Juntao Asa Ouyang, Winner of the Winterson Prize 2019

Juntao Asa Ouyang was announced as the winner of the 2019 Winterson Prize for the Best Use of Pearls at Central Saint Martins, London last night, where degree collections from jewellery's future stars went on display.

The influential arts institute’s annual graduate show saw students presenting original pearl pieces, created with advice and support from Winterson Director Andrew Fraser and Creative Director Alice Cicolini.

Asa was named this year’s winner of the Winterson Pearl prize for her collection 'Glitch', which explored the fusion between traditional Chinese lacquer work and a 21st century dependence on technology. The collection used a combination of abalone mother of pearl, known for its vibrant tones of blue, green and purple, and freshwater pearls nestled in ears as futuristic wireless headphones with a playful design aesthetic.

Juntao Asa Ouyang Headphones

“I am extremely honoured to receive the Winterson Prize. Pearls are astonishing to work with,” says Asa. “The journey of seeking the right pearls for my collection and then arranging and inlaying the mother of pearl is fascinating and exciting. The lustre and colour of pearls are ever changing.”

”Just like the technological glitch, which I explored in my collection, the pattern of mother of pearls is never the same. Lacquer and mother of pearl will be the foundation of my work in future, further exploring traditional craft techniques in contemporary jewellery,”

Juntao-Asa-Ouyang_Mother-of-pearl

Giles Last, BA Jewellery Design Course Leader commented ”Asa has created a unique, experimental and fascinating collection, exploring methods of communicating a critique of over dependence on technology through jewellery.”

”The pieces, using the traditional materials and techniques of mother of pearl and lacquer, question what we do and accept as the norm in the 21st century whilst celebrating traditional making techniques and materials. A delightful and intriguing body of work.”

Juntao Asa Ouyang 2019

Commenting on the award, Winterson's Creative Director Alice Cicolini said ”We were delighted to see Asa’s work with the ancient traditional technique of lacquer inlay, putting it to use in creating a futurist and thoughtful collection.”

”Asa’s work uses the stunning iridescence of abalone mother of pearl to reference the technological glitch, giving the material new life and meaning in a group of work that questions our relationship to screening and surveillance, and its distancing from the natural and tactile world. Asa is a worthy winner of the prize for innovation with pearls. Congratulations Asa!”

Read more about Juntao Asa Ouyang and the other CSM designers' work here.