At Visible Interest, we're smitten with the modern charm of Michelle Chang jewelry. Michelle has a knack for putting a cool spin on all sorts of shapes and symbols, from the Crescent Moon Pendant Necklace to the Egyptian Eye Ring with Diamonds. Michelle draws upon the skills she learned as a fine artist, interior designer and illustrator to create what she calls “art embodied in a tiny object, one that can be worn to become a part of the person wearing it.” Each piece of Michelle Chang jewelry is a unique entity; made by hand, start to finish, with natural materials in her sunny L.A. studio.
We recently asked Michelle about the favorite aspects of her work, her inspirations and the women who wear her creations. This is what she told us.
How did you start designing jewelry?
I have an extensive background in fine art and design. I studied fine art, design, architecture, and illustration in school and have two degrees.
I worked as an interior architect and as a freelance editorial illustrator prior to going into metal smithing and jewelry design. But it was a seamless leap as my background was great prep for the skills needed as a jewelry maker.
What is your favorite part of the process?
I like the conceptualization and design of new pieces. Working with my hands is always a thrill. Probably my least favorite is the business side of running my own business.
Do you have a favorite medium?
I work pretty much exclusively with metals and my favorite metal is Gold.
Do you have a favorite piece?
I would have to say the Snake tail ring. Its been a strong seller since its introduction and I loved designing and making it.
What's your design philosophy?
Take everything that I find visually intriguing and make it into a piece of wearable jewelry I am proud to have my name associated with.
Describe you work in three words? Small, wearable, timeless
Who or what inspires you?
Inspiration comes to me from everything, everywhere. Birds flying around my yard, an architectural detail on a building, someone’s vintage pin. I take what I notice visually and make it my own. My designs do not have a narrow focus: they can be geometric and symmetrical as well as organic and free form.
Do you have a signature look?
My strongest sellers have always been my animal pieces. I have a knack for carving animals from wax.
Who are your design crushes? Eames, Mid Century, Phillip Crangi
Who do you design for? What kind of woman wears your jewelry?
I am usually torn between designing jewelry that I want to wear myself and what I think will sell well. The best is when both ends are satisfied. I hope that the jewelry appeals to both young and older women with a modern sensibility.
What makes a woman look modern?
Someone who wears what she likes and projects a unique sensibility that is timeless.
What does modern mean to you? Strong, distinctive, on trend but timeless
What can't you live without? Books and Nature (and my two dogs, Bing and Indy)