Monday, July 25, 2011

My New FIMO Bangles & Pendants

Just recently I came about to learn how to make these bangles. I have never made any bangles before this but I have made FIMO bracelets many times before. Bangles are kind of fun to make and looks so pretty.

The bangles collection I have below are my first attempt. They are not perfect yet but I think with more practice I can make it better in the future. I put hard wire inside these bangles when I made them so that they are stronger and won't break.



My Latest Pendants; Sanded, Polished and Varnished. The two round flower pendants are mounted on metal plate.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Fimo Fascination

As I was making a living out of FIMO in Honolulu, after about 8 years of selling nothing but FIMO jewelleries, I had to make my way back to my home country Malaysia and focus on the market in Malaysia specifically in the Kuala Lumpur.

I was doing very well in Kuala Lumpur for several years but when it was slowed down I managed to continue my studies and add a Diploma in Fashion Designs to my resume. Then I started to design dancing costumes, bags, casual island wears and a whole lot of other stuff for my Japanese customers. And for the past 5 years, my FIMO Jewelleries were not my main bread and butter anymore however my love and passion for FIMO Jewelleries never died out.

Recently Staedtler Malaysia appointed me to be their consultant on FIMO products as they have no expertise about FIMO polymer clay in Malaysia. I was so delighted and more than happy to be involved with such projects and I get to relight my dim light of love for FIMO again. And I met Mrs. Garlinde Karg, Marketing Manager/Professional Artists responsible FIMO development in Staedtler Germany.

This time I am more confident and learning more about polymer clay from books and internet. I bought so many books on Polymer clay to add skills to my basic knowledge. And as I was reading from page to page of all the books that I have, the two books that I enjoyed the most are Masters: Polymer Clay and 400 Polymer Clay Designs. In these two books, a few names of famous polymer artists always caught my eyes and they are Kathleen Dustin, Jeffrey Lloyd Dever, Elise Winters, Dan Cormier and Melanie West are my favourite among so many of them.

If I get to choose who I wanted to meet first among these polymer artists, it would be Kathleen Dustin. Her work is just so magnificent and beyond my imagination. I absolutely love all her unique purses, peeking face pebble beads and the best of all is her women of Harem Neckpiece.I want to be like her someday but if I get to ask God, I want to be as good as her today. She is definitely my benchmark now, just like Madden back when I first started making FIMO earrings in 1998.

I got so many questions to ask Dustin and I wish I could attend her workshop so that I could acquire first hand skills and techniques from her. It would make my day definitely, much better than buying a Rolex for me. Unfortunately she lives in Contoocook, New Hampshire, USA. And I need a world map to see where that is and I am living thousands of miles away from her polymer world. Ohhh! Darn it!

Since I cannot get close to the people I admire, colourful pictures are good enough to get me started and for inspirations. I love to make sketches of all the ideas I have in my mind. I travel around town quite a lot and the malls are my playground as shopping is my unspeakable addiction that I can’t afford. But I shop anyway! So I see a lot of things, colourful flowers, beautiful bags, trendy fashions and people.

All of these made me grow as a designer and open my mind to endless of things that I could never imagine. And they all end up in my sketch book turned inside out, dissected and transformed into new things.

I hope 2011 will be the beginning of all my dreams. And I hope people will love all my new creations and would be the things people dream about.

XOXO
Dwen Ujang

Thursday, July 21, 2011

MY FIMO EVOLUTION: How I Got Started With FIMO

I was first introduced to FIMO in 1998 in Honolulu by a friend and his wife. He saw some craft things that I did at my apartment and asked me to go to his house for the weekend so that they can show me some new art crafty stuff that I can work with. Sure enough I was so excited to see some of the floral earrings that they had made out of Sculpey III and FIMO.

I immediately made some flower earrings out of the clay and they were so impressed by it. And that was the starting point of my relationship with Polymer Clay. After almost a year of making Hawaiian Floral Jewelleries with them, I finally parted my own way and made my own jewelleries. And during this trial period of finding what was best for my products, I realized FIMO was the perfect material for me to work with.

It took quite sometimes for me to become familiar with FIMO as I did not read any books about how to work with Polymer Clay. I sort of created my own simple techniques to make my jewelleries. Then I found out that Ben Franklin Craft Store was having workshop on FIMO by a Hawaiian lady named Ms.Luana. I enjoyed taking Ms.Luana’s FIMO classes and made acquaintances with many Hawaiian ladies too but after a while I realized that she kept teaching of how to make Hawaiian flowers only and nothing more.

I quit FIMO workshop at Ben Franklin and venture on my own with a business partner name JP. We were quite successful because we were selling FIMO Hawaiian Jewelleries in bulk and wholesale them to retailers. We sold our FIMO jewelleries as if they came out of an assembly line and moulded by a machine. But in reality it was all hard work of making each piece carefully and hand made with a lot of love. Many of the small time crafters were envious of us. And to top all of that I was selected to join the Hawaii Crafters Guild and I was the only FIMO artists during my time there.

However, before me there were this lady named Peggy Madden who made beautiful Hawaiian Floral Jewelleries from FIMO but she had moved to the US Mainland. But she still put some of her beautiful creations at the local Mike Chang’s Art Gallery. Madden’s FIMO Jewelleries were really expensive and not everyone could afford it. At the same time I understood why she charged so much for her FIMO Jewelleries as I could see how beautiful they were and I could never made my flowers as good as hers. I constantly checked her jewelleries out as they were so beautiful and how I wanted to make my FIMO creations as beautiful as hers.

Then I have realized despite what I thought of how beautiful Madden’s work were, I managed to sell more FIMO earrings and leis than Madden ever did and paid my rent, bought a Chevy MPV and I too got my own fans. I suppose to my loyal customers, my FIMO were the most beautiful ones among other FIMO crafters there were in Honolulu. I realized that I should start to believe in my own talent and expand my skills so that I could create more FIMO Jewelleries.

A lot of great things happened to me in the year 2000. And one of them was when the newly crowned Miss Hawaii America, Miss Angela Baraquio stopped by our booth at the Made in Hawaii Trade Shows. She was in awed of my colourful creations and wanted to use my FIMO jewelleries during the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. By the end of the whole deal after went through her rehearsals and numerous custom fittings, she finally wore all my custom designs Hawaiian FIMO jewelleries during the Miss America Pageant 2000 and the best of all, she won that pageant that night and I was instantly became famous in Hawaii.

Thank you so much to Angela who believed in me and showed my FIMO creations to 70 million viewers that night. And she was the first Asian American to ever won Miss America pageant.

I wish I could have done more for myself with Angela’s publicity but it was just ok for me but boosted our sales for a while though. It was definitely the unexpected start for me and I knew then that making FIMO Jewelleries was not just a craft for ladies to make in their kitchen during spare times. It is full of potentials to be a career for a serious artist like me.

Dwen Ujang

Monday, July 18, 2011