Anshu Hu aims to preserve the fleeting moments of life with her designs. This approach originated in her childhood, when she witnessed her father attempting to capture the sunrise and sunset with his camera. The petals of the Mudan peony inspire the basic form of Hu’s gold necklace. The Mudan peony is not only China’s royal flower, but it also serves as a cultural connection between the East and the West. The design process for the collection started with the short peony season. Hu visited the flower market, inspected a variety of peonies and identified them based on their flower structures, colours and texture. Her gold necklace represents the exact moment where the rain hits the petals. After ripping almost 11 species of peonies apart to study their structures, she formed accurate fluid forms through a combination of traditional metal chasing skills, and a contemporary industrial forming process. The gold is a reference to the golden era of the Tang Dynasty. She has experimented with numerous semi-precious stones, as well as evidenced by her winning set of brooches. Her coloured sapphires and tanzanites were among the winners of the Chow Tai Fook fine jewellery design competition that exhibited in Hong Kong and Shanghai earlier this year. Hu hopes to discover new forms, structures and stones with plans to explore other materials including ceramics and acrylics.
Despite initial plans to study textiles, Ann Mercer decided to pursue ceramics with the guidance of ceramics lecturer, Robert Cooper. Her interests in architecture and urban spaces are reflected in her “Metropolis” collection. The pieces are inspired by the angular post-modernist buildings that have cropped up all over London. They are especially decorated with patterns adapted for the urban environment like the new roof at King’s Cross station. Mercer enjoys observing buildings and their architectural details. She sketches patterns and develops them into strong shapes using card models and plaster. The plaster moulds are used to cast the ceramic pieces. The patterns on the vases were influenced by components of urban design like grids, heating louvres and brickwork. The motifs are repeated and blanketed over the vases. The designs are made digitally, then transformed into ceramic transfers and applied onto the glazed ceramic surface. The colour palette used especially for this piece was derived from the colours used in Renzo Piano’s scheme at St. Giles’ Circus, Covent Garden.
Beatrice Bongiasca’s first collection, ‘No Rice, No Life’, is a clash of two opposing visions of preciosity. Rice is one of the most important resources in the Eastern culture and acts as a symbol of life, while pearls are historically synonymous with wealth and social status in the Western world. The cultural inspirations for the piece were derived from her extensive travels that centered mainly on Asia.
Akiko Shinzato’s mainly designs jewellery for women who are more aware of developments in fashion; displays in museums were her starting point for the project that was driven through experimentation with materials. Made of an antique picture frame and silk cord, the pendant’s materials evoke the old frames of oil paintings and cord barriers in a museum.
Sarah Howson’s goldfish-mermaid earrings are a proper embodiment of her lighthearted design approach. While working as a seamstress, Howson noticed a passerby on the street who was wearing a jacket that she had made. This was a watershed moment for her and it has kept her excitement for craft alive ever since. Yearning to learn a new skill, she delved into jewellery design. She strives to make classic staples, instead of jewellery that promotes fast fashion. To achieve a sense of individuality, Howson leaves making marks on a lot of her pieces.
The influence of Leyla Asif’s Russian and Pakistani heritage is evident in her “Rituals of Migration” collection. The collection is a collision of the two ancient cultures. Asif deconstructed the visual signatures of traditional Islamic art and Russian blue-and-white ceramic gzhel pottery to transform them into a bird motif. Birds are a symbol of prosperity and good fortune in both cultures. The gold brushstrokes evoke Islamic calligraphy. Throughout her BA and MA at Central Saint Martins, Asif has worked with a variety of design processes in ceramics. This includes hand-building one-off pieces to designing teaware.
Evodkia Savva’s MA project revives the traditional terracotta tableware of her hometown in Cyprus. This concept was channeled through the handles. Handles have been an important element of Cypriot tableware and it piqued Savva’s fascination. The key element in her debut tableware series is the use of the undercut as a handle. This means that the dish is passed on by the palm of the hand. Her dishes are designed to celebrate the affection and pleasure of communal dining.
Photography by Phillip Koll for 1 Granary
Text by Juliana Norza