Eugenie Huang, designer of Deka Ray, has the sort of look about her that you'd think, when she told you she made jewelry, that she's just a fun New York gal of good taste and where-with-all. You would think that because there are a lot of young people like that in New York City (or, perhaps, in any city). Being young, pretty, and ambitious usually means you've some sort of thriving business going on, and that's perfectly fine. The aspect that's often missing, in a city where anyone can do anything, are the designers who treat their work as a craft, and who've dedicated their time to learn about it on a deeper (daresay, classical) level. When you see Huang's jewelry, or actually talk to her about her work, you realize that she is both the young ambitious designer who dresses well and knows a lot of people, and also someone who, if stripped of the superficial, would be genuinely intent on her craft.
Part of that difference comes from her educational background. With a B.S. in Architecture from M.I.T. and a Masters from Columbia, Huang has been trained to meditate on the relationship of spaces and materials and to create based on those findings. It's not as if, though, she'd been trained in Architecture simply to leave it for jewelry making, rather, it's been a childhood practice for her, and one that coincidently flourished when she pursued Architecture.
Here Huang talks to us about her work,
Aside from doing personal engagement ring commissions for friends, I generally shy away from precious stones because I believe more in design over high cost gems. I've been exploring using all sorts of different materials, more recently ship's rope twined with laser-cut lucite and wood, but decided to start my first series with the more traditional materials of oxidized silver and gold. I've gravitated towards the shapes of wings for years, and have produced a more stylized mix between machined fins and silhouetted bird wings. I wanted the forms to be somewhat familiar but not precisely real. something a bit otherworldly. I think of Deka Ray as being someone or something otherworldly landing in the woods of North Carolina [where I grew up] and gleaning ideas from this environment mixed with more futuristic notions about technology. Very much in line with the "future primitive" concept.
If you think of fashion as a craft and of yourself as a curator of these artistic manifestations, then a piece from Deka Ray would be treated as part of your collection. In other words, it would be stored carefully and worn well. Sometimes all it takes is a closer look to realize that some girls aren't just makin' jewelry.