An Interview with Jacqueline Chan

Bottom portion of Jacqueline Chan's "Mushrooms Under the Moon"

Happy Monday, folks! You might remember a while back when we featured simply lovely jewelry by Whimsy Milieu and today, we’re chatting with talented Sydney, Australia-based creator and artist Jacqueline Chan.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in a place called Kuching (City of Cats) in Malaysia, and went to Sydney, Australia to further my studies. I grew up doing lots of creative things at home and at school, but somehow ended up being an engineer. After working as an engineer for a short while, I realized that I did not want to be doing that for my whole life, thus I took the leap to pursue my creative dream. I went on to study a few more years and graduated with a degree in Design.

My dream has always been to have my own design studio and design label, so I started Whimsy Milieu.

artwork by Jacqueline Chan of Whimsy Milieu

Tell us about your shop.
Whimsy Milieu started a few months ago, with a focus in jewelry, accessories, small objects, and illustrations. I chose the name ‘Whimsy Milieu’ because I want to surround people with whimsical and happy things, be it jewelry, fashion items, houseware, and so much more that I dream to design in the future. For now, my jewelry is mostly handmade by me except elements that I could not possibly do by hand, ie. laser-cutting, and every single piece is lovingly made with care. I sell my jewelry on my Etsy store, at design & crafts markets, and also they are stocked in several shops.

Who are some people that have inspired you to pursue art?
My mother has always been very encouraging when it comes to creative activities during my younger years – she is definitely the one person that instilled creativity in me. I have a few very dear friends who have supported and encouraged me when I decided on my ‘career change’, and they are still as supportive today. My mother and my friends’ support have inspired me to work hard to achieve my dreams of being a designer.

geometric artwork by Whimsy Milieu

There are so many designers and artists out there (thanks to the internet!) that I admire, and their amazing works inspire me endlessly, and pushed me to develop my own style and aesthetics so that one day I may become like them and inspire other people.

jewelry by Jacqueline Chan of Whimsy MilieuHow would you describe your artistic style?
I would say my style is whimsical – both in terms of playful & quaint as well as fickle and capricious. I am inspired by a huge range of things – from old illustrations, natural curiosities, vintage wares, apothecary, Japanese crafts & design, to French patisserie – anything at all that catches my attention at the moment. That being said, my upcoming jewelry collection is going to be very different from the previous collection, and I am very excited about that.

When/how did you become interested in jewelry-making?
During the first year of my design degree, I was actively making one-off jewelry to sell (in the hope of earning more money for my tuition fees), but stopped doing that when I became too busy with full-time studies and part-time work. Further into the degree, I took up an elective course in jewelry design and was introduced to the many amazing techniques of making jewelry, and the love for jewelry-making just sprung back. I am not a big fan of conventional precious metal jewelry, so I decided to design and make what I call unconventional, contemporary jewelry that uses materials other than the usual gold, silver, or precious stones.

It is very satisfying to make something that someone can wear and feel good about themselves.

 

What are a few things you enjoy about nature?
There are a lot of things that I enjoy about nature – I grew up in a place where there is always lots of nature around us. I love it how nature can always amaze me – from small little plants and insects to vast expanses of untouched land – how they (the ecological system) all work together in harmony, and how nature always brings me a sense of peace. Every element of nature is very well-designed.

For further inspiration from Jacqueline, check out her website and stay updated via her blog and facebook page.

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

Michelle Bodamer’s Garden

Photo by Michelle Bodamer

[Editor's note] I’m digging up (pardon the awful pun) our Garden Variety series which has been on the back-burner since late April of this year and starting anew, kicking things off again with photographer and marketing professional Michelle Bodamer‘s beautiful garden. You can also catch Michelle’s writings over on the art + community blog Handmade in PA.

Read on as Michelle shares photos and the story about how her garden came to be.

I’ve always marveled at gardeners and often wished I could become one myself.  Every spring I would think about learning how to start a garden but I never made the time.

When my grandmother passed away this past January I decided it was time to change my perspective and finally learn about growing flowers and vegetables. I discovered that it finally seemed possible and was more attainable than I originally thought! As someone who loves the outdoors I felt that taking the time to connect with nature through gardening would help me with the loss of my grandmother. The garden is brand new and it is our first year attempting to grow our own vegetables. My husband and I came up with a plan for the raised beds and I remember laughing as we rushed to finish them one early spring Saturday afternoon before a thunderstorm.

fruits and veggies from Michelle Bodamer's garden

I’m excited to share that so far this summer the garden has been amazing. My favorite time of the day is either first thing in the morning or right at sunset when the plants are bathed in breathtaking golden sunlight. We planned the garden for a small piece of land to the side of our home. This small space is a quiet spot between our property and our neighbors. As a photographer, I felt it was ideal for the eastern morning sunlight it would receive and the small glimpse of sunset from the west at the end of the day which makes the garden a fun subject for photographs. I can even enjoy the beauty of the garden from my kitchen window.

flowers from Michelle Bodamer's garden

Additionally, there are rewards I never could have expected from starting this project. Fragrant cut roses, flowers, and fresh picked vegetables feel like such an indulgence. Neighbors have come over with their children to check on the progress of our plants which has been a great conversation starter. We’ve enjoyed adding the vegetables to our meals and we feel that the garden is a bit of a secret place tucked away that we can enjoy at any time. We find happiness in tending to the plants and have learned so much in just a few short months. Our garden is currently growing cucumbers, tomatoes, flowers, watermelon, and hopefully pumpkins for autumn. The inspiration and happiness the garden has brought to my family has been immeasurable.

A big thanks to Michelle for sharing her garden with us. Be sure to visit Michelle’s blog where she’s been chronicling the growth of her garden.

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

Wild About: August 10, 2012

Photo by Pati Mo

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m stoked to share photos from Pati Mo’s (of Pretty Talk) vacation in Portugal. She recently blogged about her trip, so if you’re planning a trip to Portugal, find out her great suggestions of things to eat, see, and visit — like the Algarve, which Pati says is “… very easy to get to … because there are many city buses that run to the beaches along the coast.”

Pati sent over additional jaw-droppingly beautiful photos to share with all of you wonderful Dearest Nature readers.

Portugal / photo by Patricia Mo

The water looks so refreshing and crystal clear!

Portugal / photo by Patricia Mo

Portugal / photo by Patricia Mo

Portugal / photo by Patricia Mo

Be sure to check out Pati’s blog post for more photos and a recap of her trip!

Other highlights from around the internets:

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

Studio Zen

I’m currently enchanted by the work of Tacoma, Washington-based artist Leah of Studio Zen. Leah’s beautiful abstract interpretations of the earth, sky, and ocean leave me breathless and are like a fine blend of Monet, Van Gogh, and Pollock all in one.

artwork by Studio Zen

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

Color Crush: Pink and Green

Blessing fire blend kit from Good Earth Living

Ordinarily, I’m not the biggest fan of pink, and I’ve only featured it once on the blog, a deep, vibrant variant of pink, but I have to admit it goes splendidly with green. It’s quite an elegant pairing.

Here’s a number of pink and green nature-inspired photos and products to tickle your green and pink fancy.

pink and green color crush

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.