Welcome to the art of curiosity; my personal amble through the worlds of art, crafts, books & all manner of other curiosities. You'll find examples of my jewellery & art work plus an account of how I'm attempting to confound depression & my bipolarity by pursuing my creativity. There's a lot of whimsy too; my mind set is distinctly frivolous at times!

So, Dear Reader, won't you join me on my journey?

Monday, 30 April 2007

the bad news & the good news

Prom Queen I

I'm going to go all literary & pretentious on you - you have been warned :-) So that's the bad news done & dusted!

The good news is that I'm not going to ask you to read my own poetry - that would be too, too cruel. Something else that will bring you much relief is that I'm not going to unveil any of my own weedy works of 'art'. I'm not a sadist. In fact I'm really rather kind. Whilst all others are swatting & missing wasps, I'm the one that gently encourages said jasper to leave via an open window or door.

(Note to self - I must remember to tell everyone about my maternal grandfather who completely lost all composure & decorum whenever a wasp was in the vicintity. Neither must I forget to relate details of the day when a wasp had the temerity to approach when afternoon tea was served and Grandfather, armed with a rolled up copy of the Telegraph, swatted & flailed like a thing possessed. Unfortunately he only succeeded in shattering Grandmother's tea service, scattering shards of porcelain, Proustian madeleines & almond wafers in his wake. Another of Grandfather's party tricks was the skim-whack. The Telegraph would past so close & at such speed that the hair on your head or arms slightly bristled. This was usually followed by a sharp sting from the wasp that Grandfather had irked. I cannot recall any occasion on which Grandfather was himself stung, but the rest of us certainly suffered on his account. )

(Further note to self. You are a fool - you've just told them all about Grandfather & his battle against the mighty wasp!)

(Final note to self - I quite like talking to myself when I should be blogging. I hope this is a sign that I'm on the road to fulfilling my ambition of becoming a member of that happy breed, the great British eccentric. As I've always said, I want to be Margaret Rutherford when I grow up.)

To go back to wheresoever it was that I started, it's my intention to add a poem & picture each month to this docu-log. There may even be the odd quotation - I love a good quote & in my opinion, Dorothy Parker is the Queen of Quotations! In Cyber Land one can, to an extent, be whomsoever one wants to be, so I've decided to be the curator of a vast gallery & library. From this massive resource, I want to select a few of the things that I love & wish to share. It's just a little thing that I want to do. It might seem self-indulgent & pompous, but art & literature are my two of my favourite methods for dealing with:

"A poor life this, if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare."

Whatever you are doing, I hope you can find some element of fun in the doing of that thing.

Friday, 27 April 2007

how to embarrass your grandmother with William Blake.

Foxglove Necklace

My dear friend Jean has urged me to relate a story from my childhood, but before I begin, jump over to Jean's blog and have a good wallow in her wonderful words. Amongst other things, you can read about The Ruse, Paul Yates, scuba diving, divine jewellery and on 8th April, 100 things to know about Jean. Jean is very kind to me & she's encouraged me to write a list too. My brain is so tiny that it doesn't have room to think of too many things at the same time so given this limitation, I'll have to lay my facts before you a few at time.

1. I once kissed a man who told me my hair was the colour of a tawny owl's feathers. I believe that men who come up with compliments like this should be encouraged.

2. Eleanor Romy was named after Eleanor of Aquitaine ( my heroine), my step grandmother, Ella & my mother, Romy.
These are sensible reasons.

3. My daughter Lula was named after a dog & my son's favourite teddy bear. Indeed 'Lula' was his first word. Loopy's real name is Georgia Alice ( which she hates) and in her case she was named after my dog, Georgie Girl. These are not sensible reasons. To avoid confusion between Georgie Baby & Georgie Dog, we decided that we would give the babe a nickname. This seemed a reasonable solution. James & I couldn't think of anything suitable but when Tom suggested Lula we cheered because it suits her perfectly. BTW Tom's intuition was spot on. I have never met anyone who is as Lulaish as Lula.

4. I embarrassed Ella with the help of William Blake. I was always allowed to rummage through my grandmother's library of books. I fell for 'Songs of Innocence & Experience' with my favourite poem being this. I knew it off by heart. When I was circa nine, I was allowed to attend one of my grandmother's afternoon tea parties. She asked me to recite a few lines of poetry to her friends. She'd been reading Walter de la Mare, John Masefield & Tennyson to me & was probably expecting a few lines from'The Lady of Shalott'. But OH NO!! Ms Dangerfield gave a perfect rendering of 'The Sick Rose' instead. I was still allowed to read any book I liked, but it was decided that I needed fresh air when my grandmother was entertaining so no more poetry recitals for me!

