Back at the bench (YAY)

The beginning of February signalled the start of TAFE again. Thankfully. There was a lot of uncertainty towards the end of last year, especially since government funding was being cut for my jewellery and object design course. A lot of students didn’t know if they could afford to come back and with an estimated 500% increase in course fees from last year, it’s not surprising. (We’re already week 3 into the new year and we still do not have any concrete information about fees, despite having been promised that we were supposed to be notified last November.)

Luckily, despite all this, there were enough students who wanted to come back, to enable year 2 to go ahead. YAY!

We’re currently learning to use the lathe, forge, wax carve and raise.

I’m most looking forward to raising. Yup, that’s right. From a flat sheet of metal, I get to beat the sh*t out of it and hammer it into some sort of vessel.

I’m going to have guns the size of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s by the end of the year, hohohohoho.

 

Thursday 4

Thursday 4, link roundup

Happy New Year 2015!

I hope that everyone had a relaxing, happy and joyous Christmas and New Years period. I was lucky enough to escape the city and spend a few days under the sun, at the beach and a do bit of bike riding (30km in one day is a big deal for me!) in the Central Coast, so I’m feeling recharged and ready to jump back into action!

1) Ever wondered why the average working week is 40 hours? Why was it designed like this, what kind of impact does the 40-hour work week have on our spending habits and what does this mean for the elusive concept of “work/life” balance?

2) If you’re like me, I love watching the American sitcom Friends. Did you look forward to your 20’s thinking it would be exactly like the show? Your friends would be able to hang out at the coffee shop for hours on end, without having to go back to work? You’d be able to afford a kick-ass two-bedroom apartment on the salary of a some-time waitress and some-time chef? It’s the 10th anniversary of the sitcom so read on for 10 Ways Friends Gave You Unrealistic Expectations for Your Twenties.

3) From amateurs to pros, check out some of the works submitted to the annual Sony World Photography Awards. These 15 entries are some of the favourites!

4) What is the secret to Warren Buffet’s success? How did he get to be so smart, successful and business savvy? Read on and learn how The ‘Buffett Formula’ Will Help You Get Smarter Every Day.

Thursday 4

Wishing everyone a very Geometric Skies Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is having a relaxing day, shared with friends and family. :)

1) To kick off today, as we’re all in the holiday spirit and you may be wanting to plan a short trip away to wind down and reflect on the year just passed, I’d like to share an article about 10 smart ways to travel without going broke.

2) With Near Years resolutions just around the corner, do you feel like facing your fears in the new year and actually embarking on something completely different to pursue your dream in 2015? Read on about these 9 brave women who risked it all and succeeded! 

3) To others around the world, it might seem strange for us Aussies, to be in shorts and thongs (ahem! or else known as “flip flops”), throwing some chicken wings and steak on the BBQ to celebrate Christmas. To share a little more our “strange” but oh so normal to me behaviours, here’s 47 instances where Australians totally nailed it on Tumblr. :)

4) As 2014 draws to a close and we’re about to welcome 2015, December is a good time to reflect on the year that has just passed and think about what we have succeeded in and what we can keep working on, for the year ahead. 16 badass ladies have shared their best life advice – it just might give you the guidance and push you’ve been looking for to achieve something magical and totally awesome in the new year!

I’m a legitimate blogger!

As some of you may know, I was invited to do a guest post and share my top “8 tips to market stall success” earlier in October on the CreativeWomensCircle blog. It was a really exciting opportunity for me to interact and start some meaningful conversations with other business owners and customers alike in sharing my (limited) experience and advice in my budding career as an emerging jewellery designer and maker. The article was really well received and even inspired others to overcome their fears and plan for their first market appearance! :) Which leads me to…

I have got some exciting news to announce! I’ve been invited to become a regular contributor on the Creative Women’s Circle Blog during 2015!! EEEEeeeeeEEE!! I’ll be posting regularly throughout the year, so if there’s a particular topic you’re interested for me to cover, let me know.

Looking forward to 2015! :)

market success, how to set up your market stall, packing list

 

Thursday Four

thursday four, link roundup, creative habits, christmas 2014, log, dangerous foods, cute guina pigs

Only 7 more days until Christmas, EEEEEEeeeee!!!

