Playing Favorites with Dallae Kang

It’s easy to name your favorite gemstone or metal to work in, but what if you had to name your favorite design? How could you choose? In this occasional column, we ask designers to identify their favorite piece and explain why it holds a special place in their heart. In this issue we talked to Dallae Kang.

“In South Korea, a “round person” means, in terms of personality,
a good and positive person in every aspect.”

Living a busy life, I often crave a break from the fast pace. When that happens, I observe myself, looking inward. That moment of quiet contemplation brings me peace. That moment is solitude.

I am intrigued by the idea of expressing my feelings through my artwork. In2013, I created a series of brooches called State of Mind, and Solitude is one  of them. I can’t part with it as it is very special

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I value Solitude not only because it brings me tranquility, order, and comfort, but also because each element in this piece is in its right place, as I wish to be in this world.

I fashioned the brooch, which measures 2.25 inches by 2.25 inches by 0.5inch, by soldering U-shaped silver wire pieces (or Dallae units, as I call them) with balls on both ends, one by one. There are

hundreds of them in this piece, but each one is crucial for holding together the brooch. I wanted to emphasize the importance of a small unit. These units are similar to the cells in our bodies, which allow us to function well when all the individual components work accordingly.

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In South Korea, from where I emigrated in my early 20s, a “round person” means, in terms of personality, a good and positive person in every aspect. I arranged the Dallae units in a circle because the round and closed shape is a good representation of solitude since it is a positive time during which you are separated from others.

The outer edge of the circle has more layers of Dallae units, making the inner part deeper. This design choice indicates that solitude is a time when I withdraw into myself and grow. I consider the teachings of the Bible to be my backbone, and this piece illustrates the role of religion in my life. That’s why I included 12 bi-metal (22k gold and sterling silver) domed disks with 22k gold balls on them in the right lower part of the piece. The number 12 stands for perfection or wholeness in the Bible, representing the12 disciples who learned the true meaning of life through Jesus.

Dallae Kang
Dallae Kang Jewelry Studio
Northborough, Massachusetts

“I value Solitude not only because it brings me tranquility, order, and comfort, but also because each element in this piece is in its right place, as I wish to be in this world.”

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The ten 22k gold balls, which are soldered to the Dallae units and scattered throughout the inner circle, signify hidden treasures in my life that I need to discover. When I come across one, it will be a delightful surprise. All this searching takes place during my alone time, and I cherish that solitude.**

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The award-winning Journal is published monthly by MJSA, the trade association for professional jewelry makers, designers, and related suppliers. It offers design ideas, fabrication and production techniques, bench tips, business and marketing insights, and trend and technology updates—the information crucial for business success. "More than other publications, MJSA Journal is oriented toward people like me: those trying to earn a living by designing and making jewelry," says Jim Binnion of James Binnion Metal Arts.
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