Tag Archives: Indonesia

Interview: Melissa from Dare to Charm

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi everyone! My name is Melissa and I am a jewelry artist from Dare to Charm. I have an obsession for bunnies and like to collect anything photos of bunnies on it. In fact, I have two very adorable Holland Lop rabbits at home. I had them since they were babies and now they are now two and a half years old. In my spare time, I also like to explore the town to scout for new chocolate or desserts shops. Chocolate is my sinful indulgence.

2. How did you come up with your shop or brand name?

I am been known to be a very daring person when I’m among my friends. The word “Dare” conveys a strong and majestic feel for me. In my opinion, we have to be daring to pursue our passion. I started my business by selling handmade jewelry charms so that’s where “Charm” comes from.

3. What got you into jewelry?

Since I was a little girl, I liked to create and draw stuff. Whether it’s a handmade tissue box or hand-drawn postcard, I was always trying out new art forms. I found myself selling my own creations to friends since I was 10 years old. In college, I decided to take a jewelry design course. Looking back, it was a very unusual choice for me since it was a spur of the moment decision. In the end, it turned out that I really loved it and I really enjoyed the course. I got to know great mentors, meet friends with the same passion and this decision brought me closer to discovering my real craft.

4. What do you make and where do you get your inspiration?

I make gemstones carving out of jewelry featuring mainly animal designs. I have always admired the ethnic art and murals from early civilizations and take my inspiration from Greek and Indonesian influences. In Greek mythology, I’ve always been captivated by the Centaur, Medusa, Chimera, and the like. In Indonesian culture, the stories about Hanuman the monkey has always fascinated me. As time goes by, I would like to explore creating bigger jewelry as statement body adornment inspired by these concepts.

5. Do you have a favorite item that you created? Is it sold or still available for purchase?

My favorite piece was the one I created back in school. My school project was titled “SMOKE” and it was a headgear. I created every single detail in that statement piece by hand, from binding every twig to the sterling silver finishing. It was made with recycled tree branches, light bulbs, candle gel and 925K silver wire.

This piece also had a meaningful message behind it. It was a campaign to encourage people to stop smoking. It is a very sentimental piece for me. I have watched people around me, who are either the passive or active smokers, fall sick from the effects of smoking or even have had to say goodbye to some as they have departed from this world. The piece is now in private collection in Indonesia.

SMOKE 2009 Head Adornment

6. Are you a full time artist?

I am a full time artist working on my jewelry collection. One of the causes I champion is animal conservation regardless if the species is endangered or not. I want my jewelry to become a voice to speak for this issue. In fact, I am a volunteer with Singapore Zoo as a docent and if you are at the Singapore Zoo and spot me at the docent station feel free to come over and say hi.

7. Do you have any favorite blogs or resources that you can share to our readers?

My favorite source of inspiration is the blog, Jewels Du Jour. This site reviews high-end jewellery. I have always fascinated with colored gemstones and this is a great site to indulge in looking at their beautiful creations.

8. Do you have any discount codes or promotions that you can offer our readers?

Sure we do! Enter discount code KAT10 when you checkout for 10% off your purchase from now until 31 March 2014.

Dare to Charm

The Haze

The main reason why I have not been posting anything since getting back from Bangkok is because the haze covering Singapore has been a constant source of stress. It is very difficult to be creative when you can barely breathe because the air is so polluted and breathing in this situation is just so difficult for someone like me who has asthma.

Buildings two blocks away are barely visible at 300 PSI

The haze is caused by slash-and-burn farming done in Indonesia as a way to clear land and fertilize the soil before planting crops. This has been a yearly problem but this has not reached such an alarming level until last week. The air was so polluted you could see particles suspended in the air and the air turned opaque yellow. The pollution standard index skyrocketed to more than 400 PSI which caused people to panic and buy N95 masks and air purifiers. We had to import our air purifiers from the US, as local shops ran out of stock. The haze season is expected to last until September.

Source: NEA

It is so sad to think that the environment is being ravaged like this when there are ways to clear the land through mechanical means. The diplomatic ties between Singapore and Indonesia has been strained by this ordeal. Parts of Malaysia has also been affected by the smog. There are politicians who are making childish comments that further incite the offended parties. This is not just a Singapore issue, but it is an environmental problem that we should all be concerned about. Hopefully both countries can work towards a speedy resolution or at least a reduction of the haze to a tolerable level until a more permanent and lasting solution can be put in place.

Overpriced N95 Masks quickly ran out of stock

Instead of just grumbling about the haze, some good samaritans did their part to alleviate the situation. Some companies bought masks for their employees while other people campaigned through social media for each of us to do our part. It is these little acts of kindness that help us through difficult times and give us hope.