1) To kick this week’s link roundup off, here’s a special Christmas themed one brought to you by the City of Sydney.

If you’re a die-hard Lego Fan you’ve probably no doubt already seen the huge LEGO Christmas tree on Pitt Street Mall. Click through to watch the awesome time-lapse video of how they built and assembled the tree!

2) Do you consider yourself a “foodie”? One who lugs their huge DSLR cameras around, shrieking that no one starts digging into their plate until you’ve taken the “perfect shot” for your instagram or food blog? HA.

If you think you’re a daring foodie, click through to Conde Nast’s traveler where it explores the 10 most dangerous foods you can eat.

3) Only in Japan, does cuteness and order go hand-in-hand together. Check out this adorableeeeeeee link of guinea pigs travelling in orderly lines at a Japanese zoo.

4) They say that creative types often have the weirdest quirks, rituals and habits. Some people wake up early to work, take a nap during the day, then continue working late into the night. Read on for 7 rituals you should steal from extremely creative people. Do you do any of these already?

Thursday FOUR

link roundup, thursday four, funny , inspiring, creative TAFE has ended for the year, Summer has arrived and so I’m finally on holidays! As a new “column” I’m introducing on the blog, I’d like to present: The Thursday 4. Yes, you heard right. Not a Friday 5, but a Thursday 4, because obviously we’re a “want it now” generation, so I’m giving it to you earlier, rather than later, hohoho. I am lame. Please don’t hurt me, I promise the rest of the post won’t be as lame and will be inspirational, enlightening, motivating and funny. Yay! :)

To kick off things, here are a few inspirational/funny/insightful articles I came across in the past week:

1) Business insider shares their “10 Decisions You Would Regret For The Rest Of Your Life”

  • Whenever I tell people that I left my career in the financial services industry – a career where I worked at one of the Big 4 global accounting firms for 3 years and spent 5.5 years of my life studying a double degree to drop it all to pursue jewellery design, I’m told I’m “gutsy.” I just wanted to be happy and working in financial services wasn’t making me happy, so I did something about it.

2) Uncommon goods shares “7 Things You Didn’t Know About Handmade Jewelry”

  • I love handmade stuff and I’m not just saying that because I hand make stuff too. Seeing the fruition of my labour from a lofty idea swirling in my  brain, to some kind of squiggly scribble on a piece of paper to something that is tangible and can be beautifully adorned on the human form is pretty cool.

3) Refinery29 shares “8 Badass Bosses & How They Made It”

  • Choosing to take the creative route can sometimes be disappointing, exhausting and lonely. The financial uncertainty that comes with this type of job, sometimes paralyses us with fear and stops us from quitting our office cubicles and pursuing something creative. Sooo, click through to read about these 8 inspirational women who are kicking some ass in their respective creative jobs and having a blast!

4) Buzzfeed presents: “21 Life Lessons You Learned From George Costanza”

  • Buzzfeed. George Costanza. Life lessons. Enough said. You know it’s going to be a guaranteed laugh and you’ll be glad you clicked through to view the GIFS. Hohohoho

A Happy Thursday BONUS!

Because who doesn’t love a freebie?! (Yes I started a sentence with because, weeeee, I am such a rebel.) Buzzfeed (I love this site, can you tell?) shares “The 32 Dumbest Things That Happened In 2014″.

The top 5 must-have jewellery pieces this Christmas

Summer is here (wooo!), the holiday season has kicked off, but you haven’t yet started your Christmas shopping yet? *Gasp!* Don’t worry! I’m sharing my jewellery shopping guide for all the lovely ladies in your life and my take on the 2015 Spring/Summer jewellery trends as a guest blogger at the Lifestyle Lookbook blog.

Be sure to follow the lovely ladies, Carmen and Amanda on Instagram at @lslookbook!

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Landmark Exhibition

The students of the jewellery and objects department at the Design Centre, Enmore hold an end of year exhibition to showcase and sell student work produced during the year.

