Monthly Archives: August 2012

Of shells, shards, shapes and sheilas…

…and I could have included shaligrams and shamans but that would have been taking alliteration to extremes. ( We wouldn’t want wildly wanton wordage would we?)

I’ve been nomadic over the past couple of weeks staying in Sydney, Adelaide and touching base occasionally in the Hill.  Just often enough to see Spring arriving here.  The Sturt Desert Pea – not pictured.  (But there’s got to be a necklace there….my experiments of 12 months ago are still very much experimental.) And I know they are weeds, but Rosy Dock and Salvation Jane make a wonderful display.  I’m a sucker for crimson and violet.

I made another version of the Shell/ Shaligram necklace and like how it sits now that I have added tubes to the top.  I was very careful to make sure they adhered to the shell all the way along (wet clay onto wet clay) and strung them with paper thin layers of real shell.  They look nice with the Nepali dakka from Dhukuti Sisters don’t they?

Six hours of solo driving is a lot of thinking time and resulted in ideas of how to improve the studio (a mid strength clean up and a new table.  Is this because Spring is around the corner?); notions about a small figure with wired, beaded arms etc; the need to make life size, sari draped, card board Nepali figures and colourful flags to entice people into the stall at the Designers’ Market on Saturday, and several necklace ideas. Had to pull over and scribble on my hand for want of accessible paper!  My Nepali sheilas are currently in pieces but I think they will be a bit of fun!  Obviously the cardboared versions are stop gap.  Even one as sometimes fanciful/ driven as me acknowledges that making stuffed 3D ones in the time available was a long shot and likely to induce stress!

My shard necklace is still a work in progress.  I will write more about this another time but it is a response to a conversation I had with my mum when I was in Sydney.  I am currently sanding, painting, rebaking and resanding the shards ready to play with them.  To think for a minute there I had nice fingernails.  The vague idea is that of a necklace reminiscent of the shaman necklaces worn in Mali.  I have been reading Africa Adorned by Angela Fisher which I got for MJM many, many years ago when he was intensely interested in African jewellery.  It is a classic and one of the two I look to repeatedly for inspiration. JRM gave me the other-The World Wide History of Beads by Lois Sherr Dubin.  You could spend a month being inspired by a single page of either book.

And while I was sharding, I also made some shapes textured with Tibetan script which will come together (I hope) in a kind of Africo-Tibetan melange!  So much to make, so little time.  Here’s hoping for photos of some finished things next post!

#31 Mum, this one’s for you…

…and so is the next one but she will have to patient.  And she is.

I’m back in the Hill.  For the time being.

During my week in Sydney I stayed with my gorgeous parents and, in the face of life’s challenges, we did lots of talking.  Life, death and the whole damn thing.

We were talking metaphors and symbols and mum shared that the image of a kaleidoscope was a meaningful one for her.  At first you look and may see only random, broken shards but with a changed perspective, beauty, maybe even order, emerges.  I wanted to acknowledge this idea with something mum could wear (hey, it’s what I do!) and remembered that many, many years ago my lovely friend Shell and I (in our Luscious Ladies manifestation) had sat down together with a Sarah Shriver DVD and made an Intricate Kaleidoscope Cane.  This was in the early 2000’s well before me moving to Nepal.  Premo days in fact!

In a testimony to the durability of (suitably stored) polymer canes, I located a butt end of this (possibly 8 year old) cane and was able to slice enough discs from it to fashion the pictured necklace.  I am still working out the engineering of overlapping discs (ideas anyone?) and the technique is a work in progress but I like this necklace and love how it snakes around and moves sinuously.

Mum, this one’s for you.  Here’s to you getting back into that sunny room and playing again as soon as possible! MWAA.

#29 and #30

…throw a hint of lapis blue, make some more beads, play….Put the beads together with others from the hoard.  String them with some pote beads from Nepal and, just for a change from the traditional bust, drape a new necklace on a stand from the tip.  A stand?  Who knows what it was.  Whatever it was, I reclaimed it, stuck a cardboard roll on top, and covered it with papier mache…

…red rock earrings, clumsily facetted, with blue stripes, borne as the result of a mistake.  Slicing into the wrong lump of clay.  A cane!  But I liked them and liked the process of slicing away and letting something else emerge…


and then there was a day, after a night of not much sleep, when sitting and steadily slicing bits off beads was as much as I could manage.  It stilled my mind,  for a moment ….and that’s #30, but who’s counting?

# 28

A return to turquoise and corals….inspired by the colours from a needlework I’d done based on a Tibetan post card many years before…