There are times I would step out of my space to tend the shrubs and perennials in my studio garden to reflect and find inspiration. Transitory moments like these have led me to enjoy a parallel between the role of a jeweler and that of a gardener—the ceaselessly moving hands. As a gardener digs and cultivates the soil, nurtures the vegetation, and harvests the seeds and fruits, a jeweler creates models, melts metal, forges, inlays gemstones, assembles, solders, and polishes finished works. Though, unlike the gardener who races with time to produce an optimal yield, I, the jeweler, have the allowance of time to contemplate and realize every single creation one by one.
This modality of producing annually a small, highly individualized, and focused body of designs was already there in my vision at the very moment when I undertook the role of a metalsmith. As I chose to depend on a minimum of machinery and chemicals, I also chose to optimize the use of my hands, retaining and re-developing the conventional or historical methods of jewelry-making within my own practice. It is a kind of muscle memory or perhaps choreography that consists of numerous tools, which, over time, like the hoe and sickle to a gardener, become the very extension of me.
Jewelry, as a personal object, is exclusive. This very idea characterizes my practice and philosophy of producing deliberately and manually so that each motif and design, new or renewed, carry meanings after each pounding, stamping, forging, and welding. Equally important is the intention behind each commission of bespoke jewelry by my clients; whether it celebrates the success of a career, matrimony, the birth of a child, or the death of a beloved one, the work becomes the index of a particular moment of one’s life. It’s humbling and meaningful to be able to encounter and intimately engage with different individuals, to infuse their narratives and personalities while creating a unique work that speaks only to them and them alone. These encounters also become the ultimate source of inspiration and support for my work and craft.
The archive of my work exists largely in the form of finished pieces and models, though there are significant physical editions that I intentionally hide in various boxes, so that, when the time calls for a revisitation, I can rediscover and reconnect with them. The archive, the vault of my previous works, leaves traces of my thoughts for me to return to, develop, and find a continuum into the present time of my repertoire, just like the seeds in the deep woodland that would only germinate and prosper under the right conditions. The world today spins faster than ever, and changes occur unpredictably and at times chaotically, and I find it centering and anchoring to have this archive to return to, savor the past, and remind myself to be in the present and continue to grow as a thoughtful and conscious artisan. If new commissions set the direction of my jewelry practice, then the earlier works set the foundation, both of which continue to feed, rejuvenate, and sustain my practice and vision.