Each year group is allocated different responsbilities and as a first year, we don’t really get to see the “behind the scenes stuff” the 2nd and 3rd years get up to. Although we had gotten updates throughout the year, it’s hard to wrap your head around it all until you see it with your own eyes. So it was only until the day of bump in, that I finally understood how much organisation holding an exhibition requires.

Wednesday 7.00am

Bump in begins.  Still bleary eyed, the coffee had not kicked in yet. Damn. Our mission was to load white plinths, perspex cases, large, white MDF boards, all the jewellery work to be exhibited, lights, tools, alcohol etc into a truck. We were expecting a large truck, and naturally Murphy’s law kicked in and only 1 small truck arrived. Lovely. A last minute “panic attack” scramble resulted in a second small truck being dispatched and a few students driving their cars to cart the rest of the stuff to Brand X.

8.30am + 40 mins

Traffic.

The first truck arrives at the loading dock and we start unloading the plinths and MDF boards and begin stacking it all into the loading dock lift. Halfway through unloading truck #1, luckily 2 extra removalists arrived to help to unload the rest of truck #1 and truck #2. #Winning!

#MDFboardswereridiculouslyheavyforsomethingthatdidntlookthatheavy

#overloadofminiguns

Side note: Whilst we were unloading literally truck loads of stuff, only 1 of the security guards working in the loading bay helped out. (He was so nice – the one that helped us move stuff). The others were just sitting around, chatting to each other, trying to look all macho and manly, with their arms folded and trying to stick out there chests and sucking in their guts, sucking up to the suits that were visiting. Bleh.

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Once all the trucks and cars were unloaded, the plinths were organised into place and the perspex boxes matched to the corresponding size plinth and all perspex boxes were wiped down.

Each large MDF board had to have wooden hooks measured, drilled and hung onto the wooden crate lined walls. Extra lights had to be wound around long aluminium strips of metal and strategically secured to the  chains secured to the existing lighting.

Each box of work was then placed onto each plinth. The laser cut decorative styrofoam was placed on each plinth and the work was unwrapped and curated accordingly. Numbers were then stuck next to the work as per the stock list, so the name of the piece, materials, price, artist etc

Did I mention that there were over 500 pieces of work selected for the exhibition?

Now we’re just revealing the tip of the amount of organisation involved on the day before the exhibition…

With all the bump in work behind us…

 

Thursday Opening night – let’s party!

Catered by Miss Chu’s, nom nom Vietnamese rolls circulated around and were washed down by a generous bar tab. Weeeee! Students took shifts to answer queries from guests, sell work, and act as cashiers. There was some really stunning work, such as ahem, handmade kettles! UM HELLO, WOW!! Vagina brooches and #D printed jewellery to name a few.

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Wabi, Sabi, Suki: Emotion, Unstable

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Sustainability – Ear Cuffs: Fight Animal Testing

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Cold Connections: Chiselled necklace pendant

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Looks pretty smashing eh?

Have you been involved in organising an exhibition?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

I have something to say

It feels surreal that I’m almost at the end of my first year in my two year jewellery and object design diploma. It’s funny how at the beginning, you’re lulled into a false sense of security and you think to yourself: “Ooooh, 2 years is agesssss. I’ve got alllll the time in the world, lalala.” BOOM. Suddenly I find myself at the halfway mark. :O

For those of you that know me, I love animals. I just love them to bits. Baby animals. Adult animals. Cuddly ones (hello sausage dogs and frenchies!). Usually show me anything with 4 legs and I’ll probably like it. Cute baby animal videos, YES! Cute photos? YESSS!! Gimmeeee, hehe. There’s just something so special about our furry little friends. Their ecstatic expressions when you arrive home after not seeing you for the whole day, the way they wag their tails (dogs at least), they way they jump up all over you, lick you, look at you with their adorable guilty puppy dog eyes when they know they’re in trouble… Can you tell I’m a dog person? Arghhhh, *jumps onto instagram to look at cute animal pictures*. Sigh, I instantly feel better :)

Which brings me to the last design project of the year and it’s based on sustainability. On first thoughts, it’s common for people to associate sustainability with just the environment, but I think it’s much more than this and also encompasses social and economic dimensions. Which is why, I chose “animal experimentation in the personal care and beauty industries” as my topic. I always knew that it happened, but wasn’t sure how extensive it was. It was a simple case of out of sight, out of mind.

