Contemporary jewellery artist Mia Kwon is interested in the beauty, malleability and wearability of porcelain. The sumptuous artistic jewellery under her eponymous label, “byMia”, is often presented in bright, vivid accents, and is comfortable to wear.
The Korean designer was trained both in her home country and in Germany. After gaining her bachelor’s degree in ceramic craft at Kookmin University for Architecture & Design in Seoul, she went on to study ceramic and glass design in Germany and received her master’s degree from FHP -- University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam. Finding object design and fashion equally fascinating, she incorporated these elements into her practice and founded her jewellery label “byMia”.
“My original background was ceramic and glass design, but I always had a great interest in fashion. After I completed my master of arts in design I thought about how to combine my passions, which led me to start working as a jewellery artist,” she said. “I enjoy the combination of art, design and fashion, with produced objects that are beautiful and not just kept in a museum, but actually worn by people.”
Porcelain as accessories
Her slip cast jewellery is made from Mont Blanc porcelain for its fine bone china quality and pure whiteness. After making the pieces, which are matched with glass beads or stones, she carefully polishes their surfaces to achieve a super-slick effect. The finished products are a joy to the eye, as well as being light and pleasingly cool to the touch. They also give a new definition to fashion, jewellery and high-end crafts.
Apart from fulfilling her artistic endeavour, Kwon is also aware of the importance of making her products comfortably wearable, at the same time preserving the unique and precious feel of the handcrafted material.
“I want to bring the unique elegance of porcelain closer to people and change the way people see porcelain jewellery by creating beautiful and unusual fashion items,” Kwon explained. “A very light look and feel is as important to me as perfect and precise finishing. I aim to blur the boundaries between jewellery, porcelain, fabric and fashion and create an uncommon, contemporary perspective in porcelain jewellery. The other important element is the colours, through which I also try to challenge the typical perception of what people expect from porcelain.”
The efflorescence of wearable craft
Kwon’s earlier work showcases the gleaming purity of porcelain in minimalist form. Apart from leaves and petals, she also created cast parts that resemble flowing hems and ruffles as an interesting contrast to the textural quality of porcelain. The parts are connected by silk threads in overlapping layers, at times asymmetrical, with a touch of bright colour. While her later collections make use of similar components, they are presented in more complex forms and eye-catching colour combinations to make the statement pieces even more playful.
“Transitions come in many shapes and colours,” she said, talking about one of her creative series. “With my ‘Blooming Colours of Transition’ collection I want to highlight the beauty and variety of these in-between states. The works of this collection are transitioning from colourful to white, from porcelain to fabric, from static to dynamic, from opaque to transparent. I combine new and old shapes, add holes to the solid porcelain and try to let simple, basic shapes start to bloom through fresh colours. Each piece tells the story of a transition between different states and conditions.”
To expand her creative oeuvre, the designer is adding brooches and earrings to her existing collection, which is largely composed of statement necklaces. Her new works are meant to be worn by both women and men.
“Blooming Balance” continues the concept of “Blooming Colours of Transition”. This time, she creates smaller pieces in the form of brooches, so they “become like wearable blooming flowers on the human canvas,” as the designer puts it. “Different colours dynamically interact in a seemingly random fashion, searching for the right balance between them,” she said. As in her previous works, she is trying to highlight the different states of transition between colours and materials and how beautiful they can be when they are in balance with their environment.