Nov 28, 2012

of Faetales, Fantasies and Family

it always feels like a luxury to just sit and write a blog post. Maia is having her nap and Llara is entertaining the Ipad, which she sneakily coveted it off her grandma for the duration of the year-end holidays. Noise pollution in the home is down to only the rumbling thunder in the distance and the pitter patter of the rain on my window. Bliss ...

i shall not contemplate too long on my luck this afternoon, for i have lots of pretties to show :)

Whence Stories Came is my first attempt at making a metal flower bud ... within that bud, lies the tiniest book, signifying the home of stories, and 3 seeds, which without, the home would be empty. they are the Seed of Passion, Seed of Imagination and the Seed of Artistry. that's how stories are born ...

metal jewelry fantasy

after this piece, i remember taking a break for a few days before i had the vision of a dark forest, not so much omnimous, but secretive and magical. a place where the Fae live...

a place where huge moss-covered trees bear strange nuts and berries that sometimes fall on the Forest Floor.

metal jewelry fantasy

a place where gnarled ancient vines bear enchanting Forest Offerings ... but beware, not all are sweet to the human tongue!

metal jewelry fantasy

a place where numerous stories have been weaved for generations. Forest Tales that are too strange to believe ... but are they?

metal jewelry fantasy

a place where humans are not really welcomed, tho if you did get lost, just follow the Faelights, and they will lead you out, but not before making you walk round the forest 3 times ...

metal jewelry fantasy

i think i can go on and on about this ancient magical forest that i've landed myself in. but after walking round the forest 3 times ... i think i'd better cool off for a bit ;)

and so i endeavored to make something less Fae, but not necessarily less mysterious. last night, i was playing around with Barry's stash of metal, trying very hard not to cut my hands in process ... and i suddenly had this idea of rolling a piece of metal into something much like a swissroll! so, i proceeded to flatten a piece of patterned brass, and then divided it into 2 equal parts. some steel wires, rustic howlite beads and a couple of dictionary excerpts later ... Cryptex emerged.

metal jewelry steampunk

been really enjoying myself with these few pieces, but what i loved most was this one i made. it began when i attempted to make my first birdnest with copper wires.

this, i named Born Free ...

metal jewelry birdnest

many people have asked me why there are only 2 eggs in the nest and not the 3 that you would normally see. the answer is simple ... becoz this piece is a homage to my 2 amazing little girls Llara and Maia, and my hope that they will grow up to follow their dreams and live life with passion, compassion and freedom. Not to be shackled down by anything, but to live life to the full.
Born Free, Live Free.


"Born free, as free as the wind blows
As free as the grass grows
Born free to follow your heart

Live free and beauty surrounds you
The world still astounds you
Each time you look at a star

Stay free, where no walls divide you
You're free as the roaring tide
So there's no need to hide

Born free, and life is worth living
But only worth living
'Cause you're born free"



Nov 4, 2012

the joy of making things (happen)

it's been 3 weeks since my last post ... i should be blogging more frequently! but networking has evolved so much since i first started blogging. i can say that i used to have only 1 place to show my work and talk to everyone, now there are loads of places to do that in a more micro way. I feel that sites like FB, Pinterest, Tumblr have actually taken away some of the audiences from the conventional blogging avenues, whether it's for the better I dunno. I guess that audiences are different. the audiences at places like Pinterest and Tumblr prefer just to "look" whilst people here would still read what you write. and for me, it's always a joy and a luxury to have some time to myself and sit in front of the screen to just write.

what do you guys think about the different networking avenues? which ones are working for you better?

in this 3 weeks i have been quite prolific *(: smug :)* ... well, for me it's considered prolific having to run around like a headless chicken most of the time! In this time i made, in the first batch, 3 pieces inspired by Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. and all becoz i caught the BBC series of it on YouTube!

