We're already well into designing for Spring 2015, so here's a little snippet of what's to come... stay tuned!
The last time I picked up a watercolour brush to render jewellery by hand was 5 years ago. It's amazing how terrified I was of getting back into it. This was a traditional technique that only couture jewellery houses such as Cartier, Bulgari and Van Cleef & Arpels still uphold... most jewellery companies now have already switched to using CAD. And because of that, there was such a high expectation for the rendering to be a work of art - rendered to the point that the jewels could almost be picked up right off the page.
My first complete rendering attempt (and I'm not even counting the 3 times I had to restart) took me the better part of the day to complete, my nose practically touching the paper as I captured every sparkle and facet of the diamond pavé. But like any skill, practice makes perfect, right?
It is a running joke amongst my friends, colleagues and fellow designers that the space in which I inhabit - whether it is to work, sleep, play or live in - is called the panda cave. I've come to realise the reason for my nickname lies in my lifestyle... and it has nothing to do with me being Asian (I think).
Working in Bangkok has been an eye-opening experience. Today marks my one year anniversary of being with this company. I've learnt so much, but at the same time, I'm already itching to begin another new adventure. Though I cannot know what the future holds for me, what matters most is the journey... the people I meet along the way, the experiences, and the things I do to make sure I get to where I want.
So in one year from now, where will I be? Better yet, where will you be?
Thank goodness for technology sometimes. Keeping in touch has never been easier, and you catch moments happening halfway around the world at the same time that makes you wonder about the mysteriousness of time, serendipity, fate and all sorts of otherworldly stuff.
The timing could not have been more perfect.
It seemed as if the stars were aligned, as around the same time that I was joining the team at John Hardy, the executives of the company had finalised their decision to rebrand Angela by JH to a new name, with a new concept, and marketing strategy.
One of the very first collections was very much inspired by my trip to Bali, and the detail and intricacy of the handcrafted artisanal work found there.
Our first launch of this new brand went online on the QVC website this month, around the same time I received my business cards, officially cementing my position as a jewellery designer for John Hardy... cheers to that!
It's looking to be an eventful year for everyone in the Kee family - of relocating to Bangkok, possibly [but highly unlikely at this rate] births, inevitable deaths, graduating with PhD's, getting promoted, having weddings... and to top it all off, startup bakery ventures!
PieKee & Co. is the result of all of the above. All artwork related to the brand identity of PieKee & Co. can be seen here, and for the full story, please go to their facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/PieKeeCo to support this small but quirky Kee family business that is sure bring a smile to everyone's faces.
Props to Kee for finally listening to your own advice, and Pie for sticking with it through thick and thin, hurricanes, cake explosions and all. You guys are the cutest, craziest, quirkiest, most lovable couple ever, and we're all excited to celebrate with you in August!
Being a jetsetter oftentimes means I can't get too comfortable for too long, and this was no different. While I was getting settled into the wonderfully easy-going atmosphere of Seattle, another opportunity arose that would allow me to pursue my passion in jewellery design.
John Hardy, a renowned international luxury jewellery design company was looking to hire a designer for the newly launched Angela line that was sold exclusively on QVC. Based in Bangkok, this would give me the chance to really stretch my creative freedom, something that appealed very much to me. Being a newly launched line also meant that it had a lot of potential, perfect to challenge and push my skills and gain experience.
I took a day to fly to NY to meet with the Design Director of John Hardy, while he was stateside for publicity appearances in September 2012. After the interview, I was assigned a mini-project, to design a collection inspired by the lotus bud, a concept that is the core of the Angela line.
Once back in Seattle, coffee shops became my second home as a I churned out sketch after sketch with nothing but pencil and paper, an old-fashioned design technique in today's world of digitised technology that he strongly encouraged still. Submitting my assignment by the end of month, my efforts paid off and I was offered the position, to begin at the start of the new year 2013.
The sketches from the assignment can be seen in the Siam collection here. It was a pleasant but bittersweet moment when I decided to accept this offer; I was excited at the prospect of moving to Bangkok, a city I had never been in before, but I was starting to grow very fond of Seattle, and the people who were to become my very close friends, that I knew it would hurt to leave.
But you only live once, right?
My last day at Taphandles was a bittersweet moment. I was excited about my move to Bangkok, but sad to be leaving behind one awesome design team, whom I had grown to regard as my close friends during my short time in Seattle. And despite my leaving, some things would never change - the crew's way of saying goodbye was nothing short of awkwardly spectacular. I was sent off with the customary "awkward slowclap" that was notoriously given to a lucky [or should I say, unlucky] individual, usually meant for birthdays, but now just more for special occasions.
Thank you for everything. Here's to you guys - keep rocking and rolling in the brewery scene as I know you will always do!
JER was an ongoing underground project that had been underway for over a year. I was to secretly design an engagement ring for my sister's fiance. However despite the facilities available to me while I was at SCAD, I was too caught up in studio, senior and projects to find the time to make her ring.
A perfect window of opportunity arose when I visited my sister in Ann Arbor, Michigan for a week. I collaborated with local custom jewellery store, Urban Jewelers, to make the ring that I had designed for her. I had already moved to Seattle and begun my new job when the ring was complete, but my sister's fiance picked up where I left off and made the plans for the special day - proposing to her on her birthday dinner at her favourite restaurant.
The design for the ring was inspired by my recent Raya collection. Compliments to Mark Urban, for being a fantastic goldsmith in being able to carry out my design and congratulations to the officially engaged couple :)
Five years ago, I jumped on a plane to come to SCAD, scared and excited at the same time. And now? I have a double BFA in Industrial Design and Metals & Jewelry. But I am still scared and excited. For as I close the door on my university education, another opens - entering the life of the working world.
Being awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award for Industrial Design was a pleasant surprise. Coupled with having 3 tassels the colors of Mardi-Gras (which I still insist the purple one was a mistake), I still can't believe it... I'm DONE.
For now, at least.