Monday, February 29, 2016

The Bold and Beautiful Jade Jewelry : RetroJade

RetroJade was born out of the love of design and family. Founded by a mother-daughter team, the store features creations made with great attention to detail. Based in Singapore, the team is comprised of Kathy who is the designer cum artist and Rosa (mom), who co-creates distinctive one-of-a-kind jade jewelry. This is their story as told by Kathy.

Kathy and Rosa

"As a mother and daughter team, making jewelry is creative therapy for us. After sitting long hours at the computer or painting , we meet up regularly for a chat and create jewelry with special jade pendants and semi precious beads that we have collected from our world travels. By mixing up both western and eastern elements, we create jewelry with it's own unique identity. It’s like putting the different pieces of the world together".

Rosa at work

Rosa has wealth of knowledge about jade jewels and Chinese culture and is keen to pass on her knowledge down the generations. Combined with Kathy's innovative design ideas and fashion marketing background, they created a range of jade jewelry that is modern and bold yet distinctly Chinese.

Golden Butterfly Jade Necklace

"Whenever we wear our jade masterpieces, we always get compliments about how distinctive and elegant they look. Many of our friends love the history and symbolic meanings of the jade necklaces and bracelets. The centre jade pendants depict ancient Chinese Neolithic art forms from the Hong Shan culture. Many of these jade pendants represent mythical animals and designs that held a significant place in the Ancient Chinese civilazations".

                Soo Chow Double Fish Jade Pendant 

"Whether we showcase the symbolic and historical significance of a jade from the Shang dynasty or more of a the glamour flapper style reminiscent of Shanghai in the roaring 20's, we make it relevant to today's world. That is where we feel we stand out from the crowd. We are strong and proud of our Chinese culture and present these in a our own modern way".

Each piece of jade jewelry is handmade with love. Their unique jade jewelry has a bold retro style that would definitely draw attention. Browse Kathy's and Rosa's amazing Jade jewelry at their Etsy store RetroJade. Please feel free to comment, and contact them for a custom piece as unique as yourself.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The art of balancing Motherhood, Job and Hobbies

It is very difficult to balance motherhood, a full time job and artistic hobbies. There are thousands of women out there who are trying hard to do it successfully. Meet Avni Patel, a busy mom of a three year old boy and the artist behind Always10..not to forget she also has a full time job. How does she do it..Here's her story in her own words:

The Background:

"I have been drawing since childhood. My earliest memories of drawing were with my grandmother and my father. I remember my father teaching me a little technique on how to draw a palm tree, shading, using watercolors, and my grandmother would teach me how to draw a peacock, huts and other things. I stopped drawing when I moved to America and have recently rediscovered this part of my life".

The inspiration:

The rich cultural heritage of India is widely reflected in Avni's creations. The dances, the folk-lores and the beautiful ornamentation reflect momentum and happiness.

"My inspiration comes from India, the sounds, the pulse, the people, I love everything about India and I reflect that through my art. My inspiration comes from the many forms of art in India, designs of rangoli, mandana, mehndi, the traditional paintings of Madhubani, Mithila, Warli, Pahari, Kalamkari works. Artists like Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil, many other Bengali artists including the famous photographer Raja Ram Mohan Roy are my models for creating art.
"I am drawn to the stories of miniature Rajasthani paintings of Radha and Krishna. I am very romantic and I love the romance and the mischievous behavior of Bal-Krishna. I made the two paintings: ‘Secret Lover’ and ‘Waiting for Her Lover’ based on the stories of Radha sneaking out to meet Krishna. That inspired me to paint the Goddess of love Rati".

Although Avni never learned the art of traditional Indian dances, she is  tremendously inspired by them. Her watercolor painting ‘Kathakali’ expresses her love towards the dance.Her other ornate works are inspired by Rangoli, mandana, and mehndi designs that are very popular forms of art in India.

The creative Process:

"First I read books on Indian art and scour my scrapbooks for images from the past. Once I get motivated from the materials, I sketch and sketch. When I feel satisfied with one of the sketches, I trace it onto archival paper in ink, and paint it. As I only have few hours to work during the night, I save the painting part for last and paint all the pieces together. The entire process takes about 3-4 days to finish each piece"

The guilt:

"When my son was born all I wanted was to spend time with him, feed him, care for him, protect him, watch him grow and teach him. But like many mothers I went back to work after three moths of maternity leave. I was lucky, I was able to bring my child to work the first year of his life, where I nursed him and cared for him while I worked full time. 