Emily's Moors was inspired by the ruggedness and the desolate beauty of Emily Bronte’s moors as described in the novel. The chain of the necklace was made of dark annealed steel wires twisted around a variety of brass tone findings and shimmery glass beads to capture the twisted heath that grow within the moors glistening in the morning dew.

wearable book jewelry

“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be” ~ Catherine Earnshaw
this next piece, i've named it simply ... Be.

mixed media jewelry

and all of this culminated to a rather dramatic journal... the Secret Diary of Catherine Linton
“My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I am well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff!” ~ Catherine Earnshaw

handmade book journal

If Catherine had a diary … what secrets would lie within those crumbling pages? Even after becoming Catherine Linton, she could not forget him. She could never forget him. Theirs was a destructive love, but there was never a doubt that it was passionate and unyielding. Only in death, could these two tormented lovers reunite once again.

the one feature that had me thinking for a long time and eventually decide upon, was what to put inside the escutcheon. within the keyhole is the eye of Catherine's one true love, her tormentor and her murderer.


after easing off Wuthering Heights for a bit, i did manage to make some random pieces. inspired by my fren Barry, i tried my hands on a little bit of foldforming ;) if you can call this that. this pair of earrings i called Q & A

foldforming earrings

after a lot of rather heavy stuff, i just like to relax with a happy whimsical piece. so this one is Kiss Me In November :)

whimsical jewelry

finally, i made another one of those birdhouse pieces. this time, i had lined 3 miniature books inside. hence, Library was born.

wearable book jewelry

and as if i didn't have enough on my hands already ... one day i just spontaneously decided that i wanted to write a tutorial and put it on Etsy. so i wrote a 39 page tut on Project Library, complete with thorough descriptive instructions and 80+ instructional photos ((O_O)) stressed me up quite a bit, but am proud to say it's done and listed now :)

tutorial book jewelry

wow!! now that i have had a good look at this post ... i was REALLY prolific!!







Oct 19, 2012

1 Earring 2 Books

i should be blogging more often but seriously time must be playing tricks on me. chunks and chunks of it just seem to disappear from the face of the earth ... well, my earth that is. have stopped taking commissions for a while just to chill and not have to make art whilst fighting with time. takes away all the fun.

one of the last commission was an earring. when i say an earring, it really means 'an'. she only wanted one. so i made sure that it was good enough to go solo :)

named her Uni'q ... i'm actually quite smittened with that name HEH!

mixed media earring

after Uni'q, i managed another 2 books. i've been thinking of revisiting some of my older designs. so i took the opportunity to go Celtic this week.

handmade journals fantasy

the Book of the Brotherhood and the Book of Celts ... both i love so very much! and also very thrilled at the fact that the motifs in the center were designed by moi, and then made into stamps. took me quite a while to sort out the over-under line crossings tho!

celtic books cross

also love how this batch of rust turned out. beautiful patches and colors. even the shine-matt combination on the galvanized zinc seem so natural.

rust book celtic

these books that i make take so many hours to complete. rusting the metal parts have to be done days before and closely monitored so that i get a good combination of rust and grey metal. and then the artwork itself, the background distress effect, the shading of the motifs to give them depth and the aging work. also, i have lined clay at the bottom of those strips so that they don't sit flat on the cover. there is a slightly raised edge ... just me being fussy ya know. but darn ... that took some time, becos we had to make sure that the clay was 'grouted' properly all round! yea ... me being fussy again! and finally, the pages are torn and sewn onto the leather spine. OOO!! i just bought a bunch of new threads that i am now in love with! Irish Waxed Linen ... should have used them ages ago!! they even come in beautiful colors :) now my celtic books ... one has Teal colored thread, the other has Olive Green ... MamaMia!!


Oct 9, 2012

SEO - what is it?

over the past 2 days i have been having some interesting, out-of-my-domain kinda conversation with a couple of ladies at Mixed Media Art @ Facebook. we were discussing about some ways to market our work and ourselves better. ye know ... that is the worst part. i would love to just make art and let someone do the marketing ... or just make art period. but i would love to make a living out of it if i could. there were loads of suggestions and one of it that intrigued me was how to drive traffic to your site so that your work would be seen by more people. and since my sales totally depend on the internet, naturally this was the topic that got my attention.

i have heard of terms like SEO, page ranks, search engine robots etc ... i'm sure you have too. and no, these are not bookbinding techniques! wish they were, cos then they'll be easier to understand!! anyhow SEO is search engine optimization. how to get search engines like google or yahoo (and the rest) to find your site more efficiently so that consumers would also find your page easier when they google a keyword pertaining to what you do ... for my stuff would probably be along the lines of 'mixed media jewelry', or 'handmade books'.