I started researching and what I discovered was shocking, disgusting and heart breaking. I learned that parent companies such as Procter and Gamble, Unilever and Estee Lauder – the makers of products such as Max Factor, Olay, Febreeze, Pringles, Covergirl, Pantene, Gilette, Dove, Vaseline, Magnum etc etc all test on animals.

Is it estimated that over 115 million animals are used in lab testing each year. Very few countries collect and publish this information, so exact numbers are unknown. For example, in the USA, many animals such as rats, mice, birds, reptiles and fish are not protected under the Federal Animal Welfare Act which means they are excluded from official animal testing figures.

From my research, I learned that to test “new and improved” chemicals:

  •  Routinely lock up rabbits in neck restraints and drip chemicals onto their eyes to test if it burns. (It does.) The pain is so unbearable for these rabbits, they often break their necks or backs, trying to to escape from the pain.
  • Dogs are force fed large amounts of chemicals, but getting it pumped directly into their stomachs to determine “lethal doses” by ingestion
  • Mice and Hamsters are forced to inhale chemicals to examine for signs of general illness or specific health hazards such as cancer or birth defects.
  • They also test on pregnant animals. They kill the mother and dissect their babies.

I looked around at the personal care products I had around me and compared them to the list that PETA produced, listing which brands/companies do or do not test on animals.

  • Clinique? Test on animals.
  • Kiehl’s? Test on animals.
  • Garnier? Test on animals.

What was I doing, by buying these products I was (in)directly supporting and fuelling these horrendous crimes against animals?!

Luckily, some of these companies have listened and responded to PETA’s campaigning and their customer’s complaints by reducing the number of animals used in experiments for existing products and spending more towards research and development of more sophisticated non-animal methods of testing. Modern non-animal tests using the latest technologies and techniques are often more efficient, more cost effective and more reliable than animal testing. These involve experimenting on cell cultures instead of whole animals, using computer models and studying human volunteers to name a few.

Although a little progress has been made, humanity is a looong and still far, far way from ending cruel animal testing completely.

Therefore, to bring attention this issue, I have chosen to create and make a series of ear cuffs. I created 3 variations from each material, to form a collection totalling 9 pieces. The key materials I chose were syringes, sewing needles and saw blades.

I have something to say: Syringe ear cuff

I chose syringes because they are routinely used to inject test chemicals into an animal’s blood stream or directly into its stomach. Sewing needles were chosen because sometimes body parts need to be amputated or removed, because of the damage the test chemical has caused. Saw blades were chosen as they are used to cut and dissect the animal’s body organs (alive or dead).

I have something to say: Sewing needle ear cuffs

Each set of the 3 variations was designed for the viewer and wearer to feel nervous, uncomfortable and fearful. If feelings of unease, fear and pain are evoked within you, just by looking at the ear cuff, how much worse do those animals being tested on and eventually killed feel?

I have something to say: Saw ear cuff

Now that you have a glimpse of what happens in these laboratories, all for the sake of “new and improved” chemicals for personal care and beauty products, you can start making a difference today. Write to Procter and Gamble. Write to Unilever. Write to Estee Lauder. Tell them to stop this cruel testing on animals. Stop buying their products. Support brands that bear a ‘leaping bunny’ logo guaranteeing that they do not test their ingredients or products on animals. You can make a difference. Please stand up and lend your voice for those animals that cannot and make yourself heard.

Christmas collaboration with Etsy and The Rocks Markets!

I’ve got an EXCITING announcement!

Geometric Skies has been selected to participate in the Sydney Etsy Christmas pop up markets at The Rocks!

Yaaaay!

Geometric Skies will be setting up shop on Friday, 21st November 2014 from 6.30pm – 10pm with new goodies going on sale for the first time.

The Christmas markets will run over the course of 7 weeks and will feature over 55 different Sydney Etsy shops. It kicks off on 7th November and will be on every Friday until 19th December.

Come by to say hello!

