No matter what our favorite materials might be, the most rewarding thing about jewelry design is creating wearable works of art. Today’s guest is Neena of Caprilicious Jewellery, whose designs showcase a wide range of style and talent, while incorporating some of the world’s most beautiful beading materials.
Inspirational Beading: When did you first get started with jewelry design?
Neena: I have always loved jewellery – a couple of years ago, a friend of mine made me a bracelet out of wire having been to a class at the weekend – I wanted to know more and we spent the evening talking about it. As far as I knew, I was not a particularly creative person – my sister was the one in our family credited with that reputation. The fact that my friend could make such a bracelet in a matter of hours, and at her first lesson, was encouraging and I decided to try my hand at it.
I went to a semi professional jewellery school and got so involved in the whole idea of making my own jewellery, I went back over and over again for classes in different techniques and fell in love. Looking for distraction therapy after a family bereavement, I decided to write my own website capriliciousjewellery.com on a free web hosting service, and set up an Etsy outlet and Facebook page - and I was up and away! I had a steep learning curve – I knew nothing about photography, was a newbie at information technology, and I had all these new jewellery making techniques I had to master – all on a shoestring budget.
Inspirational Beading: Do you remember your first piece? Where is it today?
Neena: My first piece was called Dew Fairy Dreams – it was a mixed media piece – I made faux jade gingko leaves out of polymer clay from a book by Tory Hughes.They were meant to be pendants, and each one should have been strung onto a chain singly- but I wasn’t happy with that look. I wired them onto a collar, filling the rest of the space with a cobwebby wire lace, and tiny creamy pearls – a couple of pearls were wired over the ‘leaves’ like dew drops - and that is how the necklace got its name.
I used four pendants on the collar and one more, attached to the extender chain at the back of the necklace – I was so pleased with that piece – it seemed to tell me that I should carry on, that I did have creativity deep within me, albeit well hidden for so many years! It was almost a wrench to part with it - it was snapped up almost straight away and now lives in Manchester with a customer who has come back for more quite a few times since then. Tommy Garrison wrote this poem, and I reproduced it on my blog with his kind permission: Dew Fairy Dreams.
Inspirational Beading: Where do you look for inspiration?
Neena: Inspiration is all around me – a photograph, a painting, a leaf, colours in the evening sky – all sorts of things are stored away in my little brain, and come out to play unexpectedly. I love mythology, fairy tales, and I enjoy weaving a little tale around each piece I make for my blog. It tickles me when my customers remember the names of the pieces I make – they ask for ‘Isis’ – which is so much better that ‘that yellow and black necklace – you know the one – with a large pendant’ – which could mean anything. The true romantics amongst my customers like the fact that each piece has a concept and a story line behind it. My blog is where I explain my thought process to anyone who is interested, and to my surprise, I find that I love to write and a lot of people actually read what I put down – people are always telling me how much they enjoy my ramblings.
Inspirational Beading: What’s the most interesting or unique thing about your design process?
Neena: I love colour, asymmetry, and contemporary design. I like to think I weave an intricate and elaborate tale into my designs, and have enjoyed writing my blog to verbalise this – I write my blog as I go along the working week – it helps to crystallize my thoughts and brings the designs alive in my mind. Pieces of music, stories from Greek Mythology – the sources of my inspiration are written down – and the piece of jewellery seems to grow from there. I cannot seem to create in dull colours – this has been tested by friends who have given me gemstone beads to work with in browns and greys, for instance – I immediately add a contrasting bright colour that lifts the entire piece to another level.
Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite color to work with?
Neena: Turquoise, cobalt, red – pillar box red, emerald, and more recently an acid Wasabi green, oranges and citrus yellow – this is the Caprilicious colour palate – add black and white, and most of my jewellery is in these colours.
Inspirational Beading: What are some of your favorite beads and materials?
Neena: I design a lot in copper – this used to be because of it’s affordability, and malleability as a wire – but now I find I love the rustic, warm look copper gives you in a piece of jewellery. Silver wire, polymer clay, and precious metal clay – they are all fun to play with – my favourite material tends to depend on the day of the week! For instance, Mondays, and Tuesdays are exhausting at the day job, so if I do pick something up, it will usually be a necklace that I string together, with elements I have already decided on. Wednesdays and Thursdays, I usually play with wire – it is on the weekends that I get time to make elements with polymer clay and precious metal clay.
Polymer clay is exciting – the design options are endless, and the ability to mould colour thrills me to bits. I am in love with labradorite and blue agate, and the raw beauty of geodes and the druzy forms of gemstones appeals to me. Recently, I have discovered Solar Quartz, which is a cross section of a stalactite, and is usually a pale cream, but dyed in gorgeous colours – just yummy!
Inspirational Beading: What is the most exciting design in your shop right now?
Neena: I have a piece called ‘The Sorcerer's Apprentice’. I bought the pendant on Etsy – it is obviously from the Middle East. I made all the main black and white beads myself, and added red Czech glass and a few shells for interest – I think it is a very striking piece, and I just love the simple theatricality of it. I must have been a theatrical personality in a previous life, and most definitely a foodie. I often describe jewellery and gemstones as ‘edible’, ‘yummy’, ‘scrumptious’ and ‘delicious’– a greedy person's terminology.
Inspirational Beading: Who do you hope to inspire with your work?
Neena: I came to jewellery making late – in my late forties – I had no idea that I had a single creative bone in my body, and can sometimes hardly believe that the jewellery on my website is made by me. I am innately shy, and my jewellery is my alter ego – it speaks for me and embodies my inner voice. There must be a lot of people out there who do not believe in their creative talent, and may pick up on my story – I hope they are inspired to try their hand at a creative pursuit – who knows what magic might flow from them?
You can see more designs at Caprilicious Jewellery, and on Facebook. Check out Neena’s blog for insights into her beautiful jewelry inspirations.
Copyright 2013 Inspirational Beading and Caprilicious Jewellery
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