Jun 18, 2014

of Fairytales and Castles

These few weeks have been extra exciting for me. Firstly, my Artful Gathering workshop officially opened, and we're now 2nd week in and I can tell you, it has been nothing short of INCREDIBLE! The people I got to meet are super wonderful and the talent, creativity and inspirations that they bring with them is mind blowing! I feel so lucky to be part of this event ... so lucky!

In my own studio, a new muse is visiting and she wants nothing to do with my elves. All she wants to do is tell me fairytales and talk about castles! I have made nothing but castles in these few weeks due to her coaxing.

Road to Alethya was how she first started to tempt me into her world.


"Lady Alya can hardly picture her homeland Alethya in her head anymore. If not for the pendant that hangs on a crudely weaved leather neckband around her neck, she would have forgotten it altogether. She desperately clutches onto the pendant her mother gave her, as if clutching onto the last wisp of memory of her home, and her family. It was nearly a century ago when she was given the orders by the Oracle to come to the Land of Aaman in search of the Chosen One. Her training as a high warrior made her one of the 8 who was capable of making this journey. She was given the task to find the Chosen One when he arrives and protect him from the Usurper. And when he is old enough, she will guide and lead him and finally with the aid of the rest of the 7, return him as the rightful ruler of this wretched land, ending nearly 500 years of suffering amongst his people. Only then would her task be complete and she may once again return to Alethya.


But it has been too long to wait. A 100 years of living amongst the forest folks, eating whatever she could find or not at all, and never having a warm night's sleep, Alya wonders if the Oracle was playing a joke on her. But the Oracle never lies. Alya lays her weary head on the damp forest floor and closes her eyes. Clutching on to her pendant, she falls into an unsettling sleep. Tomorrow will come soon enough ..."

Not such a happy fairytale is it? So I told her firmly that I wanted "happy" or I'll have my elves back. Sulking, she gave me Fairytale...


Ahhh ... much better! It reminded me of a little girl I once knew ...

"Once upon a time there lived a little girl whose father bought her a lot of storybooks to read in her spare time. She read and she read and she read … and believed that unicorns, mermaids, dragons, elves and fairies … they all exist. Old castles in wondrous faraway lands, warrior princesses riding flying horses and courageous knights in armor fighting darklords … are real.

This little girl is all grown up now … but she never stopped believing ..."


Yes ... this little girl has certainly grew up, and she now has 2 little girls of her own. She tells her own little girls each day, that magic does exist ... and to never stop believing ... :)


Our Fairymuse simply refuses to leave me alone! Because not a week after, she's back with more silly ideas. This time, she turns me into an insomniac ((O_O)) just trying to figure this idea of hers out!


"Once Upon A Throne is loosely inspired by the movie Maleficent, I wanted to capture some of the magic of a fairytale but in a darker and slightly malevolent nature. A castle, ravaged by time and neglect still protects a heart within. A heart that was once pure and hopeful, now hides in the shadows of the ruin. Wings that once spread in magnificence now become bound in betrayal. Maybe one day, this heart may be set free to soar the skies again … perhaps one day, she may learn to love again ..."


This mixed media assemblage necklace with a movable heart was nothing less than absolute fun to conceive and construct. The Heart is able to move up and down with a simple chain contraption. It is pieces like these that keep me up all night trying and retrying, constructing and deconstructing until I can make the physical piece come as close as possible to the image I have in my head.


Once Upon A Throne, like all of my other 'house' pieces, has not one bit of solder. All of my 'house' pieces are folded into existence, origami style. Only I fold them not in paper, but in metal … copper.

I have also made a 30 second video demo on how the heart works on that simple chain contraption ...


Despite complaining about my Fairymuse, I am secretly pleased that she's not going away just yet ... I think her castles have rubbed off on me big time!


Jun 5, 2014

what if you were from an ancient bloodline of shadow hunters ...


The dreams came nearly every night now.
Ciaran knew exactly when it would begin. It always starts with an old heavy wooden door which he has to open. And then, a long dark tunnel which would finally end in an ancient tomb room. Carved on the stone tomb is a symbol. It is a symbol that looked somewhat like an old clock with a dagger for a pendulum(?). He didn't even know if it was a clock because it had no hands, only a curious looking device in place where the hands would have been. And each time, he was compelled to touch the symbol even though he knew exactly what would happen to him.


