Best known for her designs inspired by architecture and sculptural arts, citing Mies van der Rohe and John B. Parkin as key inspirations, Toronto-based jewellery designer Patricia Wong has released her second collection, The Rose Tint.
Her use of Japanese paper and acrylic to create a gemstone-like pendant yields beautiful results and ultimately accelerates the creation of authentic gemstones – a process that typically takes thousands of years. Wong’s primary inspiration for this collection was the beauty and minimalism of traditional Japanese architecture and design. Japanese paper is widely used to construct window screens and room dividers. “It diffuses sunlight beautifully… it’s more mysterious,” says Wong. “I wanted to recreate that and use the simplicity of functionality and aesthetic in Japanese design.”
Her first collection, Jewellarium, contains pieces that are set with genuine gemstones and combine traditional techniques with 3D modelling and printing – they’re substantial statement pieces. For this collection, The Rose Tint, creating something light and wearable out of Japanese paper was the idea for Wong. “I can create really large pieces that weigh basically nothing.”
THE DESIGN PROCESS
Every piece in the collection is hand fabricated. The various pieces of Japanese paper are handpicked by Wong herself. Acrylic is laser cut into shape and layered on top. Next, the sterling silver frame is bent into the shape of the pendant – a difficult process because the hollow frame could easily collapse. The pieces are then soldered together and a bead chain is set inside the tubing to create a finished piece.
HANDCRAFTING VS 3D PRINTING
With today’s technology, jewellery designers are testing and exploring new ways to create, however, as Wong points out, with handcrafting, it’s all about mastering the fundamentals of design. “The printing and casting itself creates a lot of markings, so you spend hours taking it out,” Wong explained. “With handcrafting, it’s about precision. Cleaning up is easy, and the tubing I purchased is already machine smooth so I only clean up the marks that I made”.
Unlike Jewellarium, which was entirely 3D printed, Wong wanted to tap into the handcrafting skills she honed while studying at OCAD. “The combination of applying the paper with acrylic is a technique I randomly came across when I was still in school. I didn’t make it into anything at the time, but I kept it in mind.” However, her practice of mixing traditional and contemporary techniques in her design process didn’t come easy. Her desire to keep up with the aesthetic of her first collection made perfecting the design of the silhouettes a lengthy process. “I wanted the metal parts to be very simple because I wanted to showcase the paper,” she said. Although it took a long time to perfect the technique, Wong has now mastered the minimalist design process that’s unique to her.
Wong plans to expand The Rose Tint collection, offering new tints in its signature texture. She is also working on designs for her next collections; she plans to go back to using traditional materials like sterling silver and diamonds. She has plans to explore the use of fabric in the future.
The Rose Tint is showing at the 2017 curated Craft Ontario exhibition until June 3.
Follow Patricia Wong on Instagram.
Ashley is a contributor at Glossi Mag.
She is inspired by creative leaders and musical theatre. If she’s not belting out show tunes, she’s taking a nap.