Jin ah Jo fashions forms that would make Escher’s head spin.
Jin Ah Jo’s manipulation of mild steel and silver is so clean and perfect it seems effortless, until you learn more about the devilishly difficult process. And just when we thought Jin ah couldn’t add any more dimension to her work, a new powder coated range has been delivered to e.g.etal that will make your eyes POP! We interviewed this remarkable artist about her latest range, the draw of her chosen materials, and the way being a mum comes into play when she creates.
Jin ah, these yellows, blues and reds are driving us wild! What prompted this latest rush of vivid colour?
In the past the colours people see in my work have been only black and silver. For the last 2 years I introduced red by using coral for a couple of necklaces. That was the first time I had used any colour, previously I was hesitant about introducing colours directly onto metal. However, as part of accepting enormous change in my private life I looked at other areas of the industry where contemporary jewellery has happily adopted various colours. Fashion for example uses colours to give a little more life and dynamism.
I started with flame red, which is my favourite, I have also used French blue (Which has been termed the new red). Most recently I am experimenting with lemon yellow to give more boldness to the structure and form.
So far this latest rush of using vivid, primary and of course beautiful colours has been giving me a great deal of happiness, it’s like finding a new world of creation. Hopefully in the process of using colours I can find the upgraded freedom to produce more unexpected and extraordinary forms that reflect and give primary emotions.
You’re known for your explorations with mild steel. What is it about this material that inspires you so much, and how exactly do you work with it?
Most of all I love the refined and determined black finish of this amazing material. From my first year university project making objects by using this technique (scoring the metal), I use mild steel to illustrate dark windows and geometric shapes. It was quite a striking moment to find out that metal can become dark black simply by heating with fire without the aid of any sort of paints.
Definitely Mari Funaki’s works were a great inspiration at that time and it was so lucky for me to discover perforated mild steel deserted at the corner of hammering room and waiting to be used.
Once I got accustomed to the technique of sandblasting, heating, oiling and waxing the perforated mild steel I was able to find architectural industry material suppliers where I could get many different patterns such as squares, hexagons, clovers, diamonds and many different sizes of circles. The depth and subtlety of the works I can create with theses various perforations on the base of matte black finish is really enormous and joyful. Moreover by marrying sharp silver or gold square lining with black mild steel forms I have been able to realign the form geometrically.
You’ve made references to your life as a new mother in your work before. How do you find the balance between motherhood and practicing your craft?
The most difficult but significant task of our life, I think, is finding balance and deciding priority. I find it is quite difficult to maintain the equilibrium between motherhood and practicing my craft. Even though now I am well aware and appreciate the fact that this is a special gift that adds meaning to my life (my baby daughter is the very love in my core) I am still who I am struggling, exploring, wondering and trying to be happy. However, the time and space I am with my daughter is so real and fulfilling, hence rewarding. The practice as a contemporary jeweller is also rewarding with the same sense of reality.
Accordingly I understand the meaning of placing more emotion into my work better than any time.