Thursday, July 21, 2011


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

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