Designer ShinYi Interview

Fresh and focused, Shin Yi Chiang tells us how she chose jewelry design and her hopes for the future.

Where did you grow up?  I grew up in Taipei, Taiwan.  

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be an artist because I always liked drawing, painting and crafting.

Do you think your background has influenced your current jewelry design style? If so, what specific element in your background is most pervasive in influencing your current fashion design writing style? Not really, but I do think maybe because of my Chinese cultural influence my jewelry design style is tend to be simple and yet detail orientated. I quoted a paragraph that I found from the section of Chinese painting on The Metropolitan museum of Art  website.  It is how I feel when I create my designs.  "This is the aim of the traditional Chinese painter: to capture not only the outer appearance of a subject but its inner essence as well—its energy, life force, spirit. To accomplish his goal, the Chinese painter more often than not rejected the use of color. Like the photographer who prefers to work in black and white, the Chinese artist regarded color as distraction. He also rejected the changeable qualities of light and shadow as a means of modeling, along with opaque pigments to conceal mistakes. Instead, he relied on line—the indelible mark of the inked brush."

How did you get into designing jewelry? Several years ago, I was in the intersection of my life. I didn't know what to pursue in terms of a career path.  I found out the school of Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and the program that they've offered. I had higher interest in jewelry design.  And then I was thinking instead of just designing a piece of jewelry, I'd rather start from the basic learning of how a piece of jewelry is made. Because of this thought, I chose the jewelry design (studio) major to study. Throughout that year in FIT, I tried my best to learn as much jewelry making skills as possible. However, I still didn't have the confidence that I needed in order to design a real piece of wearable jewelry. 

What inspired you to be a jewelry designer? It started from the second year after I've worked in the high-end jewelry company as a bench jeweler. I felt depressed because I wasn't happy. My inner self was withering by not being creative. Then I started to design my own jewelry by applying the skills that I've learned from work. After the first pearl ring was made, one of my co-workers saw it and liked it a lot. She bought that ring from me. Then another two co-workers ordered another two rings. They gave the confidence that I was missing and turned it into a positive energy which carries me on to become a real jewelry designer.

In which way do you consider yourself an innovative creator? I don't really think I can ever be an innovative creator. All I want is to be able to do what I like to do for as long as possible.

Are you ever afraid you will run out of inspiration and creativity in your job? All the time, but I also know I can't survive by not being creative.

Do you have any other creative ambitions or dreams to which you aspire? Yes. Because I also love photography, I'd like to create a theme collection of photograph one day.  

How did you get the idea for your latest collection? Most of my design were from images of shapes, lines and pattens or objects like furniture and building that I saw.  The latest collection was inspired from the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi's organic architectures. 

What do you consider to be your greatest masterpiece? I don't think I have created a masterpiece yet.

Do you have a favorite jewelry designer yourself? I don't really have a favorite jewelry designer but I do like several  jewelry designers' style. Like Todd Reed, he uses lots of rough diamonds in his design. To me, that is very unique. I like the organic look of the rough diamonds. 

Do you have a favorite company or exciting other creator with whom you would like to work?   I don't have a favorite company, but I am opened to any opportunity that comes to me.

What is the most difficult thing in your job? I am afraid to get bored, so I always want to take any challenge.

What is the most fun part of your job? That I can work with my hands. Creating and building things up from scratch.