“Mr McFarlane … Mr McFarlane?”

Ciaran jolted back into reality, and starring straight at him was the lawyer. “Y..yes … sorry … what was it?”

“The key, Mr McFarlane. In the will it is written that Ciaran McFarlane was to inherit the house. Here is the key and the address. I trust that everything is in order, sir?”

“Y...yes. I er … “, Ciaran let out a small laugh, still in disbelief as he accepts the letter and a key. What an old key, he thought, catching sight of the rusted artifact in his hand.

“Right … I own a house now ... and it is in ...”, Ciaran looked at the address, “Scotland?”.

----------- o -----------

The highlands of Scotland was just like what they say, windy and wet … and old. Ciaran finally saw the house he inherited from his grandfather as he slowly eased his rented Audi into the driveway of the huge 50 acres estate, which was now his, as well.

“I had a grandfather?”, he thought to himself and laughed at the joke. He never knew his parents, let alone grandfather. For as long as he can remember, he is an orphan. An orphan who made good of himself in New York City. He is the youngest rising star of the advertising industry and was just going about his normal upper-class yuppie life, until the dreams came …

Without even realizing it, Ciaran was now standing right in front of the huge double door to the half dilapidated house. Trembling, he fitted the key into the lock and turned … click! Well, more like “CRACK!!” … and the huge doors flung open. Apprehensively, he took a step into the dark hall. Strokes of light were coming in from the windows above … he was glad it was high noon. At least there was some light! And then, out of the corner of his eye, Ciaran caught sight of a huge mural on the dusty floor beneath his feet. He couldn't believe his eyes at what he saw. On the dusty floor, was a mural of the symbol in his dreams.


That night, Ciaran couldn't really sleep. So he decided to do some more research on the internet. He took out his smartphone and for the thousandth time, scrolled through the images that he took of the symbol on the floor. All of a sudden, he caught something that he hadn't noticed earlier. Expanding the photo on the screen, he was sure he saw some letters. He could barely make out an 'A', and 'N' and 'O', and then part of another letter … was it an 'I'? But that's all the grainy photo caught. A-N-O what?

Ciaran sat in front of his laptop and started searching - 'clock, dagger, ANOB' … nope, nothing new. He changed the ANO-B to ANO-D … also nothing. Ciaran went through in alphabetical order, all those alphabets when partly cut-up would look like an 'I'.
'clock, dagger, ANOE' ...
'clock, dagger, ANOF' ...
'clock, dagger, ANOH' ...
'clock, dagger, ANOI' …

Nothing out of the extraordinary turned up in the search until he typed, 'clock, dagger, ANON' and slammed on Enter.

Right at the bottom of the screen was an entry that read, “Arcane symbol and the resurfacing of an ancient bloodline”. Curious, Ciaran clicked on the link, and appearing instantly on the screen before him, was the symbol in his dreams.


Ciaran was still propped up against the pillow, it was nearly dawn, but light didn't happen until 8am in November in Scotland. He still had a couple of hours to wait before he can pay another visit to the house … his house. He thought again of what he had read in that article on the internet. The symbol was apparently an arcane symbol of a very old bloodline dating from beyond the Medieval period. This bloodline kept themselves secret and apart from the main society because they were considered “devil's spawn”. You see, every male in this bloodline had the ability to travel back and forth between our world and the netherworld, or so the article says. During the periods of the witch-hunt between the 15th and 18th centuries, it was thought that this bloodline was all but exterminated. But there was speculation that they have resurfaced again during the mid 19th century, reinventing and reentering into the mainstream society as industrialists. They were known by few as 'the Anonymous', hence ANON was inscribed into their symbol as the mark of a new era for them. Whether or not they still had their “abilities”, or practiced them, no one knows.


Ciaran let out a cynical laugh. “Perhaps it is just a bunch of romantic wannabes who wanted to feel that they are part of some superhuman clan … ”, he thought to himself. His logic tells him that this all BS … yet why is there a gnawing feeling deep within him.

Outside, the sun has finally come up …

------------------------------------------------------

HAH!! I hope you liked that little story there :) I am pretty pleased with how the texture and the new paint technique I was using on this journal came out. Looks almost menacing and very old. This journal is larger than what I normally would do ... it is a 6 x 9 inch book with a whooping 336 writable surfaces, and heavy!

