BootsnAll Travel Network

rediscovering creativity

front side of my pendant, originally uploaded by maliayosh.

it’s been a long time since my life has stood still long enough for me to really focus on being creative. in my day-to-day life back in honolulu, and even to some extent during this trip, i was always moving from point A to point B and planning the route to point C… i very rarely slow down enough to clear my mind and let creativity flow.

lately i’ve been trying to write more (as you can see here on my blog!) and i’ve been searching out classes here in chiang mai that focus on things that will bring me inner calm and clarity, like the meditation retreat i’ll be taking next week. i love that there are so many artistic opportunities here in chiang mai! to me, taking a class and being able to say “look what i made!” at the end is way more fun than sightseeing or tours. i think i’m finding a good balance of both here.

today i enrolled in a silver jewelry making class at nova artlabs. i happened upon a storefront on thapae road yesterday that had a brochure for the classes and signed up right away, as there was only one spot left – they like to keep a maximum of 7 students so that you will get hands-on instruction.

the class is taught by nugoon and his assistant, junko (from japan!), who are both expert jewelers and seem to possess infinite capabilities for patience! i chose to make a pendant, something very simple that i could wear every day but that would have some symbolism. i designed a circle with a cutout that would show two lines made to resemble a road, symbolizing the journey that i’m going through during this trip. some of my classmates made rings, and there were also students returning for a second or third day making more advanced projects.

it was so fun to learn all the hard work that goes into making silver jewelry! even with a simple design like mine, there was tons of work involved in each step. i had to create the design, then transfer it onto the actual silver piece which had to be flattened out to a specific thickness before i could start cutting. we used a drill press machine to make a tiny hole so that the saw could be inserted, and then started the LONG and arduous process of cutting out the design.

junko told me that, to her, sawing is like meditation. she said you must be patient with yourself and not rush it, but concentrate on the up and down motion of the saw without putting pressure on it to go forward. she said it also helps to keep your mind clear. it seems very “zen” but it’s sooo true! i found that whenever i got impatient or tried to push the saw along, it would get stuck. i needed to concentrate on slowing down and getting into a groove in order for it to flow smoothly and to make any progress. so funny how this turned into a metaphor for life!

after i finished sawing out the inner circle and cutting out the design itself, it was time to sand everything down using both machines and good old elbow grease. there was one machine that runs like a dentist drill with sandpaper attatched to the drill bit, which was actually kind of fun even though it made my hand cramp up to hold it for too long.

junko helped me to cut out the wires that i would use for my “road” design and then nugoon taught me how to solder on the wires and the jump ring for the top. i also got to stamp on my intials “MEY” onto the back, right between the road lines, for a more personal touch.

all in all, it was one of the best classes i’ve ever taken! it was fun chatting with my classmates and watching everyone’s pieces take shape, then admiring the finished products. the studio itself is very peaceful, with a steady flow of norah jones, diana krall, even israel kamakawiwaole (!!!) to keep you calm and focused. at 1,100 baht for the class (plus 150baht for the silver i used), i’d say this was a deal! i’m considering going back for another day to learn how to set a stone and make a ring!

here’s junko, nugoon, and me (wearing my new pendant!)

my wonderful instructors

nova artlabscan be found at:
16\1Thapae Soi 4
Chiangmai, 50100
053 207 212

check them out if you’re ever in chiang mai, classes are monday-saturday from 10:30am-4:30pm and it’s definitely worth it, even for a total beginner like me! =)

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7 responses to “rediscovering creativity”

  1. Mom says:

    Looks like such fun!!!

  2. christy says:

    shucks, i can’t see the pendant from this computer! very cool though!

  3. kimi says:


    Your pendant is soooooo beautiful! I really really love it. The design is so awesome. It’s contemporary, yet simple, and just so very visually pleasing with the movement in it, with lines and circle. I would seriously buy it if I saw it in a store. And best of all is the beautiful symbolism. I wouldn’t have noticed that it’s a road/path because it just looks like a cool design, but once you said it…it truly does stand out as just that! I am so damn proud of you and very inspired and impressed! GREAT job!!!

  4. Jessica says:

    How cool!!!!!!! That looks like a blast. I knew you’d love Chang Mai! So glad you are having such a good time there. Where to next? How is Jess doing??

  5. jasmine says:

    Hi Malia! ditto to what kimi says! i’m so proud of you and very impressed with all of this. that is a very beautiful pendant!

  6. malia says:

    i just finished a second day in class, i made a rose quartz ring… you can view a picture here:

    “The universal meaning of rose quartz is as a stone of love. This meaning of rose quartz includes love of the self (and self-forgiveness) as well as love of others. People have used rose quartz to bring forgiveness to a relationship and to replace love that might be lost in life. Rose quartz symbolizes the ability to open one’s heart to love, the gentle aspect of love as opposed to the passionate. Another meaning of rose quartz is to promote healing to the wearer. It provides gentle energy for mental and emotional balance.”

    sounds good to me. =)

  7. malia says:

    @ jessica – jess is doing great! she and aung have been traveling together – they spent some time on the beaches down south and just finished a trip to the northeast to camp in a national park. i believe today they’re back in bangkok, and i’ll be meeting up with them (and kimi, christy, and kira!) next week! thanks for asking! =)

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