It’s been awhile since my last entry eventhough there were many new designs created since. But do check out my facebook page if you would like to follow current developments. ( https://www.facebook.com/JonathanYunJewelry)
After completing this piece as I felt it deserved a mention here.This piece is an ogival pendant with scalloped borders encrusted with emeralds and rubies and has a marquise cut abalone shell centre studed with a blue grey pearl.
The original inspiration is the Peranakan “Pending” which is a belt buckle worn by the nyonyas to secure the sarong. Many of these buckles are heavily decorated with a technique called Repousse. I had attempted this technique whilst in college and it is not an easy technique to learn much less to master. Essentially Repousse is an embossing technique, knocking on the reverse side of a flat piece of metal to create patterns on the obverse.The craftmen that made some of the spectacular Nyonya Pending had taken Repousse to new heights by making the motifs and images almost 3-dimensional. Though Repousse is a beautiful( and demanding ) technique, I decided not to go down this path.
I chose a completely different path by stripping the Pending naked and using only its iconic ogival form and capturing only the essence of the Pending. On the border, I embellished it with scroll motifs and precious stones. The casing that I made for the stones were quite small and I had to use 1.5mm stones. However the only stones I had at the time of this size are emeralds and rubies. After the stones had been set, I disliked for the color combination of pink( rubies )and green( emeralds )and banished the half completed piece into my “reject” drawer. That was one and a half years ago.
Recently I attempted to clear the ‘reject” drawer which is bursting at the seams by trying to salvaged half done pieces and make them store worthy. I took one look at the ogival pendant and shook my head, “how am I going to fix you?”. At the same time, my eyes spied a piece of abalone shell sitting in the same drawers. The abalone shell is being punished in the drawer for its vivid pink and green pearlescent hue which to me is an unfortunate color combination. Somehow like a strange obsession,I had the urge to put both these two together. In my mind, 2 wrongs can’t possibly be right, yet my heart says, ” lets do it!”
The result is ecclectic and strangely, its a piece that’s keeps growing on you. The more I see it , the more I like…. Its now sitting proudly in the atelier showcase. Its special to me as its a testament that however little value you may find in something, there is always something good hidden inside and sometimes it just needed the right match to bring out its best!
As I pondered on a word to describe the subject of what I wanted to write about, I re- discovered a word hardly used in today’s english – Fascination! When was the last time you used this word in a conversation or heard it being spoken? I have not heard it for a long time now.
And its the exact word I was looking for to describe my feelings for a particular article of jewelry that l liked designing. Earrings!
If I remembered from my childhood days , I used to be fascinated with the earrings my mother used to wear. My mother had a penchant for all earrings but is limited only to her courage to don them. She adored the dangly chandelier types and her eyes would light up whenever she chanced upon them but never did she venture beyond wearing her repertoire of small earrings.What further piqued my interest was that she had a set of perfect ears and a swan neck, and I wished she would have been more adventurous in her choices. Thus my love affair with the earrings began…
Earrings to me frames the face and adds to the allure of the woman. Like a full stop to a sentence, it is that one piece of jewelry that a women must have if she had to choose. A ring she could do without, a necklace perhaps but a pair of earrings she cannot do without, it completes her look like no other piece of jewelry!
In the 80′s there was the shoulder dusters that was all the rage then and I used to be transfixed by the women who would wear them. The bigger the badder, the fashion industry screamed!
Probably as an allergic reaction to the pendulum sized earrings that were the norm down the runway, the tides turned and the 90′s was a sad decade where the fashion moguls decided to do away with the earrings. Suddenly everyone stopped wearing earrings.
It was a few long years before earrings made it grand entrance again in 21st century. Happily the love affair continues….
Incidentally I was reminded of this old classic, Fascination by Nat King Cole - http://youtu.be/UGiB1myCCOU Enjoy!
I decided to take some time to be quiet and spend a few days in Ubud, Bali. I found a little homestay amidst the rice fields away from all human madness.
As an artist, sometimes life’s challenges can pile up and the stress that builds up as a result can be toxic and that ultimately will affect my work. A week before departure, I had a very bad bout of food poisoning so even my body is screaming to be rid of all the accumulating poison!
