Introduce yourself. What is your craft? Where do you call home?
My name is Claire Fong and I’m a jewelry and fashion designer from Northern California. I currently live in the verdant valley, but lived for many years in San Francisco.
You make such lovely jewelry, how did you get started? Why do you make it?
While in the bay area, I studied fashion design at the California College of the Arts. Fashion, clothing and the art of adornment have always been important to me. I use these mediums as an escape from the day to day and a way to ease my anxiety. Whenever I’m having a rough day, my first self-soothing technique is to change my outfit. What a person is wearing can change their whole identity. I originally began my design career making clothes and costumes, but transitioned my focus to jewelry because of it’s versatility. There’s no sizing or need to be a certain body type to fit a particular piece. The process of making jewelry is also much quicker than making a garment. I tend to be pretty impatient, so having a final jewelry product done in an hour or two, as opposed to days or weeks with a sewing project, is much more doable for me.
Your designs are so unique, where do you find inspiration? Tell us a bit about your process.
When it comes to my creative process, I often feel like I’m not really in control. Sometimes, I’ll get a “creative download” and the work just flows. Ideas come rapidly, colors and shapes fit together perfectly, and my concentration is unshakable. After those periods, I’ll look back at what I’ve made and feel a certain disconnect, like I was just a conduit for the art to come through.
But most of the time, my process is far less glamorous. I have to sit down and do research and sketches and make a million awkward pieces or jewelry before I get it right. Finding authentic inspiration is the key. I’ve definitely looked at fashion blogs and tried to recreate things that are trending, but that never feels right. I really try to stay true to myself and my intuition. Currently, I’ve been drawing inspiration from space, solar activity, Freddie Mercury and sci-fi movies from the 80s like Krull and Conan the Barbarian.
One of my favorite things that I’ve made recently is a necklace that is definitely fit for a Sci-fi princess. It’s a giant chunk of amethyst wrapped in gold chain and gold wire hanging from a vintage piece of heavy gold chain. It feels very powerful.