Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My First Jewelry Wedding Gig

I was SO fortunate this year that my awesome friend, Sienna had recommend me to do a bridal jewelry for her sister, Garmisch who is now happily married to her husband, Tim in Australia last month.

It was my first bridal request so it was VERY exciting and lots of new experiences had been learnt. Since I’m currently living in Jakarta, Garmisch and I communicate a lot via emails. She’s the best client anyone would ever want really. She sent me so many helpful pictures of what she wants that when I finally did come up with some jewelry, no further alteration was needed. When trying to come up what sort of jewelry I'm going to make, color theme is my no.1 concern. The design, and all the rest comes second. I asked about her flowers and what the bridesmaids are wearing. In this case, Garmisch is wearing white, and her flowers and bridesmaids are going to be yellow.

This is one of the picture Garmisch had sent me of the Bridesmaids dress to let me have an idea about what sort of 'yellow' is in her colour theme.

When I went to Australia for holiday, I used this opportunity to discuss the details with her in person. I also took measurement of her, and her bridesmaids wrists to get their bracelets properly fitted. We meet up in the city’s cafĂ© and she even brought her dress over!!!

These are the final result of the jewelry:

For the bridesmaids, I use predominantly peach rice pearls to match their dresses.

Fo Garmisch, she requested a chandelier style earrings and a matching 3 layered bracelet. After looking at many photos and conversations, this is what we came up with:

A few weeks ago, Sienna sent me a link on to the photos from the wedding. These amazing photos are taken by Tate Needham on the courtesy of t8photography (www.t8photography.com) So amazing in fact I'm considering him to do photos for my own wedding now. So, If you're getting married in Canberra, he's your man! ;)

This is a photo of Sienna wearring the peach earrings.

Misch looking absolutely stunning in her dress, flowers and the jewelry.

I’m not there at the wedding, but seeing my jewelry had made it there in those photos made me feel like a piece of me had been there at there, especially when I saw this photo here:

A big congratulations to the new Mr and Mrs. Riley! And thanks Sienna and Garmisch for your friendship and support! You guys rock my world…!!!


A couple of weeks later I was approached by another customer, Carrie from Ohio, USA. She requested to make 3 sets of necklace/earrings set for her bridesmaids. Her wedding is in May. She loved a necklace I had made, but wanted the colors to be predominantly black, red, pink and


Then there’s a hiccup, my supplier had run out of those oval hoops, so I had to buy hoops that are larger. After experimenting with it a couple of times the result wasn’t very good.

So I went back to the shop and looked around for other alternatives. I found round hoops that I quite like, so I made these Christmas necklace to test it out:

It was really cool because Carrie ended up liking this one better than the original oval hoops! Yay for both of us! But there’s another challenge. Carrie requested that I use non- iridescent swarovski crystals rather than the iridescent ones that I use. So I rang up all my suppliers, and none of them supply a 6mm round non-iridescent crystals. I found that rather irritating because personally, I also prefer non-iridescent crystals, and I think they used to have it. They also stop ruby colored crystals coming in… and I like to use a lot of ruby. That’s the downside of the bead market in Jakarta. They like to stop supplying whatever that doesn’t sell without any warning.

I happened to be very lucky this time because I had to go to Singapore to attend a 3 day conference. I have a bead shop over there that I normally go to, so I bought the non-iridescent crystals over there.

So this is the final outcome! Carrie said that it looked exactly as she imagined, and that made us both very VERY happy! Yaaay! =D

Looking back at this project, it did take a long time for us to work this pieces of jewelry out, and there are times when I feel that the nature of my suppliers are very unstable that I’m going to hit a dead end several times. But God has been extremely good to me. With a lot of faith, it’s just so amazing to see how it all just work out by itself in the end.

Thanks Carrie for your patience and trusting me with this project! I really appreciate it. I also can’t wait to see the photos in May of course! =)

Finally thanks to Etsy for making it possible for me to work with people from around the world. I absolutely LOVE it…!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Many weeks ago now, I met up with one of my jewelry customer as a face to face delivery. I went through a lot of problems trying to meet her at the Four Seasons Hotel- I had to go a couple of hours early, take several detours, got lost, even ran out of mobile credit at the same time. I think I was especially unlucky that morning. But it was actually worth the visit after all.

Her name is Betty. She looks like she’s much older than my mum but younger than my grandmother. She works for citibank in Singapore, my dad is her client- she saw my jewelry when I advertised it on facebook. We ended up talking for awhile, and I found her one of the most amazing woman I’ve ever met! But this blog entry is not about Betty. It’s about one of my favorite topic to wrestle with in my head: identity.

Let me build up to that now.

When I finished high school and on my way to go to the music school, Monique DiMattina, my former jazz piano teacher sent me an sms,

“Whatever you do, be yourself.”

I respect and adore Monique, and I knew that as an artist, she knows exactly what she’s talking about. I constantly kept her words at the back of my mind. But at that time I also know that even though it sounds easy, I wouldn’t understand fully what she says.

Sure enough, I faced the world, struggle through uni dodging criticism, trying to please my lectures to get the grades. My identity had been put through a very rough test. University made me come to a short conclusion: It’s very hard to be yourself, so hard that it’s almost not worth it…- until I met Betty.

I’m not really sure what we were talking about to come to this topic, but she happened to say, “It’s very easy to be yourself.” And of course I snapped, “No it isn’t! It’s very hard!” Then she said, “Being yourself is the easiest thing to do. Not being yourself is much harder.” I fell silent. I thought that my struggles all this time had proven a point, but it hasn’t. This journey is not over yet.

“If you do what you don’t want, you will be unhappy, and whatever the result is in the end, you will not be satisfied. If you do what you want and be yourself, it is much easier to do, and you will be satisfied in the end.”

“But it’s not easy!”

“Yes it is! It's the easiest thing to do! But you must remember that when you be yourself, people will dislike you.”

I immediately thought, “She’s completely right!”. I don’t have problem with being myself, I let peoples criticism hurt me, have effect on me, let them shaped me in the way I don’t want to and it makes things very confusing and hard. I like the way she was not hesitant about it. It’s not “People might, they may or may not dislike you.” She says, “People WILL dislike you”. It’s inescapable…, but happiness is at the brim of the horizon.

And then something happen at work.

I was designing a picture to go on mugs, and it took me a lot of effort because I’m still trying to get familiar to photoshop and in using my wacom. When they're done my boss immdediately offered them to our customers, but none of them wanted it. So I got a bit upset thinking that my effort is now wasted.

My boss was so nice to me that she tried to cheer me up by telling me that my design is not ugly, it’s just that sometimes it's hard to know what the market is like. “You know, there’s this design, it’s so ugly and I hate it. I don’t even want to make sample for it because I don’t want to be responsible for it if it doesn’t sell. But they liked it and we had a lot of repeat order for it. Even export wanted it!”

I feel rather hopeless and bewildered. For awhile I find myself thinking of how ugly can I possibly let myself draw for the mugs to be able to sell.

I also learnt other exceptions when selling in local Indonesian market:

-Don’t use too much purple because it’s symbol for widows.
-Don’t use too much yellow because it’s the colour of death.
-Make sure that the design is very colourful no matter what
-Don’t draw dogs because they are considered unclean.

That night at dinner time, I was complaining about this situation to my parents. My dad says, “Well… you know the story, if you’re trying to catch fish, you can’t use a bait that you like… like donuts. You have to feed them worms, even if you don’t like worms.”

But … but … but… why would I wanna catch fish if I’ve already got my donut?