4. I am not ticklish.

5. I know a lot of gossip about the Pre-Raphaelites. In my opinion, a man who has his wife exhumed because he wants his poems back, is not fit for polite society. I would tell you who this was, but I fear that I have bored you so much that you're probably asleep by now. I don't want to disturb you whilst you're slumbering so I'll save my tittle-tattle for another day.

Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

so what did God do on the seventh day?

Amber Swing Earrings

Please forgive the irreverent post, but the following makes me smile. Ellie's entranced by what I do & likes to talk about it. Daily, hourly; basically a lot! Today her seven year old pal Jason plunged in with a finely honed rebuff.

'Your mother isn't the best jewellery maker in the world - God is!'

I now have this rather kitsch vision of a white haired, bearded old man in flowing garments sitting in his rocking chair & thinking something like,

'Do you know - it's time I had some me-time. I think I'll make a pair of earrings on Sunday.'

Jewellery design & photograph by Jennifer Dangerfield ©

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

awards four & five

A River Runs Through

I forgot to add my final awards yesterday. I'm not sure if Jeanette Winterson's column qualifies, but it's my party & I'll invite who I want to.

If you come away from either Jeanette's site or Kate McKinnon's without having learnt a single new thing, then I will buy a hat & eat it!

Number Four: Jeanette Winterson

Number Five: Kate McKinnon

lulaism number I

Scottie Pendant

My anger about the bullies made me forget to add a Lulaism, Lula being my six year old tomboy. We were 'lucky' to have one of each - a boy, a girl & a Lula. Here is a small snatch of a conversation.( BTW, Lula has inherited my childhood lisp.)

Lula: 'Have any parthels arrived today?'

Mother: 'No. Why do you ask?'

Lula: Becoth I ordered loths of Spiderman fings on the computer.'

Mother: 'How did you pay for all this?'

We all waited with bated breath at this point - no flies land on Lula & she's smart enough to lift Daddy's credit card.

Lula: 'I never paid for anyfing. Isn't it free?'

Here's another favourite Lulaism. On December 31st 2005, we were jokingly making a list of our New Year's Resolutions. Lula's? She announced that she was giving up cigars! We don't know anyone who has this habit, so where The Mighty Atom got this idea from remains a mystery.

Photography & jewellery design by Jennifer Dangerfield ©

Monday, 23 April 2007

a bad, sad day

Romy's Fork

First of all let me tell you that I did not create this wonderful bracelet. It was my mother's and is now mine & I've incorporated it into this post because my mother was besotted with my son & if she was here, I know she would be beside me on the war path.

During the past two years, my son has had problems with being bullied at school. Tom has dyspraxia so he's an easy target. I don't want to discuss where he is on the scale, but if you google dyspraxia & PDD, you'll be able to see what I'm talking about. He has a slight handicap but no one can see it or hear it so it passes unremarked. Yet he is sufficiently different that older boys have marked him out as a target and today this culminated in a foul assault in which he was repeatedly kicked in the head having been pushed down a steep bank.

During the two years that Tom has been at this school, we have notified the staff of the problems & seen the head of year with whom we are now in regular contact.We have supported their bullying policy & have encouraged Tom to be brave - we have done everything possible to work with the school to make it a safer place to be in, not only for Tom's sake but for the other children as well. But it's not working - it's failing - and I believe the time has come for us to draw a line in the sand. Now what sort of a line should that be - that's the question.

This time, I can't see both sides of the coin - for the first time I don't care what problems the other child has. This hurts me because in my twenties I did some voluntary work with the National Children's Home so I'm aware of a wide range of problems for which I have deep compassion & I earnestly wish I could finally put an end to the mental & physical injuries that adults inflict upon children. But my feelings about the bullies are set in concrete now - I have no mercy; I'm not even sure if I can forgive.

Harsh words you might say, but I'm the one who has to physically restrain him when our cherished son tries to hurt himself. James & I are the ones who witness him tormenting himself because he feels he deserves this treatment - that he is doomed because of dyspraxia. We take him to see counsillors and doctors - all trace of his self esteem has vanished so we use all the resources that are available to us and to any other child with dyspraxia. We all work together, Tom the hardest of all & he manages to find perspective. He gets himself back on a relatively even keel but then it starts all over again.

The culprits are young men in their last year at school - they have one term left. Why not pick on a younger child? What effective punishment can the school take in the few weeks that are left? None whatsoever - it's not difficult to work out what the bullies are thinking.

