Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tsukimi necklace

I made this necklace this week, by Sunday or Monday. I called it "Tsukimi", which, in Japanese, means "viewing the Moon". It uses bluish-gray colours and seems a bit different from my previous work, since I use no focal beads or pendants. Still symmetrical though, but a continuous line of several Swarovski elements, gemstones and glass beads (that I brought from Prague).

It is a "lunar" piece, due to the choice of cool hues that reminded me of the surface of the Moon, thus, its name "Tsukimi".

For this piece I have used:

- Tibetan silver hook clasp;
- Several kyanite round gemstones;
- Several chalcedony round beads;
- Swarovski elements in different shades of blue: cubes and bicones of different sizes;
- Several Czech glass glazed beads in bluish-gray;
- Two small fluorite beads near the clasp.

Some details of the above components to follow...

The 1st picture shows a detail of the silver clasp, the two small fluorites I used close to it, the lovely light blue milky chalcedony stones, along with some Swarovski bicones and a Czech glass bead. Second shot shows the Czech beads in detail, as well as two sizes of Swarovski cubes interspersed with some small bicones. Finally, the 3rd picture shows the string of beads: kyanites, chalcedonies, Czech glass beads and Swarovski elements, quite a simple structure. The necklace itself, since it is composed of mostly minerals, is quite heavy and I had to use a sturdier and thicker Beadalon wire, which, due to its gauge, is not quite easy to work with (the beads seem to "slip" though them a bit too easily, and crimping is very hard since the surface is so smooth and slippery). I much prefer the lighter, thinner wires due to their flexibility and slightly rougher texture.

Another detail of the gemstones, Czech beads and lovely Swarovski elements with an AB coating. Chalcedony is the stone with the light blue tint and milky texture. Kyanite is the dark blue one, a sapphire-like shade of blue almost, very vitreous and speckled with silver/metallic streaks.

Kyanites and chalcedonies in detail once again, and a nice close-up of one kyanite bead, a small fluorite with its pale green and purple streaks, and one of the small Swarovski cubes.

I love the AB effect on the aquamarine coloured cubes (larger ones). The kyanites are also splendid, but unfortunately I have ran out of them!

Some more views of Tsukimi:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lovely Prague - Part 1...

We arrived from Prague last week. We went there for 5 days, since Mark ran the Prague Marathon for the 1st time.

It easily became one of my favourite cities. I love its cleanliness, the way everything works, and how calm the traffic is. People seem relaxed there. The shops (at least in the old town) stay open until late, and you can get some really nice ice cream and lovely drinks and food.

Also, that mix of Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau is absolutely enchanting, and very very unique.

My favourite walks must be the ones we took in the Josefov, the Jewish quarter area. Absolutely magical.

But tonight, I just want to post some curious pictures we took in several different places... Please click on the thumbnails to magnify them.

Puppet shop near the Castle! It is indeed a magic town...
Mark and friend, before going for a stroll in the Castle...
I call it the "Fawlty Towers", although it is a wonderful building with amazing design...
Virgin Mary in a cage...
Not even statues seem to be free of cellulitis these days...
Kafka in Josefov...
Golem's attic in the Altneu synagogue...
Retro Pepsi ad!
A saint in cage. This time in Charles Bridge. Funniest thing was some parents with a little child who insisted in pushing the kid into those bars. Kid was scared to death (even I was), but the oh-so-sensitive parents did not rest until they got a picture of him, crying his lungs out...
Toys, toys and more toys! This is a very cute video! Toy shop in Celetna...

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Murasaki necklace...

Another Japan-inspired piece. Murasaki is the name of the colour "purple" in Japanese. There are several types of Murasaki shades and tints, based on different pigments and flowers. But the generic term for purple is simply "murasaki":

But Murasaki is also a woman, a writer, Lady Murasaki Shikibu. Her name, or rather pseudonym, refers to the character she has created for her book "Genji Monogatari" ("Tales of Genji"), written some time in the Xth Century Heian period and probably before she joined the imperial court as a maid of honour. She is also contemporary of Lady Shonagon, who was the inspiration for my Hana Kotoba necklace. Two formidable ladies and, indeed, very inspiring.

For this necklace I have used:

- One light brass oval bead as the focal point;
- Several dark purple cloisonnée beads with gold wire;
- Several purple round jade beads;
- Czech fire polished small "heavy metal" beads;
- Antique gold plated Tibetan spacers,
- Stardust small round spacers;
- Several Swarovski bicones in shades of purple and gold, and in different sizes;
- Antique gold plated Tibetan hook clasp.

Details next...

A close-up of the Tibetan antiqued gold clasp and stardust beads. On the second picture, we can see the Czech fire faceted beads in those lovely "heavy metal" shades, along with the Chinese deep purple cloisonée beads and some Swarovski elements. The 3rd picture is pretty much the same, under a dimmed light.

More details of the cloisonnée beads on the 1st picture, and also the jade beads, some Swarovski bicones and Tibetan lantern spacers. I decided to show the other picture because I love the light reflections forming little stars on the faceted Czech fire beads!

Close-up of the jade beads and another shot of the cloisonnées. The Swarovski bicones are shown in full force, very shiny and with a lovely AB2X coating. Please don't forget to click on the images to see it magnified though!

Now, on the 1st picture another close-up of the purple jade beads, but also the Swarovski Golden Aurum bicones in detail. This effect is nowadays a bit hard to find, but I managed to procure some for my beading needs! The second picture is just a funny one. If you click on it, you will clearly see my camera reflected in the bicone, and you can even read the word "LENS" on it, like the bicone has been "printed"! I liked that!