Bottom portion of Jacqueline Chan's "Mushrooms Under the Moon"
Happy Monday, folks! You might remember a while back when we featured simply lovely jewelry by Whimsy Milieu and today, we’re chatting with talented Sydney, Australia-based creator and artist Jacqueline Chan.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in a place called Kuching (City of Cats) in Malaysia, and went to Sydney, Australia to further my studies. I grew up doing lots of creative things at home and at school, but somehow ended up being an engineer. After working as an engineer for a short while, I realized that I did not want to be doing that for my whole life, thus I took the leap to pursue my creative dream. I went on to study a few more years and graduated with a degree in Design.
My dream has always been to have my own design studio and design label, so I started Whimsy Milieu.
Tell us about your shop.
Whimsy Milieu started a few months ago, with a focus in jewelry, accessories, small objects, and illustrations. I chose the name ‘Whimsy Milieu’ because I want to surround people with whimsical and happy things, be it jewelry, fashion items, houseware, and so much more that I dream to design in the future. For now, my jewelry is mostly handmade by me except elements that I could not possibly do by hand, ie. laser-cutting, and every single piece is lovingly made with care. I sell my jewelry on my Etsy store, at design & crafts markets, and also they are stocked in several shops.
Who are some people that have inspired you to pursue art?
My mother has always been very encouraging when it comes to creative activities during my younger years – she is definitely the one person that instilled creativity in me. I have a few very dear friends who have supported and encouraged me when I decided on my ‘career change’, and they are still as supportive today. My mother and my friends’ support have inspired me to work hard to achieve my dreams of being a designer.
There are so many designers and artists out there (thanks to the internet!) that I admire, and their amazing works inspire me endlessly, and pushed me to develop my own style and aesthetics so that one day I may become like them and inspire other people.
How would you describe your artistic style?
I would say my style is whimsical – both in terms of playful & quaint as well as fickle and capricious. I am inspired by a huge range of things – from old illustrations, natural curiosities, vintage wares, apothecary, Japanese crafts & design, to French patisserie – anything at all that catches my attention at the moment. That being said, my upcoming jewelry collection is going to be very different from the previous collection, and I am very excited about that.
When/how did you become interested in jewelry-making?
During the first year of my design degree, I was actively making one-off jewelry to sell (in the hope of earning more money for my tuition fees), but stopped doing that when I became too busy with full-time studies and part-time work. Further into the degree, I took up an elective course in jewelry design and was introduced to the many amazing techniques of making jewelry, and the love for jewelry-making just sprung back. I am not a big fan of conventional precious metal jewelry, so I decided to design and make what I call unconventional, contemporary jewelry that uses materials other than the usual gold, silver, or precious stones.
It is very satisfying to make something that someone can wear and feel good about themselves.
What are a few things you enjoy about nature?
There are a lot of things that I enjoy about nature – I grew up in a place where there is always lots of nature around us. I love it how nature can always amaze me – from small little plants and insects to vast expanses of untouched land – how they (the ecological system) all work together in harmony, and how nature always brings me a sense of peace. Every element of nature is very well-designed.