Yvonne contacted me a few weeks ago to share her work and I was so taken by her designs and aesthetic. She was so incredibly generous to send me one of her most popular items, a beautiful braided necklace in my favorite color-turquoise. The quality of the piece is so amazing, down to the wooden gift tags inscribed with her brand name. She also answered some questions for me, I hope you enjoy hearing from her as much as I did.
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Tell us a bit about yourself. A visual merchandiser trainer turned jewellery designer. A designer by day, housewife by night. A curious introvert driven by ideas, experiments & adventure, who also enjoys cooking, photography & moving things around the apartment. It’s my informal “window dressing”. And hopefully soon, go back to illustration to hone that skill again. I live a small simple life. But I like it to count for something. I spend 1 day in design school, 1 day teaching in a social community. 1 day in church & the rest of the days on my business, projects & what matters in my life.
Photo by evie s.
What does art mean to you? Art has come to mean many things & lately, I feel this word is used frivolously in the wrong context. I am very old-fashioned. I go back to basics when defining art. Art lies within pieces of work that requires toiling, deliberation, intensity, effort. The love for art produces great art. Art requires time, depth & maturity. And demands independent thinking to originate compelling ideas. I see that in simple pencil-line drawing. I see that in some of the most amazing work students do using apple’s illustrator application. I see that in high fashion where there is strange mixture of obsession & devotion to fashion.
evie s. for WoonHung
What is one challenge you’ve overcome as an artist? It’s hard to pick 1 challenge. There were several along the way that shaped my thinking. Dry spells, heavy criticisms, self-doubt, hard decisions on design vs business, evolving as a designer & list goes on. But if I had to pick 1 that mattered most & shaped me forward, it would be overcoming self-doubt. I am my harshest critic. Unlike other brands & designers who made careful decisions on building their portfolio or presence in the market right from the start (by properly incorporating brand consistency & techniques etc), mine happened organically. I didn’t think brand. I only thought product. If the product is reliable, price focused, great in design & functional, that should do.
Along the way, I just kept experimenting & learnt from mistakes. I found out what worked & experimented further on the small successes & tried stretching it. It was incremental. Alot of what I do isn’t always calculated. It can be seen as somewhat random & irrational. In other words, I don’t always make popular obvious choices. I decided after long periods of self reflection, not to let the business & emphasis on jewellery determine my personal path. I maintain that I am 1st & foremost a person with many things going great in my life. Jewellery design shouldn’t consume me negatively & drive me into a narrow self-gratifying awful person. Once I got that figured out, it was much easier to evolve as a designer & person. I don’t take it too seriously.
How have you evolved as an artisan? I’m not sure if I can call myself an artisan. I take this word very seriously. I think I am more a person driven by curiosity. Embracing change helps me evolve. Today, there are so many designers, if I were to disappear today, I won’t be missed. So therein lies the truth. I thrive on stiff competition. I prefer to constantly challenge myself with new ways of thinking – New ways of working, new Visual Merchandising standards, new & improved functional packaging, new ways to please customers. I guess its thinking holistically.
Thank you Yvonne for participating in this interview, your generous gifts, and for your incredible insights!