Sir Ken Robinson: Does School Kill Creativity?

A lot of people might know about this video already. However, I stumbled over it this morning and I thought it is still worth sharing. I find it very mind-provoking and it got me thinking about the way I was educated in school. Given that I was robbed the chance to study art as a main subject in my final and most crucial years of school (because of a lack of student interest, so they never formed a class) and I had to concentrate on maths instead, I find myself wondering sometimes how things would have shaped out if I had had the chance to participate in those specialised classes. It is true that schools and school teachers might not necessarily be able and find the time to concentrate on a student’s individual needs and nurture their particular interests. So how much potential is really wasted and how many children never really get the chance to truly do what they were born to do? All that is being created is a mass of stereotypes.

Take Picasso for example. I am not sure how well he did in school or if he even went to school. All I know is that he obviously had a huge talent but so do a lot of kids. The difference is that on top of his talent, his interests were recognised. He was allowed to nurture his creativity and he was trained in the right direction from the very start. His family gave him the chance to develop his potential, rather than pushing him into stencils that society thinks are right.

Here is Sir Ken Robinson‘s TED talk and his views on the topic: ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’

To end this post, here is one of my favourite quotes by Pablo Picasso, which was also mentioned in the video:

‘All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.’

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Making 18K Yellow Gold Studs with Aquamarines

Each year around the same times, in May and December to be exact, my Dad approaches me with a very special request: He is desperately looking for a Birthday and Christmas present for my Mum. Since he is the the ‘King-of-Shopping-Haters’ and I am the creative one in the family, it is obvious to him that I need to come up with an idea for the perfect gift à la ‘She’s your Mum… You know what she likes!’. Most of the time, he lets me know his budget and the colour spectrum he has in my mind and I am sent on my way!

Sometimes, this quest can be quite tricky. Sure, I know my Mum but she does not always fancy all of my designs. Trial and error… So, it is not always easy for me to come up with something I know she will like for sure.

This time though, despite his usual last-minute request, my Dad gave me two Baguette-shaped Aquamarines that he wanted to be turned into ear-studs. He envisioned a simple setting in 18K yellow gold. His instructions were pretty straight forward, so I did not want to interfere too much. Still, I was not keen on making a simple plain setting (I find that pretty boring) but I decided to go with a four-prong-setting instead.

Here are pictures of the making:

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.41.38 PMFirst sketches and calculations to place the 18K gold order. With me being used to the metric system, it can be quite a challenge to get everything right in inches. I was a little nervous when placing the order but thanks to a really nice Rio Grande employee, everything went smoothly.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.39.08 PMFiling and Folding of the box-setting from a strip of gold.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.39.41 PM    Soldering the box-settings with my mouth-blowing-torch.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.39.58 PMThe soldered settings.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.40.17 PMCleaning, filing and sanding of the outsides.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.40.34 PMSoldering of the prongs and the strip that is meant to hold the stud. 

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.40.55 PMOn the left: After soldering. On the right: After pickling. Before the prongs were soldered, I filed a bearing in the boxes that is meant to hold the stones comfortably.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.41.23 PMOn the left: Unpolished. On the right: Polished but not set yet.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 4.51.58 PMThe finished earrings.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 5.38.23 PMThe finished earrings.

Happy Birthday, Mama!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed making the earrings!

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Sweet Sweet Studio

So… after a good seven month without making any ‘serious’ jewellery, due to moving countries and some personal procrastinating issues, I am sitting in my brand-new studio and I am MAKING. Finally!

It really is about high-time, given that 2013 started off on a really good foot. I just realized the other day that my work is going to be on show in five exhibitions until April alone. The rest of the year is yet to come! I very much hope for the chance to have a solo show some time soon and I am going to work hard towards that goal.

Until then, my work can be seen in the following exhibitions:

‘The Beauty Chase’, Espace Le Carré Gallery, Lille, France, until Jan 14.
‘Con Decorados’, Klimt Gallery, Barcelona, Spain, opening in February.
‘Ferrous’, Velvet Da Vinci Gallery, San Francisco, USA, March 1 – April 14.
‘Guck ins Schmuckloch, Schmuck im Guckloch’, Galerie im Raum, Munich, Germany, March 7 – March 10.
‘Stories & Symbols’, Facèré Gallery, Seattle, USA, opening in April.

With ‘Guck ins Schmuckloch, Schmuck im Guckloch’ coming up during ‘Schmuck’-time in Munich, I really have to focus and make new pieces. So, yesterday, I had a big enameling day and I experimented with techniques, objects and compositions.

It was fabulous, after a long time of simply knitting socks, to design and make jewellery again. I came up with three ideas for future pieces and I can’t wait to hold the finished works in my hands soon. Let’s hope for many more to come!

