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      /  Design Inspiration   /  Lunar Rain Interview for FASHION magazine Winter 2024 Issue
    lunar rain fashion magazine winter 2024

    Lunar Rain Interview for FASHION magazine Winter 2024 Issue

    Lunar Rain Interview for FASHION magazine Winter 2024 Issue by George Collins

     

    Read artist and designer, Melissa Chen’s interview with Bernadette Morra for FASHION magazine’s Winter 2024 Issue. Melissa is the designer behind the artistic creations at LUNAR RAIN. Interview questions are asked by Bernadette Morra and answered by Melissa Chen. Scroll down to read the full interview.

    lunar rain fashion magazine winter 2024
    lunar rain fashion magazine winter 2024
    FASHION, Winter 2024 Issue.

    When did you first start working with dendritic agate and why?

    I first started designing with dendritic agate in 2018 while I was studying painting at the Royal College of Art. I came across these gemstones on social media and was instantly amazed that they were natural but looked like paintings. When I was fifteen, I began collecting and studying vintage and antique jewellery, and occasionally, I came across dendritic agate jewellery. However, in 2018, pictures of recently mined dendritic agates started to pop up on social media. The quality of these dendritic agate gemstones far surpassed that of the stones I had previously seen in vintage and antique jewellery. These new dendritic agates came in a wider variety of colours and patterns, which  sometimes resemble plant life or animals like jellyfish, snails, bears, etc.. They inspired me to set them into nature-inspired designs.

     

    What is your process for designing with dendritic agate? Do you have an animal or other motif in mind and then go looking for the agate that will work within it? Or do you look at a piece of agate and “see” what could be created around it?

    Because each dendritic agate is unique, like a fingerprint, it is easier to design around an existing stone. Based on the pattern of each piece of stone, I would visualize the design it will set into. About one in forty dendritic agates cracks during the setting process because some stones can’t handle the pressure no matter how careful we are. When this happens, I try to find a replacement stone, but it’s always challenging to find a suitable replacement. We usually have to melt the jewellery and start from scratch. Therefore, it’s not a good idea to imagine a dream stone for a design before finding it.

    Vancouver Jewellery Brand Lunar Rain
    Octopus Ink Necklace made of 18k gold, dendritic agate and moonstone. From our Full Fathom Five Collection.
    fish jewelry lunar rain
    Herring Fish earrings in 18k gold with dendritic agate and Akoya pearls. From our Full Fathom Five Collection.

    How difficult is it to find dendritic agate to design with?

    Dendritic agate is easy to find, but dendritic agates that I like are hard to find. I’m picky and prefer stones that are more pictorial with balanced compositions and/or are more vibrant in colour. Fortunately, the lapidary artists let me pick through the new batches they have cut. The stones in each batch look different; very often I can pick out only a few from a batch.

     

    I see you have an MA in painting from the Royal College of Art but have you studied goldsmithing? Or other jewellery-making techniques?

    I studied jewellery making in high school, where I worked with wax and casted jewellery. Then, during my BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I studied foundry for sculpture, working with wax and casting bronze and aluminum. I did not take jewellery making classes at either of the art schools I attended. At the moment, I consider myself a jewellery designer but not a jeweller. I design jewellery, but I usually do not make jewellery anymore. I do the enamelling for my designs and work with jewellery workshops that bring my designs to life.

     

    Why did you call your company Lunar Rain?

    My Chinese name is Little Rain, or Xiao Yu in pinyin. Therefore, I took the name ‘Rain’ and paired it with the word ‘lunar’ to give the brand a more feminine vibe. I initially wanted to name my brand Melissa Chen but decided against it because there are hundreds of people with the same name.

     

    Where were you born, and in what part of BC did you grow up?

    I was born in Shandong, China. When I was two, my family immigrated to Coquitlam, British Columbia. I grew up and went to school in the Coquitlam and Port Moody area, which is about an hour’s drive outside of Vancouver.

     

    Why have you chosen jewellery design as a medium for your art?

    I’ve always liked the feeling of wearing one of my ideas as I go about my day. It’s also very satisfying to see my ideas cast in gold because of its permanence. When I studied painting, archivability was a constant struggle because painting materials are highly sensitive to the environment. The resilience of metal provides me with the peace of mind that my ideas will not turn to dust and decompose into nothingness.

     

    Is there anything else you would like readers to know about your designs?

    Dendritic agate is my favourite gemstone, but we also have designs featuring other gemstones.

    Lunar Rain is a Canadian jewellery brand based in Vancouver, Canada. We ship worldwide and specialize in making fine jewellery inspired by nature.

     

    Shop our work at LunarRain.com

     

    We currently have 5 collections:
    Full Fathom Five – A collection inspired by sunken treasure and the sea.
    Earthly Delights – Fantastical jewels inspired by nature, food and other earthly pleasures.
    Gothic Romance – Jewellery inspired by gothic art, fashion and literature.
    Celestial Dreams – Jewellery inspired by the stars and galaxies above and heavenly deities.
    All The Devils Are Here – A darker collection inspired by witchcraft, hell, monsters and memento mori jewellery.

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