Bianca Chong (Answer B)
1. How long have you been working on the work bench you currently using? Does it have a story / history?
I have my own bench since 2016 and since I started teaching at HJI in 2017, I moved to a slightly larger bench space with an extended table. It is facing a large window with natural sunlight. I started with the most basic set up, and gradually adding more professional tools to my workbench as I become more and more experienced. I love my bench, it is a compact but vibrant place where I could spent hours working on my jewellery.
2/ Which is your favourite tool, and why?
This is a very tough question! I love most of my tools, I love collecting files and my favourite file would be the safe-edge barrette needle file. It has a super thin tip that allows me to clean up the trickiest area. I also love my gem setting tool, one is a prong pusher I made with an old carbide burr. I work a lot with melees gemstones and this is a perfect size for the small prongs, while the tough material makes it easy to push the metal. Lastly it’s a gem setting hammer gifted by my jeweller friends Ruriko Ito and Donna Lacis. It has the perfect weight and touch, I had been using it for most of my gem setting work since I got it.
3/ What is the jewellery making technique / process you enjoy the most, and why?
I enjoy gem setting a lot, it gives me anxiety and joy at the same time! There are so many factors you have to consider to get the gemstone set – how you created the metal seat, types and hardness of gemstones, the technique you push the metal and how you clean it up afterwards. It is challenging and every time I do it I learn something new, it is pushing me to refine my techniques and knowledge.
4/ Anything else you want to tell us about your jewellery bench?
I have my initial on most of my tools and I like to paint the wooden handle of my files and gem setting tools. It’s my way of personalizing my bench space and I feel happy just by looking at them!