‘Nāmanja’ & ‘Solipsistic’

Recently, I wrote about a piece I made for my friend Anja’s birthday. (Read about the beginnings here: Wave Structures & Loudlives.)

At that time, her birthday was yet to come so, I could not post any pics. Now, I am proud to introduce the finished piece called ‘Nāmanja’. The title derives from the Hawaiian sea goddess Nāmaka and my friend’s first name. Since she is a devoted surfer who loves the Hawaiian islands, I thought it would be a nice touch to go with the sea goddess.

The enameled blue and white piece in the center is inspired by a wave photograph that was taken by Hawaii artist Clark Little. The flower and the blue stones are my way of expressing the feelings I have about Anja: Depth, pain, pride and blue are the first words that pop into my mind when I think of her. Also, vulnerability and strength.

Shortly after the completion of ‘Nāmanja’, another very close friend, Rachel Marsden, had her birthday coming up. Rachel and I met in Shanghai through work. Rachel, and also Anja, are two people who are for me what Rachel usually refers to as ‘corner-stone-friends’.

The piece for Rachel is a very personal one. It started off with Rachel’s favourite word ‘Solipsistic’, a word that has a very special meaning for her and that comes with a nice little story that she sometimes tells people. Rachel is a person who is lost in the world of words. She is obsessed with letters and alphabets, typewriters and books. She is a mega-blogger and a workaholic. Wherever she goes, she takes her camera to take millions of pictures of people, art and food. Sometimes she complains though that not enough people take pictures of her. So, I decided to incorporate her image in the piece. The center showing Rachel’s portrait is made of enamel. Other materials are stainless steel, cubic zirkonia and glass.

Front of the brooch.

Back of the brooch.

The designing and making of those two pieces was pretty straight forward for me. I usually spend a lot of time overthinking every little detail of all of my pieces and I tend to overcomplicate them at times. I quite enjoy the process of designing them but I have to admit that I found that working more from the belly (and not just the brain) can be quite rewarding and satisfying too. I think making a series of smaller, faster ‘belly’-pieces will be something that I will have to experiment with, once I have my new studio up and running. Looking forward to it. I hope you too!

Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com to see more jewellery and join my Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and the ProonK FB page. Thank you.

ProonK at DAFF

The time has come to report about ProonK at DAFF, the Design, Art & Fashion Fair in Shanghai that took place at Wharf 1846, Bund Promenade on Cinqo de Mayo last Saturday.

After a couple of VERY busy weeks in the studio, trying to get as much jewellery done as possible (23 Globalorettes, 23 pairs of earrings, 24 Solitaire Rings, 8 Clover Rings, 5 Cluster Rings, 24 ProonK Rings, 4 MeiHua Book Marks and 3 pairs of Solitaire Cufflinks), I was ready to embrace this event. Luckily with the help of two really great people, Rachel Marsden and Barry Sinnott who went far and beyond to help with packing, coordinating, planing, setting-up, chatting, attracting, looking great in their ProonK T-Shirts, feeding me, take-down, schlepping and of course partying… Thank you so much!

I was very nervous at first, since this was the first time I participated in such an event with ProonK but it was super exciting at the same time, not really knowing what to expect.

The Ice Cream Truck-team, the main organizers behind the event, kicked it off with a pre-party at Source, which was a great opportunity to meet other artists and designers participating in the fair. I met Frau Ana, a German fashion designer based in Shanghai for the first time, as well as the product designer Jonas Merian from Jonas Design and my friends Nini and Gregor from Idle Beats. I met the two because of a screen printing workshop in which I participated last Thursday to print my own ProonK T-Shirts. They looked absolutely fabulous and it was such a lot of fun to print them with Gregor, who is a taught Church-Painter (Kirchenmaler), a trade that I wasn’t even aware existed but sounds incredibly exciting! I will blog about the print-making evening in a separate post soon.

The party was big fun, partially because of the free beer and pizza, which were the reason why I had BIG trouble rolling out of bed in the morning at 8am. Somehow we made it to the Wharf around 11am and we managed to set everything up in time. I decided to go with a hanging theme, since it was easy to transport and install and did not look super heavy. I am not a big fan of displays that kill the excitement of entering right on the doorstep. The hanging idea was perfect, since I attached the jewellery to its packaging and it was very easy to wrap them up and send them on their way.

