The Curio Collector’s Cabinet: Jin ah Jo

Jin Ah Jo Curio

We’ve had the pleasure of featuring works by Jin ah Jo in our Curio Cabinet!

Can you tell us a little bit about your work…

As a contemporary jewellery maker I like the materials used for my works to have their own original character and qualities.

Perforated mild steel I am using for my works are the most often used for industrial and architectural purposes. My work removes the steel from these manufacturing ideals into a creative form that can be worn. Yet I also strive to retain an element of the industrial in my designs marrying silver with the steel.

From last year I introduced more different patterns such as squares, rectangles and hexagons. Also I looked at other areas of the industry where contemporary jewellery has happily adopted various colours. Fashion for example uses colours to give a little more life and dynamism. So far I added colours such as flame red, French blue and Lemon yellow, which has enlarged the potential to express my ideas and emotions.

How do you find inspiration?

I am mesmerised by all the ideas about Deconstructed architecture and get inspired by it a lot. Through the studio practice I am trying to make unexpected, intricate but refined forms and structures by experimenting with reconstructing and deconstructing the forms familiar to us. Also the physical shapes and psychological meanings of my mother tongue, Korean is also my huge inspiration.

What draws you to the material? And can you tell us a little bit about your process?

Most of all I love the refined and determined black finish of this amazing material. When I first used mild steel I experienced quite a striking moment to find out that metal can be so dark black only by heating with fire without the aid of any sort of paints. Then it was so lucky for me to discover perforated mild steel deserted at the corner of hammering room and waited for being used. Becoming more and more used to the technique of sandblasting, heating, oiling and waxing the perforated mild steel, I found one architecture and industry material supply where I could encounter so many different patterns of perforations such as squares, hexagons, clovers, diamonds besides all different sizes of circles. The depth and subtlety of the works I can create with these various perforations on the base of matt black finish of mild steel is really enormous and joyful. Moreover by marrying sharp silver or gold square lining with black mild steel forms I have been able to realign the form of geometry.


Where did you gain your skills? (Study, apprenticeship, self-taught, institutes etc.)

From the study years of doing my degree at Monash University, Melbourne till now I have been practicing the skills I need.

What’s your studio environment like? (I.e. At home, shared space)

I am one of the studio artists in NorthCity4 in Melbourne. Northcity4 is artist run initiative offering studio space and education programs to Melbourne’s Art, Craft and Design communities. Around 15 mostly jewellery artists are involved and through running jewellery classes, seminars, talks and workshops it has been contributing to the art, design and craft environment and seeking for sustainable environment. All the artists are very supportive of one another and through communicating with other artists I can get inspired and learn a lot.

What does the future hold for you? (Upcoming shows, new skills you’re interested in, what are you working on etc.)

I am developing a new range of rings with powdercoated mild steel and other metals (silver, gold) at the moment. The idea is based on the show “The Ring” at Studio Ingot gallery, Melbourne that I was involved in last year.

And lastly, what’s the most precious piece of jewellery you own?

The 24 ct gold ring band engraved with many patterns on the surface that I was given by my mother is the most precious piece of jewellery. My mother bought this when I became one year old, which is also a huge tradition in Korea to bless the baby’s life, health and happiness ahead. I am wearing this ring wherever I go and it has become my lucky talisman.

Check out more of Jin ah Jo’s work:


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