Cynthia Poh Designs

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About Cynthia - My Beading Journey

It was in November 2003 when I came across a beads shop at Emerald Hill in Singapore. Enchanted by the sparkling beads in front of me, I entered the shop and within 10 minutes, my husband who was with me encouraged me to sign up their basic jewellery making workshop. It was a basic stringing course run by Tanja Sadow and a lesson that I would never forget because her teachings set the fundamental principles that I still follow to date. Subsequently, I signed up for other techniques from wire-works, professional weaving, knotting to silver clay.

In February 2004, my husband and I moved to San Francisco, California for his job posting. For the first few months, I was creating jewellery to pass my time. One day, he came back with an application form for a stall at a local farmers market. I applied and was lucky to be granted a spot. My first day setup was pathetic but sales were surprisingly good. The three enjoyable summers spent at the Redwood City Farmers market gave me the opportunity to be more creative and explore different mediums of jewellery making. I took on custom orders, participated in other craft events in the state, and even ran workshops for adults and children. Most importantly, I befriended many like-minded good friends.

In May 2005, I branded my jewellery collection as ‘Beady Girl’ and launched my website, Beadygirl.com to showcase my works to jewellery lovers.

For two years, I was happily creating jewellery with the techniques I knew but I longed to venture into bead weaving after seeing some truly beautiful pieces in Bead & Button (US) magazine. The chance came when Rachel Nelson ran a basic peyote stitch workshop at a bead shop near my place. I signed up and from that day onwards, I was creating peyote stitch cuffs only! I went on to learn other intermediate techniques from her and other instructors.

After four years in California, we returned to Singapore. I was a stay home mum to my first born and continued beading whenever I could find time. It was therapeutic and a stress reliever. When my son turned 8 months old, I started to conduct workshops at a local bead shop during weekends. It was an enriching experience as the interaction with students allowed me to share my beading knowledge as well as take my skills to new heights. When my second child came along, I stopped for awhile but during the interim, I was writing manuals and submissions to publishers. My ‘Bollywood Cuff’ was published as an online resource on Bead & Button webpage in 2009 and ‘Netted Bangle’ in an upcoming Bead & Button August 2011 issue.

In January 2011, our family of four moved (again) to Perth, Australia where we currently reside.  My beads took up 11 boxes!

I create primarily bead woven jewellery with different weaving techniques. My favourite is Peyote Stitch because of its versatility. My style is a juxtaposition of traditional and avant gard, balancing simplicity with a touch of sophistication. I want to use the centuries old bead weaving techniques to make modern, contemporary jewellery, suitable for everyday wear. Since I believe less is more, my palette is usually monochromatic. For my designs, I find inspiration from my daily surroundings. I am also fortunate enough to have travelled quite a bit so I draw on other cultures whenever I can.

Beady Girl’s jewellery is currently on sale at ‘Sometimes. A Pop-up Shop’ in Floreat, Western Australia and ‘Beads Cage’ in Singapore. Beaders can also purchase project manuals/kits and beads supplies from online shop at beadyshop.etsy.com. The kits range from beginner to intermediate levels, and focus on the honing and mastering of various beading techniques.

It has been a very rewarding journey and I am grateful for the opportunities that had been presented to me. I look forward to my new adventure in Australia and to be able to share my experience with fellow beaders here.

 

Cynthia Poh
(This profile was published in Connect Magazine by Bead Society of Victoria in June 2011.)

 

 

 

Copyright © Cynthia Poh 2011. All rights reserved.