Did you know that Town & Country declared Wynn Wynn Ong a style maker? That didn’t surprise us at all as Wynn is one of our most admired AsiaStore designers. We are proud to showcase her collection at AsiaStore and had the privilege of visiting her Manila based studio to see her latest creations, inspired by the Philippine Gold exhibition. The theme is built around black and gold and features handwoven silver and copper scarves plated in gold, exquisite hand sculpted clutches and a breathtaking collection of necklaces, earrings and cuffs all produced using the lost wax technique. Once again, we are awed by Wynn’s talent.
My first stop today is at Jewelmer to meet with Franck, Tricie and Jacques Branallec to discuss the miracle that is the Golden Pearl. Jacques’s father I learn, was a pioneer, in successfully cultivated pearls with a rich, natural golden color. Through decades of research and biotechnology, Jewelmer has perfected the breeding process that produces gold-lipped Pinctada maxima pearl oysters capable of growing large, lustrous, golden pearls, now regarding as a national treasure of the Philippines.
As I gaze through the cases o0hing and ahhing over the beautiful necklaces, earrings and bracelets, I’m shown a priceless treasure…a matched strand of 16-18mm golden pearls. Jewelmer produces close to 1/2 million pearls a year and it took 30 years to match this strand. Simply magnificent! And as a special treat, I’m told that if one purchases a Jewelmer design for $200k or more, they are treated to a complimentary trip to the breathtaking Jewelmer Pearl Farms in Pawalan! So if a trip to the Philippine Islands is on your wish list, stop by AsiaStore this Sept for your first look at Jewelmer Golden Pearl collection!
(source: Asia Society New York Blog)
To celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, AsiaStore is highlighting Asian American designers and authors for the month of May with an expanded collection of products. Shop the collection online at any time throughout the month or at our New York store location from Monday through Sunday, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm and on Fridays until 9:00 pm.
We asked five of our featured designers, “How has your Asian American heritage influenced your work as a designer?” Here’s what they shared:
As a Chinese American artist, I am most influenced by my culture’s deep respect and esteem for nature. This can be seen throughout my work – from the eco-friendly materials (bamboo, stainless steel, recycled sterling silver) to the painted designs.
I am Chinese, but have experienced a cross-cultural environment since my younger years. Moving to Hawaii over 40 years ago added Hawaiian, Asian American, Pacific, and other influences and cultures. Designing has always been my first love. My love of designing jewelry started at a very young age from hanging around jewelry shops with my mother. While working in Shanghai ten years ago, I had the opportunity to learn Chinese knotting, which gave me the idea to combine an Asian look with semi-precious stones and pearls to produce wearable fashionable jewelry. Throughout the years of traveling and the love of jewelry, I have collected ideas and inspirations from every corner of the world.
Designing for me was not planned; it was a process that was inspired by both of my heritages. As a Colombian I take on the pre-Colombian earthy powerful influences of gold makers, and from the Ottomans the strength shown through elegant, magnificent, and sophisticated jewelry. My work is a true re-creation of what my Asian American heritage is, and I hope for the wearer to feel and enjoy the honesty of my creations.
In my opinion two main things reflect into your brand, whether you like it or not: your personality and your culture. From the beginning, one main goal has remained the foundation of my clothing line: how can I bring my culture into a modern and practical world and make it cool? To do this, I had to mix the right dosage of my culture with New York and cook something that is in the right balance.
CITYZEN SILK FASHIONS
I was born in Iran and grew up on Alborz mountain slopes. I have lived and studied in New York as an architect for the last 30 years. Balancing the two worlds has been an integral part of my life growing up. My fashion brand, Cityzen by Azin, has allowed me to explore and connect with these two worlds.
As an Iranian American, a global traveler and a New Yorker, my international and multicultural experiences have culminated in the vision behind Cityzen: exposing the breathtaking views of the Earth, sharing our commonality, and bridging our differences.
Check out our Facebook page for photos of our Asian American Designer Showcase!
(source: Asia Society New York Blog)
Artist Combines Ancient Ornaments from His Homeland With Contemporary Concepts
Designer Terence Tan’s background in archaeology, anthropology and paleontology has given him a unique perspective of Myanmar’s history. Over the years he has collected an extensive array of stones and beads, many of them from prehistoric sites dating from civilizations that flourished during the Bronze-Iron Transition Period.
