There’s hidden meanings pinned to Lin Cheung’s carved brooches
‘It’s an intended as a throwaway remark’ says British jeweller and lecturer Lin Cheung of ‘It’s a Jewellery Thing’ – the name of her latest exhibition at east London’s Gallery SO. Cheung is known for her reinterpretation of traditional jewellery forms, such as lockets and pearl necklaces, and her Delayed Reactions, a series of carved brooches presented as part of her latest exhibition, is particularly on point.
‘The series reflects the mixed emotions I feel about current affairs,’ Cheung explains of the brooches. She has modelled the pieces on political statement pins – those ubiquitous plastic badges seen attached to backpacks or lapels to convey political or cultural messages.
They are imagined in a series of eclectic and unexpected semi-precious materials and stones, including marble, howlite (which is often dyed to resemble turqouise), rock crystal and pink opal. A rose quartz brooch is named Rose Tinted. A rock crystal design, which resembles a circle of smashed glass, is titled Troubled Times.
Cheung also uses fabricated materials including Corian and howlite, and stripes of glittery nail varnish to play with viewer perception. This trickery is the jeweller’s way of commenting on today’s political climate.
Elsewhere, a Lapis lazuli brooch, with a sad smiley face formed from gold stars, is her comment on Britain’s referendum.
The carved stone brooches, Cheung says, presented a slow, unpredictable way of working – in direct contrast, of course, to the throwaway pin badges which they reflect. They naturally muted palette of her chosen materials, in direct contrast to the typical graphic design of slogan pins, also held a particular attraction.