I ate lots of vegetable. I am not a vegetarian and I love my meat but somehow for this trip I just instinctively like a cat seek out to ingest greens instead of my usual diet.I ate lots of Gado-Gado an indonesian salad with peanut-y spicy sauce. I tried different restaurants and stalls that sell this dish and made a conclusion that the pricier the restaurant is no indication that the dish will get tastier!
I got up early to pray and talk to God. Its nice not to have meetings , no shop, no staffs and clients to attend to and just an open time with God. I would take long long walks through the countrysides as well as the town. Walking calms me down and many times find myself meditating as I walk. In one of my long walks, I discovered a place where they practise an ancient herbal treatment called Boreh, that is made up of 20 over different ingredients ground to a paste and apply over the body like a scrub. http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/08/15/boreh-esoteric-herbs-a-healthy-community.html
One of the objective of the trip was to rediscover what I love about my work. I visited lots of art galleries and was so inspired that I decided to spend sometime learning another ancient form of art – wood sculpturing that had been passed on from generations to generations.Though I am already familiar with wax sculpturing and the fundamentals of sculpturing, I was intrigued to know the technique in wood carving. Below are pictures of my progress:
It seems like such a passive form of work but its actually quite strenuous on the back. I don’t think I will be able to master it completely but it did ignite my passion again!
In the end , the trip was detoxifying and invigorating at the same time!
I remembered clearly that about this time last year, a very dear friend from Singapore called me and told me she had just gone to the doctor as she had discovered a lump on her breast that was later diagnosed as cancerous. She started treatment quite soon after and now a year later, she is mostly out of the woods. We are all very thankful to God for healing her! She is alive and very much in kicking mode!
It wasn’t always so as I remembered that during her chemo days, how fragile she was when she had to deal with a lot of emotional and physical pain. It pained me to see her in such pain. And it made me realize the importance of the support from family and friends during these dark hours.
For the past 5 years in Penang, a group of ladies have organised an event to raise funds in supporting the Breast Cancer Awareness month( in October). I had donated in past years pieces of my work to be auctioned off but this year is special to me and I wanted to donate a piece that I specially worked on in celebration of my friend’s recovery.
I titled this piece – “I MADE IT THROUGH THE RAIN”. This piece features a lotus pond with a koi swimming around amidst the lotusses as well as some “pebbles” ( aquamarine/labradorite/moonstone. ) The Fused glass “pond’ is courtesy of Fuan Wong – a glass artist friend who has kindly made it. The Pond represents a symbiotic environment that exists and thrive with each other’s support through rain and shine!
GE13 stands for the 13th General Election in Malaysia. There were many heated utterances along the racial lines peppering the period before the election. One of them being a remark by a politician addressing certain races as “pendatang haram” or translated as illegal immigrants.
I had done some work on the Koh Lay Huan series and wanted to flesh it up further which led me to do a research on the Sparrows.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.”
Sparrows are often undervalued. They are like “pendatang haram” but they thrive where they are because their Creator looks after them even though many homes find them an unwelcomed guest!
I am a Malaysian and all that I know is this country. I love this country and am grateful to be living and working here. But every now and then, I am reminded that I am an illegal immigrant not deserving of the full rights of a citizen, I can fight it or I can work round it. I choose to focus on the good !
A sculptured Pendant necklace of Sparrows and Rainbow Moonstones – very reminiscent of Georg Jensen! Inspired by GE13!
When Rebecca Duckett Wilkinson approached me to do a silver interpretation of the swallow/phoenix/fu dog/vase/bat as single earrings, I was mildly intriqued. These cutwork animals/flowers/vases are found on the facade of the Wilkinsons’ gorgeous house. The historical house is built in the mid 19th century by a prominent Chinese merchant, Koh Lay Huan which was in a state of disrepair when the Wilkinsons bought and restored it to its former glory. If you would like to know more about the house or even visit it, please follow this link.(https://www.facebook.com/chinatiger.info?ref=stream )
But little did I know I would be so charmed by their beauty that I was inspired to turn it into a full range. The 5 silver earrings are the beginnings of this collection which I hope to include rings/necklaces/bracelets and even a hairpin.