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SO MINT! Weighting Feathers by Jing Jiang

Central Saint Martins, London '19

SO MINT! is a series of posts on fresh graduates in fashion, jewellery and design from around the world. Handpicked by Current Obsession.

This collection is a thorough exploration of the complex traditional technique of Tian Tsui, which utilizes kingfisher feathers as inlay for fine art objects and adornments, and the beauty of feather itself. Using physical sense as the medium, I tried to sculpt my designs so as to bring together the refinement of traditional Chinese craftsmanship and the minimal aesthetics of western modernism.

The delicate bird feathers – from various birds rather than kingfisher – play visual tricks, confounding our expectations. It’s not about what we see at first glance: something more is waiting to be discovered. Every piece is intended to arouse people’s curiosity towards the material, questioning: what is it that I am looking at? In this collection, the feather is also acting as a metaphor to the declining world of fine craftsmenship, where beauty is often unnoticed and undervalued. But I believe that eventually, soft delicacy will transform into mightiness.

In addition to the technique investigation, this project is also developing a new approach towards sustainability. The store in which I bought the feathers from, the Feather Factory, have been sourcing the material from farms and kitchens. The poultry feathers they use would ordinarily be treated as a waste product and therefore thrown away without use. By replacing the endangered kingfisher’s feathers to discarded goose and turkey feathers, I am trying to develop the traditional Tian Tsui technique in a more sustainable contemporary way.

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