As a child, jewelry designer Yoon Hye-rim loved playing with her magnifying glass.
“I’ve always been an observer,” she said. “I would use it to observe flowers, insects and other things in nature.”
The up-and-coming designer recently launched a brand named “Efluvi,” which offers magnifying glasses in different forms, including necklaces, handkerchiefs, and even paperweights. She is one of the artists-in-residence at Seoul Art Space Sindang, an artist residency program funded by the government at Seoul Jungang Market.
|Jewelry designer Yoon Hye-rim poses with her products during an interview with The Korea Herald in Seoul. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)|
The products are a result of Yoon’s poetic design sensibilities. Her main source of inspiration is nature and water, and in most of her designs the magnifying glass serves as a symbol of reflective still waters, surrounded by trees decorated with dazzling little stones.
It all started with a school project. While attending college, her professor had every student in the class use magnifying glasses to create a piece of jewelry for the elderly. Most of her classmates stopped working with the objects after the assignment, but Yoon was different.
“Anyone can make necklaces and bracelets,” she said in an interview with The Korea Herald. “But these pieces with magnifying glasses serve a particular purpose that I personally care about. I would like to create things for a small number of people.”
The professor thought of the class assignment after an old man, who visited her jewelry shop, said “nothing in this shop is for the elderly.” She wanted to create something that would meet their needs, and thought of magnifying glasses as a solution.
Yoon, who has a close relationship with her mother ― also a painter ― wants her products to serve as a bridge between the old and young generations.
“I see a lot of the aging population being looked down on in the media,” she said. “I just hope to see more opportunities for young people to understand the lives and experiences of the older generation.”
It is hard to tell that Yoon’s products are in fact magnifying glasses. They all look like jewelry and delicate ornaments that could serve well as decorative items. Yoon said she gets a lot of responses from female customers in their 40s and 50s who are often ashamed to use magnifying glasses in public, as these are considered items for the elderly.
“One of the most memorable pieces of feedback I have received came from an aging customer. He said, ‘It’s nice to know that there is a young person who thinks of us,’” Yoon said.
For more information on Yoon’s products, visit www.efluvi.com.
By Claire Lee (email@example.com)