Sunday, December 25, 2011

Celina - A necklace inspired by my scrap fabrics treasure

My husband and I went to Hong Kong and China a couple of months ago for a holiday. While I was there, my best friend Celine took me to a tailor in Shenzhen, to have some clothes made. As she's a regular customer, I thought I would ask the tailor if I could have some scrap fabrics that he didn't want, and to my surprise, he gave me two big bags full of beautiful remnants! The pieces were only small, but their colours, patterns and textures were absolutely stunning. I came home feeling totally inspired. I picked a piece of lavender lace (the one in the top right hand corner of the last photo), teamed it with a resin coated polymer clay cabochon which I painted a little while ago, added some bits and pieces including a couple of fabric flowers and brass stampings from B'sue Boutiques, and turned it into a Gothic style necklace. The brass leaves and purple flower were coloured with acrylics and Gilders paste. I decided to name the piece Celina, after Celine who led me to this fabulous scrap fabrics treasure hunt. I'll no doubt make more pieces using them. The last picture shows a small sample of what I was given. Hope you like what I've done with the fabric, and again, please click on the photos if you'd like a larger view.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Chinese New Year Necklace

Growing up in Hong Kong, I have very fond memories of Chinese New Year. Since our family migrated to Australia twenty odd years ago, I've only been back during Chinese New Year once, and that was the beginning of this year. We celebrated Chinese New Year's Eve with my best friend, her daughters and my cousin by going to the New Year's Night Markets. The place was absolutely chock-a-block full of people, and the vendors were selling all kinds of festive food, fresh flowers and knick-knacks. It was noisy, exciting and fun, and the air was full of the aroma of food I loved. Traditionally, during Chinese New Year, every household would have a Togetherness Tray in which various confectioneries and snacks would be placed, and visitors would be served tea together with the food. I bought one of those trays when I got married, but as you can see in the photos, it looks rather new as I have rarely used it. Chinese New Year is just not the same here in Sydney. Anyhow, I decided to make a necklace to celebrate all these sweet memories of Chinese New Year. The main cabs were made with polymer clay covered by washi paper and coated with resin. I also made the flower-shaped metal pendants with bronze clay, and set a couple of small cubic zirconium in them. The small side pendants with faux pearls are vintage buttons. The necklace is actually longer in real life; I tucked it up at the back for photo purpose. I plan to wear this to work here next year on Chinese New Year's Day, unless I am in Hong Kong again at that time, in which case I may wear it to watch the fireworks over Victoria Harbour..... Please click on the photos if you would like a larger view.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Gothic Bronze Clay and Amber Pendant

This is a piece I've been working on for a few weeks. I was in Krakow late last year, and bought some beautiful Baltic amber beads and cabochons. Have been wanting to use them in my creations for a while. Anyhow, got out my bronze clay which has been sitting in the fridge for a few months, and started playing with it. Then decided that I'd carve a stamp out of a carving block to texture the base of the superficial part of the pendant. The pendant was hand moulded with bronze clay and made in two parts, with bits of wire at the back of both pieces which I then used to wire them and the beads together and "sandwich" the beads in between. I used moulds to make the skull and beast head. The beast didn't have very obvious lower fangs originally, so I did a little "dental work" for him by sticking two rice-shaped pieces of clay to the lower part of the mouth, and filed, sanded and sharpened them to make the fangs. Also set a couple of olivine cubic zirconia into the pendant. and added a patina to the finished piece with liver of sulphur and Gilder's paste. Am really pleased with how it turns out. The beads in the pendant are amber and citrine, the drop is lemon quartz, and the necklace is made up of various beads including amber, Swarovski crystals and some cute little metal skull beads. The necklace is actually quite long - I had to tuck it up at the back of the bust for photo purposes. The pendant is also quite sparkly in real life because of those gorgeous faceted beads, the czs, and the high polish of parts of the bronze. I really LOVE working with bronze clay and have started on another couple more pieces, so, please watch this space!