If the school cannot come up with an effective solution, what can we do? If our scheduled meeting with the head mistress doesn't go to plan, where does that leave us? To ensure his safety, do I keep Tom at home & let him miss valuable hours of lessons as well as the social contact which he needs despite him finding it difficult even under normal circumstances - indeed the bullies are confirming the 'suspicions' of a child with dyspraxia! So what should I do? Should I go to the local papers? Yes. Should I go talk my MP, Mark Oaten? Frankly I think the fat lady has sung for him. Should I go to the police? If it ever happens again, you can count on it. Tom's school is gearing up to welcome a new set of students in September - they are promising parents that their bullying policy works. Surely I'm within my rights to publicise the fact that this is not the case?

And where does this leave Tom? Petrified, lonely, trust torn into shreds and another step closer to the pattern of self destructive questioning that makes him believe that he deserves this vicious treatment. We have pulled him back from the abyss before & I believe that I can do something similar this time ( years of therapy may not have helped me build any self esteem, but they're an excellent resource to draw upon in my dealings with my three children.) Once again he is missing lessons because I will keep him here with me until the school can guarantee his safety. They promised me this last time. Call me stupid but as it's a school, I actually believed them.

Please let me make one thing clear. I support teachers 100%. So much is demanded of them from so many directions including irate parents who are demanding to know what can be done about bullies. Teachers should be allowed to teach & they should also be treated with respect by their pupils - if I had spent my last term at grammar school behaving like a lout, I would have spent longer & longer periods in detention doing stultifyingly boring things such as writing lines in Latin or helping the cleaners or on litter patrol with one of the PE mistresses. The latter was a clever one because the natural inclination is to drag your feet whereas Miss So & So's pace quickly became exhausting.

One can find bullies in all areas of life - the problem is growing & not decreasing. But then we live in a culture that apparently celebrates rudeness. Only last night I caught a glimpse of a programme which documented the tantrums & lack of manners of some saddo has-been. The television schedules are peppered with examples of this rude & crude genre.

There is one final thing that I would like to know - whatever happened to treating other people as you would like to be treated yourself? When did that one get chucked out of the pram?

Photograph by Jennifer Dangerfield ©

Saturday, 21 April 2007

the power of illustration

Swim Chain Bracelet

I beg you to go straight to Penelope Dullaghan's site & look at her portrait of Emily Dickinson. I did the same as you're about to do ( that assumes you're going to follow my bossy advice - I apologise for being dictatorial, but you get like that when you're the leader of a household) and then I dashed straight over to my bookshelves, got Emily down, and l had the pleasure listening to her voice once again. As I say above, what a perfect example of the power of illustration!

Penelope is also the founder of 'Illustration Friday' - if you haven't come across this yet, I beg you to add this to your Friday notebook.

Blog novice questions: who was the originator of the Friday collections? Which was the first group? Why am I always so damn curious? You don't have to answer the latter. Safe to assume that my cyber proboscis is as large as Pinocchio's. In reality, I have a version of a snout!

To conclude, I would like to give the award to:

Number Two: Penelope Dullaghan

Number Three : the members of the Illustration Friday blog

Photograph & jewellery design by Jennifer Dangerfield © 2007

Friday, 20 April 2007

Occasionally Lost for Words

Piccasso's Dog Pendant

I really admire people who are able to add daily entries to their blogs. I just can't do it - my mind goes dry! I spend much of the day on my own so perhaps I've got out of the habit of talking. Thinking - yes. Talking - no.

Just a few days ago I was a blog virgin - it's going to take me a while to catch up. Now I'm a blog novice who's sat on the lowest rung of the ladder and my initial impression which has arisen whilst reading other blogs & writing my own witterings, is that a blog encompasses more methods of communication than I was aware of. I'm also deeply impressed by the blogs that bear witness to what is happening in the world. I came here because I like to write, but I've discovered that blogging is about so much more than the actual process of moulding language for expression. I'm dumb so please tell me what you think. I'm a fan of other people's opinion provided no anger is involved.

On to other matters.

My dear friend Jean has awarded me a 'thinking blogger award' so I'm drifting on a cloud. What an honour - thank you so much! Jean is a whirlwind of creativity, has the most beautful soul which her sons have inherited, a super hero husband and is the scion of the most marvelous family. If Jean & Emma Ralph don't start writing their family biographies soon, BOMBARD them with email demands for their stories as they are magnificent! If I ever want an answer to a question (this happens a lot), I ask Emma. Today she told me that peacocks have bright orange armpits -did you know that? Do you know anyone else who knows that? Don't you think that's such a cool thing to have tucked away in your memory bank. Jean has gifted an award to Emma - if I could I would second it. Since Jean's blog is something I read everyday, I would reciprocate immediately if I could.