Now, on to a totally different topic ...


 
I am pretty psyched as my online class with Artful Gathering will officially begin tomorrow!! YAY!! To those of you who have signed up for my mixed media miniature book class, I cannot wait to meet all of you in class :) Registration is still open to all for another 3 weeks at Artful Gathering Online Art Retreat, so common and join me - no need to leave your home and peejays are most welcome ;) Let's make some art together!

Here are some photos the hubs took of me while I was working at my tiny little unruly space ... thru my reading glasses!


May 11, 2014

about Lanna

It's funny how my mind seems to fly away to a different realm when I'm making stuff. Every time it does that, I am transported into a world of fantasy, action, intrigue and love. Here is a story about a girl named Lanna. This was the first piece that she inspired ... or perhaps, that inspired her ...

the Portal 


Lanna stared into the highly protected glass case, meticulously examining all the laser points within. One false move and she will be surrounded by the whole security force within seconds. She shuddered at that thought.

“Focus Lanna!”, the little voice within her spoke again. “Remember what happened the last time you did not focus?”

Of course she remembered. The last time was one and a half centuries ago. Because of her one silly mistake, she lost Leto. Leto sacrificed himself so that his 'little one' could escape ... that's what he used to call her.

Lanna had watched them silver him in chains and seal him into the Chest of Eternal Life. She could still vividly hear his devastating scream when they shut that dreaded chest and the nails pierced into his porcelain white skin. And then all of a sudden, his scream was all but silenced as they tossed the chest into the Portal … into oblivion.

Lanna let out a small painful laugh. Chest of Eternal Life indeed! To eternally seal her Leto into a chest lined with tiny silver nails that pierced only enough into the flesh … enough to keep him in pain forever, but never to kill him. Her kind, the humans, can be even more cruel and disgusting than the creatures they seek to eradicate. That's what her own kind calls them … creatures. But she, Lanna, knew better. She has, in her time, got to know and love many of these “creatures”. And now, her Leto is waiting for her in one of those bloody portals. She needs her Key back, her necklace!


“Just get that thing out and leave already!”, the little voice jolted her back into reality.

Yes, she must disarm this glass case according to the runes she had deciphered earlier. She cannot get the sequence of numbers wrong. She desperately needs to get her necklace back, so that she may continue to travel through the Portals to find and rescue her Leto. She has been doing that for 150 years now, which also explains why she never grows old even if the blood that runs in her is fully human. It is times like these, that she wished Leto had changed her. Then she wouldn't be in constant fear that she'll grow too old to find him. But as long as she has her necklace back, she would be able to once again cross into the Portals where time stood still for her, and where her only chance in finding Leto lies …

With that, Lanna took a deep breath and proceeded to key in the sequence of numbers …


the Book of Ages

“Believe it or not Miss Cale, the Children of the Night and the Children of the Sun were once one. We were all called the Children of Nuuru then. When Nuuru made the world, He made his children beautiful, strong and peace-loving so that one day He may pass His legacy to us. He nurtured us like the new buds in Spring, fed us with the essence of His land and cared for us like a parent would of his or her own child. This, He did for 1000 years.”

“Inevitably, after a millennium of toil, Nuuru became weary. He also decided that His children were ready to inherit His legacy. As such, Nuuru announced that He is finally ready to sleep. Before He went into deep slumber though, Nuuru passed on His … well, how shall I call it in your words Miss Cale … He passed us, His diary? His journal? Yes … His journal, detailing how He created this world and us, the journey of bringing us from infancy to adulthood (in a sense), how He gave us every skill and every strength that was needed to further our growth … He effectively described every day of His 1000 years with us in that journal. Nuuru called it, the Book of Ages. He promised that if we ever needed Him, He will return. All we had to do was to summon Him using the Book of Ages. But He cautioned us that we should never summon Him unless it was a matter of life and death. With that, Nuuru went into His deep sleep.”


Lanna listened with interest now. She didn't like Eriq much, but it was undeniable that he was a good storyteller. Also, he was willing to tell her what Leto have always avoided. The origins of the Vampires. So for now, she will listen.

