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?

Friday, 29 June 2007

Stuff Portrait Fridays

This is a dog which my seven year old daughter made for me. The piece I really wanted to share was a clay teddy bear which my son made for me. It looks like a cross between a melting snowman & Jabba the Hutt from Star Wars, but we're remodelling the house & sadly this 'delightful' piece has been packed away.

Check out Random & Odd for more 'creations'.

Miss Dietrich was not amused!

The BBC came up with another scrumptious morsel for me to savour today - the life & times of Mistinguett. If you'd like to listen to an interview with the experts in which you will discover why Marlene Dietrich was not amused plus some suggestions about what Mistinguett & Maurice Chevalier were doing in a carpet, please knock on Woman's Hour's door. Some glamour puss pictures & information can be found in here

Style never goes out of fashion!

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Fodder for your Inner Jewellery Hunter

Flower Power Bracelet

This blog is like my life. Full of promises to do things which I run out of time to do! I promised an 'Inner Jewellery Hunter' puzzle which I will do when I've squeeeeeeeezed time for assembling jewellery into my week/fortnight/month.

I didn't finished 100 things about me either- I got stuck. I don't do anything & am utterly uninteresting. I'm like a hamster - I rarely look up & connect with real life. I troll from my bedroom to my study to my Shack & back again. I can do this & completely ignore the house because each of my rooms has a door to the garden. I like to keep the brood on their toes so trying to find their elusive mother is a teeny tiny challenge for them. Just so you don't worry about my cleanliness, I have a wet room so I'm not in need of a good scrubbing, unlike Lula whose face is a grime magnet. As soon as she steps out of the bath, her magnet attracts all manner of grubby things & they cling on no matter how many Wet Ones I use. (This may not be enviromentally friendly, but my mother was a fiend when she had a wash cloth in her hand & I can't bring myself to scrub my daughter red raw! )

I cannot complain. I occasionally played with two little girls who were always band-box fresh & whose socks stayed dazzling white no matter what we were doing. As I spent a lot of my childhood up a tree reading a book, no matter what I did, I went back home at the end of the day with ripped clothes, twigs in my hair and mud & lichen in all manner of places. On one notable day, my mother lost her temper & rounded on me demanding to know,

'Why do you always come home in such a mess? Marilyn & Nicola never do!'

To which I replied in gnomic fashion,

'If I'm dirty, it means I've had a good time. If I'm clean, I haven't.'

This remark is now entombed in family lore & I still adhere to this prinicple, though when we're in company, Wet Ones keep Lula in a reasonably presentable state.

Oh boy, I really am the Queen of Digression.

I have found a website which is tailor made material for your 'Inner Jewellery Hunter'. Check out Klimt02 Community

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

How to cool down using the warmth of 'Amber'

Amber Stacks Chain Bracelet

I have a poetry habit & I'm not ashamed to admit it. If I've had a bad day, I'll hit the book shelves ( not literally of course). If I'm so happy I could dance, I trace my finger along the spines of my books & hook one of my friends out.

Why? Because a poet will have felt similar feelings & thoughts and what I can't put into words, a poet can. My brain is always trying to explain things to me about myself & other people and poetry is the sieve I use to contract all the words surging through my brain.

Whilst I was looking for something else, I discovered this poem today - 'Amber' by Gillian Clarke It's food for your Inner Jewellery Hunter!

Monday, 25 June 2007

I'm so angry!

Please forgive me but I'm about to rant. It's Tom's birthday today - he's a finally a teenager & he's been dancing on air! Yesterday he went to the Star Wars exhibition in London & he was ecstatically happy.


We've had to collect him home from school because Tom was accosted by four older boys wanting money. I don't let him carry anything valuable at school - fortunately they appear to have believed him. Tom doesn't want to talk about it at the moment. Later on, he will find me & talk - this is our pattern.

There is some good news - he remembered his plan of action & went to Matron who contacted his Head of Year.

He was doing so well! I loathe the little shits that mock him. He knows he is loved & adored here - he is Tom, PDD or not - but he is growing frightened of the world. He believes he is hated and that anything bad that happens is all down to some mistake he's made.

Why oh why oh why oh why! They've ruined one of his rites of passage birthdays!

So help me, at some point in the future, I'm not going to take my meds for a while & then they will feel the full force of my anger. I'm very articulate at first & anyone who stands me in my way will be mentally shredded & pulverised.

Women are tigers when it comes to their children! Even Darth Vader would flee were he confronted by an angry mother!

Friday, 22 June 2007

High Society!

Here in little England, the High Society season is well under way. Wimbledon's on the horizon & thus far, we've had the Chelsea Flower Show, Ladies' Day at Ascot, the opening of the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition & now Glastonbury, the newcomer to the list, is well underway.