Geometric Skies: Pop up Shop - The Rocks Market & EtsyAU, market, handmade, sydney handmade, sydney jewellery, emerging designer, christmas market, Etsy, etsy handmade, geometric skies, monica ng

The making of the “Emotion” ring

Following on from my last post, here are some progress shots and a little commentary about my second ring titled “Emotion” for my Wabi Sabi Suki project.

For this ring shank, I cut out two rectangular plates, then hammered them into shape using a ring mandrel and mallet. I soldered the innermost ring onto the flat plate then slipped the outer ring onto and soldered this onto the flat plate too.

 

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Then I cut off the excess from the top plate and filed/emeried the burs a little…emotion - the beginnings

Next up were the two kite shaped polygons. I cut out the mini triangular cut outs first, then filed away at the scribe lines in preparation to bend the metal along those filed lines…

(I actually “aimed” to design a ring that featured lots of curves and circular shapes, but somehow… I ended up with something angular, geometric and asymmetric… hm….)

emotion - the beginnings

 

Scratchy, scratchy…emotion - the beginnings

 

Emeried and shiny… ooooooooooh.

And then they were bent (with a “little” encouragement from a range of different pliers… it’s not that easy to bend planes when they’re different shapes and small… note taken.)

emotion - the beginnings

 

 

Forming a nice smiley face now, we were about to reach the final step!contemporary jewellery, australian designer, sydney designer, sterling silver jewellery, sterling silver rings, rings, street wear, street style, urban, edgy, etsy, etsyau, etsyauseller, fashion, women's fashion, womens wear, womens accessories, style, mode

 

The top of the ring was painted black with JAX silver blackener, cleaned up, fire scale removed and voila!

What do you think of “Emotion”?contemporary jewellery, australian designer, sydney designer, sterling silver jewellery, sterling silver rings, rings, street wear, street style, urban, edgy, etsy, etsyau, etsyauseller, fashion, women's fashion, womens wear, womens accessories, style, mode

The making of the “Unstable” ring

Currently at college, we’ve been working on a concepts based brief titled Wabi Sabi Suki.” 

This is the first ring, that I’ve ever made, so I wanted to share with you (some of the excitement!) and a few progress shots of the first of two rings that I’m currently making. This one is titled “Unstable” and was actually inspired by the act of baking gooey, chocolate brownies, hehe.

The ring has been made from sterling silver – it only looks white and not the usual silver colour, because it’s been through the pickle (sulphuric acid solution) to clean off all the borax from the soldering process. This fine silver layer builds up on the surface after heating it and placing it in the pickle solution. But unfortunately this beautiful pearly white colour doesn’t last and will quickly rub or wear off after short while.

The reddish looking residue that you can see in some of the progress pictures, is a mixture of methylated spirits and rouge, painted on to stop existing solder joins from re-running. A life saver for this project!

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At the beginning, I cut out a rectangular strip of silver, then used a mandrel and mallet to form it into a ring shank. I scraped out a curve from a charcoal block and soldered my silver tubes on this curve, then I soldered it onto the ring shank.

unstable - the beginnings, sterling silver ring, sterling silver, commission jewellery, sydney designer, emerging designer, contemporary  jewellery, edgy rings, edgy jewellery, sydney jewellery designerI soldered the first of two flat plates onto the curved tubes and the ring shank…

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Then soldered more tubes on…

unstable - the beginnings

And more tubes of different lengths, in all sorts of fancy angles… and added the second flat plate on top…

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Until, the final stage, where I cleaned off the rouge and bead blasted it. Afterwards I sent it off to get it plated in black rhodium. (Check out that big patch of fire scale (that grey shadow on the top plate) that I’m so lucky to not have to clean off, because the black rhodium will cover it completely, hohohohohoho.)

Fire scale builds up in sterling silver, after the heating process. From my understanding, the copper content in the sterling silver reacts with the oxygen from the orca torch and leaves a grey “shadow” just below the surface. It can only be removed from filing and or emerying the shadow out.

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The finished ring! 

Oooooooooh. I filed off the black rhodium from a few tubes, to reveal a subtle shimmer of the sterling silver.

What do you think of “unstable”?