About The Work Room

The Work Room is the Creative Journal of Wendy Sue where she shares her creative journey in all things handmade. The Work Room also offers an alternative to your typical jewelry making workshops. Scroll down to the end of the page to see how you can learn to make your unique piece of artisan jewelry online.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

My farewell to 2008

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Work Room chat:
During my research for wedding tiaras, I cam across this site, Mareas Headpieces by Wen Hsu. The wedding headpieces there or just sooooo pretty! Very inspirational, indeed! XD

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Remember I said I need to figure this out?



Well, it was actually for a set of bridal jewelleries which I have promised my sister-in-law as their wedding gift. Yeah, my younger brother got married last month. :)



It was quite a joyous affair, really, since it was my family’s first wedding celebration. (That bugger decided to be ahead of me! LOL….) It was all very exciting and nerve wrecking at the same time.

Exciting because celebration in any form which gathers the family together is always going to be a fun thing. Not to mention a new addition to the family. Nerve wrecking because you just have no idea how much preparation work is involved for a traditional Chinese wedding. To be honest, I can’t quite comprehend why Chinese wedding has to be such an elaborate affair. o_O



Anyway, I’m not going to be giving you a run down of what a traditional Chinese wedding is although what I am about to write in this post is largely related to the wedding :)



Yes, as I was saying…….

I promised to make my sister in law her bridal jewelleries as my wedding gift. Well, making the necklace and earrings weren’t such a big problem. I’ve been doing this for so long now that I think I could even probably do it with my eyes closed! LOL……

Not literally, of course. Just a figure of speech. ;)

You would think that I would have got everything done with a snap of a finger, huh?

But guess what? It was the most nerve wrecking jewellery making experience for me!

For one, it was quite a last minute thing. Not that I promised the jewelleries to her at the eleventh hour but the confirmation of everything came quite late, probably like around one week before the wedding.

And secondly and most importantly was the tiara making. I haven’t made a tiara before and neither do I know how to but then, how can you not have a tiara for bridal jewelleries?! Especially on the wedding day itself, for the tea ceremony?

Well, actually… I think some people do in fact go on without exactly a tiara but just a simple wedding headpiece but I’m more of a traditionalist. ;)

Anyway, I really wanted to make her a tiara and then the necklace and earrings to match. The focus for her entire outfit would be the tiara but it shouldn’t be so overwhelming that it takes the attention away from the dress. The wedding dress is after all still the ‘star’ of them all, apart from the bride, of course. ;)

I woke up early in the wee hours of the morning (let’s just say that I prefer waking up early than sleeping late ;) to do a lot of research over the internet.

I know how the traditional tiara pieces are supposed to be. In frame form. That would involve lots of wire wrapping and I don’t think I have the luxury of time. Furthermore, wire wrapping is still a technique I’ve yet to master.

Earlier on, I had bought a lot of beads from Beading.com.my. Lots of Swarovski crystals and freshwater pearls. Pearls are like the staple material for any bridal jewelleries, if you ask me. :)

I bought those beads without even a sketch in mind of how I was to go about making the tiara. I only know that I do not have the luxury of time to sketch first and then decide on the beads that I want to use, thereafter make my order and wait for delivery. Uh-uh, nope. No time to be wasted at all, not even a minute. Time was critical.

Anyway, the beads itself always serve as a good source of inspiration to me.

The next thing I need was an Alice band, which will serve as the base of the tiara but I had one huge problem. I don’t know where I can get them locally! Even after extensive search over the internet, I still couldn’t find where I can buy them.



As you know with most artisan, when you can’t buy what you want, well, you just make them. And that was just what I did. I’ve never seen an Alice band before, other than in pictures. All I understood was that it looks like a head band and will form the base of the tiara.

Therefore, as far as the size is concerned, it should fit the head comfortably and I basically used my own head size as a guide. It shouldn’t be too big like how we normally wear a head band nor should it be too small that it turns out all cutesy ala Paris Hilton. So, I decided on a size somewhere in between. I also needed a very thick wire for me to hammer it flat since as you can see from the picture above, the surface for the band is flat. I also made a wrapped loop for the wire end since I don’t want the scalp to be hurt in any way while the tiara was fitted on the head. Ouch!

This is how the Alice band turned out to be. Hammered flat with 1.0 mm European made silver plated wire.


Tadah!


Then, it was on to the design of the tiara or in other words, how I am going to fill up the base to form the crown of glory. LOL….. ;)

I finally decided on a design involving beads a plenty, freshwater pearls (how can you omit THAT for bridal jewelleries!) and Swarovski crystals (for all that bling, of course. ;) all wired together with 0.4mm European made silver plated wire in a row to form a luscious bed of beads. I wasn’t even able to sketch the design out since I’ve decided for it to be a very spontaneous and impromptu type of design, adding the beads as and when my gut feelings feel that it should be added.

This is a very risky method, I must say. I wouldn’t recommend working in such spontaneous and impromptu fashion to a beginner though. Or even anyone as a matter of fact. You risk wasting time AND material with this method. I’ve had my fair share of ‘materials laundering’, you can mark my word for that! LOL…… This method is usually my last resort, when I’m really at a lost.

Thankfully, it turned out pretty nice! AND most importantly the bride loved it as well! So did the bride’s hairstylist for that day. All that makes me a happy artist, indeed! =D




Having completed the tiara, the next was a pair of earrings and necklace to match. This should be relatively simple but gave me an equal amount of headache, short of a migraine!

Since the tiara is quite bold already, I refrain from creating a similarly bold piece for the earrings and necklace for 2 reasons. 1)Another bold earrings and necklace might suffocate the entire look. 2)Even if it did not suffocate the whole look, the bold look doesn’t quite matches the personality of the bride.

You see, the bride is a petite, simple and sweet girl. I know it has to be something along those lines but yet it shouldn’t be so ordinary. It is after all, bridal jewelleries.

I scour over the world wide web for inspiration but to my disappointed, found nothing that inspires me. I ended up looking back at my past work and that was where I got the idea to came up with these.





So, that was basically how my year 2008 ended. :)

Ouh, wanna see the pieces above being modelled on? Scroll down then! ;)
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Pretty isn’t it? I meant the bride lar….. but then, those jewelleries on her ain’t that bad either. ;)






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2 hollers:

riqzmie said...

hi wendy..the tiara was really lovely

Wendy Sue said...

Thanks, Yati! :)

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