (and still have) a number of half finished 'samplers' that taught me technique, but nothing about design. I've had to pick that up myself - colours, shapes, odd-ball elements and the materials themselves seem to fall into place uncannily - this learning process has been inspirational, and has given me a sense of excitement that continues to build with time. These are some of my very first pieces - people actually paid for them, the ones that went before were given away as gifts. My first attempt at writing a blog was titled imaginatively 'Week 1'!!
I paid for the domain name on the 21st of November, and we mark this as Caprilicious' birthday.
At the beginning of this adventure, I told myself “Never make anything you would not wear yourself.” I have remained true to that principle as I search for stones and accents. My work is an expression of my wide range of tastes, my love of color and sense of adornment. My greatest joy is to see one of my necklaces or earrings on someone who wears them well and loves them. I am constantly on the “hunt” for the best of materials and find that I cannot compromise in quality. I would rather make one piece that is outstanding, rather than try to produce several that bring me only lukewarm results.
As I continue to grow in my design sense, I find that my life long development of “hand skills’, fascination with tools and gadgets, attention to detail and love of creation itself have captivated me and I hope to go on for a long while yet.
Thank you all for being with me on my magic carpet, I am very grateful.
To mark our birthday, Caprilicious and I would like to offer you a little gift, a £ off for every year of our existence. Pop the code HappyBirthday into your checkout for an £8 discount on anything you wish to pick up for the next two weeks, ending the 1st of November.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time,same place.
Hello all, and how are you today? It's now only 75 days to Christmas and I have so many pieces of jewellery to make, gifts for Christmas, both for Caprilicious and for friends and family, as well as pieces for a show planned for February in Bangalore. In between times, the day job remains hectic and I appear to be doing a lot of work related travel, especially in November.
I've been collecting beads left over from previously made pieces and orphan beads for a while now, and decided that they needed to be used up - the bag was getting too full. Since they are left overs, the necklaces will be priced inexpensively and will be suitable for gifts, and of course, for yourself - why not? It would be rude not to at these prices.
I had a couple of days off at the beginning of the week and took photographs of what I call the 'Last but not the Least' necklaces and posted them at the bottom of the wire and gemstone necklace page thinking that I'd announce their arrival today. However, an eagle eyed magpie of a Caprilicious woman actually found them before I had a chance to tell anyone about them and snaffled one. I will have more on the website as the weeks go by and I use up all my orphans. The last necklace in these pictures is the one that has sold, in case you're wondering.
I'm enjoying embroidery with beads almost as much as wire work - which is something I never thought I'd say. The ability to make something from almost nothing, like a conjuring act, really appeals to me and I endeavour to learn something new, however small in each piece I make. This next piece incorporates square Tila beads from the Czech Republic which have two holes - I've had them for ages and decided it was about time I used them. I made three pieces, using extremely flashy pieces of hand carved labradorite - I originally meant to put them together in a square pendant with a few more elements included to make up the gaps. However, I realised that no matter how I placed them, the piece resembled a face with two eyes and a mouth so I abandoned this design in favour of a long pendant. It is extremely difficult to photograph as it is impossible to focus on one part of it without another looking all blurry. My photographic skills most definitely are not up to the task. I see this worn with black or white linen or silk, both during the day or night. It has been hung on a beaded necklace, but can be slipped off and put on a cord of the wearers choice.
I've added another tutorial to the website - this time for the use of Pebeo Paint and resin on polymer clay - the project is called Molten Lava Earrings and I have some already made up on the earrings page if you fancy having a look. The tutorial was in the Artisan Jewellery Times, which is no longer in publication. I didn't want these tutorials to be lost forever, especially as they might help someone who is starting out with clay - my projects are easy and fun to try.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a wonderful week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello you lovely people, hope all is well with you. We await storm Lorenzo, or the tail end of it with bated breath, but as I'm working most of the weekend, I don't suppose it matters too much to me. We've been glued to the television all week watching the BJ horror show (no, I meant Boris Johnson, not the other) in a kind of shocked and awed fascination, though not in a good way, and most of the week has been consumed in this manner. As I am now unable to sit in front of the television without a bunch of beads in my lap and an implement of some sort in my hands, thanks to BJ, I managed to make a pendant from some of the beads I brought back from Prague. I also used a string of beautiful prehnite teardrop beads I brought back from Jaipur in 2016 in a lavish fringe made for this pendant.
Fleur De Lys
In my stash, hidden away deep underneath a bunch of other stuff lay a little rectangular rose quartz cabochon, hand carved with a fleur de lys - as I rummaged around looking for inspiration, it jumped out at me begging to be used.
I had picked up a lot of pink beads in Prague for some reason, probably because there was a large block of various shades of pink and green beads just as I entered the door of Koralky Komponenty. Over the days it took to un prorogue parliament and the conference speeches, I sewed away like a modern day Madame de Farge.
So, here is the pendant as it was made - I echoed the fleur de lys on the pink rose quartz by drawing it on the four corners of the rectangle of Lacey's Stiff Stuff and beaded away - someone, I can't remember who, called this technique 'painting with beads' and this is just what I did.
