Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello all, have just got back from a fabulous short break in Rome - the weather was fantastic, and the sun shined on us throughout, allowing us to cafe hop between trudging wearily from monument to museum - watching the world go by - checking out what people are wearing, the way they walk - women seem to walk differently from the rest of the world in Europe - little staccato steps, on tottery high heels, in tight short skirts. The cobbled streets of Rome are particularly suited to clickety - clacking along in stiletto heels, the women so chic, in artfully draped scarves, long dangling earrings and bracelets stacked up halfway up the arm.
Exhausted, feet hurting, and happy to be back, we rescued the cat from the cattery, and now, back to real life - at least I have a couple of days to relax and get the feeling back in my feet, before getting back to the day job - thank goodness for that!
Before I went, I spent a lot of time on the internet researching a way to use my collection of Swarovski squares - these are either square, or with rounded off corners, and boy, do they shine! The only problem is I had to find some way of connecting them - unless I gave up and used them singly in earrings. I do not do bead weaving, which is the most common way to connect circles or square elements - sewing with beads is hard on the eyes, and excruciatingly time consuming - really, the artisans who work with tiny seed beads are to be commended - and good luck to them!
After all that, I found I had to learn a few simple tricks with seed beads to make this next piece or I would never have managed it - just connecting them with jump rings would never be an option for me - too easy! I set out to Square the Circle - an euphemism for an impossible task - the original was a geometric challenge to construct a square with the same area as a given circle using a finite number of steps, which was proven to be impossible in 1882!
Squaring The Circle
I managed to connect the squares - but found that the necklace was too light, and twisted on itself - it needed a focal point to add weight to the centre, and so, the little 2" square pendant of wire and knot less netting was constructed - it also gave the piece some added colour, and plenty of Bling! I used some pretty chainmaille knots between the beads - I have more of these Swarovski rings, and there will be more on these pages, as time goes by.
I got some new tools this week - a new dapping block and doming hammers - working round blanks into gentle dome shapes raises the game just that little bit and allows them to catch the light - I would like to use this technique before I apply enamel to the copper blanks I have earmarked for earrings - they will catch the light every time the wearer moves their head - pretty!
Of course, I had to have a play - I had some Chinese coins and got them out for a good bashing - I'm afraid I smashed some of them by hitting too hard - but, when I worked out all it needed was a light touch using the wrist, rather than the shoulder, I got some pretty good results. Notice the silk cushion I am using as a way to soften the blows on my dining table - I really need a work table - and am coming round to that way of thinking, fast. A few more hammering sessions on the old dining table, and Mike will rush out and buy one - see, there's method in my madness!
The gypsy queen was made from the coins - I punched holes in the dapped and domed coins, patinated them using a proprietary patina, buffed and polished, applied a sealant, and made a couple of pairs of earrings.
I liked the effect, so I patinated the rest and attached them to a hand woven copper collar. I liked it so much, I wore it in Rome - it did attract quite a bit of attention - and strangely, while walking around the Pantheon, I saw a shop displaying earrings just like these - these were copies of Roman artefacts found in the archaeological digs around the area . I must try this with other coins from my travels - not Euros, though - I need those!
The Soleil D' Orient was a vessel that set sail from Siam in 1681, owned by the French East India Company, it is one of the three richest shipwrecks in the world. There were 60 crates of presents to Louis the Fourteenth and probably sank off the coast of Madagascar following a cyclone. It has been looked for by treasure hunters fruitlessly over the years - but it is thought that the treasure is now spread out over many miles - maybe I have a piece here?? - The coins were antiqued by rubbing with sandpaper after being patinated, and then sprayed with a varnish to prevent loss of the rest of the patina - I really like that effect.
Hope you all had a good week too - I will catch up with you later
I'm Neena Shilvock, and I'm crazily addicted to jewellery. I've been designing and making quirky and interesting statement necklaces for the last five years and my passion hasn't cooled off one little bit - in fact it has got worse, such that I'm even dreaming jewellery.
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