Thursday, January 31, 2008

Return of...the Camera!

My camera was, for a while, held captive by Another Party - actually, my father wanted to borrow it for something, which deprived me of its presence and the ability to take photographs (however bad) of the jewellery obsessions that have consumed me for the last month or so.

Given the photographs came out -really bad-, I somehow think perhaps the camera should have -stayed- with my father....

Anyhow, here is what I've been up to for the last few weeks:

Topmost - The Vlad Taltos bracelet**. Vlad is an fantasy/medieval assassin who has a lot of Pointy Objects, and he usually leaves a lot of dead people behind whenever he's working. He also wears a thick chain called Spellbreaker wrapped around his wrist and dresses normally in blacks and greys. I wanted to replicate Spellbreaker, hence the multiple chains - and of course, all the metal and spiky stones, and the grey/black bits.

Middle - What happens when I get lazy and refuse to fabricate any more lengths of chainmaille. This is the box weave I've been talking about in posts past; it got a bit tedious so I cheated and used larger jumprings and lengths of chain. Those are the matching earrings, the steel ones.

Bottom - The Surf and Guppies Summer Flirtation Bracelet, which is probably my favourite of the lot. Don't ask me why, those beads just looked like guppies and summer and surf and flirtation. The earrings are as colourful and mismatched as the beads, which is what I wanted.

A slightly better shot of the Surf and Guppies Summer Flirtation Bracelet. Yes, there were -worse-.

** Note: I should explain here that for some reason, a few friends and I got into a conversation about which literary characters I would and should run off with. I don't know why. It just happened (this is a common refrain.) The candidates in question were: John Constantine from the Hellblazer series, Vlad Taltos from the Dragaera novels, John Taylor from the Nightside series, and Hawk from the Hawk and Fisher stories. We decided on Vlad Taltos after more terrifying and scary reasons that should not see the light of day, but it got to where I decided to make a bracelet representing every single one of 'em. This is the first in the series; I'm already planning John Constantine and John Taylor.

Why yes, I -knew- I was insane. Didn't you?

The Beads, Anvils, and Pointy Objects Compel You...

In my case at least, that's the truest statement of the month. A short summary of all the madness that's happened in between would read:

Found a store to get gorgeous, unique glass beads; bought more wire and got addicted to wirework as well as chainmaille; started sketching again; sang original songs for friends' album launch and murdered songs with nerves; may be recording demo song or two in March; sang with chamber choir for KL Performing Arts Centre Open Day and forgot lyrics; saw preview of buto performance at same and loved it; started fencing, LOVED it; hammered own pewter bowl at exhibition demonstration tonight, initialled it, and got to keep it; wound and cut own jumprings for the first time.

All that in one breath, and it'll be an approximate idea of how I feel.

And yes, I did indeed start fencing classes yesterday(and I can just hear some of my friends scream in horror, OH NO THE WORLD WILL END SHE HAS POINTY OBJECTS.) I've wanted to do it for years; it's a dream come true.

The pewter bowl hammering was just tonight - my colleague and I were at a convention centre appreciation dinner representing my workplace, and Selangor Pewter was giving people chances to hammer out either a shallow dish or a deeper bowl with a wooden mallet and dapping block. Scarily enough, yesterday I was just looking AT dapping blocks and reading up on what they were for, while researching wirework and making chains. How could anyone pass up such a perfect opportunity for stress relief? Carpe Opportuniem! (or however the Latin goes; I don't know Latin except for the phrase Winnie Ile Pu. Really.)

So now I have a beautiful pewter beading dish with my initials engraved at the bottom. Pewter! It's such expensive stuff to buy and here I got to whack at it AND keep it, all for free!

On the sketch front, since I promised Marcos that yes, I would be good and attempt to get back into drawing something every day like I used to (how's that for new year resolution), I present the following slightly mangled attempts:

Quick, rough, and dirty attempt at speed-sketching from a reference photo I loved. Didn't quite come out the way I wanted, but still better than I thought for five minutes or so.

Accompanied my colleague to the bank to run errands before work yesterday and sat in the car while she went to take care of stuff. Since I can't sketch buildings for nuts and they hate me anyway, I attempted to rectify this by drawing the Choco Boutique across the road. And ran out of ink, of course.

It is not the most polite thing in the world to sketch away when one's at a cocktail function and supposed to be meeting and mingling over pre-dinner appetizers, but those flower arrangements were just too cool to pass up. They look a lot better than this, I promise. The ikebana-like branches caught my attention tonight, so out came the sketchpad and inks.

