Weng Ian Lai

Weng Ian Lai is a contemporary jewellery and metal artist living and working in Taiwan. In her work she seeks to capture the beauty of nature by combining metal with local plants from Taiwan.

If you had access to all the powers, how would you improve the world?
There are too many options and possibilities! I think for me the most important thing is peace and health! I would protect our earth in the hope that all living beings can find the best way to share our planet.

What are the biggest sustainability challenges in your work and how are you addressing them?
I think it is the way of how to keep my pieces, my works are made from natural materials, so it’s always a challenge to keep them in good condition. After doing different experiments, I found out that a special wax can protect them very well!

Which conscious lifestyle choices are you making? And are you considering any new ones?
Keep learning new things to challenge myself. For now, I am still enjoying it very much!

What have you rebelled against in the past, and what are you rebelling against now?
I am studying contemporary jewellery, which is not very popular in Asia, even my parents didn’t understand what it was first.

Do you think cutlery can still be improved? If yes, in what way?
Yes! This was the first time that I made cutlery, so for me this is a new experience! When I have more time again I would love to try more different shapes for the handle and to explore more materials.

What was the inspiration for your Steinbeisser pieces?
The inspiration for these pieces is the nature around the place where I live.

Describe your work in 3 words!
Embraceable. Strange. Natural.

What kind of materials do you use and where do you get them from?
The fruit shell of the ping-pong tree is also known as the noble bottle tree from Taiwan.

What has been your favorite dinner experience?
A very traditional Japanese cuisine, the Kaiseki Ryori (懷石料理), that I tried in Hokkaido in the winter of 2014. That was a really remarkable dinner! Its origins are found in the simple meals served during the tea ceremony many centuries ago, but nowadays it has become more of a Japanese Haute Cuisine.

What excites you about tomorrow?
Having a good breakfast in the morning.

What are your 3 favorite pieces on Jouw…?
The Cutlery Comb by Rachael Colley, the Calabash Bamboo Spoon Bowl by Tala Yuan, and the Moment Plate by Joo Hyung Park.