apparently there are some things that the search engine robots cannot see. photos are one of them. and you know what ... my blog is full of photos!! ugh!! which means the keywords need to be plastered all over the content of the blog post itself, which is something that i am reluctant to do becos then, the post would look so fake. it would be like me pasting myself all over with branded logos!!

the ladies at MMA said that there was a way to make the robots see your photos. so i searched the net and i found the solution. it's pretty easy to do tho it can be quite time consuming. all you have to do is to add alt="your keywords" within your image's HTML. when you write a blog post, on the top left corner there are 2 tabs. one says 'compose' and the other 'HTML'. you want to click on the 'HTML' to get to the computer language of your image. typically the HTML of an image would look like this.



all you have to do is to add alt="your keywords" right after the <img tag. your keywords can be words pertaining to that particular image. my keywords to my photos would typically be "handmade books" , "handmade journals", "mixed media jewelry" and stuff like that. you need only to put 2 or 3 words between the invert commas. anything beyond four words would be a waste of time as the robots won't read that many words.

it's tedious cos you'll probably have to do this to a lot of your photos every time you post. but if you like to increase your page ranks on the search engines, this is one way to do it. 

now the dilemma is what keywords to use? well, here is a link to a site which points you to 6 places where you can actually find the best keywords to use for your blog. I went to Adwords (the first on the list) ... all you have to do is to put in your domain URL and they will give you a list of keywords that you can use. here's the link  http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-free-tools-to-get-the-best-keywords-for-your-site/

Oct 6, 2012

Home

She already knew as she looked out of the window into the approaching twilight. A lone figure walked towards her door. A single tear rolled down her cheek as she opened the door.

handmade books

The man looked sadly at her and handed her a little bundle wrapped in weathered linen. Hands shaking, she unwrap the bundle. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she gazed upon a perfect little book. 

handmade books

She remembered spending many nights sewing it, pouring all her love and heart into every stitch.

handmade books

She remembered placing it in the hands of the man she loved more than anything in the world, before he went to war. She remembered telling him to keep it close to his heart, and bring it home when he returns from war, so that they may write beautiful memories of their future together.

handmade books

And now, the book has returned to her. Even though it was weathered and worn, it was still perfect, just like the love they shared. She unclasped the cover slowly and then … gasped. For within the cover were meticulously burned pages forming a hollow. Within the hollow, nestled a delicate ring.

handmade books

Choking back his tears, the man said,
“Just before he died in my arms, he told me –- how is it that I am able to fight a hundred men on the field but failed to utter two simple words to her … marry me -- And then he passed me this book and asked me to bring him home to you”

handmade books

With that, she removed the ring from the hollow and slipped it into her finger. 
She looked at the man and said,
“He is home”

handmade books

Sep 27, 2012

A Different Place & Time

After many years of blissful togetherness, the man and the woman decided that it was time to gather the sweet memories of their union and place them in a special place. The man took bits of his clothes and a rusted key from their favorite clock and assembled them into a book. This book, he called Time. 

handmade books

The woman in turn, took bits of her own lace, some old love letters that he had sent her and a keyhole from the door of the home they shared together, and made it into another book. And this, she called Place.

handmade books

After a time, the man and the woman passed on from this world. In their hands, they cradled a book close to their hearts. He cradled her book, and she his. For it was a promise that they made to each other … that one day, in a different place and time … the books would come together, and their hearts would once again unite …

this was what i've been up to over the weekend and the beginning of this week. i have been itching to play with polymer clay after putting it away for a while. my pasta machine wasn't rolling too good and baking the clay actually caused my electricity bill to skyrocket ... so i thought, hmmm, not a good idea to polymer clay too often. but once in a while, the desire returns :)


some time back i managed to acquire this beautiful trinket box from etsy. dun mind the white stuff tho, it's just some residual from the baby powder i used as releasing agent.. isn't the etching on the box cover just so beautiful!? you can see what lovely book covers this trinket box created simply by 'stamping' it on a piece of polymer clay and then aging it with acrylics. (of course ... it's never as easy as it sounds. took many attempts to get 2 close-to-perfect covers)  

handmade books

another piece that i really wanted to share is this cuff which i made last week. this is the Cuff of Eryn Laer. in elven, Eryn Laer means the Forest of Song.

mixed media jewelry

this time of the year brings much nostalgia, magic and romance ... it's Autumn afterall. Happy Autumn all ... and to my frens in the southern hemisphere ... Happy Spring!!




