Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Like me on Facebook

Please excuse this self-serving, shameless promotion: like my page on Facebook! :) This is where I post quick announcements about my work and the stuff happening in the craft store.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Handmade Confessions: Rocky Antonio

Some people say I am lucky I don't have kids yet - I have all the time in the world to focus on my craft. While that may be true, being a mom doesn't have to mean the end of your crafting days either.

Allow me to introduce you to polymer clay artist Rocky Antonio, super mom and crafter extraordinaire (hehe). Rocky is a housewife and a hands-on mom to 3-year-old Liam, but that doesn't stop her from creating gorgeous works of art from polymer clay. When you see how intricate her work is, you can't help but wonder how she squeezes in all that creativity into her already busy schedule.

What makes Rocky's work different from the rest is her clever combination of polymer clay with otherwise ordinary materials. She transforms simple filigree components into surprisingly opulent bib necklaces. Her vintage-inspired jewelry, often featuring clay-covered lockets or embellished pocket watches, will make you dream about fairies in a secret garden. Customers have fallen in love with her signature theme of flowers and butterflies, either stamped or neatly photo-transferred onto the clay.

It comes as no surprise that the international community has begun to notice her work. Her intricate rosette locket landed on Craft Gossip, and some of her jewelry was part of Tejae Floyde's book Polymer Clay Artists' Showcase.

Like most of us, her love affair with accessories started with beads. Rockybeads, her eponymous online business, debuted on in 2008 with simple beaded accessories. She later on found her signature style after discovering polymer clay. Before this interview, I had no idea Rocky discovered polymer clay through my multiply site. I am deeply honored to be part of her story.

Read the interview below to get to know more about Rocky and how she successfully juggles her passion for crafts with her Mommy duties.

Angeli: Please tell me about yourself. What course did you take in college? Any hobbies aside from crafting?
Rocky: I graduated AB-Psychology from DLSU. Aside from crafting, im really into music. I love to sing!:)
Angeli: How did you discover polymer clay?
Rocky: I discovered polymer clay through the internet. I was looking around some multiply sites and saw your shop, Yummytrinkets. I saw you used polymer clay in making your accessories. I got so curious with how it works so I spent countless hours reading and researching about it on the net. I bought my first bars of clay from a hobby shop, and from then on i never stopped playing and experimenting with it!:)
A: When and how did Rockybeads start?
R: Funny but i really don't remember the exact date when i started my online shop! (That's also the reason why i don't celebrate my shop's anniversary! lol) But i checked in multiply, i opened an account april 2008, so i guess that's when i started RockyBeads. I used to sell beaded stuff only, but when i started working with polymer clay and started to experiment in mixing that with my other beading materials, that's when i really really fell in love with polymer clay. It's because of that "mixing" that i started to make unique pieces that only RockyBeads can offer. :)

A: Let's talk about your handmade life. What is a typical day like for you?
R: A typical day for me nowadays is very chaotic because Liam goes to school already. My day starts at 4am: hubby goes to work then I make some orders, update my online shop, check emails and blogs while Liam is still asleep. When he wakes up, it's all Liam and house work already, until he sleeps in the afternoon (sometimes he doesn’t! Haha!). If he doesn’t , he sleeps by 7 or 8 pm. When he’s knocked down already, I start working again. But sometimes I also get knocked down when i’m putting him to sleep (so tired from all the household work and keeping up with liam hehe) and i just wake up in the wee hours of the morning to make orders again.

A: Being a hands-on mom, when and how do you find time to create? How many hours a day do you spend on your art?
R: As for the designing, I constantly think about it even if i’m cooking, taking care of Liam or while waiting for him in school. So i think the answer to the question is..24 hours a day, 7 days a week!:) Seriously though, i only get to play with my clays and materials and really put the design i have in mind to work for about 3-4 hours a day but sometimes there are also days that the hands won’t just work. lol.

A: What inspires you?
R: Lots of things! Music, crafty blogs, works of other people, but most especially materials! For a design idea to hit me, i usually put my materials in front of me and see what i can do with them.
A: Are there any polymer clay artists you admire?
R: Yes! Foreign artists: Christi Friesen, Afsaneh Tajvidi (joojooland), Tejae Floyde, TreeWings studio, Block Party Press and lots more! Local artists: Jen Cruz, Angeli Sobrepena, Gin Rose Caballero and Erose DeLa Rosa.
A: What is your design process like? (ex. Do you sketch first?)
R: I really just think of a design and then work on it. But sometimes i sketch so that i won’t forget. For mto’s, I usually sketch first for the client to check then if its a go, i start working on it.
A: What is your favorite project?
R: The Full of Roses Heart Locket, Bug Lockets, Bib Necklaces and the filigree necklaces.

A: What polymer clay tools and materials are your favorite?
R: Kato and Premo clays, mica powder, acrylic paints, liquid clay, rhinestones, pushmolds, stamps, needle, and a toothpick! :)
A: Let's talk about the business-side of things. What are your typical customers like? Is there a certain demographic?
R: Of course mostly women! I think i only had 3-4 male customers as for the age, i had students, mommies, grandmas etc..i think no specific age demographic.
A: Your business is mostly focused on made-to-order or commissioned work. What are the advantages and disadvantages of making custom pieces?
R: The advantage is you get to use your creativity a lot in coming up with a design that the customer will like. The disadvantage is if they don’t like the design that you made because, you have to do it all over again! This is where sketches come in handy!
A: What is your favorite custom order?
R: I’m very happy everytime i make lockets for clients because i know that it’s something that they’ll treasure. A keepsake of happy memories!:)

A: Have you encountered any bad experiences in business? How did you deal with it?
R: Fortunately, i have only encountered one! It was a customized locket with a broken heart design. She didn’t pay for it anymore because she and the boyfriend got back together! I just put it up for sale in a bazaar and luckily someone else with a broken heart bought it! (Hilarious! -Angeli)
A: What advice can you give to beginners starting out in the biz?
R: Always strive to make designs that you can call your own. Find what you’re really good at and then develop it. Clients will always come back if they see pieces that are really unique and can’t be seen in other shops.

