Behind Counting Stars: Part 2

 
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From a small town, we had started everything by ourselves. With fairly little resources (a shoebox of tools and material), we worked and reinvested what we made every single time. Very often, we grabbed at any opportunity that could allow us to grow. We worked long hours, everyday for the past year and travelled to bigger cities to tell our stories back home. Every business trip we took is a long awaited moment for us to get some sleep.

The plane has landed. I woke up to a long queue of passengers waiting for the cabin door to be opened. My last memory was being seated and fastening the seat belt, in another city. The same song was playing in the air.

Lately I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
-
I feel something so right by doing the wrong thing
And I feel something so wrong by doing the right thing
I could lie, couldn’t I, couldn’t I?
Every thing that kills me makes me feel alive.

Counting Stars by OneRepublic

For the first time, there was this moment where everything froze before me and I truly felt those lyrics. I cried. Every word punched through into my heart, it is those feeling and thoughts that we have yet been able to explain with words.

 

 

Remember Why You Started

The first debut of our storytelling pieces was at the 2014 Rainforest World Music Festival. We had carefully laid out stories of each piece printed on textured ivory cards. Each piece was showcased like a person with a story to tell. We had received many emails telling us how the stories behind each of our pieces had moved them and provided strength to them but for us, seeing their reactions upon reading for the first time is still beyond words.

The stories behind each piece resonates with different people. We observed people from a wide spectrum of gender, profession, ethnicity and nationality, connect to the same story. They would stand in front of our displays, hands in their pockets and their head tilted to the side while reading the story cards silently. A faint smile would appear and their faces would light up, sometimes they would reach out to us with a firm handshake. They would even tell us their name, where they were from and their personal stories that resonated with the piece. Amongst an open space filled with festival goers, there is this sense of intimacy as they told us about their lives and showed us their most human emotions.

A Glimpse of Hope

Hope is the light at the end of the tunnel. As we head towards our destination, it is the strength that allows us to get back up after every fall. What the mirror in the beginning did not show, is that small glimpse of hope with which we still hold on to. It keeps us going - even if we may not have been built for the rough sea - we have chosen to leave the shore. Learning how to sail and swim in between while at sea. The beginning has always been rough but as long as we have the courage and desire to take that first step to make a difference, we are writing our own story.

For us, the Counting Stars collection is our founding story, about taking a leap of faith. To be a messenger, a storyteller who would give people their time, ask for their names and listen to their story. This is because every story is worth telling, it brings hope to people in search for strength and with this hope, life is always worth living.

Behind Counting Stars: Part 1

Faint pattering of a motorcycle exhaust followed by a crisp thud of a fresh newspaper stack hitting the floor, it is 4 in the morning. Lost in time, we put down our tools, slide down from the chair and took a deep breath after being awake for 21 hours, working. We stared blankly at a piece that we have been working on for the past couple of hours and instantly felt a foreign emotion. Our eyes felt like they were about to pop out from their sockets, our throats burned from facing too close to a 1000⁰C flame torch for hours. Our mind is lost, wondering whether we were doing everything right.

 

 

The Perfect Life

Back in university, we both thrived academically, keeping our CGPA at perfection and graduating with my first class honours degree in a Double Major of Mechanical Engineering and Finance and Fabian’s Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Biotechnology. Everyone had told us that the future awaits us. Thriving results, big firms, high pay, the corporate ladder and a great life.

 
Graduation 2014


Graduation 2014

 

But we made a huge leap, pursuing a skill based artisanal jewellery business upon graduation. Peers and family members around us were upset by our choices. Some demanded us to provide a concrete plan that will ensure our success, some questioned our worth and some criticised us both for being a waste.

Along the way, we met amazing people but also fell for the words that we thought would bring us closer to our vision. At one point, we nearly lost everything - in our business and in our personal savings. We were beaten spiritually and being financially constrained did not make it better. We had moved into our small studio at Kai Joo with little of what we had left. We could not even afford a chair and worked on the floor for 4 months. We would always skip meals so we can save up to have the business thrive again. We would also receive countless questions: How are you going to survive? As though a mirror was placed right in front of us to show us the ice cold truth. However, that mirror could not show what was underneath those tired faces.

(To be continued...)

Behind The Circle: The Elements

 
 

There is nothing quite as inviting about the Pivot, as the scene of nature that is portrayed through the highlight of this piece, the Blue Jade stone.

