Ambassador Maison Tjoeng
About Maison Tjoeng
1. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU DRINK IN THE MORNING?
Water with lemon- I’m not a coffee or much of a tea drinker. I live in the tropics, so cold drinks are preferable!
2. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE JEWELRY PIECE TO DESIGN OUTOF ALL THE ONES YOU HAVE DONE? WHY?
I think it’s a tie between a pair of earrings I designed for myself whilst I was still in design school and my large silver palm inspired neckpieces. The earrings because it was so exciting to design something just for myself and the process of having it made- without the restraints of a design brief. Similarly, I felt very ‘free’ creating the contemporary large silver neckpieces, and I think that is evident in the final results.
3. WHAT SONG WOULD BE THE ANTHEM OF YOUR DESIGN PROCESS?
It would be difficult to choose just one! I have a Spotify playlist just for when I’m designing, but the top tracks are probably 2 Wicky- Hooverphonic, Glory Box – Portishead, Lay Your Cards Out- Polica. I’m more of a singer songwriter/folk person but the music I listen to when designing is more downtempo/electronica.
4. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS ENTERING YOUR PROFESSION?
Be sure of who you are and stay true to your style. Not everyone will like your designs and showing your work to the public is, at least for me, is quite a vulnerable experience. Being in a creative job is difficult because you design items for a wide audience of people to see, touch, wear. All very personal experiences. Everyone has an opinion, and will tell you if they like it or not, and what they like or don't like or suggest you change your style or the way you design. It's so important to understand and be confident in your own aesthetic. However I feel very lucky to design beautiful jewellery that can last generations!
5. AS A DESIGNER, WHERE DO YOU DRAW YOUR INSPIRATION FROM?
My principal sources of inspiration are nature and culture. I grew up in both Australia and Papua New Guinea, so I was exposed to a very lush natural environment in both countries and an extraordinarily rich artistic culture in Papua New Guinea. The lines in nature are so beautiful and the richness of design and colour in many cultures I find to be an endless source of inspiration. I’m still working on translating a feeling, or song or poem into a piece of jewelry; that I find much harder to do.
6. IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE IN THE WORLD, WHO DO YOU WANT TO MEET? AND WHY?
Frida Kahlo or Joni Mitchell.
I wish I could have met Frida Kahlo in her lifetime, she was such an incredible force and rule breaker in her art, her life, in love. She was and remains an icon and muse to many. Her art and style is so bold and rich in colour and life, yet so vulnerable and honest. She had such a turbulent life and overcame so many struggles, but her tenacity for life established her as one of the greatest artists in history.
I think I’ve been listening to Joni Mitchell’s music all my life, and the older I get the more I understand her music- her lyrics are pure poetry. Not many people know that she is also an incredible painter, her paintings seem to me a visual extension of her music and poems- like Frida they are powerful and honest and vulnerable. Both artists broke the boundaries imposed on women, they are both fierce feminists, independent, liberated and unique.
7. WHAT KIND OF PERSON WEARS MT JEWELRY?
The person I envisage I am designing for is someone who is adventurous, stylish, artistic, strong, expressive and also delicate. I design primarily for women- I like to try and find a balance between the dichotomy of strength/rigidity and delicate/organic.
Whether I take a symbol of strength and create a delicate design or take an image from nature and make it as bold as possible; I believe this mix of opposing forces epitomises the modern woman.
With that said, I would love for my jewellery to be worn by a vast range of people!