Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Artist feature: Joy Tan

One of her more elaborate
I haven't featured any artists before (other than me, haha) so this is a first. Joy featured one of my items on her blog, somebody spotted it, and I want to use this feature to thank Joy for the sale I got through her. That and I really love her work. She is located in Singapore and is a woman of many talents - she does both painting and jewelry making. She works with metal clay, just like me.

How and when did you start making jewelry?
Haha, my start was in fact not special at all. I was trained as a Fine Arts Artist so making jewelry never came into my mind and I am someone who like to see the sparkles of the jewelry instead of wearing them. About 2 years ago, a friend from England introduced me to Etsy. I was very excited and impressed by the handmade spirit I had seen in that website until I spent hours and nights amazed by the handmade items. After further considerations, I started to borrow related books from the library and bought some materials to make some simple earrings and bracelets. 
An example of Joy's dainty flower
pendants, a dandelion

What do you like best in the jewelry making process?
I enjoyed the process in creating delicate details when making art clay silver pendants. I love the quiet and peaceful moments that I am experiencing during it. I never really attends any jewelry lesson, so creating something new with art clay silver on my own contributes to much achievements and satisfactions.
What inspires you?
God's nature is my very first mean of inspirations. Etsy is a really good place for ideas and references. Joining the Aspiring Metalsmith Team in Etsy really helps me a lot as many of the hardcore metalsmiths there are very very knowledgeable with torches, metals, hammer and many other materials I never know....haha....and mostly gratefully, they are very friendly to share related information. 

Joy has been experimenting with
adding dyed concrete to her designs.
I love the result!
What are the advantages and challenges of having a handmade jewelry business in your location?
What I have created is considered something new and rare in Singapore as the local people have little knowledge of art clay silver, so I will just need more efforts to start this market. On the other hand, due to the great focus on mass production in this country, people are rather focused more on branded items and icons. Little appreciation is given to handmade items as they are not so educated with the efforts that a artisan spends in creating something and resources are limited here too.

How does a design come to you?
I have the habit of looking at any creations around me even if it is small and I will sketch on my small note book with things that are interesting. I will try to depict the idea in different compositions then I'll choose the best one. Sometimes, I will just make the jewelry instinctively. 

Thank you Joy! Those of you who would like to see more of her beautiful jewelry, make sure to check out her Etsy shop.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thing a Week- Weeks 13-15

Another combined Thing A Week report. So far so good, I haven't yet had a week where I haven't finished something, which is a good sign. I must say that it has been really hard to stay indoors with the wonderful spring weather we've had lately. We'll see if I'm able to keep up the good work..

Week 13
This is my first project in gold. I'm not sure I would have done it if not a colleague had requested these earrings. She had seen similar earrings by me in silver and wanted them in 18K gold.
So I ordered the tiniest amount of supplies possible and got started. And I can now say: I love gold! It was extremely nice to work with, except for the awareness that the gold dust that I can't possibly collect when sawing or filing is a loss that I'll have to accept. And another thing that wasn't so nice is the thought that stays in your brain as long as you work with it: Must. Not. Screw. Up.
The 'phew' feeling when I had polished them and set the stones was pretty big. And oh yes, my colleague bought them.

Week 14
This week I managed to continue doing things I am uncomfortable with. This time it was prongs. I have a few prong projects, some of which are finished, some of which may never get finished. I had tried this particular design before and had a hard time soldering on all the prongs. This time I drilled holes where I wanted the prongs, then hammered a little nail head on a piece of wire and put the wire through the holes with the nail head in the back. Then soldered all of them at the same time. Easy! The stone is a wonderful translucent mint green prehnite, rounded both on the front and in the back.

Week 15
This was another custom order, and again a challenge for me. A colleague (a different one) gave me a stone she had once been given. She didn't know what it was but it looks like quartz or white topaz. The challenge was to set a big (and high) faceted stone in a simple, elegant pendant. I did most of the pendant at my metalsmithing class, and currently I cannot repeat the way that it was done at home - though there are other ways. I made a sterling silver oval ring that matched the stone as prefectly as possible. Then I ground a seat for the stone and made the rest of the pendant with round wire. I used a hammer hand piece for flexshafts to set the stone, and then polished the area around the setting.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Finally, spring!

For winter's rains and ruins are over, 
And all the season of snows and sins; 
The days dividing lover and lover, 
The light that loses, the night that wins; 
And time remembered is grief forgotten, 
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten, 
And in green underwood and cover 
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

We are lucky this year. The thick layer of snow has melted away fast, and right now we're enjoying some warm days that are almost like summer! Every day new flowers pop up, and you have to make sure you look around every day or you miss most of the fun. Ahh, spring. :)