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Interview with Faith Hilda Quek

Home > Designer Interviews > Faith Hilda Quek

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Faith Hilda Quek (FHQ) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Faith Hilda Quek by clicking here.

Interview with Faith Hilda Quek at Monday 30th of April 2018
Faith Hilda Quek
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
FHQ: Growing up in Singapore, I first started drawing when I was 5 years old when my mother enrolled me in a neighborhood community class. I cried every week I went there. It was a room full of kids from elementary to high school. I describe it mostly as a colouring class. Despite sitting in a room packed with students, it was dead quiet. We can hear the fan spinning overhead and the parents whispering outside while the class goes on. My hand still shakes as I recall those moments stuck in my head forever.A year later a young and lively Fine Art graduate teacher took over the classes. Ms Wang was her name and she was beyond amazing and inspiring. She would teach and correct us in ways we never imagined. Showing us different mediums, how to hold a pencil, a paint brush, a crayon and control our strength and pressure to paper to create the effect we wanted. We would pick a postcard or a painting from a nice collection of works she puts in a folder (age appropriate) every week and ‘copy’ that image in our own way onto paper. We have over an hour to create our work of art every week. It was magic. I remember once choosing a postcard with Swiss alps in the background and green mountains in the front. I sat next to a much older boy who also liked my picture and in the end decided to ‘copy’ that small postcard to create his own creation instead. We looked at the same postcard yet at the end of the class, each of us came up a with completely different way of drawing the very same image on paper using different media. He with watercolor and me with my favourite, crayons and pencils. I will never forget at the end of the hour we put our work next to each other and then looked at each other and smiled. No words needed, just an artist’s nod of approval to each other.I trained under her since then and by the time I was 10 have won many international art competitions from Singapore to India and America. She is truly unforgettable and the journey for my love of art began. She would organise art trips and painting weekends to the lake, gardens, city hall, even a shopping mall, and just sit us down all the kids and draw. We drew and painted life around us. Looking at the world through different eyes, seeing the world through each other’s eyes. It was pure therapy. From those moments on, I know I want to create, to design and keep ‘art’ in my life forever. I went to study Architecture in Melbourne University in Australia and won scholarships to further research my love for church architecture in Rome, Italy and till today still draw from background in fine art and architecture, to push the boundaries of jewellery design, visualising in 3D for every client I meet.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
FHQ: I draw and interpret designs live right in front of every client. A moment I treasure deeply as I get to know each client's dream and ideas, and appreciate their trust in allowing me to take them on the design journey to translate from the mind to paper and finally the real finished jewel. A private studio gallery taking appointments to meet clients who want a bespoke piece of their very own heirloom worthy jewel that holds meaning and uniqueness just for them. A studio filled with warmth designed by an architect friend who had specially sourced Australian timber panels specially cut to fit the walls of the studio, with the hopes to transport every visitor to a place where dreams can become reality.

FS: What is "design" for you?
FHQ: Design to me is reinterpreting messages, imagery, emotion and life around us. Translating what is in our minds to a real physical 3-dimensional property that can hold meaning and sentiment unique to each individual.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
FHQ: Jewellery and objects of meaning

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
FHQ: When I am surrounded and immersed in nature.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
FHQ: Time seems to stand still and almost transcend into another dimension.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
FHQ: I feel immense gratitude for I often can already see and visualise the final, this which many clients can only partly feel. To have the opportunity to hold their hand and take them on the design journey is a ride worth every moment both for myself and them. Often a leap from the very first rough sketch or scribble of an idea that springs from say a small comment or inspiration from a client's story and memory, we get to the final realised design and to see my clients' eyes light up and become speechless or often emotional with awe and joy is truely priceless.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
FHQ: To use ethical means of creating new 'life' and design

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
FHQ: Bespoke and unique one-of-a-kind creations have been definitely on the rise as material goods become so readily available in our day to day, individuals no longer feel satisfied from buying off the shelf. As each of us come to appreciate and celebrate our individual unique beauty, design becomes personal. The future of design needs to not only be beautiful but also carry meaning in it.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
FHQ: I launched the Freedom Collection as an exhibition in my studio gallery in December 2017. This is my very first capsule collection to mark the first anniversary of running my own design jewellery boutique store. All my clients who have kept in touch from the past 15 years I have met since working for other jewellery houses, to my own present clients turned up in full support and love. It was a wonderful moment and for a great cause with profits of the sale from the Freedom collection going towards Safesteps, a local charity organisation in Victoria, Australia that supports women and children experiencing domestic violence. The service provides 24 hour emergency shelter homes for those in need. It was beyond humbling and meaningful to raise awareness and share the hope and message of love. I am planning to do another exhibition / new collection launch in December 2018 for the next collection. You are most welcome to visit Melbourne and join the party as we unveil the next collection!