At this point I need to sing - I'm no Amy Winehouse so cover your ears & read the lyrics instead:

'Mud! Mud! Glorious mud!
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood.
So, follow me, follow, down to the hollow,
And there let us wallow in glorious mud.'

Google Glastonbury to see how well the new drainage system is coping ;-)

Glastonbury is the only one on the list that my Step-Grandmama would not have attended. Were she still alive, we'd be more likely to find her in Burlington House, the home of the Royal Academy. Join her ghost, be curious & pay a visit to the Summer Exhibition.

Can I beat agrophobia before 19th August when the exhibition closes? Not at a chance, so I'll try to work towards next year instead. I've been saying this for blah, blah years now, but one mustn't give up hope. When you have bipolar, anything can happen!

A short postscript to yesterday's entry. I'm working on a another 'Melanie' bracelet which features a set in beautiful shades of chocolate, chestnut & cream. What a treat!

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Thomas Heatherwick & Melanie Moertel - the ones to watch!

Clear Vision

Have you come across any of Thomas Heatherwick's work? He's a sculptor, architect & designer and I'm a HUGE fan of his! He's been interviewed for 'Front Row', a cool arts & culture programme on BBC Radio 4. Check this out!

You might also like to pay a visit to the Heatherwick Studio which he set up in 1994.

Drift off & look at all the wonderful, fabulous, funky things he's made & designed. Come back here when you've finished & I'll tell you how old he is. Now go on - shoo!


Ah, you're back! You're not going to believe me when I tell you how old Thomas is. He's 37! That's right - 37! He's 37 and he's responsible for alllllllll of the extraordinary things you have just seen.

Keep your eye on Thomas Heatherwick!


Another person to keep your eye on is the glass artist, Melanie Moertel . Her beads are quite extraordinary. I urge you to acquaint yourself with her work. Her beads are blissfully beautiful - a designer's dreams made real! Have a look at Clear Vision or Coral Garden Her work is exciting, fresh & vivacious - it stuns me!

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Please show you care!

For anyone who has not heard of the Postcardians & our quest to spread the word about ovarian cancer, please head on over to http://theartofcuriositycompetition.blogspot.com/ and join our cause. Time is running out.

The postal service in the UK is not the most reliable one in the world so please send your postcards as soon as you can. I've raised the amount I will donate to Ovarian Cancer Action. Instead of a $1 per card, I've increased it to £1 sterling.

There are three ways in which you can help.

Join us - your integrity & reputation will open doors for us that might otherwise be shut.

Send a card - a donation will be made for each postcard received.

Spread the word - tell every woman you know about the symptoms of ovarian cancer & in turn, ask her to spread the facts too.

There is a possibility that you could save someone’s life. It could be your own life. It might also be the life of someone you love.

Let’s look at the facts.

Ovarian cancer is common. It is likely that during the course of your life, you will meet at least one person who is cursed with this illness. Ovarian cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women.

Ovarian cancer can affect women of any age.

If found in the early stages, up to 95% of women will survive for more than five years.

You don’t need me to tell you what will happen if you or your friend or a member of your family ignores the symptoms.

With these facts in mind, can you afford not to share your knowledge with every woman you know?

During the past weeks, some people have turned me away saying that they don't have time to waste on this. Ovarian cancer will waste far much more of their time than the few minutes it takes to read what every woman should know.

Monday, 18 June 2007


Is there a jewellery meme? Does anyone ask about your favourite pieces or what was your first piece of jewellery? What is your favourite find? Who is your favourite jewellery designer or maker? Do you make jewellery yourself? What did you last make for yourself? What does it tell us about you? What does your whole collection tell us about you? What was the last piece of jewellery you made as a gift? What were you trying to say? Do you make jewellery for fund raising events? Blah, blah, blah.

How do these things start? Is meme the right word? I'm still in Blog World's Kindergarten so I don't know how to behave yet.

June ABS: 'Sweetie'

Art Bead Scene's challenge for June is 'Let them eat cake'. I love their challenges because their briefs are so cool & sassy. Entrants are invited to mull over the following:

'The theme for June is "Let Them Eat Cake." What does that mean? Anything related to sweets, treats, candy, Marie Antoinette, or France. Let your creativity feast on the possibilities.'

That description opens up an incredibly large vista for one's imagination to work on. I've entered two pieces already, but their challenge is so enticing that I want to think about a third. Is that greedy? Is that too much?

'Sweetie' is about candy colours & I entered 'Fondant Fancy' because Emma Ralph's beads are so utterly, totally perfect for the role.

Though I signed up for Illustration Fridays back in April, I haven't submitted anything yet. This week's word is 'Rejection'. I don't feel very drawn to this - oh, the pain of a pun!

I haven't played Stuff Portrait Fridays either, but my friend Jean does & it always looks such fun. I'm going to nose around Random & Odd and see what's what & where it's at!

