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Jewellery & Metal (MA)

Weichan Li

Weichan Li is a Chinese jewellery designer and painter who obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from DePauw University, Indiana, United States, in 2017. She will complete her Master’s degree in Jewellery and Metal at the Royal College of Art in 2021. While at DePauw she assisted artist Jason Yi with his exhibition ‘Terraform’, on campus and exhibited her oil paintings on the intramural Senior Exhibitions twice. After graduation, she went back to Beijing China, and began to design and craft jewellery.


Her work encompasses a broad range of industrial and traditional technologies, including enamelling, hand-engraving, laser welding, and electroplating. For Weichan, linear drawing is crucial to her design process. It is the crucial language which she uses to express social phenomena.


EDUCATION

Master of Arts in Jewelry & Metal, Royal College of Art, London, UK, 2021

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Art History Department, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN, USA, 2017



Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Jewellery & Metal (MA)

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Weichan was forced to study and communicate though digital devices. In contrast to face-to face contact, communication technologies such as Zoom definitely altered her experience, providing a different perception on screen, limiting body language and suppressing the a mutual gaze between participants. Although her opinion about Zoom meetings is negative, it cannot be denied that it makes her life convenient, enabling her to continue her study during the lockdown period. As a result of her Zoom experience, Weichan decided to explore and transform this interferential, absurd and divisive method of communicating into a form of wearable jewellery.

Sketches and Researches

In order to capture the visual essence of the virtual chat room on Zoom, I used the two-dimensionality of black and white drawings. The illustrative use of blank faces is an attempt to represent how communicating electronically can strip people of their identities and convert individual differences to commonalities and absurdities in the digital world. In this case, I depict the materials that make up electronic devices using a range of alternatives including wires, enamels and latex tapes to that imitate the textures of digital components. 

Projective Ring 1
Projective Ring 2
Projective Ring 3 — The video displays the transformation of projection as the frame shifting along with the track.

To reflect the fact that everything looks small in the distance and big on the contrary, as the linear frame in the middle moves away from the lamp, the image received on the screen is turned into a solid and precise reflection. It refers to the virtual situation when people communicate online from afar, they see not only each other but also their surroundings via the digital screen. 

Medium:

Sterling Silver, Copper Wires, LED Lamps, Black Paper Card

Size:

70mm*55mm*40mm
Absurdity 1 — Size: 46mm*32mm*4.5mm
Wonders GIF 1
Wonders GIF 1
Absurdity 2 — Size: 30mm*60mm*2.5mm
Wonders GIF 2
Wonders GIF 2
Absurdity 3 — Size: 34mm*64mm*6mm
Video: Absurd Behaviors in Reality — Resource: https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1Mz411z7s6?p=1&share_medium=iphone&share_plat=ios&share_source=WEIXIN&share_tag=s_i&timestamp=1624094302&unique_k=zRy8Z4

Since screens are limited in size, it is always impossible to know what is happening beyond the viewing frame, offscreen. Reports of moments of absurdity accidentally revealed in public and inspired me to create playful brooches that could conceal parts of it under the pockets.

Medium:

Sterling Silver, Enamelings, Fine Silver wires, Acrylics
Glasses 1 — Handheld Monocle's Size (Left): 46mm*140mm*1mm (Glasses) 6mm (Handle) Handheld Monocle's Size (Right): 47mm*145mm*1mm (Glasses) 6mm (Handle)
Glasses 2

In terms of Zoom meetings, a direct mutual gaze is replaced and transformed by the media of the camera lens. I designed scenes on glasses without eye contact to illustrate the divisiveness of vision.

Medium:

Fine Silver, Enamelings

Size:

Pince-nez: 116mm*46mm*1mm Chains: 800mm