In Virginia, engineer-turned-artist Wiwat Kamolpornwijit uses light-weight polymer clay in his contemporary jewelry designs.
Artist: Kamolpornwijit grew up in Thailand, where he attended an engineering college. He moved to the United States to attend graduate school at New Jersey Institute of Technology and worked as a postgraduate research associate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee for six years.
In 2004, at a fundraising event for a Thai temple he attended in Atlanta, he started playing with polymer clay. Three years later he opted to pursue his art full time.
His name: Wiwat is a Thai word that means evolving.
Company/studio: Wiwat Kamolpornwijit is based in Alexandria. The jewelry designer’s living room serves as his studio – an upgrade from his bedroom.
Art & materials: Lightweight jewelry made from polymer clay, beads, stones, silver and found objects. Jewelry includes: earrings ($30 to $125); bracelets ($95 to $295); necklaces and pendants ($45 to $800).
What’s popular: Earrings, mostly under $100.
- Forms each piece of polymer clay by hand.
- Applies various techniques to clay, including caning, engraving, weaving and layering.
- Colors are the original colors of clay. No paint is applied.
- Beads and wires are added to complement the clay work.
Favorite or go-to tools: A metal stick that he uses all the time. Also a pasta machine. “I have broken many of them over the years.”
Describe your work: Miniature sculptures to wear.
Inspirations: Mostly from things he sees, including natural objects, buildings, or even trash … like a crumpled piece of paper.
Fun or unusual commissions: Make an ornament in the shape of a red jalapeno pepper with female breasts.
What’s next: Wants to simplify his work and make it flat and not dimensional sometimes.
Where to buy: https://wiwat-Kamolpornwijit.com. Also upcoming art shows, including: Coconut Grove Arts Festival in Florida, Feb. 18-20.
- Facebook: wiwat.kamolpornwijit
- Instagram: @wiwatkam