Monday, December 26, 2011

Sketchy Business

After the festivities of Christmas have subsided (not without their consequences = I'm still hungover and bloated from yesterday's wining and dining), all attention is focused on New Year's and those pesky New Year's Eve Resolutions.

Most people don't give them much thought, and neither have I really- until now. After kickstarting our little business again, I feel the need to reconnect with my creative side and sink my teeth into all things crafty.

So I officially declare 2012's resolution to be: Go for it! Embrace all things artsy, arty, cultural, essential.
Sample Model - Check out the 'ceps! 

Finding this figure drawing site has been really helpful.
I liked it so much, I even made a donation. The 30 minute 'warm up' classes allow you to ease from quick 30 second sketches to an 11 minute study of a male or female form. Even a person who knows little to nothing about drawing would find it an interesting and even rewarding exercise. Like I always say, anyone can be good at drawing -all it takes is practice. :)

- The Dentist

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Completed!... Finally

This has taken a little longer than I hoped, but I finally finished the crochet badges for my uni project. The next stage after crocheting the bases was to crochet the copper into rings. It was suggested to me that I should anneal the copper to make it softer before I crocheted it but for the sake of saving time I ignored this advice and crocheted it as it was- ripping into my fingers in the process.

The brooches are comprised of three layers- the top layer being the copper ring, the middle layer is red woollen knit and the bottom layer is the crochet wool base. A brooch pin is sewn between the red wool knit and the crocheted wool base. Once I make the three parts, most of the work is done and sewing them together doesn't take much time.
The brooches were sold in a pop up store called J-Pop for a little over a week. I was working in the store when one of them sold and it was great to be able to get feedback from the customer who was buying it!

-- Silaserene

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hong Kong Revisited

I'm a city girl at heart: always have been and always will be. I like the activity, movement, the light and colour of these confined spaces. I like the danger involved in jaywalking across busy intersections, hearing snippets of someone else's conversation as I walk down narrow streets and discovering value-for-money eateries tucked into alleyways. That's what Hong Kong is to me. I fell in love with it from the moment I left the airport and spied this. 

Well not this exactly since this particular scene is from the opposite bank of Kowloon. But if you squint, you can see what I call "capsule living." Hundreds of households layered vertically - reduced to tiny squares of shimmering light. How could someone possibly recreate this without the aid of photography? I tried sketching it but it became a complete mess.

That's where Wu Guanzhong (吳冠中) comes in. His retrospective is currently on display at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, separated thematically into 'Dots' 'Lines' and 'Cubes.' I love how his abstraction is so effective and so representative of the layers of this vibrant metropolis.

- The Dentist

Christmas Approacheth

Every year my family sends out a Christmas e-card (it's cheaper and less of a hassle than sending out 1000 actual cards, though we continue to do so anyway.) Since I'm the 'resident artist' (euphemism for the bludging perpetual student with no job prospects), I have to come up with the design. This was done by collaging buttons and then adding in crochet and cross stitch textures in photoshop. It looks like it would take ages to do if I'd have sewn it, but luckily  - modern technology has meant I was able to finish it all in less than three hours.

Happy Holidays!

- the Dentist

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hanging out in Hong Kong

Hello again,

I've recently come back from a three-week-and-a-bit holiday around the world. Haha, no not really, just to  London, Dubai, Hong Kong, Cebu and Manila. Since I've been doing a university course about the politics of globalization for the past three years - a visit to internationalizing cities (the so-called hubs of fast cash, free wheelers and dealers and the arts) was enlightening as much as it was a reprieve from the mundane.

Whilst in Hong Kong, I made it my goal to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art. It was there I was found an exhibit dedicated to the ancient Chinese art of tian-tsui (点翠, or  “dotting with kingfishers”). The practice hasn’t received as much coverage here in the West as blue and white porcelain or the machine manufactured cloisonné jars of the latter 80s. It refers to a process whereby tiny kingfisher feathers are painstakingly cut and glued onto gilt silver.

At first I wasn’t sure where the feathers were (even with my prescription glasses on). I was looking for tell-tale feather spines sticking out from the jewellery at odd angles. That was until I realized that the iridescent ultramarine blue of the hair ornament above was the actual feather inlay! It was so delicate that I assumed the hair pieces were made with precious stones. What impressed me most was how the colour of the feathers had not faded, even after hundreds of years.

A more indepth history of the technique can be found here
There was however a price for such beauty. Many species of kingfisher were slaughtered for the production of these ornaments – probably not the most humane or even sustainable method of artisanal craft. It has given me some ideas though about contemporary practices of inlaying, using resin and found objects to create bright jewellery. 

I'll be documenting more about my travel experiences and how they've given me new concepts to play around with in the next couple of posts.


- The Dentist

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crochet Badges: Start

I've been scanning eBay for the past couple of weeks gathering cheap materials however my search is slowing down as I'm running out of money. I will have to concentrate on making my crochet badges until I have more.... financial freedom.
The crochet badges are my first project for and I'm hoping to expand this idea into other objects such as hair clips and maybe necklaces and rings. So far I only have lots of bases in various colours... my favourite part is making these bases, I love sitting in front of the TV and crocheting, it's so relaxing after work and uni. The next part will be the hardest; crocheting the copper. It rips my fingers apart to do this but it's also my favourite part of the brooch so I can't leave it out. Hopefully soon my fingers will adapt to the rough work!

-- Silaserene

Monday, February 28, 2011

Tied with a Bow

"What's the point of making things if you can't even wrap them properly?" - My Mother

I heeded her advice and decided to search online for some useful tips.

Shiho Masuda's videos are really entertaining to watch. The fact that she uses all recyclable materials made me decide against buying 50+ organza bags from Hong Kong.

Instead, I'll be using paper bag scraps, some scarlet raffia and whatever else I can find lying around to package our Crafty Bandit loot. I'll post up the finished results when I'm done.

For those of you starting uni (like me), have a great week! :)

- The Dentist