I interviewed Chia-Hsien Lin, one of the seven winners of Preziosa Young 2020, the international contest organised by Le Arti Orafe Jewellery School, the first school dedicated to contemporary jewellery in Italy, founded in 1985 in Florence by Giò Carbone.

Since 2008, Preziosa Young has promoted the creativity of the younger generations, rewarding the proposal of innovative concepts, techniques and materials used, in order to create unique jewels.

This year the winners are all women, selected from 147 applications from all over the world by an international jury composed by curators, artists and jewellery critics, like Giovanni Corvaja, Eugenia Gadaleta, Kazumi Nagano, Cóilín O’Dubhghaill, Renzo Pasquale, Carla Riccoboni, Sam Tho Duong.

Chia-Hsien Lin will have the opportunity to show her “Smelling Memories” jewellery series in occasion of the travelling exhibition PREZIOSA YOUNG 2020, together with Elwy Schutten, Jess Tolbert, Dongyi Wu, Marie Masson, Rachael Colley and Zihan Yang, the other winners of this PY edition.

The exhibition starts in Florence in October, then moves to Spain and Germany next year:

  • 29th October – 8th November 2020, Galleria del Palazzo Enrico Coveri, Florence
  • 13th January – 3rd February 2021, Hannah Gallery, Barcelona
  • 12th – 28th February, Atelier Martina Dempf, Berlin
  • Oratory of San Rocco, Padua.

The exhibition was supposed to take place in May during the Florence Jewellery Week, cancelled like many other cultural events due to the consequent restrictions caused by Covid-19, and specifically for that reason other dates and locations are being defined.

Now let’s discover the particular connection between scents and memories Lin is able to create in her smelling wearable pieces:

Smelling Memories, Wearable Jewellery, 2019. Gelatine, Soap base, Silver-plated brass, Essential oil. Creating New Materials. mm 210x150x80. Credits: Linlan Xiao

 

  • When dealing with contemporary goldsmith artists or jewellery designers, the first curiosity is to know how ornament has been chosen as the main means of expression. Why jewellery in particular and what was your training in this field?

CHIA-HSIEN LIN: Jewellery has a close connection with human beings. As far as I am concerned, jewellery not only represents wearer’s personality, but also increase communication between peoples and the world. The training I got in Birmingham school of jewellery truly opened my mind and guide me to more possibilities of jewellery making. And combine with my product design background from home country, I am more focus on the function that wearable jewellery can provide for or interact with the wearers and viewers.

Smelling Memories, Wearable Jewellery, 2019. Gelatine, Soap base, Silver-plated brass, Essential oil. Creating New Materials. mm 540x280x260. Credits: Linlan Xiao

 

  • Our senses are essential to the knowledge and experience of the world. Precisely, your work reflects on the strong connection between perfumes and memories. That means to survey our brain reactions triggered by the sense of smell, which is able to evoke past moments of our life. Could you describe your research process?     

CHIA-HSIEN LIN: Of course. I am going to roughly separate it into two parts: material experimentation and participants interview. In material experimentation, I started with the question of ‘How to preserve scents?’, tried to find a material combination to capture scents for a longer time. In order to testing those material samples and concept, I invited people to smell my testing pieces with different scents and interview them to share what they feel or if the scents remind them some personal memories. After that, I took some time to reflect and get back to material experimentation to make some improvement. Repeating these processes gave me not only some idea to improve colors and shapes of the artworks, but also the finding that people can evoke their own and unique past experiences and memories by smelling art pieces.

 

Smelling Memories, Wearable Jewellery, 2019. Gelatine, Soap base, Silver-plated brass, Essential oil. Creating New Materials. mm 540x280x260. Credits: Linlan Xiao

 

  • How do you manage to transfer in material this specific connection between scents and feelings and make it endure?

CHIA-HSIEN LIN: In my opinion the link between scents and feelings is people’s experience. Scents can bring past personal memories alive. My artworks, is like a medium, which can preserve and release scents for a period of time, for viewers or wearers to experience and feel invisible effects of olfactory sense by wearing and smelling the jewellery pieces.

 

Smelling Memories, Wearable Jewellery, 2019. Gelatine, Soap base, Silver-plated brass, Essential oil. Creating New Materials. mm 150x200x120. Credits: Linlan Xiao

 

  • Is there an artist or an artistic tendency that inspires or influences you particularly?      

CHIA-HSIEN LIN: Actually, when designing own project, natural world has a great influence on my artworks, such as landscape, flowers and plants. Also, my life experiences and conversation with people around me, like peers, friends and teachers, usually trigger my design ideas. I think everyone is an artist and everything is significant.

 

Smelling Memories, Wearable Jewellery, 2019. Gelatine, Soap base, Silver-plated brass, Essential oil. Creating New Materials. mm 150x200x120. Credits: Linlan Xiao

 

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