The glistening stone mimics the sun­-kissed surface of water, much like nature's lakes, with water so blue akin to garments of Atlantis ­blue silk threaded with various shades of silver. Beneath the surface, water streams in, distorting the stones and pebbles at the bottom of a lake. Freshwater pearls peppered around this piece like beads of water sent off by the pounding pressure from the waterfall into the lake. Mother Nature is brimming with life and energy. All of these elements are framed by the graceful curving of copper wire lining the Blue Jade stone, epitomising the energy transposing into circulating vortices, decaying into smaller eddies. The Pivot is a picturesque scene from either side, still yet dynamic.

 
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The Amethyst immortalises the calming purplish hue that appears during twilight before the sun rises. The colours that reflect off the silky soft streaming water, as winter melts and flowing water makes its way through and over the fresh greenery of spring. The translucent green Prasiolite, gently hints the budding of new life. The sterling silver bracelet accompanying this piece has a circular eddy that will always remind you of your connection with Mother Nature, the force of life and new beginnings as pure as freshwater pearls.

 
 

The Aventurine in the copper pieces displays a revitalising green, just like the delicate dews that form on grass and leaves shimmering in the first rays of the morning light. Dew, the droplets of rain resting and lingering, so still and calm. Complementing the soft white of freshwater pearls, as these droplets beam brightly carrying a belly full of energy.

The Circle, a collection of beautiful pieces celebrating the beauty of new beginnings and conveying the optimism of life.

Behind The Circle: The Inspiration & Message

 
 

As engineering students, our founders remembered being mesmerised by the beautiful patterns of art in one of their physics lecture on fluid dynamics. When met with an obstacle, the flow of fluid is akin to being injected with a comparable scale of energy as the size of the obstacle. The flow separates; the current doubles back on itself, creating a pair of circulating vortices behind it. These cloud-like vortices so smooth, soft and gracefully curved.

Recirculation Vortex Formation from a laminar flow after passing an induced obstacle (Photo Credit: Andrew Carter, University of Colorado)


Recirculation Vortex Formation from a laminar flow after passing an induced obstacle (Photo Credit: Andrew Carter, University of Colorado)

Just like in life, change is an interruption to a continuous flow. We are creatures who like habit and routine. Fortunately or unfortunately, the only constant in life is change. Change puts us in an uncomfortable spot. We squirm uneasily in facing the uncertain and threading ahead towards unfamiliar territory. Fear in times of turbulent can make us stop at our feet, give up and cave in.

What we do with the injection of energy by our ‘obstacle’ of change is our choice. We can choose to stand still and persist our ways; or we can come face to face with change and embrace it in a gracefully accepting manner. Transform this new charge of intense energy into our potential energy that can drive us even farther. Soften the sharp edges of adversities and give birth to beautiful creations, spurring into a ripple effect of positivity. Be surprised and encouraged by the by-product of our acceptance and flexibility in times of hardship. Look back and be as mesmerised as our founders were to find a rewarding trail of beautiful eddies.

 
 

When life gives you obstacles, make beautiful eddies.

300°

 
300degree

The central angle of view for our field of vision on a horizontal plane is approximately 60 degrees. In other words, 60 degrees is the extent of what catches our immediate attention in the visual world and what most influences our perception of a scene. This leaves the rest of the 300 degrees out of sight, and eventually out of mind.

What does the 300 degrees reveal?

The blunt side to a sharp single­-edged sword. The time and effort behind a 72 ­hour chain weave. The impact of evoking sentiments of the heart by the patterns on a precious gemstone. The sincere blessings carried by a bespoke pendant. The lingering emotions revolving around a past narration. The perseverance behind a romantic love story. The reason for a set of tear-­filled eyes of a burly man.

When we take a moment to learn and discover, reminisce and acknowledge something other than what directly meets our eyes each day, we may uncover the rawest emotion and truest of stories. We allow things to surprise us, to stop us in our tracks. We let stories give us a thought to ponder upon, teach us a lesson or two. Be it for a reason as simple as igniting a spark of joy or unleashing our potential to materialise dreams and the wonders beyond our wildest imaginations. Beyond what is thought possible, we want to appreciate the unseen, shed new light onto obscure chronicles to be remembered and appreciated.

Here is where we would like to share these stories – the stories often unheard, the 300 degrees.