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
FHQ: I love nature and especially trees. The branches and leaves. I could stare at one and its beauty all day. And many designs have started to incorporate a petal/ butterfly wing detail in its cleanest lines represented into a creation. IT started from my own engagement ring design nearly 12 years ago now and I have worked it subtly into every jewel since with the permission of every client.I still strive for symmetry and movement in every work And have created a series of solitaire rings featuring soft curves and sweeping twists hugging a main center diamond with their settings.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
FHQ: Free flowing yet extremely precise. The strong architecture background leaves me a need to ensure I have control over every technical aspect in piece of custom made jewel for each client. Specific down to each fraction of a millimeter, the way each angle in how the jewellery reflects, curve and return light and sparkle from material to gemstone.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
FHQ: Growing up mostly in Asia, I notice tastes and style preferences is different from Australia, which is my second home. Depending on lifestyle and social status, clients m

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
FHQ: Clients first discuss an overview of what they are looking for, be it an engagement ring or heirloom jewel. We then schedule a meeting where they get to visualise ideas through previous design samples and work, while I draw and design with them right there on the spot. Those moments of inspiration is key to the final design, which goes through silver hand made moulds combined with 3D rendering before finally creating the final actual jewel, by combining the use of traditional jewellery making techniques in our workshop with modern technology to turn the dream design into reality. With half of my clients overseas, I am fortunate to have company representatives in various countries line up meetings where I will fly in to meet and greet each client for the design process before flying home to Australia to create each treasured jewel on site. The personal touch is a key ingredient in creating a successful design.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
FHQ: Design must be created for the end user and client in mind. To solve a problem and fill the gap, physically, consciously and most of all subconsciously, what is 'missing' in their lives.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
FHQ: Sketching and drawing skills to communicate technical details and design ideas, combined with the insight to read between the lines for the unspoken, non-verbal core meaning in any design brief.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
FHQ: I believe in going with the flow and that we are always at the right place in the right time if we allow our minds to move to it. Time is only part of a bigger equation and learning to prioritize and not procrastinate is part of life's lessons we seek to balance everyday. Much of time management and how it affects us is really in our mind.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
FHQ: Sometimes it can take less than 3 weeks, other times it takes months. I really believe in the flow of life and if things 'flow' it can happen so fast and is never hard but when things take longer in time, we just need to keep 'flowing' as a design and creation will fall into the place at the right time, that's when we know we have arrived to the 'end' from the workbench, and the 'beginning' is a just about to start, when it falls in the hands of the (client) owner of the commission.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
FHQ: You just drew that in front of me? And even upside down? How do you make it look so easy?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
FHQ: My transition from architecture to fine jewellery was a pure twist of fate. Starting as a part time position to help pay rent through my university days, my primary job role was to support the production controller at a local city jeweller to the all encompassing tasks from cleaning, coffee making to doing the production run where I met every trade person each with specific jewellery skills or trade area, to be a bridge between everyone. There I learnt how a jewel is created from start to finish and the efforts from craftsmen involved. Seeing a jewel production project come full circle is a reward in itself. It allowed me insight to the big picture where design pushes its force into manufacturing, and what limitations being creative and unique can bring. The same questions will always surface: Do we do something the easy, cost efficient way, or do we value true design and creativity above all? And at what cost and to what extent? The experience from learning on the job is truly a treasure that I carry till this day and definitely into the future, as I continue to hold true my belief in honest integrity in design and creation.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
FHQ: Engagement rings and wedding jewels have been the main core of my design clients for more than a decade. I have been blessed with a strong following and referrals and in the recent years see a strong wave of new clients who have wide, deep and different stories of their lives they wish to imprint into the design such as the Freedom ring.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
FHQ: Bespoke pieces excite me as clients allow me to weave their dreams and turn gems into visions of love for them. The fine balance to respect timeless beauty and strike harmony in design is a special gift. Each creation is the birth of a story unique to one.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
FHQ: Creating the next collection of works with the theme of empowering women and the self. I am dreaming of high frequency jewellery charged with crystals and diamonds!

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
FHQ: I draw ideas from every client I met and further develop design myself from there. It feels like a culmination of all the happy, deep, celebratory, meaningful moments of life shared with me, compressed into jewelry.

FS: How can people contact you?
FHQ: Whatsapp and Instagram has been a great way to communicate with clients. As well as email, video calls and even Wechat for international clients of a wide range in background the communication preference.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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