Arts & Leisure

Constantly learning

Posted on March 15, 2017

FROM the moment she started 16 years ago, jewelry designer Wynn Wynn Ong always believed that “nothing can be born without being fed” -- the reason why, as an artist, she keeps redefining her boundaries with her craft.

SEEN at Wynn Wynn Ong: Redefining Boundaries a wedding tiara featuring seahorses is made from using various techniques. -- YUCHENGCO MUSEUM
The Yuchengco Museum’s retrospective exhibit, aptly titled Wynn Wynn Ong: Redefining Boundaries, is a showcase of her creative journey, from designing heirloom jewelry to creating furniture and couture collections. The exhibit runs until June 15.

The Burmese-born Filipino-by-heart designer started her creative career in 2001. She recalled how she first started working with copper wire and how her itch to learn new things led her to working on furniture, couture, and objets d’art.

“I chose to redefine boundaries differently. I didn’t have [proper] training and I wasn’t a gemologist, but I taught myself and learned things,” she told BusinessWorld at the exhibit’s opening reception on March 8.

Despite the lack of training, Ms. Ong paid attention to gaining new skills and techniques such the lost wax method which makes her jewelry distinct from others.

“In the beginning, I was making big and bold pieces out of wire. Then after a year I realized it wasn’t enough [so] my work transitioned with each new skill I gather and learn. Whether it is working with leather, wood, or metal, I’d like to think that I’ll keep evolving,” she said.

The museum’s ground floor has a display of sample works, alongside the actual objects -- or symbols of the intangible -- that inspired her.

“It helps [the viewer] see how the mind works or should work. I think it’s important for designers to find their own voice and be original,” she said. “When they get to that level that they really feel they could share their experience, I hope they do share with others.”

She believes that cooperation should be involved in design. Instead of competing, she said designers should share their knowledge with others. “From each individual becomes a powerful tool to pass on.”

The museum’s second floor features her collaborative works with other designers and lifestyle brands. The third floor presents her couture collection, Sartorial Symbiosis, especially made for Metrowear in 2016, and portraits of Ms. Ong’s muses, called The Catalysts.

“I have been very privileged to work with these people who also share the love of making things and doing things in a very ethical approach,” she said. “I always look forward to meeting people and sharing ideas.”

Ms. Ong said all her works have clear narratives. She considers herself as a teller of stories and because of that she is looking forward to writing again.

“Perhaps in writing again and finding new characters, perhaps it will lead me to new avenues. It could be in a form of jewelry, it could be something else. I am always interested in learning so I don’t know what makes a visit to a museum or what makes fascinating person I will meet will lead me to,” she said. -- Camille Anne M. Arcilla

Wynn Wynn Ong: Redefining Boundaries is presented by the Yuchengco Museum with support from Wynn Wynn Ong Artisanal Works in celebration of Women’s Month this March. The exhibit will be on view from March 8 to June 15 at the Yuchengco Museum, RCBC Plaza, cor. Ayala and Gil Puyat Avenues, Makati City.