“For many many years, the Children of Nuuru lived as Nuuru had intended, in peace and love. However, after 5 centuries of peace, the Children of Nuuru became restless. They wanted more … might I say … “excitement” in life Miss Cale?”

Eriq smirked at the word 'excitement'.
That smirk made Lanna just a little uncomfortable.

“To cut the crap Miss Cale, darkness began to creep into the land and soon the Children of Nuuru became fraction-ed. A new leader with some power rose amongst us. She was a master of seduction and manipulation. In only a short amount of time, Syrena managed to convince many to go over to her side. The ones that went over began to cause much pain and hardship to those who continued to believe in Nuuru. The situation went so bad, that in a short 10 years those who were defiant of Syrena, were hunted down and massacred.”

“Why did no one summon Nuuru then?”, blurted out Lanna.

Eriq stared contemplatively at Lanna, and finally said,
“We did. But I guess Nuuru was too tired, He did not hear us ...”


Eriq paused a while before he spoke again.

“Some of us thought Nuuru had abandoned us. So ... to save ourselves, we went into hiding in the ground, and only came out in the cover of darkness to hunt for food.”

Again he paused. There was pain in his eyes. This was the first time Lanna ever saw any emotion in Eriq since he invited her, forcefully, to his underground lair.

“Finally after another 100 hundred years of suffering in the hands of Syrena, one of us did manage to awaken Nuuru. What Nuuru saw upon His return, broke His heart … it broke Him. He cannot believe that the children He so lovingly nurtured can turn against one another this way. He knew His land will never be the same again. The only thing He could do now, was to protect those of His children who were suffering in the hands of Syrena. To do that, Nuuru gave us the gift of speed and strength … far beyond those of Syrena's followers, so that we may have the ability to escape the hunts. He also gave us a weapon … a weapon that will become part of us in time.”

Eriq flashed his perfectly 'manicured' canines at Lanna and then smiled. Lanna did her best to control the shiver that ran down her spine. Afterall, it's not that she's not seen those pointy things on Leto before. Why is she such a chicken now? Anyhow, she was glad that Eriq chose to continue his story instead of scaring the crap out of her …

“We were able to protect ourselves sufficiently from Syrena's followers, who now called themselves the Children of the Sun. But because there were so few of us left, Nuuru decided that it was essential that He gave us one final gift ... Immortality. So that we may have more time to … repopulate”, Eriq smiled bitterly.

“We chose to continued living in the cover of darkness as we were now considered the 'vermin', the 'creatures' to the Children of the Sun. Anyway, after so many years of living in darkness, our skin no longer takes too kindly to the sun”, Eriq shrugged.


After staring in thin air for what felt like an hour, Eriq turns to face Lanna again.

“So Miss Cale … what is my purpose of telling you all of this?”

Lanna shook her head slowly.

“Well Miss Cale … I need your help.”

Lanna nearly fell off the chair, “What? Did I hear wrong? You need MY help?”

“I can assure you there is nothing wrong with your hearing …”, Eriq sounded amused.
“Let me make you a trade … a barter trade. You know what that is don't you Miss Cale?”

Lanna nodded, dumbfounded.

“I need you to bring the Book of Ages to me Miss Cale.”

“What? I ...”

Eriq held out his hand, “Let me finish.”
“Through the course of time, the Book of Ages was lost. I have searched for it for over 3 centuries, and I finally have a lead. It seems that a collector among your kind has it. I need you to return to your world and steal it for me. Bring it back to me here and in exchange, I will return Leto to you. A fair trade is it not Miss Cale?”

There was a hanging silence in the air.
“What makes you think I can pull this off?”, Lanna finally spoke.

Eriq smiled, “Well, a little bird told me that you are the best thief amongst your kind. You must be, after living for more than 150 years?”

At this point, Lanna couldn't say anything. It seems, he already knew everything about her.

“Good! I'm glad that we are in agreement! But don't take too long at your world Miss Cale … you age there, remember? I don't think wrinkles would be a very nice reunion gift for Leto, don't you think?”

Apr 16, 2014

Hunter or Hunted?

