IN Interviews : WWake
WWake is a young jewelry and accessory brand started by designer, Wing Yin Yau. Wing's signature rope jewelry is minimal, and it uses detailing that can be viewed as ornate and delicate. Some of her pieces appear as though they are organic and made by nature, while others appear more handmade.
In just one encounter with Wing, one can easily make the conclusion that, "Yes! She's one of the most delightful, and kindest designers you'll ever meet." Though this wasn't what pulled me to this young and talented Canadian's work and I thought it pertinent to acknowledge my initial attraction.
At New York's SS13 Capsule show, I was so excited when I stumbled upon Wing's designs. The level of care and her fastidious nature were definitely apparent. The rich and bwww colors were very prominent at WWake's Capsule booth, resulting in a pretty consistent stream of traffic.
Easily stimulated by Wing's work, I was so adamant about getting an interview with her. With no hesitation, Wing agreed.
Who are you?
Where are you from?
How did you get your start?
I studied Sculpture at Rhode Island School of Design where I learned a lot about art history and contemporary art alongside basic metal smithing and woodworking techniques; it made the idea of making anything totally plausible. Art school is kind of amazing that way—it breaks down magic into fact so that you can build up more magic.
Was jewelry always an interest of yours?
Or was there a major turning point in your career? I've always been interested in surprising hand-crafted jewelry. My mom had an amazing collection from her life travels that definitely left a mark on me. Jewelry has such emotional value to people, especially over time ... jewelry soaks up personal history for most people; it totally fascinates me. Ironically, I disliked making any objects in school—I was too impatient with my lofty ideas (not a great combination as a rookie).
It wasn't until I graduated that I eased back into making simple, gestural things, like small sculptures, out of rope, leather ... whatever I had on hand since I didn't have equipment to make anything else. I didn't know what I was doing, I was just interested in the textures and shapes. The pieces translated well to jewelry, so WWAKE developed pretty swiftly from there. This whole process has been a surprise, to say the least!
What do you feel is the hardest part about being a jeweler?
Pleasing everyone, including myself!
How would you define your personal design aesthetic?
Organic, and textural with graphic shapes and angles.
What inspires you most? (E.g., Magazines, museums, artists, music, books, etc.)
Right now? Maybe my Tumblr.
When making jewelry, what's your your general design process like?
I think about design elements for a long time: weight, negative space, patterns made between different pieces of jewelry, etc. ... I usually make everything that comes to mind under these umbrella ideas, and then curate the collection from the obscene amount of things I make. I'm a huge fan of reiterating the same idea, then pulling back and seeing what I've actually learned. It's probably more of a bad habit, than a design process (I have so much stuff)!
Your work feels very organic and unconventional. Do you have specific materials that you gravitate towards? Anything that feels good to touch and can be wound into unexpected shapes. So right now, I'm using a lot of silk-cotton fibers and very thin chains. I suppose with materials like the chain, it's more about how I can manipulate a conventional material into something tactile, rather than the original material itself.
Do you enjoy special orders or customization versus creating your own designs?
I love them both!
Who would you love to work with? (e.g., celebrity, artists or designers)?
I have so many talented peers—art and object designers, painters, and textile artists—I'm hoping to collaborate with in the near future, I'd love to start there.
Any future projects, things to look forward to?
Alongside the next collection, we'll be seeing a few capsule collections: charm necklaces with Fort Lean, and one-of-a-kind fiber necklaces for Board of Trade Co., and a few other collaborative efforts too ... stay tuned (blog.wwake.com)!
Special thanks to Wing Yin Yau. Interview by James Buford and edited by Alicia Fairclough for Infashuated © 2012. No part of this content or information included therein may be reproduced, republished or redistributed without the prior consent of Infashuated. Photographer: Shay Platz, Art Director: Mike Anderson, 1st Assistant: Matt Coch, 2nd Assistant: Luke Liberamoore Mua & Silvia Cincotta, Models: Marina Ponomareva, Jao Xiang, Anastasia Bobrovska, Ludwig Persik, Graphic Design: Marina Henao.