I checked out the awards website & I'm going to paste the rules here in case I forget them.

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote
That was that! Please, remember to tag blogs with real merits, i.e. relative content, and above all - blogs that really get you thinking!/span>

Being an aforementioned novice, it's going to take me a couple of days to finish my list but my first award goes to Danny Gregory. Here are a couple of extracts from my fan letter:

"You have been a great source of inspiration to me. Indeed 'The Creative Licence' introduced me to Betty Edwards & the left lobe/right lobe concept & this has had a huge impact on the way I view my bipolar. It's now my opinion that you & Betty Edwards should be prescribed at the same time as meds!

You & your family are the sign posts for the way to live & the way to love that life. Thank you for shining a light - instead of a dark tunnel, I hope to continue travelling in an avenue ornamented with street lamps, many of which will have been designed by Danny Gregory."

Number One: Danny Gregory

Photograph & jewellery design by Jennifer Dangerfield © 2007

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Spinning in their graves? Warning - this entry mentions intimate parts of the body!

Kronos Crab

Via Radio 4, I have just been introduced to 'Menopause The Musical' which has crossed the Atlantic & can now been seen at the Shaw Theatre in London. I laughed all the way through the interview and couldn't help but wonder what Rogers & Hammerstein would think?

I'm a fan of 'The Vagina Monologues', but I've not seen 'Puppetry of the Penis'. Frankly I've no wish to see the latter - viewed as a design, in my humble opinion it's not the most attractive part of the masculine body.

I must bare my soul now & admit that I would rather give birth than sit through a musical (with the proviso that I had been pierced with an epidural first. One day, remind me to tell you about the birth of Ellie which was so excrutiatingly painful that I seriously considered throwing myself out of the window. At one point I also dived under the bed and refused to come out until they gave me something for the pain. This was one tantrum too many for OMD & he finally lost his temper with me and told me to stop behaving like a child. Don't you dare feel sorry for OMD though. After the birth of our son, he voiced the opinion that men evidentally have a higher pain threshold than women! I could tell you more of my husband's birthing sins, but the list is a long one & I don't want to bore you.) To get back to musicals, to please a dear friend, I did once sit through a performance of 'My Fair Lady' & it had the same effect on me as dragging chalk down a blackboard.

Despite my aversion to musicals, I wish 'Menopause The Musical' much success. Once again the women who sprang forth during the age of the baby boom are challenging the traditional view of women. As a grateful recipient of the changes that have resulted from this witty reappraisal, dear sisters, I sincerely thank you. You're doubly beautiful for doing it with humour.

Photographs of jewellery © Jennifer Dangerfield 2007

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Paying tributes

Cy Twombly Hoopla Earrings

I count myself fortunate to have a husband who understands my passion for jewellery. Considering he's a Yorkshireman, this is a remarkable achievement. Unfortunately I forget to repay this act of respect. I constantly babble away whilst he's trying to listen to the cricket ( how long does The World Cup last? Months seem to have gone by!) and if there's a rugby match on the televsion, you can bet that Ms Dangerfield will unconsciously choose that moment to throw a hissy fit about the state of the house.

For some strange reason, he forgives me & I'm forever grateful for that. It's hard work living with a diva, but he seems to cope quite well. OMD ( Old Man Dickson), if you are reading this (which he won't be), may I pay tribute to your tolerance?
I would also like to pay tribute to the American painter, Cy Twombly but this time I've gone a little further down the path by dedicating some jewellery to him.
That I am able to do this is a tribute to the gifts of the English glass artist, Beverley Hicklin whose remarkable beads these are. Her painterly beads are great favourites of mine - they are a constant source of inspiration to me.
Of Cy Twombly's work, I cannot name any one particular painting that made me jump up & grab a bead tray but 'Leda & the Swan' and the paintings below are examples of what moved me.

Three studies from the Temeraire, 1998-99

I want these but apparently the Art Gallery of New South Wales has them so I'll have to hang them in my imaginary gallery instead. IMHO, the curators of this Gallery have 'awethome' taste and I therefore pay tribute to them too. I must also mention Lula & her delightul lisp. Without it, a word such as 'awesome' would seem stale & harsh and I therefore pay tribute to the lisp.
Rhetorical question coming up - what am I talking about?
Non rhetorical question - how do I space out my paragraphs?

Photographs of jewellery © Jennifer Dangerfield 2007

Sunday, 15 April 2007

So which one of us had the bird brain?

