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Rising Stars: Meet Stina Wen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stina Wen.

Hi Stina, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I learn traditional metalsmithing in my undergrad study, but I also like to explore alternative materials that infuse my creative process. During my graduate study, I primarily work with concrete.

Guangzhou, the city where I grew up, is considered the “Concrete Jungle” as well as the “Flower City”. Growing up in this urban city were natural and industrial coexist harmoniously brought me a different perspective. I was strongly inspired by it, and I like to combine two things that usually seem opposite or conflicting together.

To me, concrete is not austere and bland but flexible and shape-able material. I manipulate it in my own way to challenge its softness, tactility, and transparency. The transition of material from coarse to soft intrigues viewers to see and touch my jewelry. I strive to bring the visual and haptic quality of jewelry through contrasting colors and alternative materials to share serendipity. As a child, I used touch to explore the world around me, and with my jewelry, I hope to evoke that same curiosity by encouraging intuitive touch. It ultimately provokes dynamic interactions between wearer and viewer, visually and tactually. Each piece has its own unexpected surprise, the audience will find it once they interact with it.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The road to success is often tortuous. Luckily, serendipity plays an important role in my jewelry practice because it always occurs in my material exploration and working process. It has happened in numerous materials, but through using concrete, one of the materials I explored, I saw a direct correlation between material and serendipity. As a jeweler who works through materials to express concepts, the material does not always move in the direction I want, so I occasionally become stuck. Serendipity steps in to show me the new direction and offers a breakthrough, where I can leave the comfort zone of the previous work and move to the next stage. If I didn’t accidentally drop the silicon into the concrete sample, I might not be able to start inventing soft concrete jewelry.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I was proud of the soft concrete material I invented.

At first, I created concrete jewelry that is hard but looks soft in fabric form. As my experimentation continued, I found less interest in making it only look soft and wanted to further challenge this material. Then I created a questionnaire and asked people what they think about concrete. Most people think concrete is rough, grey, austere, and heavy, so I decided to make it the opposite way. I questioned myself: is it possible to make my concrete soft, colorful, and transparent?

After almost two years of experimentation, I invented this unique material that no one has done before. I successfully made it colorful, soft, and even transparent!

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
I love the big and twinkling eyes of my mother, and she said the secret to keeping her eyes beautiful is not losing interest to discover beauty. She finds beauty everywhere in life, even in her garden. An insect bites a hole in the petal of the flowers she planted, but what she notices is how appealing the pattern of the insect is and how unique the plant is after being bitten. Her attitude toward life deeply influenced me.

My professors Jay Song and Lanelle Keyes definitely deserve credit. During my graduate study, my studio creation was no longer limited by materials and techniques, and I was free to try anything I wanted. Whenever I feel stuck, the advice and encouragement of these two professors often helped me find new directions.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Studio Image Photographer: Stina Siqiong Wen Model Shoot Photographer: Jacqueline Kyuseo Kim Exhibition Photographer: Zelia Zhou

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