Winterson Prize 2018: Meet the Designers Part II

Each year we work with the student jewellery designers at Central Saint Martins in London, giving them an opportunity to experience designing with pearls for their final year collections.

We will be awarding the Winterson Prize 2018 to one of the students for ‘The Best Use of Pearls’ at the CSM Jewellery Awards Evening on 21st June. The BA Jewellery graduate collections are exhibited at CSM and open to the public from June 20th - 24th.

Here we feature the first part in a series of short interviews with designers from the CSM Jewellery 2018 show, including in this article - Geraldine Wu, Hannah Cochrane, Isla Gilham, Yayun Fang and Yichen Dong.

Read about the other designers in Part I and Aidan Madden, the winner of this year's prize.

 

Geraldine-Wu

Geraldine Wu

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am from Hong Kong and have lived in London for 4 years now. Being immersed in such busy and diverse places my whole life, I can’t be away from the city for too long. I love living in a place where I can experience the past and the present all at once.

What was the inspiration for the 'Ocean Archives' collection?
I was inspired by illuminated manuscripts and their purpose of being visually decorative to ornament text, painting a fuller picture of the story. I wanted to create jewellery that would emulate a similar effect, with the narrative that the collection is a rediscovered treasure hoard. Hence there is an archaic, medieval influence within the designs.

What do you find inspiring about pearls?
I find pearls very poetic. They are quieter and more understated than faceted stones, they allow their soft lustre to speak for themselves. In a sense, they are not competitive for attention, but know their worth. Also given that they originate from bodies of water, they are very fitting within my collection.

What have you discovered about working with pearls?
I discovered that laser engraving them results in an iridescent powdery finish. My favourites were the dark baroque pearls, as the silvery/golden finish stands out most against the dark surface. I love that it looks like the text is stuck within the pearls, suspended in time.

Which designer or artist do you most admire?
Renaissance painters such as Raphael and Botticelli, I’m always in awe of the juxtaposition of dynamism and restraint in Renaissance paintings.

Who could you imagine wearing your jewellery?
Anyone expressive and likes to curate their own story or character through their dressing.

What is it that makes a piece of jewellery a design classic?
A design that withstands the test of time, something that people always return to.

What’s next for you after CSM?
To learn within the industry and develop my skills as a jewellery designer.

View more of Geraldine's work here.

 

Hannah-Cochrane

Hannah Cochrane

Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I have always been fascinated by jewellery, from the child who eagerly inspected the fine jewellery adverts plastered around Geneva airport, to the adult who spends far too much time staring at other people’s jewellery on the tube.

What was the inspiration for the 'A Sharper Image' collection?
Inspired by concepts put forward by the field of neuroaesthetics, I researched visual elements and design techniques that would re-occur again and again within jewellery from different countries and cultural backgrounds. An example of this was threading teeth and bone structures together to form cohesive strands. Through analysing different threads of aesthetic preference, I condensed these  into a visual style that aligned with my own.

What do you find inspiring about pearls?
To me, the pearl echoes of the first instances of jewellery making: the gathering of beautiful natural objects and using them as adornment.

What have you discovered about working with pearls?
I wanted the otherworldly colour shifts found in some pearls I acquired to be displayed in the best way possible. I found the best way to do this was to find said pearls and then design around them, specifically tailoring the original metal design around it.

Which designer or artist do you most admire?
Too many to count, but currently transfixed by Fernando Jorge's alluring designs.

Who could you imagine wearing your jewellery?
Quite honestly? Myself.

What is it that makes a piece of jewellery a design classic?
A piece that people remember, not necessarily because it might be unique or groundbreaking, but because it lingers on the mind, long after first seeing it.

What’s next for you after CSM?
I plan to look for experience and work within the field of jewellery.

View more of Hannah's work here.

 

Isla-Gilham

Isla Gilham

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Five years ago, I came across a jewellery workshop on the isle of Iona. The pieces reflected and told stories of the island; Celtic patterns, Serpentine pebbles, coastlines and simplistic beauty; It was at this moment, that I knew I wanted to create jewellery too.

What was the inspiration for the 'Temptation' collection?
The cherished family story of my Great-Grandad’s Jelly Tot tiara.

What do you find inspiring about pearls?
That they embody the idea of beauty in an unexpected place; inside a mollusc’s shell. A concept I have taken for my chewing gum, usually seen to be disgusting, adorning the streets.

What have you discovered about working with pearls?
The beauty of laser engraving their surface! It reveals more beautiful tones and has an almost holographic quality.

Which designer or artist do you most admire?
Many, however, this year, I’ve really admired and taken inspiration from Dutch Golden Age paintings which ‘shout’ indulgence and opulence. The paint captures the deliciousness of food in still lives as I try to with precious materials.

Who could you imagine wearing your jewellery?
Anyone who loves the concept of beautiful, elegant materials but with a playful twist.

What is it that makes a piece of jewellery a design classic?
I think a piece that captures the imagination whilst reflecting and ‘centre staging’ the materials used.

What’s next for you after CSM?
To keep designing, making and being excited by jewellery!

 

Yayun-Fang

Yayun Fang

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Yayun. As a jewellery designer, I love working with different materials and exploring the traditional craftsmanship practices in my jewellery. One of my biggest pleasures is seeing people wear a piece of jewellery I made and feeling good wearing it.

What was the inspiration for the 'Hip-Hop Lace' collection?
A combination of delicate lace from old master paintings and bold hip-hop jewellery styles are the main inspiration for this collection.

What do you find inspiring about pearls?
I love the alluring shine and elegant colour. I never get tired of looking at pearls or mother-of-pearl as they always have different shades, colour and shine.

What have you discovered about working with pearls?
Pearl accessories always appear along with lace pieces in old master portraits, they both share the same language of delicacy and elegance. In my final collection I wanted to design pieces with both boldness and delicacy. Mother-of-pearl as a material offers me the biggest surface to apply the lace patterns with the way I join them together, which allows me to create a bold yet elegant feel.

Which designer or artist do you most admire?
Andrew Grima.

Who could you imagine wearing your jewellery?
Confident and fearless people.

What is it that makes a piece of jewellery a design classic?
Highlight the best characteristics of a material and approach it in an unexpected and unique way.

What’s next for you after CSM?
I would like to further my career as a jeweller and aim to join the design department of a jewellery company.

View more of Yayun's work here.

 

Yichen-Dong

Yichen Dong

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am from China. I like witty and unexpected contemporary designs, and to think conceptually.

What was the inspiration for the 'Be who you want to be’ collection?
I was inspired by stereotypes around transgender, transvestism, LGBT and roles of each gender. I admire those people who are brave enough to express their true identity.

What do you find inspiring about pearls?
To use pearl as a metaphor and a response. I found pearls necklace represent purity and elegance in commonsense, and I am interested in creating contrasts and bring the pearl out of this ‘stereotype’.

What have you discovered about working with pearls?
The single pearl can be a jewellery piece with many possibilities. The colour, its glow and shape can tell lots of stories.

Which designer or artist do you most admire?
Akiko Kurihara. Her works are witty, clever and unexpected with a great sense of humour.

Who could you imagine wearing your jewellery?
People who need encouragement to express identity and to find who they are.

What is it that makes a piece of jewellery a design classic?
The relationship between materials and the story behind the jewellery makes a piece classic and unique.

What’s next for you after CSM?
I’ve got offer and will continue jewellery study in RCA.

View more of Yichens's work here.