Posts Tagged ‘Michelline Syjuco’

Sculptural accents for a different kind of evening bag from Michelline Syjuco

In Philippine Star Column on December 14, 2012 at 12:52 am
Red-y to wear. A heart shaped minaudiere

Red-y to wear. A heart shaped minaudiere

It was back in 2008 that the name Michelline Syjuco first crossed my editorial life. I was then EIC for one of the country’s biggest glossies and my team and I were doing our first Holiday Shopping Special. There was a rather boldly constructed cuff that was unfortunately mislabeled as someone else’s when the magazine went to print, prompting a rather dismayed letter from Syjuco, correcting us for our error. Understanding the sensitivity of an artist having worked so hard on a creation, only to not be credited for it, I personally called her to apologize, was forgiven, and since then (although well-deserved) both she and her work were regular features in our magazine and events. Prior to her “mis”-feature  she first got noticed, not by fashion insiders, but a well respected member of the art world. National Artist Napoleon Abueva spotted her at an event wearing one of her sculptures as a bracelet. He admired it and urged her to continue and come up with a whole line. He then recommended her to be a part of a jewelry show featuring the top designers from Manila.


Crimson clutches: Handpainted and embellished with automatic watch parts

Crimson clutches: Handpainted and embellished with automatic watch parts

Since then, Syjuco, who comes from a family of artists including parents Cesare and Jean Marie, has been ubiquitous in the fashion, art and social scene. Some may remember her exhibit as one of the Ateneo Art Award finalists, or a more recent family collaboration at the Yuchengco Museum. Her jewelry, known for its almost medieval-like influences, are solid pieces often encrusted with semi-precious gems spiraling around different metal mediums and are not for the fashion faint-hearted. Recently, she has expanded her design wings to produce a line of  minaudieres, perfectly timed for the arrival of the holiday season, where bling is always very much in. Michelline Syjuco’s sculptural minaudiere collecion for 2013 consists of 14 pieces, all handmade in her studio in Alabang. Each one is distinctly different, they are made from recycled pinewood crates using pure stainless steel as hardware. For a twist, she incorporated old automatic watch parts, like gears and knobs. “This is a look that I feel has never been done before,” explains Syjuco. “Most minaudieres tend to be traditional. This is a fresh alternative to the norm.” Although all the pieces hold a special place in her heart she admits that her favorite one is “the one that looks like a little red transistor radio. He is so cute, and was a pain to produce. I must have repainted him five times before finally getting the finish I wanted.”


Scene steel-er. Wood and stainless steel works of art

Scene steel-er. Wood and stainless steel works of art

Syjuco admits that she designs for herself primarily, making things that she would wear herself. “I think of women who are bold and daring… not afraid to stand out or be in the spotlight,” she explains. Aside from her artist father, she looks to the late Alexander McQueen as an inspiration. “He could do it all!” she gushes. “And that’s what I want to do as well.” Her minaudieres are both functional and decorative, as each comes with a custom-made easel should you wish to display them instead of wear them. For those who are already fans of her art the design detour was a little shocking but not far-fetched. Like most free-spirited artists, being stereotyped is death, and she continues to express her multi-faceted personality in everything she creates, choosing to focus on one expression of it at a time. “Sometimes it’s hard to get the creative juices flowing just like that, but once I find something I’m passionate about, it’s hard to stop me,” she intimates. “I was actually supposed to do a jewelry line for the Cura V show, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I came up with the idea to do a few minaudieres, and I was so excited about the idea that I couldn’t even sleep more than a few hours a night.”

Shaped and styled. Uniquely formed statment pieces.

Shaped and styled. Uniquely formed statment pieces.


Owning a work of art, especially made by a local talent, is always a worthy investment. If your tastes run to wearable art, then a standout sculptural piece may be just what you need to make what you wear this season more stylish than usual.

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The minaudiére collecion is available in Cura V, 2/F Power Plant Mall, Rockwell. Prices per piece range from P15,000-P25,000. For more details visit

Ateneo Art Awards 2010

In Living a Life Off-Center on August 25, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Yes this is a long overdue post 🙂 I’ve been quite busy with all the chaotic energies brought about by Ghost Month. For those of you who just love looking at art, here’s a glimpse of the installations exhibited during the Ateneo Art Awards 2010.

Above is an installation by winner Leslie de Chavez entitled Same Old Bananas…since it’s a jab at our yes, “same old bananas” politicos, I would have just put “Bad Bananas” 😀

"Ridiculous" portraits by Pow Martinez

Pow Martinez, another winner, puts an absurd twist to his subjects. What would be an ordinary family portrait is made to look comical, with rough strokes and bright colors. To be honest, these creeped me out. But hey, he won, and he’s young, so I guess the judges saw major potential in him.

Mark Salvatus' makeshift garden

Mark Salvatus won two prizes that night, which is akin to winning two grants if I’m not mistaken. His work was inspired by a garden the inmates in a local prison had coaxed to life despite not having the “right” tools and seeds. The vegetable garden thrived.

Eustaquio's rubber boat

Patty Eustaquio was shortlisted this year but has been a past winner of the Art Awards. This isn’t (in my opinion) her best work, but she’s got some amazing sculptures that I hope to see displayed publicly again soon!

Jukebox de Guia

This was one of my favorite pieces 🙂 Kawayan de Guiais also a past winner and was shortlisted this year. His work was described as an astonishingly original pastiche. I have no idea what that means! But I would certainly would like this astonishing pastiche in my game room (if I had one) and hope it could really play music! (Jeepney jukeboxes are so super cool!)

Syjuco's Sculpture

I’m a big fan of Michelline Syjuco, I love her jewelry and I love her sculpture pieces. This is the second time she’s been shortlisted for the Art Awards, I’m hoping that if she qualifies again for next year that the third time’s a charm! Her interpretation of the “manton de manila” was for me brilliant, and again, if I had a gigantic house or flat, I would collect her work! (I already collect her accessories, she also uses crystals!)

Aniwaas-Ilocano folklore

Yes, I do have a preference for sculpture pieces and yes I may be a bit biased as I’m part Ilocano. Riel Hilario’s Aniwaas shows the belief in “Anitos” or nature  and animal spirits that are all around us.

Another day, another Anito

He uses the method of making a Catholic saint bust or statue with wood and then weaves a little “spirituality” into it. Love it.

Kiri Dalena's Present Disorder

This was probably the most macabre of all the installations. Dalena placed this “broken” piece in the same exact spot were a woman’s body landed when she committed suicide within the venue of the Art Awards.  It was disturbing but it was certainly attention-getting and intriguing.

There were of course, several more installations on display but these were the most memorable for me. Congratulations to all the winners and the finalists.  A big thumbs up to all the people behind putting the awards and the exhibit together! Looking forward to the Art Awards in 2011.