Sep 13, 2012

an array of stuff

my brains have been rather fuzzy for some time now. dun really know what it wants. haven't been working a lot on my art too, well ... not as much as i wish i would. maybe it's just plain old laziness or perhaps too much working out. i guess too much workout can make your brains go fuzzy.

i did manage a couple of pieces this week ... the first was a pair of mini copper house earrings. i was contemplating on how small i can actually make my no-solder birdhouses when i came across another artist's jewelry collection which consists of little houses. the artist is Kat Cole and her house collection is so adorable!! that sealed it then ... and so i made these.

handmade jewelry

have you heard of a song called 'Home'? ... when i think of home, i think of a place where there's, love overflowing ... i wish i was home, i wish, i was back there... with the, things i've been knowing ... 
well, when i was making the House of Love, i was singing this song ...

the second piece i made was somewhat self inspired or perhaps, self indulgent. ye know i've been working out hard to shed some pounds and get my cholesterol back down as much as i can. well, i guess i managed ... to finally reach my first goal of shedding 10 kgs. and this piece is like, a milestone. 

handmade jewelry
 
This piece is called Transcend ... becoz, if you Believe and you Transcend, you Make it Happen. 
mixed media jewelry

yesterday afternoon i was clearing up my crafting space to get ready for a book commission when i came across bits of lace and some pieces of wires that i have hammered but not used. i toyed with them a bit and started putting them together ... and before i knew it, it was midnight and i had this necklace in my hands! it reminded me so much of Autumn, my favourite season of the year. 

book jewelry

Autumn for me, has always been 'back to school' time. During my tertiary years in the UK, autumn would be the time that I would return after a long summer break back home. I remember having long walks in the park and feeling the cool crisp air on my face. I would listen to the whispers of the falling leaves and be intoxicated by the damp woodsy scent of the trees. All around me lovers would snuggle a little closer to each other, sometimes exchanging soft kisses. Autumn is the season of romance, of reflections and of sweet melancholy. 

mixed media jewelry
Rhapsody to Autumn ... my heart yearns to return to the time and place where i loved so much ...
 
now, back to reality! when i take commissions, i don't ask for payment in advance. i feel that this is sincerity on my part. i will make the piece, take photos and then show them to the customer, and only when the customer is totally satisfied, will i send them an invoice via paypal. well, sometimes, just sometimes, it's not such a great idea becoz after sending the photos, there's no reply.  and this piece was such a case ... 

book jewelry

it does not happen very often, perhaps only 3 times. most of my customers are ever SO lovely!! anyhow, the piece can always be listed in my etsy if it's not claimed.

**Just got a convo from the lady who commissioned the necklace :) so i'm a happy girl now!**

just before i go ... i'll leave you with this self explanatory photo collage ;)


Sep 5, 2012

creative block & some PEACE

Ahhh greetings! I'm back from the land of creative block. Not much of a vacation since all the tourist attractions consist of giant lego blocks of all shapes and sizes, which dun even fit together. Until one fine morning I woke up to this!


And then ... I AM HOME!!! My angel of metal stash in the form of Mr Barry Smith (yes you! kind sir :) has struck again! Isn't it great to have a creative guardian angel especially when one is wandering aimlessly in legoland? And this time, the stash even came along with a metal cutter!!! OMG!!! Aren't I blessed! Thank you so much once again B :)

I know this may seem veering off path, but please hear me out. On the 21st of this month, we once again celebrate World Peace Day. I have promised myself and a lovely friend, MaryJane that I would participate in this PROJECT championed by her (please click on link). Well, Barry's stash came just in time to get me out of legoland and straight into some rather contemplative thoughts on Peace.

The concept of Peace is never as simple as it sounds. For before any sort of communion or peace is achieved, most of the time sacrifices of some sort would have already been made. In Honor Of was created to remind us of such sacrifices, and to remember those who have fallen so that others/we may live in Peace.


handmade jewelry

When I first began making this piece, I knew I wanted a sort of shrine so that I may immortalize “Peace”. I proceeded to search for an old Treaty of Peace on the net and found one which dated back to 1783. Then somehow I had to find a way to highlight the word ‘Peace’ on the treaty. I chose to frame it through an old key mounted on a clay tablet. The heart symbol has always called out to me, but in this case, it screamed to be included.

