Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello folks, how are you? We've had a very cold week here and even a bit of snow, although not a lot. The thermal underwear was out in earnest and the Michelin woman look was de rigeur - someone even called me Nanouk of the North, they way I'd bundled up to walk a few yards from one building to the next at work, and it hasn't even got cold in earnest yet!
As you know, last week the IDEAS team held their Christmas show and I was there on Friday with Caprilicious. The Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham, has what they euphemistically call a 'Market Hall' - a large, underheated (read cold), draughty hall where the show was held. There was plenty of space to set up when my freezing fingers and chattering teeth allowed me to - Mike had to drop me off at the rear entrance and leave, as there was absolutely nowhere to park and the traffic wardens in that area pinch you as soon as look at you. I was on my own and set up in a sort of frozen trance.
I asked one of the ladies who had finished setting her stall up to help me hang my banner, and I was ready. The organisers had brought in a huge tea urn and I must have visited it at least ten times during the day in an effort to keep warm which didn't really work, but it kept me moving. This of course meant going to the loo a number of times, but although there was no heating at all in the toilets, there was running hot water and a fabulous, warm hand drier! Is there a saying about warm hands and cold bottoms?? I can't remember, but if there is, this would be a perfect time to use it.
I don't think Caprilicious was the right fit for that show unfortunately, as people were mainly looking for little Christmas presents, and stalls with hand written cards, framed inspirational quotes, bunting, little pieces of jewellery and small ceramic items seemed to do better than the others. The publicity for the show wasn't that wonderful, and some of the vendors complained that there didn't seem to be too many signs outside, pointing people in our direction. However, to my surprise, a couple of people who had taken my card contacted me and even bought a few pieces a couple of days later. I took some pictures of the stalls that were colourful and attracted my eye.
This sculpture of the Green Man by Toin Adams stands in a cramped space in the Custard Factory in Birmingham. The site was once the home to Alfred Bird & Sons Ltd, manufacturers of the famed Bird’s Custard Powder, and is now an office/retail location. This post-industrial area of the city is an unlikely spot for a personification of nature and the life force. The phrase itself was coined in the 1930s to refer to heads or masks sprouting and disgorging vegetation which can be found in so many English churches. The living statue features fossils, a waterfall and live flames and will change its shape over the seasons as organic materials rot and the plants that cover it grow.
I hunted down these crystals for a friend - they came in a bag of five colours and I made simple necklaces with them - they shine most amazingly!
The Keeper of The Secret
Pendants in sterling silver arrived from Indonesia, and one of them was a mystical face carved in a piece of turquoise, set in a silver head dress with iolite earrings. The turquoise comes from the Sleeping Beauty mines in Arizona, and the face is serene and mysterious. I'd recently bought the moonstone nuggets, which are just as fascinating, with their inner fire and flashes of light emanating from deep within a pale, cool exterior. I thought they were fabulous, together with a scattering of turquoise, iolite, pearls and Bali silver beads.
I made suncatchers as presents for people at the hospital - I have about 15 - 18 presents to find for junior doctors, secretaries and others, and I thought these pretty crystals would look beautiful - one of the midwives bought four of them and started a roll, and I am now down to about half the original number left. They are very pretty though, and I can see why they would be attractive as presents.
Every year I offer to pack and post your gifts out if you wish to avail of this free service, and this applies to 2017 as well. I will even throw in a Christmas Card from you.
That's me for this week, folks. I am going to have a very relaxed weekend, doing very little after all the hard work I've put in over the last few weeks. Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.