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Find Your Inner Jewellery Hunter - Part I

This is the first in an occasional series called 'Find Your Inner Jewellery Hunter'. This one is easy. Sometimes I'm going to make them very difficult, but in return there will be a prize. I think I'll do one of these soon so watch this space!

As I'm a fickle creature, after the close of The Postcardian Competition, I may place one on here or on the home page of my website - this manoeuvre will help you hone your skills as a Jewellery Hunter ;-)

In the meantime, explore http://www.jenniferdangerfield.co.uk/ & try to find this babe!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 16 June 2007

The painting I probably shouldn't share with you

but I'm going to lodge it here because it's so beautiful & I love to share beauty!

This is the painting I persuaded OMD to buy for my birthday. It's by the artist Angela Stead & is entitled 'Three Porthgwarra Scenes'. I've had it for three weeks & I still haven't hung it. I haven't finished 'looking into it'.

This foible of mine means that I carry it from bedroom to study & back again. It hasn't entered the portals of the Shack yet because even I realise that lugging a painting around a garden is a little eccentric. I reserve the right to change my mind though ;-)

I conduct a passionate love affair with most of the paintings in this house. Before I lost my heart to OMD, I collected paintings & sculpture on a very small scale. They all hit me in the solar plexus. I love living with them - a real, pure love. I regularly take one off the wall so that I can study it again. I have strange genes!

Poetry has a similar, but less essential effect on me. I pick poems apart & by the time I've finished, I can usually recite them off by heart. It's a form of love, but not a passion.

I eat books. I'm not on Planet Earth when my brain is deliberating over a book. This is a yearning love, but it's still not a passion.

I moon over paintings. It's sad, but it's true. Having said that, if Daniel Craig threw some pebbles against my bedroom window, I would trade a painting. No contest!! I may be an aesthete, but my feet are flat on the ground!

Thursday, 14 June 2007

I don't know what I've been doing?

Barola Polymer Earrings

All my plans for making jewellery & photographing the results have turned to dust during the last couple of weeks. It's been one of those experiences that we all have from time to time - rushed off our feet, but with nothing much to show for it. That's life!

I have added the Aegean Heart pendant & the Barola earrings to my website - a whole two things!! They are lovely though. Shortly I also hope to add a fresh photograph of the choker too - I need to do justice to Laura's stunning beads! 'Fondant Fancy' also needs a little more time under the lens, but then it will snuggle into the 'Hands Up' compartment on my website.

I have a lame brain today - it's run out of words. Does that ever happen to you?

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Sarah Moran has joined The Postcardians!!

I chanced my arm & in the name of The Postcardians, I wrote to the bead artists who live on top of the mountain. I have about one atom of self-confidence, but the internet is a wonderful tool for making you feel fakely bold.

There was a name in my Inbox this morning which made me whoop with glee. Sarah Moran! Yep, that's right - Sarah Moran!

The Postcardians go from strength to strength. What a wonderful, powerful, honourable group you all are!!

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Smoothing out the creases

Cherry Choker

For one reason & another, I haven't had many opportunities to flex my creative muscles recently. I'm not a good person to be around when this happens - I become twitchy, impatient & unable to sleep because I get stuck in overdrive.

Yesterday I struck gold because my son wanted to practice drawing some Marvel superheroes ( as well as an actor, he also wants to be a comic book artist & a game designer; preferably all at the same time!!) so I shut the study door on my computer & using Dan Jurgens' book for guidance,we spent the afternoon drawing in my beloved Shack. Drawing Captain America & Cyclops might not sound exciting, but spending 'Shack Time' with Tom & all the other super heroes was cool.

We have our best conversations in the Shack! Everyone does. People wander round to see what projects I've got on the go or look at books & then - wham!! They're sat in the rocking chair & we're talking about life, the universe & everything. My Shack nestles amongst trees & shrubs & has a panoramic view across the golf course to the other side of the valley, so it feels calm, restorative & peaceful. There's no noise except bird song & no clocks to watch. 'Shack Time' is good time!

Most of the knots & needles of tension which I'd collected over the week were relieved by Daredevil & Nightcrawler. Laura Sparling swabbed my petulance today because I played with some of her beads - yeee haaa!

Cherry is quite a big girl - she's about 3½ inches across. I need to take some more photographs of her because the dull background has interfered with the colours of the leaves - they are composed of shades of fresh green & olive in reality. I'll add that to my list of things to capture the next time the sun shines for my camera.

I'm celebrating because I'm back in the groove - I want another dose of beads - I'm a full blown addict today!

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Fondant Fancy - my entry for Art Bead Scene's June challenge

Are these delicious cakes decorated with chocolate & dusted with icing sugar?

No, they're art glass beads by Emma Ralph and another bracelet which I'm going to add to my website soon.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Oceanic Splendour!