Hope you like the piece and please click on the photos if you'd like a larger view.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Mixed Media Gothic Pendant Necklace

Every now and then I would go through a phase when all I want to make are dark and Gothic pieces. Anyhow, this is one I just finished. The main pendant is again one of my resin coated cabochons, which I painted on a white polymer clay base using water colours, acrylics and a little Twinkling H2O, and added some collage elements. The little skulls and Gothic man face were made from black polymer clay and coloured with acrylics and Gilder's paste. The spider web shaped thingy and blue rose were raw brass stampings, similarly coloured with acrylics and Gilder's paste. Added some crystals, lace, beads and chains etc to make up the rest of the necklace. It was fun doing it and I'm quite pleased with how it turns out. I may even wear it to work one day with an all black outfit just to shock everyone, LOL! I have made another Gothic cab in a different colour scheme. Will turn it into a necklace when I have time. Please click on the photos if you'd like a larger view.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Vintage Rose - My first etched copper pendant

I've been wanting to try etching metals for a while, and finally, I did it. I freehand drew a rose on a copper plate with a paint pen, set it with a heat gun, then etched it with an electro-etching system. The pattern didn't come out totally smooth, but I actually quite like it like that - gives it a more "weathered" vintage feel. Added a patina with liver of sulphur and Gilder's paste, and stuck it onto a filigree piece. Teamed it with an oblong stone cabochon, Swarovski crystals, more filigree stampings and beaded components. It was really quite fun to do. When I have time, I want to try etching bronze and copper clay pieces - now that would be so cool! Hope you like, and please click on the photos if you'd like a larger view.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Washi Paper Pendant with Amazonite Beads

This is a necklace I finished last weekend. The main cab is another one of those washi paper-polymer-clay-resin cabs I made a while ago. I loved the pattern of the paper, but wasn't sure what to team it with as the colours were rather bright. Anyhow, my birthday was a couple of months ago, and as my Mum was sick and in hospital at the time, we didn't celebrate or do anything at all. Then a few weeks ago I got an email from a local gemstone retailer that they're having a store wide 50% discount, so I thought I'd ask my husband to buy me some gemmies as birthday present. Went there last week and had a FANTABULOUS time. Amongst the things I bought were these gorgeous amazonite rhondelles (the large pale blue ones in the photos), and immediately, I thought of my washi paper cab. Added some seed beads, turquoise coloured howlite and Czech firepolished beads, brass stampings, and chains.

I wanted the necklace to have an antique Oriental feel, like something that might have been worn by a young woman from a wealthy family in Beijing, whose father worked as an advisor to the Emperor in the Ching Dynasty (me day-dreaming away here...). One day, the Emperor's advisor was invited to attend a state function at the palace, and he took his wife and beautiful daughter with him. Whilst the men were waiting for the Emperor in the main hall, the ladies were led to meet and pay their respect to the queen and the numerous concubines in the royal garden of the Forbidden City. On their way there, they bumped into the Emperor's procession, and they immediately knelt down and bowed their heads. Being young and curious, the girl lifted her head ever so slightly to catch a glimpse of the Emperor, who was in his fifties. Their eyes met, and the Emperor was instantly mesmerised by her beauty. A few days later, the Emperor sent a Royal summon to the advisor's home, for the girl to be admitted into the palace to be a concubine. Unbeknown to her parents, the girl had already given her heart to a young scholar who worked for her father. To disobey the Emperor's order, however, would mean death not just to herself but her whole extended family, all those who shared the same surname. She was utterly broken hearted but had no choice. The night before she was taken to the palace, she wrote a letter to the love of her life, explaining that she had to sacrifice herself for the sake of her family, but her love towards him would never end. She gave the letter to her maid, together with her favourite necklace, and asked her to smuggle them out of her guarded home and give them to the young scholar. "Tell him" she said to the maid, "to put this necklace close to his heart. As long as it's with him, I'll know that his love for me has not died. In our next life, and many more lives to come, I'll search for the necklace, and I'll find him wherever he is in the whole world. It's a symbol of our ever lasting love......."

The necklace is actually longer but I tucked it up at the back for photo purpose. Hope you like. Again, please click on the photos if you'd like a larger view.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Mixed Media Lady Brooch named Miriam

I was asked recently by a customer at our fundraiser if I made brooches, and it daunted on me that I very seldom did. Anyhow, thought I would do some, and this is one I just finished yesterday. The main cabochon is again one of my mixed media art deco lady cabs which I painted on a white polymer clay base, added bits and pieces, then covered with resin. I just love making these cabs and have a little collection of them, so there'll probably be more of them coming in different names and forms. (Hope you're not sick of them by now.) The brass leaf was aged with Gilder's pastes. Miriam actually has shimmering golden eyeshadow (I used a little Twinkling H2O water colours) but I couldn't capture that in the photos. Hope you like her.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Victorian opal pendant

This is another pendant necklace I just finished a few days ago for our upcoming fund raising event at work. We're holding an Art and Artisan Jewellery Exhibition and Show next weekend, the proceeds of which will go towards purchasing of medical laboratory equipment for the Department of Anatomical Pathology at the hospital, where I work. Anyhow, I was given this Australian opal cabochon by one of the show organisers (the stone was donated by an ex-patient) and was asked to "make it into something". I wrapped it with sterling silver wire, added a patina with liver of sulphur, polished it up, and teamed it with fresh water pearls, Swarovski crystals, and amethyst and labradorite beads. The piece will be donated as an item for live auction at the opening cocktail party on Friday evening. I'm a little nervous and worried that no one will bid for it. Anyhow, all I can do is to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best, I guess. Please click on the photos if you'd like a larger view.