With my move to America, I realized that my origin is really important to me, alongside my traveling experience. ‘Heimat’ (birth place/home) is what shapes us first, traveling cuts our facets. I would like to play with both of those influences, showing the ‘product’ of them until this point in time. So, I think Germany, UK, China and America will play a big factor in my future pieces.

When still in China, I started to collect ‘found objects’. This was something very new to me, as I usually don’t like to collect stuff. I am used to work with an idea in my head and I go and find the materials. For some reason, maybe some melancholic reasons when knowing that I would leave Shanghai, I collected some objects that looked intriguing to me. Now, they are lying on a table in my studio waiting for me to work with them… and I did start with some. Another first.

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 1.44.43 PMFound objects on my studio table

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 1.45.01 PMThe Yellow Studio Room

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 3.49.18 PMThe Blue Studio Room

Another thing that I realized when arriving in America was that my creative process is going in a ‘looped line’. I am not thinking from A to B to C. In the process of shaping new influences and ideas, I like to reflect on earlier work and sometimes, old influences peek through in new ways. At the moment, I find that I am interested in some things again that intrigued me during my MA days in 2007. It will not be the same as the work from that time. The new work will represent my experiences from then to now through the choice of known but also new materials and techniques. My mind is going in circles and yet, it arrives at new places.

Accordingly, the new body of work will be called ‘Circle Spirit’.

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 1.44.30 PMThe beginnings of the first piece. The cicada came from a small street shop in Shanghai. I made the ‘roots’ from silver wire and enamel. Roots: home, growth, basis, knowledge, past & present. I think the roots will have a strong presence in the pieces of the ‘Circle Spirit’ series.

More to come soon…

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Inspiration – Hedda Bjerkeli

It sure has been a while again since my last post and really, I should be working on my display for pieces that will be on show at Broad Street Gallery in Hamilton, NY. …for anyone in the area who is still looking for something special for Christmas, this might be the place to go.

Still, I stumbled over the work of artist Hedda Bjerkeli this morning and I instantly fell in love with one piece. It is a brooch that at first sight might look pretty simple due to its oval shape but taking a closer look reveals millions of little details and characteristics that make this brooch exquisite. I love the way the enamel looks messy and in some sort natural. It has an incredible ‘home-ly’ feel to it. It is calm but at the same time incredibly vibrant. The stitching, is it crochet?, really pushes me over the edge… I can see parallels to my graduation pieces and future ideas for many more pieces to come. I am excited!

The workshop is almost ready by the way and I can’t wait to have a big enameling session soon. More good things to come…


Work and photo credits: Hedda Bjerkeli


Work and photo credits: Hedda Bjerkeli

Lisa Juen – Become One, Ring 2007

Lisa Juen – Snembryo, Brooch 2007

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Ladies and Gentlemen…

Hello jewellery lovers,

I would like to briefly introduce myself before I will to take on a journey to my realm of contemporary art & design jewellery. I am Lisa Juen, a jewellery artist & designer from Germany. (Please excuse grammar mistakes and weird sentences!). I knew from a very young age that making things and creating them with my own hands is what defines me. The creative process, from the initial idea to ups and downs in the making, approval and disapproval, drama, excitement, satisfaction and finally tons of happy endorphins when holding a finished piece in my hands, is what keeps me ticking. In my work, I like to ask questions. All sorts of questions that keep spinning in my mind until I feel they are ripe for being further investigated and until I get the answer I was looking for. With each completed making cycle, the whole creative process starts all over again. A new search is induced, new questions, new challenges, new answers.

When I had completed my studies at BIAD in Birmingham (UK) in 2007, I found myself being trained as a fine artist with focus on using jewellery as the primary medium of my expression. Since then, my work has been in shows and exhibitions around the globe, introducing my way of thinking to a wide range of contemporary jewellery collectors and enthusiasts. I thoroughly appreciate this way of working and having my work on display but with time, I came to a point that made me wonder how to reach people that are outside of those tight circles as well. I wanted to create jewellery that is accessible to more people and that people want to wear as a steady companion in their daily lives.

This is when I decided to push my creative thinking process in a second, to that point fairly new, direction: Jewellery Design. (Jewellery Art and Jewellery Design are two completely different pairs of shoes. I will not discuss this at this point but maybe save it for a later post.)

This is when ‘ProonK’ came to life. ProonK is the English spelled version of the German word ‘Prunk’, which means as much as pageantry, pomposity, pomp.

As I have mentioned before, this blog is meant to take you on a journey to the realm of my jewellery making and thinking. This includes my artistic work and progress as well as the development of my new design label ProonK.

I hope you’ll enjoy discovering!

'DoroFly', Globalorettes Series, ProonK

'Pussy Brooch', Brooch 2010,