Aegean Heart Pendant

This pendant is one of the pieces that I'm going to add to my website over the weekend.

Isn't Laura Sparling's heart bead stunning? It takes my breath away! I'm very lucky to have the opportunity to hold this focal bead in my hand & study it. This is a luxury bead!

Thursday, 7 June 2007

What they don't tell you!

Leather Garland Necklace

I have a question. It's a topic that no one addressed in any of the child rearing manuals that I poked my nose into when coping with Child Number One. ( When I finally realised that children don't always do what the books say they will, I threw away the earnest tomes thinking that this might help me discard the 'Bad Mother' label that I'd cemented around my neck. Only after I read, 'Families & How to Survive Them' by Robin Skynner & John Cleese did I finally quit the road to perfection & embrace the more realistic goal of being a 'good enough' parent.)

Rewind to the question. My children love painting, making, shaping & decorating things. They have a large craft cupboard (handing over the largest cupboard in the utility room was one of the most sensible decisions I've ever made) in which all manner of fascinating things are stored. I enjoy a good rummage in there - I think anyone would. Pipe cleaners, sequins, Mod Podge, googly eyes, foil, stickers, stamps, multicoloured ink pads, ribbon, beads, buttons, wool, art straws - I think it's one of the coolest cupboards in the land! BUT!

In England, the architects who designed the majority of the housing stock in our shires would appear to have shared the opinion that people can live in a house without ever wanting to store anything for a reasonable length of time. I lie. In theory, there's the possibility of storage space in a loft, but gaining access to one of these can usually only be achieved with the help of two strong men & a very long ladder. There's also the drawback that the hatch to the loft is usually smaller than any cardboard box you might want to stow up there, so let's just agree that the only things you can sensibly store in a loft are your Christmas decorations.

Most modern houses now assume you wear clothes so a built-in wardrobe is likely. An understairs cupboard is a possibility, but once you've got an ironing board, a vacuum leaner & room for the gas & electric meter reader in it, the storage space it offers is fairly limited.

Are you beginning to wonder if I'm ever going to ask my question?

Children throughout the land make things. Miriam Stoppard & Penelope Thingy urge parents to encourage the creative juices which are rampantly flowing through their children & quite rightly so. Parents & grandparents love seeing rockets made out of plastic bottles, masks from paper plates, cars out of boxes & strange animals if you're a Lula. Clay platters, paper flowers & newspaper trees are tenderly handled & admired by proud parents everywhere. So...here comes the question that the architects plus Dr Spock & his progeny do not address.

Exactly where are we supposed to store all these things?

Sunday, 3 June 2007


This Year's Blue

This bracelet is tweak-free. Look at that blue - we simply don't have skies this colour!

To tweak or not to tweak - that is the question!

By rights this postcard should be lingering in the art of curiosity's postcard competition blog but this particular pillow needs plumping up so I'm going to post it here instead.

This house is not Italian - Osbourne House is in England. This wannabe Mediterranean 'holiday home' belonged to Queen Victoria and can be found on the Isle of Wight.

This postcard has been in the make-up department. In fact the reason why I love it is because it's had a humdinger of a make-over. In the UK, we occasionally have blue skies, but electric blue?

The water in the pool is a beautiful colour, but either it's suffering from an overdose of Miracle Gro or it's been tweaked.

I love playing 'tweak the black & white photo' almost as much as I like Technicolor films & the fifties' colour palette. If I'm having a wobble and I can't face reading a 'Battle Book' ( there are times when concentrating on one sentence is a challenge), I've found that my form of colour therapy helps and in my particular case, the more saturated a colour is, the better I like it.

My colour exercise is a simple game. Open up your photo editing suite and tweak a photograph. On those deep dark days when you have no choice, but to stay in bed because the world has become a brick wall, try to fire up your lap top & play the tweak game. What colours lift you? Which palette of colours makes sense?

If you find yourself lost in this game for a minute or more, congratulations! You have experienced mindfulness & this is an invaluable tool when dealing with depression. Patches of mindfulness heal. Trust me. I know.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

I've come back to soothe my blog


I've neglected my infant blog in favour of the competition's site, but its guardian has now returned ready to do battle with words.

I haven't brewed up an entry yet, but I've got sleep to look forward to so I may find something in my dreams.

In the meantime here is a fresh picture of the first prize entitled 'Beach'.

Over the weekend, I'm hoping to slot in some time to assemble the selection of pendants that I am offering as a second prize. When I woke up this morning, it was the first thing on my 'things to do which I actually enjoy doing', but sadly the 'life crap' list has presidence & it took me over today. I don't know which is worse - 'life's crap paperwork' or 'life's crap chores'?

Put on the imaginary boots & wade through the mire - the island you're trying to reach is a worthwhile goal , but you may not manage to reach it everyday.