Mission Statement

This blog journals my quest of art, whether it is a piece of work that is inherent in nature or one created by artists known or unknown or that I created myself. During this search, I have come to appreciate the magnificence and generosity of God who in his infinite wisdom surrounded us with exquisiteness everyday...everywhere and inspired our human spirit to create beauty that feeds our bodies and souls. Come join me on my journey to find art through my travels and my own creative endeavors. Maraming salamat.

All rights to all posts and contents on this blog, including photos and artwork are reserved by jojo sabalvaro tan.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Jewelry Making

My First Jewelry-Making Project
One of my hobbies is jewelry making. Again, I think it is triggered by my love affair with color. I get to play with beads of different colors and shapes and put them together into something pleasing and wearable. I got started with jewelry making on a trip to Mexico with some of my high school classmates. It was to be a mini reunion hosted by a classmate whose husband's expertise landed him a job playing with corn and wheat genetics at CIMMYT, a facility whose goal is to sustain the productivity of wheat and corn to ensure global food security and avoid poverty. We were lucky enough to tour the facility and visit the vault where we saw the world's largest wheat and corn germplasm bank, which are studied, used and shared with every country. It was truly mind boggling for someone like me who started out in college with a goal that my studies would somehow help feed the poor all over the world - a lofty goal that I was not destined to fulfill. So, I do have great admiration for my classmate's husband and this company's mission and work. To learn more about CIMMYT, please visit  www.cimmyt.org/

Bazaar Sabado Scene in Mexico City

I digress again, as this post is about jewelry making. One of the areas we toured was the Bazaar Sabado in Mexico City, which featured arts and crafts produced in Mexico. There were paintings, paper, glass, wood and metal work, woven and embroidered fabrics, jewelry and sculptures, among many many more varieties of items. It was a riot of color. We stopped by a booth selling all kinds of beads many of them made from natural semi-precious stones and decided to purchase some items, dreaming of the beautiful pieces we could make out of them but not really knowing how to start.

Painting from my Watercolor Travel Journal 

On this trip, we also visited the hill town of Taxco, the silver capital of Mexico on our way back from enjoying the beaches of Acapulco. Here we were exposed to silver findings to go with the beads we bought in Mexico City. Of course some stores also carried beads and semi-precious stones that can be fashioned into pendants. Door after door in the small town featured outstanding handmade artifacts and jewelry made of silver.

When we got home, I had all this jewelry making stuff and was not sure how to proceed so they sat for a while in the corner of my craft room. One Saturday, my husband and I were window shopping in a the town of Geneva, Illinois which featured small boutique shops. We happened upon a bead shop. I told the owner about my trip to Mexico and not knowing what to do with all these beads I have sitting at home. She sat me down on the table in the store, had me select some beads and findings, I chose some silver beads to accent the onyx beads I selected. She then gave me some wire, silver crimping beads and a crimping tool and got me started making a necklace. I finished the necklace in the store and now knew exactly what I needed to work on the supplies I had at home. I also found that crafts stores nowadays had a myriad of supplies for jewelry making. For my basic supplies, I bought wire, crimping beads, Swarovski crystal beads, some jeweler's pliers, a crimper and a design board. And of course, I also had to purchase all kinds of storage containers for my ever growing stash of beads and findings, There are also several online sources, one of my favorites is Fire Mountain Gems at www.firemountaingems.com 

Ever since that reunion trip to Mexico, I began to pickup jewelry-making items wherever I travel. Here are some of the necklaces I have made over the years from beads and findings I have collected during my travels.

With beads I purchased in the Czech Republic and religious medals I purchased in Puerto Vallarta

Multicolored glass beads purchased in California

Made with fresh water pearls I purchased in the Philippines, heishi beads and mother -of-pearl discs.

The Beads were purchased in the Czech Republic and pendant in Murano, Italy.

The Chinese pendant was purchased in Beijing

The Cross pendant was purchased in Cozumel, Mexico

One of the necklaces made from my original purchase in Mexico City. SurprisinglyThe Chinese jade pendant was bought there too.
More beads purchased during a trip to the Czech Republic, the glass pendant is from there, too.


  1. Great creations!!!!!

  2. Beautiful pieces...another way of detailing and remembering your memorable trips.

  3. Nice pieces!!
    My son Ted Lawren is coming to Chicago for the labor day wkend & asking for hot dog & pizza places there .. Is Uno & Due still there on Clark st
    This is actually Evelyn Jose; my daughter has a blog for her twins

  4. Thanks, Evelyn.

    Yes, Due is still on Clark St. uno has a lot of branches all over, even in the burbs. iI suggest Portillo's for hot dogs.

    Can you send me the link to your daughter's link?

  5. @Yolanda, with all the souvenirs I've collected from my travels that have been relegated to a box in the basement, I am finding that bringing home things I can actually use makes more sense. Remember from Paris, I pretty much just bought food items that were uniquely, French.

  6. Thanks for the names of places to buy supplies in Mexico. I use fire mountain mostly, but am moving to Mexico city soon.