The elements came together quite naturally and the piece was finally completed. But what I did not expect was the overwhelming poignancy that hit me when I looked at it as a completed piece. What begin as a shrine to immortalize “Peace”, suddenly looks to me, more and more like a memorial. Even the shape of the key reminded me of a cross. 

handmade jewelry
 
On a lighter note, it never fails to amaze me how the artwork can take a life of its own in the midst of the process, turning the artist into a mere doer of its fancy.


When In Honor of was created to remember those who have made that sacrifice so that others may live in peace, Declaration of Peace was a natural extension of the aftermath of this sacrifice.

mixed media jewelry

The repurpose copper fashioned into a time capsule holding a rusted pen nib symbolizes “written peace” (like in Peace Treaties). A pair of wing findings, old gears and a heart make the other part of the piece. They represent an environment that I frequently associate with Peace … Freedom.

Aug 13, 2012

me, back

First up, thank you so much for all your very wonderful comments in my last post! i really appreciate all your words of encouragement. altho it's getting so much harder to lose the weight now, but i guess the word is "soldier on"! and weight is not everything ... at my age, being healthy is the key.

alrighty!! now back to some work that i've been up to prior to the last post. made a pair of rather simple earrings called Seedling.

mixed media jewelry
Galadriel said in the Lord of the Rings, "even the smallest person can change the course of the future". well, i say, "even the smallest of seedling may one day feed a thousand people"

i also made another book necklace, the Lady. 

book jewelry
inspired by one of my favourite classics, Wuthering Heights, this came out of a excerpt by Heathcliff : "Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living. You said I killed you--haunt me then. The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe--I know that ghosts have wandered the earth. Be with me always--take any form--drive me mad. Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!" 

mixed media book jewelry
this guy must be one of the most tormented and demented antiheroes ever written, but you can't really not love him for the undying (albeit sadistic) love he and Catherine both shared.

this next piece was the result of failed inspiration for a book commission :( i got so frustrated with thinking about the cover design one day, i thought i would just take a break. started meddling with some scrap metal on the table and before i knew it ...

mixed media jewelry
well well, what do you know ... one door closes, another opens. but in this case ... when all the doors are closed, i say, use the DAMN KEY!! :) 

mixed media handmade jewelry
so what do you do when your inspiration dries out, or is focused somewhere else and not at the place you want it to be?

mixed media handmade jewelry

i saw this on Pinterest, the wise words of a master. i laughed becos he is so frickin direct, but you know what ... he is SO frickin right!!

"The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up & get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part & a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you." ~ Chuck Close


 

Aug 7, 2012

an unconventional post

today i'm gonna be writing about something totally different ... nothing about my work, but still, this has been a huge part of my life in the past few months.

remember a couple of months ago I wrote about wanting to embark on a healthier lifestyle? Well, it's been 5 months now and I've been pretty diligent about exercise and food. Now my dinner mostly consists of salads with low fat cheese or salmon. and i've been exercising almost everyday, unless i'm dead tired that day. I am happy to have made a lot of progress with regards to fitness and strength. now i can even do interval training! YAY!

fitness has always been a huge part of my life being a former dancer. But during my pregnancy with Maia, i just let it slag. for 3 years+ i was just indulging and indulging. even after delivery, i continued to indulge until all my friends thought i was pregnant with another child!! that's how huge my tummy got! plus it didn't help when i got my cholesterol report!! Anyhow, i decided to make a turn around after my 43rd birthday on the 27th February. and it's been 5 months now. 


i've never been very self conscious about my body, (being a dancer we use to wear pretty little on stage :p) ... but this took quite a bit of guts, especially the "before" part :p ... well, what the heck!! i am proud of what i've achieved so far!!

and there you have it ... front view


and, side view ...

 as of this morning, i lost a total of 20 pounds! YAY!!

it's getting a lot harder to lose the weight now, but i am hoping the muscles i am developing again through training is what's contributing to the weight and not the fats :) i feel totally fantastic ... i can move with ease again and feel a lot stronger. the next test is the cholesterol test which i will be going for next month. 

one of these days ... i am gonna rip Arnie to shreds! ;P