How to Preserve Scents. Smelling Jewels by Chia-Hsien Lin, one of The Winners of Preziosa Young 2020

Interview  /  Artists   AliceRendon
Published: 26.03.2020
Chia-Hsien Lin Chia-Hsien Lin
Alice Rendon
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Chia-Hsien Lin. Body piece: Smelling Memories, 2019. Gelatine, soap base, silver-plated brass, essential oil.. 21 x 15 x 8 cm. Photo by: Linlan Xiao. Chia-Hsien Lin
Body piece: Smelling Memories, 2019
Gelatine, soap base, silver-plated brass, essential oil.
21 x 15 x 8 cm
Photo by: Linlan Xiao
© By the author. Read Copyright.

Chia-Hsien Lin is one of the seven winners of Preziosa Young 2020, the international contest organised by Le Arti Orafe since 2008, which gives to emerging talents more than one occasion to show their work and to take part in the contemporary scene of research jewellery. This year the jury was composed by jewellery experts, like goldsmith artists or teachers, namely Giovanni Corvaja, Eugenia Gadaleta, Kazumi Nagano, Cóilín O’Dubhghaill, Renzo Pasquale, Carla Riccoboni, Sam Tho Duong.
A selection of the winners’ pieces was displayed in the PREZIOSA space at Inhorgenta fair 2020, while the complete exhibition and a high-quality catalog will be presented during Florence Jewellery Week 2020

Stay updated because the prizes still at stack are many: LAO SPECIAL PRIZE will give one of the selected candidates the opportunity to spend three months as artist in residence in Florence. Furthermore, thanks to a collaboration agreement between LAO and the Inhorgenta fair, one of the selected artists will get a free exhibition space for its 2021 edition (INHORGENTA PRIZE).

Wearable Jewellery: Smiling Memories by Chia-Hsien Lin, 2019; Size: 22 x 15 x 12 cm; Material: Gelatine, soap base, essential oil, silver-plated brass; Photo by Linlan Xiao.

When dealing with contemporary goldsmith artists or jewellery designers, the first curiosity is to know how one has chosen ornament as the main means of expression. Why jewellery in particular and what was your training in this field?
Jewellery has a close connection with human beings. As far as I am concerned, jewellery not only represents wearer’s personality but also increase communication between peoples and the world.
The training I got in Birmingham school of jewellery truly opened my mind and guide me to more possibilities of jewellery making. And combine with my product design background from the home country, I am more focus on the function that wearable jewellery can provide for or interact with the wearers and viewers.

Wearable Jewellery: Smiling Memories by Chia-Hsien Lin, 2019; Size: 54 x 28 x 26 cm. Material: Gelatine, soap base, silver-plated brass, essential oil. Photo by Linlan Xiao.

Our senses are essential to the knowledge and experience of the world. Precisely, your work reflects on the strong connection between perfumes and memories. That means to survey our brain reactions triggered by the sense of smell, which is able to evoke past moments of our life. Could you describe your research process?
Of course. I am going to roughly separate it into two parts: material experimentation and participants interview.
In material experimentation, I started with the question of ‘How to preserve scents?’, tried to find a material combination to capture scents for a longer time. In order to test those material samples and concept, I invited people to smell my testing pieces with different scents and interview them to share what they feel or if the scents remind them of some personal memories. After that, I took some time to reflect and get back to material experimentation to make some improvement. Repeating these processes gave me not only some idea to improve the colors and shapes of the artworks but also the finding that people can evoke their own and unique past experiences and memories by smelling art pieces.

Wearable Jewellery: Smiling Memories by Chia-Hsien Lin, 2019; Size: 15 x 20 x 12 cm. Material: Gelatine, soap base, silver-plated brass, essential oil. Photo by Linlan Xiao.

How do you manage to transfer in material this specific connection between scents and feelings and make it endure?
In my opinion the link between scents and feelings is people’s experience. Scents can bring past personal memories alive. My artworks are like a medium, which can preserve and release scents for a period of time, for viewers or wearers to experience and feel invisible effects of olfactory sense by wearing and smelling the jewellery pieces.

Is there an artist or an artistic tendency that inspires or influences you particularly?
Actually, when designing own project, the natural world has a great influence on my artworks, such as landscape, flowers and plants. Also, my life experiences and conversation with people around me, like peers, friends and teachers, usually trigger my design ideas. I think everyone is an artist and everything is significant.

About the Interviewee

Chia-Hsien Lin is a jewellery artist based in Taiwan. She achieved her master degree of jewellery and related products at Birmingham City University in 2019. Her works focus on the interaction between jewellery pieces and the wearers or viewers and recently aims to create sensuous immediacy through the physical and material engagement with the sense of smell, not only touch or vision.

About the author

Alice Rendon was born in 1991 in Varese, Lombardy, Italy. She graduated in art history at the University of Florence with a thesis about jewels by Italian artists of the 20th century. Now she is teaching history of contemporary jewellery at Le Arti Orafe Jewellery School in Florence and she is writing for Preziosa Blog, a web platform dedicated to the universe of contemporary jewellery."