Why is creating functional pieces your medium of choice for artistic expression?
My interest in machines began at an early age. My father was an industrial engineer, and I would look over his shoulder as he worked. I was fascinated by all of the moving parts on the machines. I could see how each part on a machine had its own shape and purpose. Their minimalistic functionality was beautiful. To me, a functional shape is naturally exquisite. While majoring in industrial design, I was captivated by the words of the American architect, Louis Sullivan, “form follows function.” Later, I realized the joy of creating things by hand. I went on to get a master’s degree in metal craft, setting me up to be an industrial-inspired jeweler.
Do you ever experience a creative block? If so, how do you remedy a lack of inspiration?
I do not push myself to get ideas for my creative work by referencing a book, magazine, going to exhibitions, or surfing online. There are too many easily accessible sources these days, and creative works by others overwhelm us. I do not want my jewelry to be artificial. I get my ideas from my daily life, meeting people, watching them and things around them. Often, what may seem trivial to others catches my attention and inspires me to create. My creative source has always been my daily life.
What are the first steps leading into a new creation? (For example, do you sketch ideas, research materials, seek inspiration)?
The final product image comes to me naturally and instantly before I start to work. Then, I draft the image in my sketchbook. During production, I try to match the image in my mind to the final product.
What excites you most about creating your work?
At first, I was interested in finding the beauty in a machine and trying to contain the functional beauty in my jewelry works. Currently, I am trying to eliminate the superfluous expression in my jewelry by focusing on its function. I like how my jewelry can be seen differently depending on the wearer’s point of view and how it can also be seen differently from the wearer’s intention. I enjoy using usual mediums that were not often used in jewelry making.
I love creating things with my hands. This is the main reason I changed my career from design to metal craft. Machines can more efficiently create many of my works, but I like to craft my works with my hands. This gives human warmth to cold metal. It also naturally adds more details that people can enjoy. I do not negotiate when it comes to quality. That is a human quality that machines cannot imitate.