Designer Spotlight: Neena Shilvock
I January 17, 2014
A brief story of what you do and why you do it.
My day job keeps me very busy, and can be stressful ( and that is putting it mildly!) I needed an outlet, and had been looking for one for a long time. I received a gift of a handmade necklace from a friend for my birthday, and I thought I might like to try some classes myself – I have always loved jewellery, and wanted to make modern avant garde pieces that were completely different from the norm. I start out with one single element of the piece of jewellery that I intend to make, and look for other elements in my bead stash that might be suitable – something goes ‘click' and before I know it, a necklace has emerged in my hands. I have tried to plan and put my ideas on paper – but this never seems to work for me – I always end up doing something completely different, so I have given up on this endeavor – free form seems to work best. I haven't the time, unfortunately, to put into practice all the skills I have learned – but am sure I will use them one day. If I had the space and the time, I would love to learn metal-smithing, but just now, it is not to be.
How did you get into jewelry design?
I needed a creative outlet to get over the sudden bereavement of my younger brother – I had been making jewellery for a year before that, and I decided that I would take it to the next level – designing and marketing the Caprilicious brand of jewellery.
What makes your collection unique?
It is contemporary, colourful, and a fusion of the East and West – and makes a definite statement – ‘this girl is to be reckoned with'.
What are your inspirations?
Inspirations come from everywhere – colours, nature – especially foliage, and from the places I have visited – I love to travel, and pick up ideas along the way. India is a major inspiration – the colours, fabrics, shapes – they all find their way into my work. I try to meld them seamlessly into a Western style and make my own unique little pieces of wearable art.
How are you making a difference in your life?
My day job delivers an unhealthy dose of stress, and jewellery making counters that. I think it is very important to have some ‘me' time, and that I spend it productively. I love the thought that I can take raw materials – a spool of wire, a block of polymer clay, a few gemstones – and create something right in front of my eyes – the miracle of ‘creation' happens every day in my hands – and this gives me enormous pleasure, and keeps me relaxed.
What's something unusual about you that makes you “you”?
I strive to be an internationalist – to take the best of the culture I was brought up in, and add the best bits of the culture I have lived in for the last twenty five years. I use the work ethic of my day job – such as patience, and being meticulous with the finishing touches, and most of all, I have myself a lot of fun in my jewellery making endeavors.
What's the biggest struggle in running your jewelry business like a business? OR What is your biggest success in running your business like a business?
The biggest struggle is with time – I do not have the time to do as many things as I would like to make the business work better – for instance, I am unable to go to craft fairs and stalls – I have to rely on the customers finding me – with a miniscule advertising budget, this is fairly difficult. I do have just over 5000 ‘fans' of my Facebook page – however, this is not reflected by the sales from my website – although people seem to ‘like' my designs all the time, as soon as I post their pictures.
I started off with a beading class three years ago, and was instantly hooked. I use wire, gemstones, precious metal clay, polymer clay and more recently enamel work. I like to make as many components of my jewellery as I can myself. I am an OBGYN in the UK and love my avocation, which helps me to unwind. My IT skills and photography have evolved alongside jewellery making – it has been an interesting journey, to say the least.