Completing a task at work while taking care of a newborn was a major accomplishment and I failed to realize that at the time. It can be challenging to have two very extreme careers and try to blend them together. When my son Pallan turned one, he was mobile; I had to enroll him in childcare. I felt I had failed as a mother; I was going to lose my child. I cried everyday for a month or two when I dropped him off at daycare. 

There were many times when I felt I was carrying a mountain on my shoulders, when all I had to do was share that burden with my husband. Communication is the key. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. My husband, an art teacher, was quick enough to point me in the right direction, the therapy I needed; art. That is what I set off to do. At first, when I was motivated to paint and draw, I would leave my husband and son alone for hours, almost abandoning them. I would lose myself in my basement studio, while my husband cooked, cleaned and cared for our child. I had no self-control, which of course led to many quarrels between him and I"

The Balance:

"Everything has its own importance and to balance it all is not only painstaking but also a very emotional journey by itself. There are lots of sacrifices, compromises, tears and hard work involved.

The only time I can work is late at night, as I work full time and do the household tasks and errands the other half of the day. Creating art is my outlet and my therapy; it is the counterbalance.

Working a full time job, continuing my art discipline and being a mother require many of the same skills. The most important foundations to being a mother, an artist and having a thriving career are imagination, creativity, patience, and understanding. 

I developed a routine. My husband who is also an artist got a few evenings during the week to work on his projects and I scheduled the alternate evenings to create my art. I was flexible towards any hurdles that came my way like the stomach flu that was like an epidemic in Colorado in 2010 or the economy that slowed down the sales in the art industry, or my husband’s meetings at work that ran late when it was my ‘my time’. 

The most important thing I learned was to prioritize; I even got my boss to prioritize her work so I could be more efficient and be able to accomplish important tasks.

We are women.. we are expected to multi-task, cook, clean, care and love, provide, etc. in the midst of all the chaos we forget who we are. We have to remind ourselves what is important to us and for that my mantra is -I am not just a woman I am a mother".

Kudos to Avni for being such a great artist and a perfect mom. Balancing work and motherhood is very challenging as we all know but her story can inspire many young women to are trying hard to do so. I for one am greatly inspired. You can view her fabulous artwork at her Etsy store always10 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thousands of joys of making a handcrafted jewelry

Meet Joy Franklin The artist behind “AThousandJoys” and learn how to make a beautiful Silver Necklace with Red Coral Inlay.

Art has always been her life. She can't live without creating with her hands. Her passion for art started with clay. She graduated with a B.F.A in sculpture in Michigan, and then furthered her studies in New York and Maine. She then decided to study in Italy where she fell in love with jewelry making. She has been living in Italy, the heart of the Renaissance, for the last 7 ½ years. She tries to capture the historical beauty and significance of nature in her intricate work and hopes that it reminds everybody to appreciate the "thousands of joys" that are hidden in nature....

Here are some interesting things Joy shared with me about herself and her highly creative jewelry making process.

 “I make everything myself, from the design to the actual metal. I recycle as much as I can, which means I melt down old silver (I have an old collection of sterling silver frames) in to an ingot, then hand roll it into sheet or pull it into wire. It is very time consuming and hard work (I've already had two back surgeries because of it!) but it's really important to me to keep the impact on the earth to a minimum, and keep my work as traditional as possible".

Here's an explanation on an inlay piece she made using traditional mosaic technique: 

"This very special necklace was meticulously created using the inlay technique or the old tradition of mosaic. 
The sterling silver design is placed on to a piece of sterling silver sheet.
It is then pierced and hand cut in an Indian style design.
It is then soldered to another base made from another piece of silver, which is cut around the outside of the design shape and filed. 
Lastly the bails from which it hangs are soldered into the design. 

For the inlay, a rich warm red Italian coral is broken into tiny pieces and patiently placed into the design fitting each piece in like a puzzle, and glued. 
It is then sanded down and polished. 
These steps may have to be repeated numerous times until all holes are filled in. This is a very slow and arduous process, but makes a very impressive piece of jewelry. 
Last and final step is to polish it to a beautiful shine”.

Many thanks to Joy Franklin for sharing her wonderful art with us.
View more of Joy’s beautiful creations at AThousandJoys 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Want to give something unique to your mom?..then check out these awesome handmade gifts. They are one of a kind and way better than those "off the rack" imported stuff. Truly special for the special mom in your life!

