Jan Preece, HJI’s course and studio director shares with us his experiences into becoming a master craftsman and jewellery designer.
“I completed a traditional jewellery apprenticeship in Brighton Sussex, UK to become a master craftsman. I moved to HK over 20 years ago and was inspired to launch my first collection. After many years running my own company I wanted a new challenge. I joined HJI and have never looked back. It’s an incredible environment that nurtures creativity. I’m now developing a new collection while still producing bespoke designs for private customers. Jewellery is a way of life a passion that never leaves. Inspiration surrounds us.”
When did you first realise you wanted to be a jewellery designer?
I loved metal work at school and made my first piece in a craft design and tech class. I did not make a conscious decision to become a jeweller, it just kind of happened!
Tell us about your design style. What makes your design unique in the industry?
During my apprenticeship I learned all the metal and jewellery techniques but had no training with design. I was purely a technician and metalsmith. So my design inspiration came at a later date. I actually think my apprenticeship blinded me to what jewellery could be. My inspiration in jewellery was strongly influenced by designs by Henning Koppel and George Jensen.
What kind of person wears your jewellery? How do you want them to feel when wearing your jewellery?
Many of my designs have a unique twist as they are truly inspired by Hong Kong, people are drawn to my jewellery because of its creativity and HK flare.. It’s something for people to hold memories and life experiences within a piece of jewellery linked to HK life.
As a designer, where do you draw your inspiration from? What inspires you?
My inspiration comes from every day life experiences, especially HK and its uniqueness. Architecture, nature, and everyday objects.
What is your favourite jewellery tool/technique?
There are so many techniques I find pleasure in. I must say, my favourite is gem setting. It’s the final process in completing a piece, It’s the most satisfying part. The sense of achievement can be very rewarding.
Who are your favourite designers?
I am greatly inspired by the designer, Tomaz Donocik.
How do you decide what you want to create?
I have so many wonderful ideas! Ad hoc designing at the bench always leads to creative and interesting pieces.
When is enough enough?
This is a very interesting question. Knowing when to stop is crucial especially in the wax carving techniques.
Three words that sum up your brand.
Clean, clever and elegant.
What is your favourite piece you’ve ever created – and what made it so special?
One of my most popular is my chopstick bangle. It looks great and does not come across as a piece of cutlery but when realised gives it a twist that people love. It’s sold in a Dim sum basket which adds to the whole experience.
When not working, what takes up your time… any hobbies?
When not in the workshop, I enjoy exploring Japanese music culture and traveling to Japan to see my favourite performers. My hobbies are juggling, circus skills, clowning and reading.
Want to learn from Jan or become part of the #HJICommunity?