AUTOR is a story imagined and built by passionate people, who inspire through creativity, vision and courage. We want you to discover one of the #peopleofAUTOR and let them enchant you with their story and their creations. Meet them at AUTOR Fair, Bucharest.
Kiang Edwin Idris Charmain, Also known as Edwin Charmain is a creative designer with a focus on graphic, textile and jewellery design. Coming from a textile-producing family in “the city of batik” Pekalongan, Indonesia, the Central Saint Martins MA design Jewellery graduate focus on creating ethical-sustainable filigree jewellery pieces that are inspired by his hometown’s batik culture and tradition.
The participation in AUTOR implies a rigorous selection process, a collection dedicated to the event and a lot of work. What can you tell us about the collection with which you participate in the fair on April 20 and 21?
My jewelry collection is named Pusaka. Having the meaning of treasure or heirloom in Sanskrit, Pusaka collection offers a range of silver filigree jewelry pieces inspired by Indonesian batik iconography and master-craftsmanship. It highlights the dilemma in today’s batik community, focusing on the sustainability and survivability aspect of traditional craftsmanship in this machine production era. By combining elements found in Indonesia traditional batik motifs with unique sequences in natural objects and buildings, Pusaka collection gives a new life to the thousand years batik tradition and craftsmanship, transforming what once a two-dimensional waxing technique on top of fabric into three-dimensional jewelry objects.
To make this collection, I co-designed and collaborated with filigree master-craftsman from Kota Gede (Indonesia), developing a new filigree approach and artistry rooted in the traditional way of making. We moved away from the modern culture of mass production and mass consumption by utilising traditional hand skills and technique to create smaller numbers of individual jewelry pieces that could translate the handcrafted batik artistry and be passed down through generations as an heirloom.
In creating the body of work we make use of scrap silver, silver components from electronic waste and the by-product of solutions used in film negative developing process to create a recycled sterling silver filigree wire. We choose this sustainable material and making technique because it offers the collection a delight in voluminous yet light pieces that express the organic movement and delicate qualities found in handcrafted batik.
Just like batik is rich in symbolism and meaning, each element of Pusaka jewelry, from the shape to the number of elements and name suggests a deeper meaning than what meets the eye.
The overall collection consists of 16 different pieces, which as a whole tell the story of life, death and rebirth of Indonesia Batik and craftsmanship in this global era, and serve as a way to promote, safeguard and innovate Indonesia traditional craftsmanship of batik and filigree making in this global era.
What does it mean for you to be present at AUTOR?
As a young designer who is in the process of building and creating brand awareness, having a chance to showcase my work in one of the most important contemporary and art jewelry events in South East Europe opens a new horizon for both my brand and me. The diversity and expertise that the event brings will enrich my design thinking and open discussion about a jeweller in terms of materiality, concept, context and craftsmanship. This opportunity will also widen my connections and open a new possibility for future collaborations.
The concept of this year’s fair is “Beauty never sleeps”. What does beauty mean to you and how did this artistic creation influence your concept?
As a designer who comes from a country that rich in story, history and traditions, my definition of beauty goes beyond what could be seen on the surface. What constructs you from the inside; your value and the capacity that enables you to be who you truly are is what I consider Beautiful.
If we put it in the context of Jewelry, its material is not the only thing that makes them beautiful. It is the gentle touch of its maker and understanding of both the concept and the process that makes jewelry unique and charming every time. As if the spirit of its maker and designer become the soul of the object.
I believe that our relationship with jewelry is intimate. We choose jewelry that best reflects who we are and what we believe. That being said, in designing my jewelry, rather than seeing it as an adornment to be collected and worn, I treat it as a single unit of Individual, a creature that has a body and soul of its own. Starting from its material, shape, arrangements and names, they signify a deeper meaning than what meets the eye. They are symbolic, poetic and represent the value and spirit of its designer, maker, and wearer.
Nowadays, attention spans are getting shorter day by day. How does contemporary jewelry reflect today’s society?
Rather than reflecting, I think contemporary jewelry challenges today’s society in terms of attention spans because the practice is quite complex and requires attention to details. Unlike most movements of arts and design throughout history, contemporary jewelry couldn’t be categorised or understood by merely looking at its appearance or material that is used. The practice takes whole other concerns such as social context into consideration. The end products show synergy between the product appearance (material and style) with broader themes and the world we live in.
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