This week, meet Melbourne-based jeweller Sam of Bonny Lad. Originally from Korea, Sam moved to Melbourne in 2000 and has lived here ever since. Lucky us! Bonny Lad is stocked at COUNTER so pop by during opening hours to have a peek at his lovely range of flora-inspired fine silver jewellery.
Make sure you check out his website for more about Sam!
Could you please tell us about yourself...
I came to Melbourne in 2000 to study English as I wanted to become a translator/writer in Korea, but I have stayed in Melbourne ever since. I have had a few jobs, including working in a second-hand furniture shop, and I knew I had to complete further study to get a job as English is my second language. I enrolled in Product Design/Jewellery at NMIT (Greensborough) in 2005 and I immediately loved the course and wanted to continue. Since I was young I have always enjoyed being creative. I would knit, paint, draw and make traditional Korean hand cut paper boxes. My creative interest in craft-based practice helped me learn jewellery-making techniques and skills in a short period time. After I graduated, I set up a jewellery studio and completed the NEIS course. Today I am here and still making...
Each Bonny Lad ‘collection’ is very distinctive from the last. Could you please tell us about the creative process before you start each collection?
It has been almost my journey as a designer. Over the last few years, I moved houses a few times to different areas. It was a momentous time, and I used these moments to help develop my designs. After school I used to push myself to make one project after another. I don't think I can push myself to make as many ranges as I did but this period has helped me concentrate on my style as a jeweller.
I also grew up in Seoul, the capital of Korea, where I have fond memories of my childhood of playing in the dirt, climbing small mountains and finding crystals under the ground. At the same time I was always surrounded by tall buildings so I would get nervous if I went camping and didn’t see buildings or supermarkets for more then a few days.
The park has been always big influence to me as my main concerns are about the relationship between nature and man-made – in particular I’ve questioned whether a park is considered natural or man-made. I find interesting organic objects and try to make them into solid wearable pieces in man-made ways. Once, after spending time in a park, I found a little bike reflector and was fascinated by those hexagon images and how they related each other and sparkled... not just in terms of colour but how they joined together. In the end, all of my work has been part of a journey.
Building from the previous question, what approach do you take when you encounter creative obstacles?
I just have to focus on being positive as I have always been busy trying to balance between my business and life. I have been pretty good so far as I love to make things so I am self-motivated all the time. But it is a challenge to maintain time-management, marketing, and organising my business.
You currently have an exhibition on at the Journal cafe windows, congratulations! You last had a show there in 2008. Since then, how do you think your work has evolved?
Thank you! There will be always things I think I could have been better, but I am happy what I have done this time. It was quite strange and amazing to hear friends saying how my design ideas have developed in the last three years. These works are actually same concept from the beginning but have developed in technique and design.
Looking at your website you have a section for ‘commissions’. What has been a particularly memorably commission for you so far?
All commission works are special, but my first wedding rings for a lovely couple presented a big challenge. I only had three days to make two rings after we discussed design and materials. Gold is such an expensive material to use so I couldn't afford to make any mistakes at all. I had some technical problems at my studio and I almost melted the gold. I almost screamed at myself... but I made it at the end. Commission work is always challenging, but I learn a lot and it is quite rewarding.
What would your dream collaboration entail?
Right now my business is perhaps too small to do a collaboration, but It would be so cool to collaborate with TV or film... but at the moment I don't really know.
And finally, what’s next for Bonny Lad? Where do you hope to take it in the future, and what are you looking forward to?
I just wanna be rich and famous! Just kidding... well who doesn't want that? But I have to say I am happiest when making jewellery and it is great thing. I would love to work full time on my business so I can concentrate all my energy into it. I also would love to be take part in more exhibitions, as well as solo shows.