Wednesday, February 10, 2010


At over a century old, the Taipei Botanical Garden in Taiwan continues to provide the surrounding city with 20 acres housing over 1,000 species of giant trees and exotic plant specimens.

Taiwan is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Rita Bey Yu Lin.

Putting a fresh take on a longstanding concept can be a challenge but creativity is a volatile, living energy that does not know fear or restraint.

Specializing in metalwork, including goldsmithing and silversmithing, as well as holding a Bachelor of Arts from Taiwan's Fu Jen Catholic University, and a Master of Arts from London's Royal College of Art, Lin makes reimagining look effortless bringing whimsy and buoyancy to nature-inspired designs and amulets.

With a list of materials that include freshwater pearls, agate, jasper, acrylic, transparent textile, crystals, enamel, and 18-karat gold, Lin's creations flow with angles and curves cultivating forms possessing a mixture of complexity and simplicity. The overall designs look moderately simple, but there is a lyricism and flow to them.

For her collection, Amulet of Imperfection, Lin incorporates red nylon string and silver fashioning them into irregular or imperfectly formed variations of moon phases and blossoms. The idea behind this collection stems from the concept of protection associated with the Evil Eye symbol.

"Everyone always try to hide their imperfect part, so this collection is an intended contrast to perfectly formed items making them interesting to wear. The idea behind the Evil Eye is that perfection attracts envy. I decided to develop an imperfect creation process making mistakes on purpose," she says.

"In Taiwan, amulets are usually made of red string because the color signifies luck, positive power, and life. I do not strongly believe in the traditional idea of amulets--that is having magical powers. However, my mother gave me a red thread bracelet and to me it represents her boundless love, and I feel safe when I wear it."

Lin creates alternately colorful and demure creations of enamel and embroidered silver that highlight popular Asian symbols of power and protection such as the tiger and lion. In some cases, these particular items featuring the faces of these commanding beasts have the appearance of an optical illusion. You see the face, and then you do not.

Her Ribbon Jewelry collection took form while the designer listened to a musical piece by composer Erik Satie. "I imagined soft silky ribbons following and lying on the body with silver plants breathing and growing among the ribbons," she says.

The collection is meant to be worn any way the wearer chooses, and enlists the wearer to become a living gift when adorned with the ribbon.

Lin has displayed her jewelry in exhibitions since 2004, the most recent being last year at the London Craft Fair at Somerset House in England.
Photo 1 (top right): Red Nylon Thread and Silver Waiting for Blossoming Necklace
Photo 2 (center): Rhythm Ribbon and Silver Body Jewelry
Photo 3 (bottom left): Silver and Enamel Guardian Tiger with Freshwater Pearl and Red Nylon Thread
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