Friday, December 4, 2009


Today we visit the Botanical Garden of the National Museum of National Science located in Taichung, Taiwan. The grounds' focal point is the Rain Forest Greenhouse replete with simulated rain, and a waterfall.

Taiwan is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Sadie Wang.

Here again, the inherent subtlety of simplistic designs is deceptive; so deceptive in fact that I struggled to find, as well as feel, the impact of Wang's jewelry.

Metalsmithing skills notwithstanding, her extremely minimalist, clean structures--with little to no embellishment--are so basic in form they are, quite honestly, rather plain.

I don't mean to sound as though I am judging Wang's strength as an artist--she has a Bachelor of Arts in Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Metalsmithing. I was intrigued by her choice of such a linear level of simplicity.

Although the items from her Resin Collection include pops of colored resin (some muted) with sterling silver, the overall designs remain clean and understated.

Wang's objective, I found, is this: "My jewelry is designed to bring attention to the wearer while being worn comfortably. My aesthetic vision is simple, and can appear to be quite subtle yet it emphasizes line quality."

I will admit that I am drawn to jewelry that is more expressive; not necessarily elaborate detail but rich color combinations and distinctive structures. When viewing her collections, I wondered perhaps if Wang's reserved design style suggested a reluctance or timidity to explore different options. My assumption, I discovered, was mistaken.

"I am interested in many different materials and I like to explore other areas of expertise. I expanded work with 18-karat gold, resin, and hand blown glass," she says. "I am challenged to continue on the path in the decorative arts field and to create meaningful objects."

A few of Wang's resin pieces, and items implementing hand blown glass, are not featured on her website, and I have included some photos here. Her range of jewelry includes a simple form of gold, silver, and glass that she expands into a larger, more complex pattern.

"Jewelry has been used as a decoration for the body for as long as there has been human civilization," Wang says. "It is a vehicle of communication without words. I am interested in this particular function of jewelry."

Her jewelry forms are clear-cut and straightforward. The shapes that Wang gravitate towards are squares, circles, and rectangles. Regardless of a person's level of artistic skill, these particular structures can never be under or over executed; in that sense, these forms are among the few things in life that are perfect and timeless.

I believe the allure of simplicity is that something so simple is completely adequate; which in turn gives way, however imperceptible, to a sense of security.
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver and Resin Purple and Lilac Leaf Brooch
Photo 2 (center): 18-Karat Gold and Silver Brooch with Hand Blown Glass

Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver and Resin Two Color Circle Pendant
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