Diving Belle Barbed Bracelet

I had a strange encounter with a bird today and cross my heart, I swear it is true. It was a beautiful hot day & since my room is the coolest ( it's cool in all senses of the word, but I would say that, wouldn't I?) in the house, I decided to work on the bed. (Actually my bed is one of my favourite places to work as I can spread all my kit & caboodle out, plus I'm extremely fortunate to have the luxury of a panoramic view across the valley & the golf course. I wonder whether other jewellery designers have a favourite place in which to work?) Lifting my head ready for a daydream at the view, I found myself staring into the eyes of a partridge. I haven't been sleeping too well recently so my first thought was that my mind was performing some kind of pirouette. The second thought wandered down the avenue of, 'Why is a partridge sitting on my window sill?'

A pair of pheasants & a pair of partridges have sensibly escaped from the land belonging to the local shoot & have taken up residence within the shrubs & brambles that separate the houses from the golf course. They're very fond of our garden - there's bird food around & the canine guardian's only concern is how many flies she can bark at - she ignores anything larger. So I'm used to seeing these birds amble around the garden although last week, I was a little surprised to find one of the partridges sitting on the terrace just outside of the sitting room. At this point I should mention that our house is built on the side of a mountain. OK, it's not a mountain but it is a very steep chalk ridge so we have 'terraced down' from the top of the drive to the bottom of the garden - our plot is a testament to the strength of reinforced retaining walls. Everybody else in Treble Close needs crampons to traverse their own properties.

I digress. The bird & I stared at one another. I felt slightly uncomfortable because it reminded me of a social encounter with someone who you think you know, who seems to know you, but whose name or any other useful information have deserted you. I slowly looked away, but I carried on looking at the bird out of the corner of my eye. There is no doubt in my mind that the partridge was convinced that I was the alien.

After logging this experience in my mind as memorable, I got fed up with being stared at by the bird (I now know what it's like to be a budgie) and carried on with my original objective of casting a dreamy eye over the golf course. And lo, I spotted the reason for my 'Close Encounters of the Bird Kind'. Juno, our well padded border terrier, had commandeered the bird bath & was lying in it. The partridge wasn't interested in me or my family sized bed. The temptation was clear - she wanted use of my wet room!

The facts are true but the conjecture is the result of an over-active imagination!

© Jennifer Dangerfield 2007

I love colour!

'Rainbow Sculpt' Earrings

I can't help it - it's an addiction. I LOVE colour & I LOVE perfume. Yet I read Albert Camus with Iris Murdoch & A S Byatt for light reading. My DNA is skewed!

Don't you agree that Emma Ralph's Ice beads are seriously stunning?

© Jennifer Dangerfield 2007

Saturday, 14 April 2007

How do I decorate this place?

I think I need help. I don't know how to decorate this web room! I want to make this an inviting place in the hope that I will attract all you wise & witty people to visit from time to time, but at the moment it's as drab as any room/house/castle you've just moved into. For heaven's sake I'm an experienced interior designer - why can't I come up with a quick fix?

I haven't time to research my principle problem at the moment ( how the heck do I get my photos to fit?) because I have a prior claim on my time - editing pictures of some beautiful earrings which I took today.

I also need to add a link to
Jean Yates' blog - please do not deprive yourself of the pleasure of reading Jean's blog. Via Jean, I found Margot Potter - this too is a must-read! These ladies are so entertaining & informative. For instance, I didn't know the following fact about Jean -this is number 28 out of 100 things to know about Jean: Here is one of my favorite vocabulary words if you ever want to impress you friends: "effulgent" Jean, I'm sorry for copying that from your blog but it is indeed impressive!

A law has been passed & it requires me to always quote Jean in pink. This legislation also covers Emma Ralph & Laura Sparling who are green and purple respectively. My husband, Old Man Dickson ( I refused to adopt his surname when we got married as I had a perfectly good one of my own) may occasionally surface in brown - he & I have chocolate issues! I may also mention my six year old daughter from time to time - if you prefer a child free-zone, please let me elaborate before you reject me. Emma has suggested that Lula may be an embryonic existentialist philosopher. She & I have a fondness for Lulaisms - my all-time favourite is the answer I received when I asked what she'd been doing at school.

'Finking mostly and then doing fings.'

Lula will have to be brown too because she is permanently grubby. She is a grime magnet - as soon as she's been dried by a towel, molecules of dirt fly through the air & attach themselves to her, usually around the mouth. My other daughter sails through life bandbox fresh & immaculate. How does that happen?