Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello readers, how's tricks? It has gone all chilly and cold out here in the UK with gale force winds and flurries of snow set to hit us over the weekend. As if that's not enough, I'm working again all weekend, so I'm not looking forward to the next few days.
Right, before that happens, let's get this blog on the road - let's have some music to keep us company! I feel like some tango music tonight and if you watch the clip you might make the connection between the drama of the dance and that of the necklace further on in this post.
Last weekend, I got down to the serious task of recreating a fantasy hibiscus - if you have followed the saga, you'll know what happened to the last one - if not, here's the sorry tale. I was depressed beyond belief after that debacle, but swore that I wouldn't let it beat me.
The problem with bronze clay is that there are three stages at least with the making of a piece. The first part involves making the wet components, drying them and putting them together like pieces of a puzzle. The piece has to be handled like a snowflake and there are many opportunities for it to fall apart in your hands as the puzzle is fitted together.
Then comes the first firing where the binder is burned off on a stainless steel mesh. Once fired the piece is then transferred to a pan where it is covered over with charcoal granules and fired again. Transferring the piece from the mesh to the pan is another opportunity that is fraught with danger.
The last time, my hibiscus fell apart as I tried to settle it on a bed of charcoal - I must have been a bit rough with it inadvertently and one of the petals broke off.
And then, the second firing - the kiln gods have to be propitiated, the blood of a freshly slaughtered calf and a virgin sacrifice is required to ensure success. The heat in the kiln is 800 degrees Centigrade, and the clay shrinks, so any micro fractures that might happen while making the piece in the wet stage become yawning chasms when the piece sinters and slumps a bit.
As virgins (and calves) are in short supply around here, I sometimes end up with a piece that has a little crack, and I have to refill and refire it - it just depends on the whims of the kiln god. However once the repair is effected, the piece usually comes good.
While making the hibiscus, I made a few more petals and came up with this one. To tell you the truth ( and let's keep it between us) I was afraid to put the hibiscus in the kiln. A second debacle would tip me over into acopia and that would be the end of my adventures with metal clay.
A little handmade clasp and a polymer clay and resin butterfly dangle finished it off to my satisfaction. I taught myself to set little cubic zirconia into the flowers and even had success with a square one. Eventually however, the time to go back to the hibiscus arrived only too soon.
And here it is, all made up into a necklace with quartz needles electroplated with titanium.
When Mike saw the necklace in all it's splendour, I saw him gulp! He said 'it's a brave necklace, babe'! I don't think he believes anyone would be brave enough to wear it, so I set up some styling suggestions. What do you think? How would you wear it?
I have a few more bronze clay petals left and some more pendants will likely show up on these pages in the next couple of weeks.
I am on a countdown to my holiday in India and am busy tying up loose ends in my day job.
My show in Raintree stands cancelled unfortunately, due to the monetisation situation in India. I will of course have a small show at home for people I know who might be interested in seeing what I have on offer. I feel ever so sorry about my no-show, as I loved the hurly burly of setting up and meeting a load of people but, hey, them's the breaks, and hopefully I'll be able to do it next year.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a lovely week, and catch you next Friday, same time, same place.