Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My little JList haul...

I have ordered some goodies from my favourite Japanese supplier, JList! They arrived today and I am super-pleased...

Matcha diet Coke... Probably the best diet Coke ever! The subtle matcha (green tea) taste makes it a must-drink for Summer. This diet Coke even tastes less sweet than normal, and much nicer with that refreshing hint of green tea. I only ordered two bottles to try and will have to get some more:

A gift for my Mother... It's a banana holder! She always complained that the bananas she brings to her shop get all mushy and bruised on the way... This is a cool, albeit a bit weird, little gadget for protecting bananas "in motion":

And finally, we got a present for our new house and these oh-so hot Irish Summer days (ha ha...). This is a katori buta, a ceramic pig where you burn mosquito coils inside. You can hang it to a tree or leave it outside in a Summer day and the burning coils (pretty much like incense, that is) will keep the nasty biting bugs at bay. It looks very cute and is a very traditional object:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Russian lacquer boxes...

I love Russian lacquer work, and since I arrived to Dublin, I got some here and there, but mostly Matrioshka. I have only four boxes, though, and I think they are quite pretty. My Mom and Mark gave me one each and, when we visited Prague, I bought two more in Celetná. It is not really like I collect them, since I have only those few, and I just get them when it happens to be, anyway. Or when people give me them as gifts. I also have two books on the subject, from an American collector. Unfortunately, I don't have their names right now, since they have been packed already (we are moving in 2 weeks!).

Here they are...

This 1st box was given to me by my Mother. It is an old one, from 1964-1965. It still has the certificate above, which says:

Artistic Foundation of RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic)
Palekh division of the Artistic Foundation of RSFSR
Material - papier-mache
Number of the work - 1964
Theme of the painting - Scarlet Flower
Author - Televinova
Name of the article - ??? (this abbreviation is not clear)
Size - 10 x 10 cm
Quality - Highest
Article of the AF - 193
Price - 9.10
Date - March 23 1965
The above box, depicting a scene of the Fire Bird, was given to me by Mark. I am not sure if he brought it from New York, or bought it here in Dublin. It' s a lovely two-tiered one, with a little mirror inside.

When I saw this one in a lovely shop in Celetná, I could not resist. I was mesmerised with the amazing transparency of the veils and details of the brocaded dresses. I am not sure if it depicts any scenes of a fairy tale, or if it's just a portrait of two young ladies.

Lastly, some pictures of my remaining box, with a scene from the Russian fairy tale "The Gold Fish", which is not quite the gold fish of our imagination, but a large, regal sturgeon. This is another lovely box bought in the same shop in Celetná, with very bright, vivid colours.

Friday, June 12, 2009

My very own Shikon no Tama...

This month I have decided to celebrate Inuyasha's last anime series and last manga books. Yes, it will be over. I will miss it a lot, for I am a big fan of Rumiko Takahashi's work, and especially Inuyasha that I have followed for some years already. This week I will order the last DVD box (series VII). As for the books, I am not sure where it stands so far, and how many more volumes are expected.

Since it's celebration time, and the last shards are to be found soon, I have decided to make my own Shikon jewel. Thus, the name of the piece is simply Shikon no Tama (Jewel of the Four Souls), a globe of light composed by these 4 principles (=souls):

- Courage,
- Wisdom,
- Friendship,
- Love.

I will not go into the plot details though, since it would take a long time. At any rate, if you found this post today, it's probably because you already know Inuyasha anyway! My version of the jewel is a bit elaborate perhaps, in comparison with the original artwork by Takahashi-san. It pretty much complies with my own style of jewellery-making: a bit "baroque" perhaps, mixing several materials and trying to convey a meaning, rather than the object "per se". Thus, if you find that it's not at all like the original Shikon (and most certainly it isn't), please bear in mind that it is simply the result of my own personal interpretation.

Here is my Shikon then:

The following materials have been used:

- One round hand blown Murano glass sphere with gold foil;
- Two faceted Czech crystals surrounding it, with Aurora Borealis coating;
- Several Swarovski bicones and two small pendants in different shades of topaz;
- Several tourmaline chips in shades of forest green, aqua, yellow and pink;
- Several vintage Swarovski molted champagne pearls;
- Small glass pearls in deep green that I brought from Prague last month;
- Small round Czech fire golden beads;
- Toggle gold-plated Bali clasp, all threaded on a metallic champagne wire.

To have a better look at the pictures next, please don't forget to click on the thumbnails to magnify:

Two close-ups of the Bali toggle clasp. The small Czech fire beads and dark green pearls can also be seen.

Two pictures showing close-ups of the Murano focal bead and the faceted Czech crystals, along with other various elements...

The above photos show detailed views of the Swarovski regular and top-drilled bicones, and also the small pearls, Czech fire golden beads and vintage Swarovski pearls. These are quite old, but still have an amazing shine and smooth texture.

These pictures display a nice view of the faceted Czech crystals, as well as some of the bicones and pearls. I have decided to include them because I really like the golden reflections and iridescence generated by the AB coating and facets. A nice play of light.

These three shots focus on the Swarovski vintage pearls. They measure 10mm each. I have included tourmaline chips between them, which made the threading process a bit harder and longer since the holes are too small, as are the chips of course (the smaller they are, the harder it gets to even hold them). Tourmalines are quite expensive when compared to other minerals, but do have a wonderful translucence. The colours (in this case yellow/amber, pink, dark and aqua green) go really well together - to my surprise, I must say!

More detailed shots of the tourmaline chips... and, below, two more views of the piece:

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


I have been thinking a lot about the missing plane AF447. It is like a bad dream. We are on that flight a lot when coming back from Rio. I am very sad, and cannot even sleep very well thinking about it. At the same time, I am following the Brazilian newspapers for any news on the searches. I don't even know what to say...