Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Good, the bad, the...chop?

The Good: We have a winner in the koi pendant giveaway. Drum roll, please... It's Jill B.! Thank you to everyone who entered. Jill, I will be contacting you shortly with details on how to claim your prize.

The Bad: Sadly, as I feared, I did not place in the top five in the pearls category of Bead Star. Alas. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to vote for me - I certainly appreciate it! Still, I have to say, it was a great contest - it inspired me to create new designs (one - my favorite, ironically - did not make the finals) which is always a good thing, it enabled me to meet new people which ditto and the bottom line is that it was really fun. I intend to enter next year again. Until, then, congratulations to those who placed!

The Chop: Yes, I know the title of this entry doesn't make much sense, but that's often the case with my titles, no? For some time now, I've been contemplating designing a chop for myself or simply ordering a metal stamp with my initials (for anyone who has bought or won one of my pieces, that untidy chicken-scratch type mark on the back is supposed to represent my initials). And by "chop" in this context, I mean essentially a maker's mark - something that will identify a piece as having been made by me.

It occurred to me the other day, though, that I actually already own a chop, and a pretty nice one at that. When I was in my twenties, my parents took me to Korea to meet my extended family for the first time. While there, my father insisted that I have a stamp made of my Korean name (in Chinese characters). This service is offered in various places (I believe that we ordered the above one at one of the big department stores in Seoul). It is carved from stone and has a nice weight to it. (I also have a larger, more elaborate square one with the figure of a tiger carved on top, but I believe that may be at my parent's house, as I have been unable to find it hanging around here.) It was a very nice memento of my visit, but practically speaking, I hardly ever used it. I dug it out last month and, lo and behold, it does look pretty nice stamped in fine silver. Of course, it's a little large to use on the back of a bead, but it's about the right size for a jewelry tag. I could also see it as an attractive component for a piece of jewelry. In fact, it seems like a potentially versatile little stamp from a crafty point of view.

So, I thought I'd share it with you. If you find yourself traveling in Asia or know someone who will be going, you may want to consider ordering your own chop for use in jewelry design, scrapbooking and/or many other crafty endeavors. If you don't have an Asian name as I do (curiously enough), you could have a translation rendered based on the meaning of your name. The result is sure to be attractive and to add a nice, personal touch to your work. It's possible that you may be able to find a similar service in one of the large Chinatowns in the United States, but I'm less sure of that (if anyone has any opinion on this, please do leave a comment).

Thanks for stopping by!


Anonymous said...

Grrrrrl, wouldn't you know I've been in China 2 1/2 years and I still haven't stopped to have one of these made!!! I keep thinking, oh, I've gotta do that. Love it! Chop til' ya drop!

Melissa J. Lee said...

Hi Candie, Oh, you should do it! The small ones look so cute - just remember to ask which way is "up" on the stamp, if you are not already familiar with the characters in your name!

Anonymous said...

I actually used my name "Chop" in Chinese as my logo for the longest time and quite liked it.

Just FYI the word "chop" is taken from the Hindi(Indian language) word "chaap" meaning to stamp.

Anonymous said...

oh gawd you rlly suck go to hell

Anonymous said...

seriously wtf

Melissa J. Lee said...


Very interesting - I didn't know that! Thanks very much for your input and thanks for visiting! I love your work in BeadStyle.


Thank you for your witty and articulate input. However, now that you have had your say, please note that any similar future comments will be deleted.

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

Oh I love that. At a certain age, we were taken to Tiffany and Co to have our "die"s made that would have our initials in the engraving style of our choice,very fancy! and have our first formal notecard size paper to use for thank you notes and for responses to invitations. As my mother taught us from the time we could write how to respnd correctly to invitations and how to write thank you notes , by practicing with us, and drilling us! you can imagine my horror at the very first "response card" (where you just conveniently check off a box and throw it in the mail) I ever got included a wedding invitation! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH I was so rigid. It took me EAR to get the hang of that and get over myself! :) so silly

I was very proud of my die!

I also loved seals and wax, but I just used a rose seal. and pink wax.

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

good grief, I didn't mean EAR I meant years! excuse me!

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Is the picture of your name stamp? What a nice memento of your trip and meeting your extended family.

In graduate school, I studied Japanese Sign Language as one of my grad school colleagues was from Japan. He said my name was similiar to the Japanese word for "death" so we all agreed it was best to skip calling me by a translated Japanese name! :-)Maybe Cindy would translate better into Korean? :-)


Melissa J. Lee said...

Jean, as usual, I love your story, especially your reaction to those new-fangled wedding invitations with check box cards stuck in them! I still feel that nothing really compares to receiving a hand-written letter, although that art is certainly dwindling, with the advent of the Internet!

Cindy, I think it's fascinating that you studied Japanese sign language - is it much different from ASL? I'm afraid I don't know how "Cindy" translates into Korean, though - I will have to ask my mother!

Ruth Ann said...

I have 2 chops that I had made in China in 1999. They are both my name (supposedly), but the one made in the north is entirely diffent than the one made in the south. (I thought that the pronounciation was different, but the characters were the same. Who knows?)

I use my large one with a fu dog on top for all of my correspondence, but the small one doesn't get used much.

Thank you for giving me a great suggestion for its use!

Ruth Ann

Melissa J. Lee said...

Hi Ruth Ann, I like the fact that you use the big one for correspondence (following a distinguished tradition!). I hope you're able to use the smaller one for more crafty purposes!