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Pili-Pala (sometimes seen without the hyphenation) is the Welsh for Butterfly, and a fantastic word it is too. My immediate response to this was to move my hands in front of my eyes, in 'maybe/so-so/pitter-pattering' gestures. In my mind it is a leaf-like shape moving in a floating, flitting , see-sawing motion across my vision. In terms of jewellery, this flagged up that I would want components to be extremely light; both in weight and colour/appearance. It's a pretty, delicate word, and I'd want that delicate nature to be included in the piece.

I considered earrings firstly, wondering about making a balanced - see-sawing shape. Quickly I discarded this, as it wouldn't fit the 'falling,drifting' nature of the word as I felt it.

I considered suspended shapes, in sequence, hanging from ear wires, but it didn't quite satisfy what was in my minds eye. I modelled a quick test ring in gold and silver at my bench, trying out texturing one side of very light metal (the gold), so as it moved it would catch the light in a different way.

I liked that I could hold it at different angles and play with it in different ways, but it wasn't right.

Pili-pala shape experiments
Paper clay forms on nylon filament

I kept being drawn back to the idea of something moving in my field of vision without me needing to touch it. I made a couple of models of shapes I was considering using paper clay. I then strung these onto nylon filament, which added both the light element, and movement. The solution seems to be to make something worn on the head, so that the strands can hang down in front of the viewer. With light enough forms, the wearer turning or walking should be enough to cause them to move in front of the eyes.

A piece to fix in the hair, like a mini tiara or crown seems to be the way forward. I think it needs at least four uprights, two taller right at the front, two shorter to the sides, curving outwards to allow the filament to fall in front of the face. I intend making the body of the piece in silver. I think I will stick with the paper clay to make the floating forms, both for lightness and I intend trying a new medium with them which I hope will enhance and exaggerate the sensory aspect. Exciting! I'm undecided as to how much embellishment I'll add to the silver part. I suspect this will be very, very different to anything I usually make!

initial response and sketches to the word 'pili-pala'
Initial sketchbook notes for 'Pili-pala'

The Welsh language has more than one name for the butterfly. 'Iar fach yr Haf' is another, fantastically it translates to 'little hen of the Summer' and a different and equally amazing name for a fellow crawlie; 'Buwch gota gota' for ladybird, or 'short red cow'.

I'm loving learning. I've had to take a couple of weeks break due to assorted pressures, but am back at it. I don't know if I'll ever be confident enough to strike up a conversation in Welsh, but I know I'm enjoying understanding more of the language.

As always, I'd love any feedback; either your interpretations of the words I've chosen, or anything else relating to the project! Please comment, or email me at lydia@niziblian.com

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