Isabella Liu, a young China-born artist and designer, won multiple awards at the prestigious Goldsmiths Craftsmanship and Design Competition on March 2.
The competition -- known as the "The Jewellery Oscars" -- has been held annually by the Goldsmiths' Craft and Design Council (GC&DC) since 1908. This year saw over 800 entrants and 22 gold awards, three of which went to Liu.
Currently based in the U.K., Liu had three design artworks for the competition, all received gold awards in three different categories. Her 2D Design Fashion Jewellery enjoyed another two separate silver awards.
Liu's 'Mending' collection, a series of artworks combining both the functions of ceramic tableware and jewellery, received the gold award in the 3D Design Fashion Jewellery category, one of the two gold awards issued in this category.
"Isabella is creating original pieces of artwork, bridging sculptural art and jewellery," said Gordon Hamme, one of the 21 judges of the competition, "Her award today is well deserved."
Inspired by Kintsugi, a 600-year-old Japanese art of viewing mended porcelain as having its own beauty, the artist said that "anything suffering damage had its potential to become more beautiful." Like Liu's works, kintsugi pottery uses precious metals to mend and beautify damaged porcelain and pottery.
This creative idea has pushed the boundaries of object and jewellery. "The golden crack is intended to be appreciated both on the body as a piece of jewellery as well as when within the porcelain as an ornament in its own right, which engages audiences through the transformation of the piece," said Liu.
"Instead of hiding their damaged areas I chose to celebrate and highlight their fragility into a wearable piece of art with a sculptural form and give them a new life."
Regarding the creation processes of jewellery as a method of self-cultivation, the designer recognized her works as "imperfections transformed into pieces of beauty."
"I present this inspirational and hopeful belief that by changing our thinking about life's injuries and by mending them with joy and peace, beauty and illumination can transpire from them."
The design had a dramatic painful story behind it. It follows the same creative idea as another of the artists award winning projects -- Liu's "Scar is No More a Scar" ear cuffs, which received a gold medal of the "Special Council Award."
Liu said that the ear cuffs were inspired by an embarrassing scar on her when she was twelve years old.
Everyone has his or her scar, or unforgettable painful story or history. The designer believes that the best solution for healing is to learn how to face it and strongly overcome it rather than cover up or try to escape from it. Liu hopes people who wear her jewellery can feel stronger and more positive.
Another awarded artwork by Liu is a "Large Body Catwalk Piece -- Blossom Necklace." She used laser-cut acetate to create a strong character: the transparency of the acetate made the piece beautiful and playful.
Liu got her BA in Jewellery Design at Birmingham City University's School of Jewellery in 2013 after she finished her studies at the Academy of International Visual Arts of Shanghai. Now she is studying a master's degree in Arts and Cultural Management at King's College London.
Although still young, Liu has established herself as a designer and has been winning awards since 2012.
In October 2014, she was a finalist in Barcelona's ENJOIA'T Award. In June 2013 she was honoured as A'Design Awards & Competition winner in Jewellery, Eyewear and Design Category in Italy.
In June 20, Liu won third place at Watch This Space in the "Collection 2012" category. Her Jewellery and object collections have been exhibited in the UK, China, Italy and Spain.