Classical Mexican tile earrings by ShrunkenCatHeads

Chunky Statement Necklace - Turquoise and Red Wood by ethnocity

 Vintage top Vest by Alaroycreature

Small Silver Cone Peridot Earrings by DanuJewelry


natural dye organic crochet bag by JustineJustine

El Arbol green Mexico embroidered puff sleeve ethnic tunic by AidaCoronado

Indian Handpainted Luxury Silk Scarf by KavitaKriti

Zambeze Earrings - sandalwood discs with turquoise cluster by alexandraamaro

t a h i t i - Bronze Silk Tunic with Mother-of-Pearl beads by LaRueBoheme

Riveted Brass And Sterling Silver Stirrup Earrings by Mocahete

Global Colors

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Travel Inspiration - Claire's trip to Tibet

Claire was recently fortunate enough to tick one more thing off her ‘bucket list’- a trip to the Land of Snows, Tibet. "It was an amazing trip, beginning with the train trip that brought us higher and higher until we reached the 16,000 foot high plateau that Tibet is located on. Breathtaking doesn't do it justice - in more ways than one- altitude sickness strikes hard here" she said and laughed.

Two things struck her from this trip and inspired her long after she returned home, the dedication of the Tibetan people to their religion - Buddhism, and the innate style that Tibetans have.

"For a week we hung out in the main square and watched pilgrims from all over Tibet arrive and complete their prayers and journeys. Young and old, man and woman, all united in their beliefs and dedication. The women in particular were amazing to look at, cowboy-style hats, coral and turquoise jewelry (sometimes even woven through their hair), and beautiful belts with dangling amulets. I took photo after photo trying to capture every facet and I still go back to them for new details and to help remind me of what I saw" she said.

This trip gave her so many ideas and images that she was inspired to incorporate them in her designs for DanuJewelry. From her Tibet trip she got the idea to create the Tibet Amulet Charm Pendant Necklace and the Tibetan Buddhist Charm Bracelet, amongst many others.

Tibetan Buddhist Charm Bracelet

The creative process is the one she has repeated over many years of travel to far off lands. "I use pieces of stone, charms, objects and amulets that I find on my trips and build new creations around each one. Each has its own story and, more often than not, I don’t even know where it’s been. Each piece is one-of-a-kind because of this process and because I can never track down the raw materials again once they’re gone" Claire explained.

Tibet Amulet Charm Pendant Necklace

DanuJewelry is new to Etsy. It opened this month after her daughter encouraged her to try an online shop. "I hope whoever buys these pieces of jewelry can travel vicariously and experience more of this amazing world we live in" she said with a smile.

I hope you enjoyed reading how Claire was deeply inspired to incorporate her travel experiences and cultural influences in her creations. Stay tuned for more such stories by amazing artists and global travelers right here on the 'Global chic blog'. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oh these beautiful shades of Turquoise!

I love turquoise color, Its an all time fashion favorite and a spring must have. Check out these fabulous "global chic"creations

Small earrings by OttoThomas, with an incredible vintage blue colour. Delicate and so chic. Great for daily wear.

Chiffon boho kimono by LaRueBoheme. It has Hand embroidered and beaded neckline along with kimono sleeves. 

Wear it as a dress with strappy sandals for that killer boho look.

This necklace by Ahkriti is made of fauxTurquoise beads and blue sodalite stones, jazzed with some oxidized silver and bali spacers. 
This double strand necklace will definitely enhance your dress. 
Simply gorgeous to sum it!

Inspired by the luxurious Royal jewelry of India, this boho chic ring by ethnocity has a faux turquoise cabochon and vintage tear-drop glass cabochons on a black polymer clay base. 
Each bezel and base is made one at a time using polymer clay.

Soft & pretty turquoise sea by LauraJohnston 

Bring a little turquoise into home decor with artwork! 

Handfelted seamless purse by frenchfelt
It is made from 100% merino wool in turquoise and emerald-green colors and brown braid lace. Embellished with eyelets and a butterfly brooch.

This greeting card by Indounik reflects the magical paradise of Bali...its textiles and treasures, its tropical flowers and exotic fruit, its landscapes and leisurely pace. Its colorfully-clad, warm, wonderful, open, smiling, sharing and caring people.

This one of a kind card is made from various pieces of cardstock and patterned scrapbook papers, paper flowers, trim, and metal eyelets and studs.

More Global Chic creations coming soon. Stay tuned!