PS. Well, our fund raising event has been and gone. I'm pleased to say that this necklace has been sold at live auction, and raised a good sum for the hospital. And all along I was so nervous no one would bid on it! The event was a success, and I must thank my jewellery buddies from the Australian Beading Forum and the Parramatta-Holroyd Lapidary Club for their contribution, hard work and support. :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Leo the Steampunk Leopard, and his cub

Here are two leopard theme pendants, one I just finished, and the other I made a while ago. I started the steampunk one a few weeks ago for one of the YOJ challenges on the Australian Beading Forum, but didn't have time to finish it until now. The head and paws were made with white polymer clay which I painted, and the rest was assembled with bits and pieces and seed beads. I used some Twinkling H2O watercolours, hence the body parts are somewhat pearlescent and shimmering in real life. The cub one is an enamel pendant I did quite a while back, using various techniques including cloisonne and overglaze painting enamels. It took many firings to achieve the result I wanted. I thought it's cute to show them together. Please click on the photos if you'd like a larger view.

PS. I have entered these pieces into Sandy's Challenge #3. You can check out her blog Sandy's Space at

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rose Pendant and China Trip

Haven't posted anything for a little while as I've just come home from a trip to Hong Kong and Shenzhen and Xiamen in China. I have some friends and relatives in HK, hence I go there about once a year. Just love the food and shopping there! There is a well known bead district in HK (Sham Shui Po) which I always visit, and next to the street with all the bead shops, there is a street that sells buttons. I went to both this time and bought myself a nice little stash of beads, findings and buttons. One Sunday, my best friend and cousin took me and my hubby to Shenzhen, which is a city in Southern China, just across the border from HK, for a day trip. There are apparently markets that specialise in beads. Due to time limitation, however, we only managed to look at a few stalls in one of the main shopping centres. Still, we walked away with more beads, and at fantastic prices too! Must go back next time! Anyhow, thought I would show you a necklace I made a few Christmas ago, using a beautiful resin rose cab I bought in Tokyo. I wanted something wearable in a Christmasy colour scheme, and yet could be worn at other times of the year. The necklace was sold as soon as I finished making it. I still have a couple more cabs - must make myself another one next Christmas. The photo below was taken at one of the stalls we visited in Shenzhen. Please click on the photos if you'd like a larger view.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Millefiori Steampunkish Necklace

Here's another steampunkish necklace I've just finished. The pendant is an enamel cab I made a little while ago, using a square copper blank. I applied enamel and millefiori bits onto the copper (fired separately), glued a cog in place, beaded a bezel around it, and assembled it into a necklace with more bits and pieces. This probably should be regarded as minimally steampunk, as I have only included 3 cogs in the whole piece. Anyhow, it's meant to be a fun piece and I'm quite pleased with how it turns out. Please click on the photos if you'd like a larger view. Hope you like!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another Mixed Media Collage Steampunk Necklace

Just finished another steampunk piece, a choker this time. The cab is again a mixed media collage covered with resin, which I made at the same time as the one in my last post (am just a bit addicted to these at the moment). Initially, the rose was pale blue and the cogs on either side of the pendant were raw brass, but I didn't like them like that, so I distressed them with acrylics and Gilder's paste. Am quite pleased with how they turned out. This is supposed to be another piece for our fund raising event in April, but now that it's finished, I don't want to part with it! (Did I tell you my favourite colour is blue?) Well, may just have to make another one similar for the event. :)
PS. I have entered this and a few other of my pieces into Sandy's Challenge #2. You can check out her blog Sandy's Space at

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Art Deco Steampunk Necklace

Just finished this necklace which combined two of my favourite themes - Art Deco and Steampunk. Yes I do realise Steampunk is supposed to be late Victorian, but hey, it's my piece and I can do what I want, LOL! I do apologise to any purists out there though. Anyhow, the cab is a miniature collage done on a white polymer clay base. I painted the lady with acrylics and Twinkling H2O, added bits of paper cut outs, cogs, lace etc, and covered it with resin. The same lace was used to line the edge of the pendant. Must admit I love painting girls'/ladies' faces (have been so since I was little), and I can't help using them in my jewelry pieces. I have made a few more cabs in similar style to play with, so you'll probably see more of them coming in the near future. Please click on the photos if you'd like a larger view.