Q&A: Petrichor Jewelry founder Esther Hong on being impulsively artistic and the freedom of making one-of-a-kind art

Q&A: Petrichor Jewelry founder Esther Hong on being impulsively artistic and the freedom of making one-of-a-kind art

Photo by Courtesy of Esther Hong | The Chronicle The maker of avant-garde conversation starters, Esther Hong is a junior who started the jewelry company Petrichor in the spring of 2020. Her one-of-a-kind, upcycled necklaces have become coveted statement pieces for varying punk-inspired and vintage jewelry collections across campus and beyond.

The Chronicle sat down for an interview with Hong to discuss the development of her company and her creative process when making jewelry.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The Chronicle: How did you come to start making jewelry?

Esther Hong: This whole jewelry thing was an effect of quarantine after my mom lost her job. I was looking for work, and no one would accept me. So, I decided to start making beaded earrings and chokers, because I had seen them on Instagram in the Y2K trend. They’re extremely simple, because they’re supposed to look childlike, so I just made those and sold them on my Instagram story.

I experimented starting with beads and then with clay a little bit, but I didn’t really like how clay was so fragile. So, I started looking into upcycling certain pieces, and then transforming it into new jewelry. That has become my selling point, what makes my brand so unique right now.

Since then, my world has expanded so much. I look at inanimate objects in a new way every day. I would have never considered myself particularly creatively inclined, but it seems that over time, I am becoming a more creative person because of this endeavor.

TC: I didn’t know what the word Petrichor meant when I first saw your Instagram before I Googled the definition. How did you decide on that as the name of your company?

EH: Petrichor is my favorite smell and sensation. I remember my mom describing it to me in choppy English and Korean when I was around seven years or old. [Petrichor] reminds me of youth.

When I first started making jewelry, I was working with beads. I was labeling my brand as going back into time and embracing your inner child. Now, I still really like that name because I want to keep my jewelry really experimental.

TC: The pictures of your jewelry are unlike anything I’ve seen before. Where do you get your inspiration for creating jewelry?

EH: @InfinitePieces_ on Instagram is a fashion brand that’s really experimental. They use inanimate objects like keyboards, telephones and circuit boards in their work. They make a lot of weird garments, and I’m in love with designers who make people confused with their art. That’s my goal with Petrichor.

But my biggest inspiration would have to be Vivienne Westwood . She first started making jewelry by herself, and she had a boyfriend who was in a punk band. They worked with each other: She would give him pieces, and he would wear them at their shows. That’s how she segued her brand into this booming punk era at the time.

My boyfriend is in a band called Weston Estate , and we do this funny thing where we try to emulate Vivian’s past. So, in concert, they always wear my pieces.

TC: You talked a bit about the trend of one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, and I’ve noticed that all of your jewelry is one-of-one. How did you come to decide that this is how you want to make and sell jewelry?

EH: When I first started making clay pieces, I found myself duplicating a certain design 10 times and being so tired of it, because clay is so hard to work with. I wasn’t doing well; I would have to destroy half the pieces I made.

Overall, the feeling of reproducing a design felt so static to me. I felt like a worker in my own enterprise, and that was the opposite of what I wanted to do. I actually got the idea from my boyfriend. He said something like, “Just don’t do any of the stupid shit. Just go straight into having fun with your work and doing what feels good. If that’s just investing into one piece, and making everything else an independent, beautiful piece, then just do that. And the demand will follow.”

TC: If I asked you about the most rewarding part of the process, is there anything that comes to mind?

EH: The most rewarding part is seeing my jewelry on other people and seeing them happy about it. Wearing it with a complete outfit and dressing up with […]

source Q&A: Petrichor Jewelry founder Esther Hong on being impulsively artistic and the freedom of making one-of-a-kind art

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