To celebrate Camberwell College of Arts Postgraduate Summer Show 2014 this week and until the 23rd July, we’ve met with students and graduates to talk about their work and future plans.

MA Designer Maker Yuanying Cai encourages us to find beauty within flaw growing crystals

MA Designer Maker Yuanying Cai

CCA: How has your experience at Camberwell been like?

YC: Studying at Camberwell, it felt like a very short time for me, but it was definitely a special experience. The course Designer Maker is not specific only for jewellery, it collaborated with other 3D designs, which make it more interesting. We met with different people working in other aspects of design and learnt new techniques from them. I felt like I was  struggling at first, but I think the critiques from tutors and colleagues really pushed me and helped me to think in depth, and to be more decisive. I see myself now more willing to hear and reflect from discussions.

CCA: Please tell us about your work?

YC: My work talks about the narrative of jewellery. It questions the traditional aesthetic of flawless diamonds. By recreating the “flaws” it encourages people to observe the internal beauty of “flaw-growing crystals” and find the beauty in something that traditionally have been dismissed.

MA Designer Maker Yuanying Cai

CCA: What are you be showcasing in your degree show?

YC: I am showcasing a jewellery work named “Growing flaws”, the pieces are presented like a lab. First you see the crystals with “flaws”, I then use different materials to create a process of alum crystal growing. These materials are presented inside test tubes. The copper jewellery shows the before and after growing processes, as the copper grows thicker, at the end you might not recognize it from its original form.

Yuanying Choi 2 MA Designer Maker Yuanying Cai

MA Designer Maker Yuanying Cai

CCA: What was your inspiration?

YC: My inspiration comes from an experience of observing gemstones under a magnifier and the beautiful patterns (inclusions) inside the gemstones. However, these aesthetics have traditionally been dismissed. In the jewellery stores you often see “flawless diamonds” rather than “inclusion gemstones”.  I started to recreate “flaws” to encourage people’s curiosity about the internal beauty of growing-crystals.

MA Designer Maker Yuanying Cai

CCA: What are your plans after you graduate?

YC: I am planning to have some practical working experience, travelling to different places in China to see lab-growing stones. There is so much to learn about gemstones, probably to take another course on Gemology.

CCA: Any advice for fellow or future students?

YC: You can learn a lot from different tutors and students in the course, but I think it is also important to meet someone outside the course to also inspire you in another way. I also think before you attend the course is better to know what is your intention through the year, make sure to do some research about your study proposal.

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