The rectangle then had to be backed with ultrasuede edged with beads and then hung on a necklace. It took me a while to decide what I wanted to hang it on, and finally decided to use a string of silvery baroque pearls with little pink seed beads in between.
A friend came to visit us over the weekend, and I got her to model the necklace among other pieces, which she did very graciously - I must say she is very pretty, and the necklace served to gild the lily beautifully.
The end of November will be Caprilicious' eight birthday and I will have to look for a way to celebrate it with you. Look out for an announcement in a couple of weeks.
Caprilicious has given me immense pleasure over the years, and brought a number of interesting people into my life whom I'd never have met if it hadn't been for my hobby. It has rescued me from being depressed about the passing of my brother and taken care of me during the long dark winter evenings when a purpose in life is important to stave off boredom, dark thoughts and mischief. There are little heaps of beads all around the house and most rooms have something jewellery related in them, my poor husband has had to get used to it, he makes the occasional grumbling comment, especially when my beads get in the way of him accessing his DVD collection - he gets a bit grumpy when he can't find the one he's looking for.
In the meantime, while I'm still feeling all misty eyed about Caprilicious and all you lovely Caprilicious ladies, here's a link to a couple of tutorials which will take you through the making of the Gold Rush necklace, and the Sunflower pendant bead - what's more, they are in a downloadable PDF and are totally free. There, don't say I never give you anything!! If you don't fancy making the sunflower bead, there's one already made up into a necklace on the website - It's called Kiku and is on the Mixed Media Necklaces page.
As I said earlier, a friend spent some time with us at the weekend, and modelled some necklaces and earrings for me - I'll be posting them on Instagram all through next week, so do look out for them. Here's a picture of her between shots in her sexy mismatched funny socks, although she assured me that they were actually a pair - I believe her, millions wouldn't!
That's me for this week folks, have a lovely week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place,
Hello folks, nice to see you here again. Summer is comprehensively done and dusted with and it is decisively chilly out there. I haven't got my jumpers out yet, though that day is just around the corner. I've spent the rainy evenings indoors and have been quite productive in the last week and a half. Let me show you what I've been up to.
The Chrysanthemum, or Kiku in Japanese, is a symbol that represents longevity and rejuvenation. When first introduced to Japan, the Japanese Royal Family was fascinated with the Chrysanthemum. Eventually, it became the Imperial Family Emblem. It is considered the flower of autumn, as it starts to bloom in September. I used the last of my chrysanthemums made from polymer clay for a tutorial in Bead Magazine, with a string of beautifully cut and polished fossil coral stones. Citrine nuggets, irregular and raw make a fabulous contrast to the smooth fossil coral. The proper name for fossil coral is 'agatized coral' or 'agatized fossil coral', as the coral remains are gradually replaced with agate. The entire process can take over 20 million years and occurs only under very unique geological conditions. Corals are marine animals and it is their skeletons that are fossilized and preserved, often leaving flower-like patterns in the stone. Many metaphysical properties have been ascribed to this stone.
Coral Fossil is helpful for promoting inner peace and quieting disruptive thoughts. It can used for opening the gateway for communications with dead relatives and for receiving insights into some of the infinite Universal knowledge.
Hmm, as an allopath, I'll have to plead ignorance of this! But, as always, I believe in diff'rent strokes......, and the beauty of the stone is quite enough for me to want to use it.
The Doppelganger Necklace
This necklace is a double ended torque that is woven is tarnish resistant silver plated wire that sits comfortably around the neck without a clasp. The two free ends of the torque have identical elements dangling from them, hence the name. I found a clutch of embroidery silks and worked them through the little perforations in a set of earring findings, and then connected them together with amethyst glass cabochons surrounded by beadwork. Different, I think, fun and interesting - would you agree?
The beautiful, shiny teardrops arrived in the post - perfect for a Winter Wonderland. As we are only 89 days to Christmas, such a necklace seemed entirely appropriate. A pale, almost translucent agate slab nugget was surrounded by beadwork, Swarovski crystals and pearls and hung on a multi strand necklace of the teardrops. I kept going until I had used up all the beads in the hank, making some strings shorter than the other and attaching them to the toggle clasp in a jumbled up manner in one of my favourite looks - the one I call carefully careless.
I do so love my little gadgets, if there's a new gadget advertised, I almost have to physically restrain myself from buying it. Unfortunately once used, they then languish in my craft room until I can find another project for them. One such is the rather grandly named 'Chain Sta Stabilization Solution' by Beadsmith. Originally purchased about six years ago to make bracelets, it fell out of favour after I made precisely two, as I got bored with the process. I think I like my necklaces better. Eventually I used the Chain Sta Stabilization System to make beetle wing necklaces. I found some more wings, so dug out the CSSS and used it - you will understand that this necklace was made only because I wanted to use the damn thing. I have enough wings for one more necklace, and after that, I wonder if the CSSS will ever see the light of day.
That's me for this week, folks. Have yourself a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
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.