Of all the arts and crafts, why did you choose jewelry?
I truly feel jewelry is a good extension of my creative life from an architect to a jewelry designer with more freedom and self-control. Each artist has their own journey. I have been practicing architecture and interior design for over 20 years, so I have already gone through the process from being new to gradually growing into a good designer. I understand what is involved. This gave me good preparation when starting my jewelry career. It takes time and patience to give your best.
What was your training/academic background in jewelry-making?
I have no formal jewelry education. I did my undergraduate work at Beijing Jiaotong University. I have a master's degree in architecture from Texas Tech University.
Tell us about your piece “Kaleidoscope.”
“Kaleidoscope” is a very complicated design that involved almost 200 silver/gold wires and more than over 10 gemstones. I had to figure out each component carefully. At the very beginning I tried different methods to make small components, and to find the best ways to connect the wires and make them cross. I made over 20 small sculptures. In the process I borrowed some techniques from basket weaving and Japanese origami. The next big challenge was how to put all these components together. I have to admit that my first kaleidoscope design was a disaster. Thanks to my architectural background, I found a way to get out of the maze of wires on my second try.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your business?
I think the biggest challenge is the balance between the creating and running my business. It is very hard to achieve. Sometimes I just concentrate on the creative part and not the business. I am still learning how to find the sweet point to keep creativity in designs and prosperity in business simultaneously, at a comfortable pace that I enjoy.
What is the best advice you received?
You should ask everyone you know for their advice and listen to it, decide if it would work for you, and decide what doesn’t work so well. Find your own path, especially for artists since we all have our unique stories.
Do you follow long-term trends?
No. But I follow the fashion trends in magazines. This is where I started because it was always a part of my art education. I feel the fashion industry brings art to the “real” people. Jewelry is an intimate art form as well.
What is your definition of success?
I think success is not a trophy only but finding a lifestyle that I enjoy the most.