All photos from Rocky Antonio.

I hope everyone enjoyed this first edition of Handmade Confessions! Please post reactions below!

Handmade Pilipinas is back

Handmade Pilipinas is back on track! I finally got around to interviewing creative individuals whose stories we can all be inspired by. I will be showcasing Filipino creativity and ingenuity from across different industries, in a series of posts called Handmade Confessions.

Join me as I get to know more about fellow creatives, what goes on behind the scenes in their businesses, and what runs through their minds while creating their masterpieces.

Our first featured artist is a hands-on mom and housewife who is one of my favorite polymer clay artists. Can you guess who? Watch out for my next Handmade Pilipinas post to find out!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Blast from the past

I unearthed some bracelets I made as a teenager, and was surprised to find them still looking like new. Decided to wear them to the beach a couple of weeks ago. They look funky all stacked together.

The beads on the rainbow braided cord are made of polymer clay, handmade by my 18-year old self. The flower is mother of pearl, strung on beaded thread. The blue and green bracelet is beaded memory wire. I used to make lots of memory wire bracelets and cuffs back when I was in college. Happy to see that these trinkets have stood the test of time.

Friday, September 3, 2010


How many O.C. people does it take to put up twelve frames on a wall? Answer: Five. One to direct where the frames should go = mom. Two to measure the distances = my boyfriend Marco and I. And two to do the drilling = Daddy and my brother Adam.

The night before the Beadlady anniversary party, I asked my Dad to help me put up the framed magazine and newspaper clippings of my media mentions on the studio wall. I would have done it myself, except I don't know how to operate a power drill. After seeing how it's done though, I'm glad I asked for help.

Everyone came to my rescue. I never thought putting up frames would be soooo hard! Put five meticulous people in a room together and you get a hilarious and unforgettable evening. Definitely one for the books!

Oh yeah, took us three hours! LOL.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Start counting

For a person who hates math and numbers, I sure do a lot of counting. If you hate figures as much as I do, don't worry, this post isn't about math at all.
Please allow me to start counting the number of years I've been "the Beadlady". It's been eight years since I rediscovered beading as a hobby. Seven years since I started selling my trinkets to my classmates. Six since I started selling online through and the Girltalk forum of Five since I started my account. Four since I graduated college and started a dream job in a magazine. And three since I quit the dream job and started crafting for a living.

Last month I celebrated two huge anniversaries. I would not have come this far without the help and support of my family and friends, and without the trust and patronage of my clients and students. As much as I would like to count the people who have helped me in ways big or small, there won't be enough space in this blog, or cheese and goo in the world, to thank each and everyone who has helped me through the years. I've said it again and again, I would not be here without you. If you've ever bought from me, sent me an email to tell me you like my work, wrote about me in your article or blog, recommended me to your friends, lent me some money (hehe), helped me in a bazaar or even just said hi at the bazaar, enrolled in one of my class, etc. etc: THANK YOU.

I believe in paying it forward, so let me do a different kind of counting: I want to make my actions count. In the text below my profile picture on the right column of this blog, I wrote "changing the world one bead at a time". Cheesy, I know; but I mean it. I want to make a mark in the lives of the students I teach, by guiding them properly as they start their own handmade journey. I want my work and my story to inspire others, as others have inspired me before. I want to make a difference in the community.

You might say that arts and crafts is just a hobby. You might argue that there are better ways to make an impact. But arts and crafts isn't just something you do in your free time. It is an opportunity to teach people a skill they can use to make a living with. It is a chance to give people the power to change the way they impact the environment.

I have chosen my campaign, my vocation, my own little way of making an impact. I have chosen to become a teacher of crafts, a writer of the handmade way of life.

I hope in this little way, I start counting.

August: The month of anniversaries

I celebrated two huge milestones in August: my 5th year on (my online store) and my craft store's 1st anniversary! I feel so blessed that after all these years, I am still here. Believe me, it hasn't been easy.

I could not let these milestones pass without a little celebration. On the last Saturday of August, a few relatives, friends, and clients gathered in my little craft store in Cubao called The Beadlady. (I know I haven't posted about the store yet, forgive me.)

I served a simple snack of tiny cupcakes, mini tea sandwiches, and the famous pancit from Ado's in Pasig. Thankfully, some "sponsors" brought cakes (two different kinds from my auntie Tita Inday and dear client Rose), fruit salad (from my mom), and two humongous pizzas (from Marco). Everyone went home with a tummy ache from over-indulgence. Hehe.

That's the food in the studio on the second floor, which I jokingly referred to as the "VIP room" for my relatives. There was a separate celebration going on in the first floor, with my friends and clients:

More pics in my flickr.

Please don't feel bad if you didn't get an invite, because I didn't invite anyone formally. I simply posted a free-for-all announcement on my facebook page and account. So make sure not to miss the next party - like my facebook page!


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