meet joanne.t – a local jeweller with aspirations to challenge society’s standards of beauty

by Team ErrorSeptember 10, 2017

Instagram is a treasure trove of new discoveries and especially fresh talent. One particular stumble was to a profile belonging to Malaysian Joanne. T, a craftswoman with a mission to spark a conversation on society’s standards of beauty. Armed with a philosophical approach to her creations of her unique designs; we chatted with the designer to uncover her body of work.

Tell us a bit about your background and as an individual how did you come to be interested in jewellery making?
I graduated from Central Saint Martins, University Arts of London. My interest in jewellery-making develops during my year in Foundation studies of art and design. I was allowed to try out different design pathways and jewellery design was among one of the subjects that I had chosen. The reason for choosing this is mainly because of my interest in the interaction between objects and human body. While studying, I found out that I enjoy craftsmanship and thus, I decided to further pursue this field.

In most of your pages and information, there is a very distinctive line – ‘In jewellery I ensue dialogue’ – is this your design philosophy? Could you elaborate more on what it conveys?
Yes, ‘In jewellery I ensue dialogue’ is my design philosophy. It means I create conversation with or through jewellery. For instance, Not Your Average Beauty collection is a project that I want to create conversation and discussion on the topic of beauty and plastic surgery.

Your recent project “Not Your Average Beauty” emphasized on identity and celebrates untampered beauty, clearly working against the now wide and common practice of plastic surgery. Why is that?
It is to combat media idealisation of beauty.

What inspired you to tackle on the issue and can you share a little on the design process?
It all began from the interest in human body. I started to look into current social topic related to this area and found out that plastic surgery is a popular trend, yet controversial topic. Therefore, I decided to use this designing platform to stimulate conversation.

My works focus on topical approaches and are always concept-driven. Thus, I will always start with identifying an area of interest and/or theme for the collection. Moving on from that, I will cover a wide range of research ranging from artwork, fashion trend, social issues and Science in the idealisation process.

In your own words, how would you describe beauty? And why is beauty constantly standardized?
Beauty is a very dependent entity and heavily influenced by our surroundings. Human doesn’t born with an innate knowledge of beauty. Yet, what we know about beauty (aka standardisation of beauty) is through the influence of cultures, societies and mass media and the need to be part of a group or community.

What kind of impact do you hope your jewellery pieces will deliver towards individuals and towards society?
I hope that through my design, my jewellery pieces will be tools of communication and stimulate conversations.

Most of the pieces in your collection are designed for the nose, why is that? And does the incorporation of the details in tiny diamonds and pearls come with a hidden meaning? During research and the design development, I found out that nose was one of the most common facial parts for plastic surgery. Thus, I started to focus creating nose pieces. The selection and usage of each material do serve a purpose. Thin gold wire frames highlight the wearer’s delicate features, while diamonds and pearls add an elaborate touch that draws attention to imperfect attributes.

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By Dhaniya Illiani (@dhanilliani)