May 28, 2012

Darkness Rising

the past couple of weeks have been quite a roller coaster ride for me. between me and Maia, we had high fever for 2 weeks. started with me having another episode of a plugged duct. those of you who have breastfed would probably know what it is and how painful it can be. after that cleared Maia had her fever. really high fever like 40C for about 3 days before bursting into millions of tiny pink rashes called Roseola Infantum. and then the fever made a U-turn back to moi ... this time with a vengeance. i was practically lying in bed for a good 6 days with a backache that makes first trimester pregnancy, pale in comparison! (i had a perpetual backache then too). Man ... i have never had that bad a backache, which radiated all the way to my toes! they even had me do a blood test to test for Dengue fever cos the fever didn't seem to wanna go away and i'm popping paracetamol like a drug addict. but thank goodness ... it did go. finally. after a week. 

and i could work again. commissions that should have been finished 2 weeks ago were added to the 'now' commissions, and rushing is no fun. but ... i did managed to come up with a journal that i'm quite pleased with :) remember my dark magic journal that's supposed to be inspired by Lovecraft? well ... Lovecraft didn't happen cos i just couldn't wrap my finger around that world. perhaps becos i haven't read that world. so i made a decision to make the Grimoire inspired by another world ... one that i have read. and i read all 5 books in 7 days :) it's by the author Karen Marie Moning and this was her Fever Series. just can't get away from fevers now can i?!

Darkness Rising was inspired by the concept of a book called Sinsar Dubh in the Fever Series. 
as an act of atonement, the Unseelie King poured all of his dark side into a single Book, sealed it and promised never to unleash this darkness into the world ever again. In time, the Book was forgotten. But IT did not forget. As eons passed, the Book took on a life of its own and then, it was ready, to unleash itself into the world

The central motif was derived from a pair of wings which the “Unseelie King in the series was said to have possessed. The wings were then stylized and made into the motif you see, and then hand-sculpted with clay to achieve a 3D effect.

i think if i'd forced a Lovecraft, i wouldn't be truly satisfied with it. but i loved how this turned out ... becos i knew where this was coming from, i could immerse myself in that world, and it was real for me. the creative process is always more enjoyable when you're comfortable with what you're doing.

May 25, 2012

no-solder birdhouse tutorial

i have been asked by several people how i made my no-solder birdhouse in my piece 'the House of Alternate Reality' :)

well ... here's how :)

1. i'm starting with a piece of paper becos it's easier to write the measurements, but you can begin straight with a piece of metal.

the measurements can be any numbers. i cut the paper to 65mm x 45mm becos this is the size of the scrap metal i have for the birdhouse later. 

2. divide your metal sheet as such. 10mm off every edge except the top edge which will be the roof of your house. measure 15mm for that.
3. snip off areas as shown on the right sheet

4. this is the scrap brass i have. it's kinda black becos i've tossed it on the kitchen stove to anneal. makes the metal more pliable and easier to shape.

you can see that it's been cut to shape and the edges filed down so it won't be too sharp to handle.

5. and now it's time to fold the house, origami style. you should still have your lines on the metal. i use a flat nose pliers to help fold the metal along to the lines.

6. i shall let the photographs do the talking in the next few steps.



9. when you're done folding the bottom part of the house, it's now time to complete the roof.

find the center point (in our case since the width is 45mm, then the center point is 22.5mm). mark the center and draw 2 diagonal lines to meet the 'wall' on both sides

10. before you begin folding the roof, make a hole for the bail. i dun have a hole puncher so my method is pretty direct. ice pick, hammer and some brute force ;) 

remember to file down any sharp edges surrounding the hole

11. now you can proceed to fold along the diagonal lines.


13. in order for the roof to look like it's covering the house, you need to push the roof (from behind) slightly forward so that the 'eaves' sit on either sides of the 'walls'
14. to make a bail from your wire stash, roughly curl one end of a piece of wire (this is a 16g brass wire)
15. push the other end of the wire thru the hole, leaving the curly part inside
16. make a loop and wrap the remaining wire round a couple of times as you would when you make a wrapped loop
17. and you are done!! now all you have to do is to fill it with treasures of all sorts!!

May 4, 2012


this has been a great week ... a romantic week. before i say goodbye to romance and welcome dark magic, i thought i should blog about the romance that's been in the air.

last month, a customer wanted me to do a journal commission for her as a gift to her friend. she explained that her fren likes to write poems. so this journal would be for her poems. she wanted something close to one of my older works Je T'aime Forever, something romantic and ornate. 

i managed to find a beautiful escutcheon and layered it with other filigrees.

with a collage of old postcards as side panels, a heart and a barrel key, this journal emerged. i totally fell in love with it. it is not often that love at first sight happens in a commission piece. but it happened to this piece. immediately, the song "My Heart Will Go On" popped into my head  ... so naturally,  this became the name of the journal too.

the romance lingered. i let it, as i continued to play with hearts. i'm doing that a lot lately ... using a lot of hearts in my work. it must be reflecting something in my consciousness. do you have a favourite symbolic element that you like to use in your works? and do you ever wonder why you keep using it at that point in time?

anyhow, i was twiddling with a small heart and i absentmindedly put it into a bezel. i liked the look so i went further. i nested it and put a rusty wire mesh over the bezel.

at first, i really didn't know what to do with it. out of boredom, i took some photos and did some simple manipulation with the GIMP. i loved the tone and mood of it.

then last night, i decided that it needed to be on a romantic, turn of century inspired something. i whipped out an old faded jean seam, the old crocheted table cloth with some other stuff and started putting them together with no particular design in mind.

i was literally 'Lost in Time' ... it was just liberating to let go.

and so the heart in a bezel now has a home on a cuff bracelet. this would probably be the last of my romantic streak for the moment. this morning i received an email from a customer asking me how his commission was coming along ... i told him that i shall be starting his next week. i needed some time just to allow the 'romance' to ease off before i can immerse into the realms of dark magic (his commission is an evil Book of Shadows, inspired by HP Lovecraft)

that email conversation made me realize suddenly that i do need the time to get out from one realm, before i can get into another. just like i did when i was doing TV work, i needed to get out from one character before i can take on another character/role. i was a little surprised that it felt exactly the same. now that, was pretty cool!