Tan’s jewelry collection combines ancient stones with contemporary concepts. Asia Blog spoke with him in New York to learn more about his work.
Could you tell us about the inspiration for your jewelry?
I get inspiration from ancient ornaments and combine them with contemporary concepts to create my designs. I create conceptual jewelry, and I like using motifs and designs that represent auspiciousness and prosperity. My collection for the Asia Society is inspired by the Pyu era (200 BC – 900 AD), which is considered a proto-historical period. It means that some of the written records from the period can be deciphered, and some cannot. Each of the pieces from the collection is handmade and one-of-a-kind.
Tell us about your research and the process of writing your book, Ancient Jewellery of Myanmar.
For my PhD, I specialized in ancient ornaments from Myanmar. The book involved almost two decades of work. For my research, I traveled in Myanmar to places that are very difficult to reach, staying at monasteries in different villages.
What advice would you like to give to young artists?
Learn as much as possible because inspiration is right beside you. You don’t have to go too far. Everything can be your inspiration.
Terence Tan’s collection, along with his book Ancient Jewellery of Myanmar, are now availableat AsiaStore.
Interview by: Tim Lau
Photos by: Zhi Yong
Recently highlighted as a top pick by Lonely Planet, Black Elephant Lacquer shop is now an official shopping destination in Bagan. While the bulk of Veronica’s work travels to select galleries and boutiques (AsiaStore will be the recipient of her latest work this spring!) she features her experiments and discontinued patterns at this small retail outlet. One thing I have to mention is that having browsing through several Bagan retail outlets, I found the lacquer pricing in Bagan quite high…much higher than the Lacquer in Yangon. I guess everything has gone up in price, my horse cart driver who charged $1 a day 12 years ago is now charging $15 a day…good grief!! So if you are looking to pick up some well priced lacquerware in Myanmar, you may want to consider make your purchases in Yangon.That said, if you are after Veronica’s exquisite lacquer, you will find nothing like it outside of Bagan…with the exception of AsiaStore this spring!
Veronica’s artistry has risen to new heights as she takes on the newly bestowed title of “lacquer master” and enjoys the attention of a delegation from the UN who after weeks of evaluating the lacquerware community of Bagan, proclaimed Veronica’s work the best of the best. Join me as the “master” explains the intricacies of the lacquerware process. From preparing the base to the washing of the color…..Veronica educates us on this ancient artform.
I arrive at Veronica’s new workshop…we head upstairs where the lacquerware collection she has been working on for several months, is casually displayed on the thatched floor. Exquisite burlwood bowls, trays, cups, gourd vases, each intricately etched and decorated on face and back….I am overwhelmed by her artistry.
Off to meet Burmese archaeologist and designer, Terry Chan who tempted us with his breathtaking collection of antique burmese beads and jewelry and shared his passion for old gold. While Terry is busy getting his book on Burmese jewelry and ornamentation ready for publication, he has promised to create an exclusive jewelry collection for AsiaStore, inspired by these ancient designs.
Just returned from a wonderful dinner at Doris Ho’s where I was joined by 6 talented Filipino designers who brainstormed about the collaborative opportunities for the upcoming Philippine Gold show next fall! Jewelry, fashion, accessories and home accents all taking inspiration from Ayala’s magnificent collection of ancient Philippine Gold!!
Behind a nameless door and through an unassuming hallway I was transported to the magical world of Wynn Wynn Ong. Not an everyday occurrence as Wynn prizes her anonymity. Very few make it into Wynn’s inner sanctum, but AsiaStore was graciously welcomed and is pleased to take you inside, where Wynn’s unique one of a kind creations take center stage as her talented production team brings her visions to life. Each accessory and exquisite piece of jewelry and home decor is crafted by nine artisans using the lost wax production process to create one of a kind pieces with detailed features set with gemstones in sterling, vermeil and gold. All of Wynn’s pieces are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity that describes not only the piece, but the enchanting story behind the design. She feels this is what sets her designs apart…personally I think it’s her incredible creative talent!! Look forward to seeing a new collection from this talented Burmese born, Philippine native this spring!