Lin Cheung is a maker of evocative and conceptually-driven jewellery. While completing an MA in Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery at the Royal College of Art in London, she studied under tutors from the New Jewellery Movement, who encouraged her to explore ideas before choosing a specific material or process.
Her early jewellery and object-based projects were deeply rooted in memory and personal history. More recent works have re-interpreted traditional forms, such as lockets, in fresh, contemporary, and tactile ways which emphasise the intimate nature of objects worn on the body. Cheung is interested in visualising the hidden symbolic values and social functions found or perceived in jewellery and objects as they are worn, used, and treasured.
Lin Cheung is Senior Lecturer of Jewellery Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London.
Sterling silver, acrylic, glass
Photo-etching, hand-folding, assemblage
L60 x H240 x D10mm
Crafts Council Collection number: M79
Room Temperature is a silver engraved wall-mounted thermometer with an unconventional scale, using Fahrenheit and Celsius measurements to define emotions and feelings ranging from explosive and intoxicating, through agreeable and pleasant, to bitter and glacial.
The piece is not intended to be worn by a person, rather, by a wall: it is concerned with people rather than one individual, a common thread throughout Cheung’s work.
It marks a distinctive shift of emphasis in Cheung’s practice from making jewellery to making objects: “My ideas and approach to thinking about objects already existed, but around this time, I began to expose these more deliberately, making sets of things. It is a key piece that stemmed from a love of the English language and all its peculiarities. In more ways than one it seems to sum up my practice, interests and craft concerns.”
Room Temperature template on display in ‘Process Works’ exhibition at Hertfordshire University Art & Design Gallery, Hatfield, 2007. Photo: Lin Cheung
This image shows a paper template of Room Temperature on display in the 2007 exhibition 'Process Works: an exploration of the creative inspiration and developmental works of five contemporary jewellers' at Hertfordshire University Art & Design Gallery, Hatfield. The exhibition explored Cheung’s process of thinking, inspirations and idea generation, and she decided not to exhibit finished or completed pieces. The project had a profound effect on how she viewed her own practice and several key pieces of work are a direct result of this self-reflection.
Friend or Foe, Lin Cheung, 1998. Photo: Lin Cheung
Inspired by the associations we have with commonly known measuring tools, a number of Cheung’s pieces have been concerned with ‘measuring the intangible’ – for example emotions, or levels of friendship. Friend or Foe was one of the first pieces Cheung made soon after graduating from the Royal College of Art: it is a key piece that consolidated her ideas and forged a direction for her work.
Degrees of Seriousness, Lin Cheung, 2006. Photo: Lin Cheung
Degrees of Seriousness is a stainless steel protractor that gauges how light hearted or serious an idea should be before Cheung realises it. In the same series are 'sentimental' rulers, 'points of view' set squares, and 'recurring thoughts' stencils.