Micro-mosaic jewellery cuts a dash with designers
YP cadets. Compiled by Joyee Chan and YP cadet Pearl Chan
Micro-mosaic jewellery, made with tiny glass beads or cubes, was first launched in Italy in the 19th century.
Hong Kong artist Shan Luk, who has long had a passion for handicrafts, jewellery design, production and lampworking, learnt the techniques from an Italian mosaic expert. She has made regular visits to Venice, Italy, where the technique of glass-fusing originated.
Luk, who works in Sham Shui Po, is the only local artist that knows and teaches micro-mosaic making.
She gave a three-hour workshop to seven Young Post junior reporters - Hollie Chung, Janet Tam, Zoe Chung, Dorothy Yim, Talise Tsai, Florence Too and Jacqueline Leung - and helped each of them design and make micro-mosaic pendants.
The reporters thought it would be a simple, mosaic-by-numbers workshop, where all they had to do was stick multicoloured tiles into their correct places, and come home with a masterpiece - as easy as a pie. Yet they were wrong. The techniques involved were anything but easy. Many of the reporters chose to create pendants with designs of tiny flowers; all required many hours of meticulous work. 'Micro-mosaic is all about patience,' Luk said.
Cutting glass stringers (thin rods of glass) into equal 3mm x 3mm squares needs careful co-ordination between the brain, eyes and hands. The muscles of the fingers had to 'feel' the appropriate length required. Then the reporters used a file to mark the rods and used forceps to break the glass in two.
The class found it was interesting work, but cutting tough glass into unequal lengths took a lot of energy, and they discovered the importance of perseverance.
Next, the reporters started piecing together the pendant, moving from the outside towards the centre. Two layers of mosaic were needed around the edge; they had to overlap things if there was a space. Then the class assembled the central designs; most of them featured flowers and leaves.
As a final touch, the reporters filled in any tiny spaces that were left with light-coloured glass beads.
Jacqueline made a simple design showing two flowers growing in the grass. Janet created a yellow smiley face to show happiness; she plans to modify it to wear as a necklace.
Hollie chose to design a blue flower and a pink letter 'H' for Hollie, with a blue and white background.
For details on micro-mosaic classes, go to www.artisens.com