Ching-Chih Wu’s specialty is transforming objects from nature into delicate pieces of jewellery using enamel. Sea sponges and shells become colourful broaches and items that remind us value is relative we should be the ones to judge something’s worth.
Ching-Chih Wu studied artisanry at the National University of the Arts in Taiwan, working with metal, sculpture and design with enamel. His main techniques are Plique-à-jour, a technique with enamel on glass, Repoussé and Chasing, an artisanal embossing technique that creates ornamental relief figures on malleable materials like metal sheets or leather, and Patina, the oxidation of metals such as copper. He won the Grand Prize at The 28th International Cloisonne Jewelry Contest, first prize at the “Itami International Craft Competition” in Japan and in 2014, the Grand Prix Award at the “Artistar Jewels Exhibition” in Italy.
We love the way he creates his subtle pieces and the textures that seem to come directly from a siren’s song. We here at So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins we admire his work and we had the pleasure of talking with him recently. We hope you enjoy.
SO CATCHY!: Tell us about your last collection “From the Diving Voice”.
CH-CH WU: My last collection is called “from the diving voice”. I collected many crabs, fish scales, seashells, coral and so on. I have transformed found objects into metal, then employing the enamel to restore the original colour and shape. My statement is to discuss whether if the value of found objects still remains after the transformation. In addition, I also insert the concept of jewellery and sculpture into this piece, taking the jewellery’s functionality as a partial form of the object
SC!: What´s your favourite material to work with and why?
CH-CH: Enamel is one of my favourite materials. There are many technique of enamel, it’s so much fun and playful. Although it’s the same material but there are many ways to present the concept.
SC!: With the Squares Series, you said: “I used electric forming to transform found objects into metal”. How did the process go?
CH-CH: I used electric forming to transform real textures from plants or sponges into metal and employ the enamel. For the enamel, I use two kinds of technique, the first technique is to fire the enamel below its original temperature to create the sugar texture, the second technique uses the plique-a-jour for the wings. At last, I mount the enamel object on to the brass base.
SC!: What are you doing now and what would you love to be doing?
CH-CH: I have tried to explore in sculpture. A few years ago, I did a residency at Anderson Ranch Art Center Sculpture Studio. At the end of my residency I had a solo exhibition called ‘Extreme Wearable‘, this was a series of artwork in which I explored the boundaries between sculpture and jewellery through the concept of jewellery’s functionality. What was interesting with this exploration was that people who weren’t jewellers thought of the wearable objects as sculptures or installation.
SC!: The best part of your work is… and the worst?
CH-CH: The best part of my work I think is, I used the traditional way to making my jewellery, turned away from demonstrating skills to questing for creative content and transcendental meanings. The worst part is some people looking at my pieces will say must jewellery must be very heavy or fragile, course I try to find the balance of scale between jewellery and sculpture.
SC!: The piece you are most proud of…
CH-CH: Square Series is one of the series I like very much. It differs from my previous pieces where I only want to present the enamel technique, plique-a-jour; the series showed more of the transformation between material and skill. It presents my concepts during this phase of creation, such as the relations between jewellery and sculpture, use of readymade objects, materials and skills etc.
SC!: How would you define your work? What do you want to tell people with your work?
CH-CH: I can’t define my work my own, but I hope when people look at my works, they will break with traditional, from the form or material. It could change people first impression to feel the different texture in my jewellery.
SC!: What´s more inspiring for you: the objects or the wearable jewellery?
CH-CH: Wearable jewellery more close to people, it must be could wear or stand of body. But the objects could be a wildly inventive in concept. I think both of are interests me.
SC!: Things you do, read, see… that help you to design.
CH-CH: I like to watch movies, the story could lead me in different experience to feel the life. One of my favourite movies is “Le Scaphandre et le Papillion”. From others version to see the world, to feeling and into our heart and come out. It became part of my experience to describe the feels in my works.
SC!: Your favourite magazine about design, art, fashion….
CH-CH: I like to see the Vogue ,Elle and metal-smith and CRAFTS magazine.
SC!: A piece of jewellery you cannot stop wearing…
CH-CH: I like to wear on of the jewellery I collect from a brooch, made by a contemporary jeweller “Noon Passama”, this is her website. It’s pop gold and like a drooping tear. Very chic, very modern.
SC!: Where can we find your pieces?
CH-CH: I sell my jewellery in different gallery. One is in CC gallery, which I manage in Taiwan. Others in NY, France and Korea.
SC!: What is, in your opinion, the future of jewellery?
CH-CH: I would love to hear people said ”it’s not just a jewellery” in the future.
All jewellery photos courtesy of Good Photo Studio
Translation and Layout by Michael Padilla