OMG!!! I realized it's been 2 months since I wrote my last post! Where did the time go? But to be fair, I have been up to my neck with work ... and kids ... and dance classes ... and Channing Tatum ;)

Seriously though, I have been really busy recording and editing my Artful Gathering workshop!! So much FUN, but very nerve wrecking as well, being a firstimer at this. Had a couple of meltdowns but definitely keeping it together. What a lot of things I have learned in just these 2 months! I feel like I have learned stuff worth a year! I even learned film editing from scratch ... how's that for achievement ;)

So ... the "Event" is getting nearer. My workshop - "Beyond Time" is already in the Artful Gathering catalogue ... and Zinnia our super-woman-admin-mentor-sisterinart has done such a great job with the catalogue, and everything else! You need to go see the Catalogue to believe it! I will be teaching one workshop this year which will run from Jun 6 thru July 17. Registration will open in full swing from May 1st ...  I really hope to see you @Artful Gathering this summer!

So ... in view of the 2 months leading to the summer workshops, we @Artful Gathering have organized a fun treasure hunt! Each week, a few instructors will open their blogs for the hunt and all you need to do is to search for a little RED square button with a CROWN in it. On the square button, you will find a SECRET WORD. Collect all those words and stand a chance to win a free workshop of your choice this summer! Besides that, there are also loads of other prizes given by the instructors up for grabs. For more information and to have a peek at the prizes on the Hunt, just go to Treasure Hunt Game 2014 @ Artful Gathering


This week is in fact Week 3 of the Hunt, and yours truly is one of the participating blogs. So ... I invite you guys to go into my blog, scroll thru and go find that RED square button with the SECRET WORD! After you've found mine, go visit the rest of the participating blogs and find their buttons too!! You will find the other participating blogs in the Treasure Hunt link above :)

Now, before I go plant my secret word, see that gorgeous little babe in the photo? That's what I'll be teaching this summer :) A "romantic relic" in the form of a miniature mixed media book. For those of you who have been interested to learn how to sew a book ... this is your chance! Besides sewing the book, I'll also be sharing many other stuff, like how to create these ornate and aged covers, how to create a ravaged leather spine, coffee stained pages with accents and much much more. You'll be treated to approximately 6 hours of my craziness ((O_O)) ... and if by the time you finish the workshop, you're still standing ... then you would have in your hand, a one-of-a-kind romantic relic that you'll be super proud off :)

WOOKIEEEE ... HAPPY HUNTING!!!

Feb 2, 2014

Finally!

This weekend has been wonderful beyond words :) We have been celebrating the Lunar New Year since Thursday and it's finally settling down a bit now. Time to rest the bloated tummy too, from all the yummy food that we only really get to relentlessly devour once a year!

Another wonderful thing that has happened over this weekend is that I am finally able to share this video with the world. We were on a secret mission since the beginning of 2014, but now the cat is finally allowed out of the bag! You must be thinking WHAT??? ...  Huge huge conspiracy I can tell ya ... so, are you ready? It is ...
The project that I will be teaching at the Artful Gathering Online Art Retreat this summer!! YAY!!!
LOL ... Gotcha!!!

Jokes aside, I am genuinely excited to be presenting this video about myself and my chosen workshop for the Artful Gathering 2014 Art Retreat :) Hope you'll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it :)


For more information on this and the other projects for the 2014 summer art retreat, please go to
Hope to see you all there and let's have some fun together!

Jan 26, 2014

a new year and some exciting news!

Hellooooooooo!!!!! Hope 2014 have been treating you well!
I've been away again, but not hibernating this time :) I've been hatching something exciting and should be able to post it here in the coming week. But for now ... here is a sneak peek of it. An exciting yet no less daunting project that I have thrown myself into. But I think it will be good for me ... and perhaps the beginnings of something to do in the coming years.


Yes!!!!!
I am so excited to announce that I shall be part of the teaching faculty in the 2014 Artful Gathering Online Art Retreat!! YAY!! Took me some time to decide as I am uncertain of my abilities as an instructor and also my ability to present a workshop on film. But I decided if I didn't try I will never know. And so I bravely took the plunge, and am now pretty psyched up about it :)

I cannot yet tell ye what I'll be teaching until February 1st, but it will be something exciting and fun,  involving lots of different medias ;)

So watch out for this space coming February 1st.

In the meantime, you can follow the link provided above (and below) and have a peek at this wonderful site. So many renowned instructors, so many fascinating projects ... I am sure you will find something that will interest you :)

Here are some dates to remember for the 2014 Artful Gathering Online Art Retreat :