Fashion: Liz Quan’s Jewelry Evokes the Senses

Liz Quan has always loved to build and create things. In fact, she’s explored every medium from wood to leather, paint, and fiber. Hailing from New York City, she moved to Boulder in 2005 to pursue a post-baccalaureate in ceramics at the University of Colorado. To add to her impressive portfolio, Quan designs unique jewelry.

Liz Quan in her studio

Why is clay your chosen medium?
“Clay as a medium resonates with me because of its flexible sculptural qualities. It can be formed into anything and is more forgiving than, say, wood or steel. The ability to readily add or take away material during the creation process offers tremendous freedom. I work with porcelain clay for its pure qualities. Its smoothness feels satisfying to work with and its neutral white color serves as a clean slate where I can focus on texture, line, and form.”

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What makes your pieces so unique?
“Ceramic pieces are often seen as fragile, particularly porcelain. I invite people to touch and interact with the pieces. Play is big part of my inspiration and process and it’s nice to extend that joy to the viewer. My custom collection, Flora, is a good example of this. Each ring is made up of multiple pieces. When you pick it up, it moves with your hands and cre- ates a sound like seashells. It’s disarming and satisfying at the same time.”

What’s the inspiration be- hind your jewelry?
“The jewelry came about from working on the white coral light pendants. During the pro- duction process of making so many multiples, some pieces would break before they were fired. These immediately felt like perfect pieces for jewelry. I was never a big jewelry wearer. But after wearing these, they felt like talismans.”

How do you make your jewelry?
“The pieces are slip cast. Slip casting is a process where you make a plaster mold to create multiples from. After casting, I cut and carve each to make unique forms for the jewelry pieces.”

Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry you’ve made?
“They are all unique. However, I do like ones with many multiple pieces that create a soft sound when you touch them. I often wonder what my propensity for multiples comes from.”

What’s your thought process behind color?
“I love color! Glazing, to achieve certain colors in ceramics, is all chemistry. It’s really fun to explore but also takes time to achieve the results you want. I’ve done a lot in the past and will revisit someday. Now, I’m interested in form and textures with occasional accents.”

What’s your favorite thing about the creative scene in Boulder?
“It’s a very supportive com- munity. Everyone knows each other. Small enclaves are doing pop-ups or in book clubs. Open Studios has also been a suc- cessful art event in Boulder. It’s a beautiful and quiet place to create.”

Photography by Matthew Staver