DAFF officially started at 2pm and was meant to run until 12pm. There were several artist and designers participating, as well as food and liquor stands. I had some great sausage from Amelia, the lady in Shanghai who is known for her jam. Recently, she started to sell home-made sausages too, which were a DELIGHT! I had to go back a second time to satisfy my meat-cravings!
Around 4pm, there was a fashion catwalk with Frau Ana and other participating fashion designers. Unfortunately, I could not see it, since a lot of visitors started to show up around that time and we were all super busy talking and introducing ProonK. I think the majority of people visiting really liked what we had to offer and it made me really happy to see that. There were a lot of surprised and astonished faces, especially because of the use of the LED lights in the jewellery.
At some point in the evening, I heard of a street art competition with several graffiti artists taking part but again, I could not make it there. Rachel went to see it though and she was kind enough to give me her pictures, so you can see them now too. I met one of the graffiti artists, Siu Tang, later on. Have a look at his blog here.

For some reason, the event was shut down by the police around 10pm. They just came in at some point and locked the main entrance gates. I am not sure why or what happened. It was a bit of a shame, since the fair was meant to last until midnight but I felt sort of relieved as well, because my feet were killing me from straight 12 hours standing. I did not even make it to the after-party at Strictly Designers United anymore. Instead, I fell asleep on the 15min cab journey home to wrap up the display!

Here are a few more pics of the event, showing you the vibe of the day in 30 degree sunshine and hundreds of visitors. I really enjoyed taking part and I hope there will be a repetition soon! I am very much looking forward to it… I hope you too!


Please follow this blog and visit www.proonk.com, www.lisa-juen.com. Thank you!

body architecture, rockstars and jewellery art

The day started off on a super exciting foot! Thanks to my good friend Rachel Marsden I was introduced to the work of Lucy McRae, a body architect living in Amsterdam. I just LOVE the fact that she calls herself a BODY ARCHITECT! How awesome is that? Being a jewellery artist, this makes my hair stand on edge! 😉

Rachel forwarded me a link to a TED-talk showing Lucy explaining her work. (click here for the link) She says that she worked for Philips Electronics in the Far Future Design Research Lab… again, how freaking awesome does just the name of this lab sound? I would love to go and see it big time…

In her work, she explores the human body and how she can transform it, which she does in all sorts of different directions. She developed an electronic tattoo that can be augmented by touch, a pill that can be swallowed to transform one’s perspiration into perfume-sweat, she had a look into trying to redefine the skin and created a dynamic textile that was then featured in one of Swedish rockstar Robyn‘s music videos…. The list of her experiments and projects seems endless…

She says she is fascinated by the way biology and technology can be merged and change the future life of people. I love the fact that so many different aspects and directions are merged in her pieces. Not just biology and technology meet but also art, design, architecture, fashion and of course jewellery. I find it very fascinating to see how she blurs the barriers of predefined knowledge, perception and aesthetic understanding.

Pushing barriers and challenge perception: ‘What can be done, what can’t and most of all why shouldn’t it be done?’ are questions that constantly need to be pushed and further explored. The answers might be cheeky and maybe sometimes even over the top but isn’t this the spice in the soup of any artistic practice that should not be missed?

Seeing her work makes me reflect on my own artistic practice again and how much deeper I can go with it. I love to push boundaries as well in my work. My ‘Pussy Brooch‘ that I made for rockstar Peaches still evokes tons of reactions just because of the way it is worn on the body. The piece ‘Yin+-Yin’ that I made for the upcoming exhibition ‘Mirror Mirror’ in Cagnes-sur-Mer in June will surely evoke some sort of reaction again… I am very much looking forward to that… As soon as the exhibition is officially opened, I will write more about ‘Yin+-Yin’.

Needless to say that I would love to meet and work with Lucy McRae at some point, since her Body Architecture practice connects perfectly with art jewellery and there is so much that could be developed and explored… I can see myself taking off to the realm of pink clouds…

But now it’s time to come down and back to reality. I have a long studio day ahead of me, remaking work that was meant to be finished 2 weeks ago… partially thanks to my Ayi (Chinese cleaning lady) who threw a box of finished jewellery in the bin…