And now, I attempt to finish packing so I can go home for Chinese New Year...yeesh, where did the time GO? *ahemcoughdistractedbycuttingjumpringscough*

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Six Step Program for Jewellery Addiction

1) Swear you'll get to bed at a decent hour, because sleep is important.

2) Find a pattern for chain maille that looks so easy, an evening could see it done.

3) Resist.

4) RESIST! YOU SHALL NOT BE MOVED, nay, not even budged from your resolve! A pillar of stone, you are, to temptation!

5) You steadfastly put away your tools, only to pick up an o-ring here, a jump-ring there, and the flower chain is so -pretty-, what about adding something here to turn it into a bracelet and OOH LOOK SHINY ORCHID CHAIN...

6) The pillar of stone resolve is revealed to be a pillar of salt, and is thus Budged with Great Haste.

Which explains why it's 5am, and I'm still up, really.

But I finished the flower chain bracelet I was making as a present! The pictures are lousy, but at 4.30am, I'd be lucky to recognize a Dalek when I see it hovering up the stairs with a laser trained on my brain.

The weave is called Flower Chain, a design by Aderamelech which I found at It's really lovely and quite easy, even if it's laboriously time-consuming in spots. Or maybe I'm just slow.

Detail of the chain.

One more pair of earrings to go but that definitely can wait till after sleep, or the world will have an irate, plier-wielding zombie on the morrow, demanding o-rings in place of braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaainz.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Addicted-to-Jewellery -Making Anonymous

People get addicted to cocaine, alcohol, video games, and reality TV shows, among other things.

I, on the other hand, get addicted to making jewellery. (Well, and books and art but that's another story...)

And this just after one class today for proper wirework techniques. Cue the Doom Song from Invader Zim here. I came home from music rehearsals having made two bracelets at class, and proceeded to make two pairs of earrings, just to get rid of all the caffeinated energy from dinner.

This may also be the time to mention that I started working on chainmail again - box weave, this variation is called. It's gorgeous. It's time-consuming. It's addictive.

It's sleep-depriving.

So anyway, while I'm at it with the jewellery, here are some photographs from my vacation over Christmas in Cameron Highlands. All I took were flowers, really, and then the camera battery died. No, I forgot to bring my charger, yet again! (See, Marcos? It's fate! Always happens when there's something interesting to photograph!)

Bird of Paradise. The colours were irresistable.

They called this one a Slipper Plant. It does actually look like one, from that angle.

Experiment at Art Photographing a pitcher plant. There's only so much one can do with an auto-focus digital cam though...

I -think- these are miniature pineapples. I really don't know; they were in the cacti section of the flower garden we visited, of all things. They might be some form of exotic cacti for all I can tell.

And now, for the fruit of my labours, to put it pompously:

These are for a friend of mine as a thank you present. The picture doesn't do the lovely sequins justice at all, they're a lot prettier than that.

Augh, this one is pure disaster but I needed a photographic record in case I have to replicate it someday. I've no idea why it was so much harder to take either; conditions were the same as earlier.

When I finish the chainmail, I'll attempt to get a good picture and post it up.

...Oh lord it's 4am. Why am I still not sleepy? Argh!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Don't Draw Before Bed... mucks up your sleep.

As in, it's 3.20am, and I'm still up. Why? Because the Sketching Itch is worse than the infamous Seven Year Itch, and it demands Immediate Attention. It also is the perfect way to ruin an even more perfect little sketch, but more on that later.

And more on the really mad day that transpired too, only later as well.

I don't know why this kept insisting it wanted to be called Ave Maria. The fact that I was listening to the Hitman soundtrack at the time might explain it.

The perfect way to ruin the perfect sketch. Gah! I need a lot more time in the School of Leaving Things Alone, Grasshopper.

...And -now- it's time for bed.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Ring Them Bells St. Catherine...

Ring them bells St. Catherine
From the top of the room,
Ring them from the fortress
For the lilies that bloom
Oh the lines are long
And the fighting is strong
And they're breaking down the distance
Between right and wrong...

I could never remember any other verse to this song when I was younger (Bob Dylan, and I heard it covered by First Call eons ago). Ring them bells St. Catherine - maybe it was just the resonance of the syllables. Either way, it was an achingly beautiful refrain I never managed to quite forget, and now some fifteen years later, I remember it again. Driftwood of the mind, ripples and reflections of truths seen dimly in mirrors.

Appropriate, in its own way, for the momentous things that have gone by in 2007.

Happy New Year, dear friends. May the new year be good, be prosperous and eventful - but above all, may it allow enough quiet to retreat to that small, inner space and be still.

Hair, bells, drifting. Just a few reflective doodles for a new year.