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Insights of an Eco Artist

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Blending Art, Psychology, and Nursing for Emotional Healing with Qian Sun

Joana Alarcão

Qian Sun combines art, psychology, and nursing to craft meaningful works that promote mental health and commemorate the deep connections between humans and their pets.

21 May 2024

Qian Sun was born in Wuhan, China. She has been engaged in clothing and jewellery design for more than ten years, and loves designing and discovering the overlooked beauty in life. And studied psychology for three years. She is motivated to use her profession to help others.She's work pushes the boundaries of traditional jewellery design, combining her understanding of fashion with the fine skills of metal craftsmanship to give the pieces a unique emotional value and memorable meaning. In her continuous exploration and use of materials, techniques and forms, she demonstrates a revolutionary understanding of traditional jewellery and a deep insight into the use of materials.

Can you start by giving us an overview of your practice and what led you to explore the intersection of art and care?

Firstly, my background in psychology has sparked a keen interest in the nursing field for me, as it provides crucial insights into human behavior and emotional experiences. I deeply understand the significance of mental well-being for an individual's overall welfare, and nursing stands out as a key avenue for providing psychological support and emotional comfort.

Secondly, with a decade of experience in the arts, I've come to appreciate the power and allure of artistic expression. I firmly believe in the potential complementary relationship between art and nursing. To me, art serves as a medium for expressing emotions and conveying messages. I aspire to merge my artistic skills with knowledge from other fields to create works that offer tangible assistance and positive impact.

In summary, my practice aims to explore the integration of psychology, art, and nursing to craft artworks that promote mental health and emotional healing, thus contributing positively to societal well-being.

What made you want to use dog hair as raw material to talk about the impact of pets in the lives of humans and the significance of commemorating the bond you shared with them?

From a young age, I've lived alongside pets, fostering deep emotional connections with various animals. I must admit, I have a greater affinity for animals than for humans. I've had a small dog by my side for seven years, and as he ages, I'm increasingly aware of the brevity of a pet's lifespan. Confronted with the fleeting nature of life and the inevitability of ageing and death, I felt compelled to preserve the profound bond and cherished memories between us.

After extensive research, I decided to capture the tactile sensation of stroking fur and the unique scent of my dog as a means of commemorating our bond. Thus, I chose to use dog fur as the primary material for creating artwork. These pieces serve not only as a continuation of the emotional connection between my pet and me but also as an expression of gratitude and remembrance for the profound impact pets have on our lives.

Photo of an asian artist with a necklace made out of dog fur and silver
Spring necklace, 2024 by Qian Sun. Image courtesy of Qian Sun.
You also incorporate other materials into your work, what are their significance?

Firstly, I chose to use silver because its texture and luster complement the dog fur, and silver is a material I find precious. The reflective properties of silver enhance the visual impact of the artwork, creating contrast with the dyed dog fur and adding depth to the piece. Additionally, silver's durability adds a sense of preciousness and stability to the artwork.

Secondly, I opted for silk because it blends well with the dyed dog fur, enriching the colors and textures of the piece. The smooth texture of silk contrasts with the softness of the dog fur, enhancing the tactile and visual experience of the artwork.

In addition to silver and silk, other materials are primarily used to support the soft fur and silk, such as copper wire. The resilience and stability of copper wire effectively support the structure of the artwork and harmonize with the other materials to create a cohesive overall effect.

A Feast of Flowers is a piece that captures a whimsical springtime scene and conveys a powerful message about the healing energy of nature and the joys of companionship. What inspired you to create this work of art?

"The Feast of Flowers" depicts a spring scene from my memory. The inspiration for this piece stems from the sight of my small dog and me taking a stroll in the garden after its illness. Despite its condition, it remained ever optimistic, capturing the joy and vitality of nature's splendor. The garden was adorned with an abundance of fresh blooms and wildflowers, symbolizing rejuvenation and vitality. In that moment, I glimpsed hope and deeply felt the power of love. I aim to immortalize this memory through my artwork, cherishing every precious minute after my dog's illness, as it continues to heal and remind me of the preciousness of life, of the present moment. Furthermore, I hope this artwork serves as a reminder for people to find simple joy in companionship and to recognize the potent healing energy of nature.

a photo a ring made of flowers and fur
A Feast of Flowers ring, 2024 by Qian Sun. Image courtesy of Qian Sun.
In what ways do you think art can help convey emotions and preserve memories?

Firstly, although art typically tells stories through symbolism and metaphor, through various forms of artistic expression, it can infuse multiple languages into the work, conveying complex emotions and personal experiences, allowing viewers to intuitively grasp this information, and interpret the work in unique ways based on their individual experiences, thus eliciting different emotional responses.

I believe that art serves as a mirror for personal reflection, resonating with individuals based on their memories and emotions.

Furthermore, I consider the process of art creation to be a method for artists to understand themselves, allowing them to express and process their emotions in tangible forms. I find the process of creating art to be profoundly healing.

Lastly, I believe that artworks have the ability to preserve memories for generations. They serve as tangible reminders of past experiences, cultural heritage, and personal histories, allowing memories to endure long after the events have passed.

A hand with a blue ring made of fur
Stars and Flowers ring, 2024 by Qian Sun. Image courtesy of Qian Sun.
How do you see your work healing and bringing comfort to others? 

My work is a culmination of thorough research and exploration, aimed at harnessing the healing potential of visual and tactile experiences. I firmly believe that the sensory elements in my artwork have a profound therapeutic effect, offering solace and comfort to those who engage with them.

Moreover, the materials I utilize, particularly dog fur, carry deep symbolic meaning and emotional resonance. By incorporating such materials, I aim to evoke a sense of connection and empathy in the viewers, facilitating a healing process through shared experiences and emotions.

Beyond the physical attributes of my art, I also strive to convey a narrative of personal growth and resilience. Through my creative endeavors, I endeavor to illustrate how art has been instrumental in my own journey of self-discovery and healing. My hope is that by sharing my story and the transformative power of art, I can inspire others to embark on their own paths of self-exploration and find solace in the creative process. Ultimately, I aspire to empower individuals with the confidence and tools they need to navigate life's challenges and emerge stronger and more resilient.

necklace made out of silver and dog hair with a red colour
Wishes necklace, 2024 by Qian Sun. Image courtesy of Qian Sun.
Wishes explores not only the deep bond between humans and their pet dogs but also your personal recovery. What inspired you to create this intimate and heartfelt work of art, and what role does jewellery design play in your healing process?

During my recovery process, jewelry design served as a therapeutic outlet for me. In particular, the research of materials proved to be most beneficial. I experimented with various healing techniques, such as mandala painting, pottery, weaving, and eventually using dog fur. I often employed repetitive techniques in creating my pieces. Design provided me with a space to escape reality and release emotions, allowing me to find solace in art.

Simultaneously, jewelry design became a medium for expressing my emotions and experiences. Each piece of jewelry carries the emotions and stories deep within me, serving as a bridge to commemorate every significant moment. I share my story with viewers, conveying a love for life and hope for the future.

Can you tell me about a project you would like to undertake in the future and how it will continue the exploration of care and interconnectedness?

Certainly! In the near future, I plan to explore a project that involves combining dog fur with ceramics to create installations. This is something I'm eager to experiment with and further explore. Through this combination, I hope to create unique and meaningful artworks that integrate the special bond between humans and pets into the installations, expressing exploration and presentation of life, emotions, and intimate relationships.

Additionally, I intend to enhance my knowledge by studying professional psychology courses. I believe this will provide me with a deeper understanding and insight, helping me better comprehend the complexity of human psychology and emotions. With this knowledge, I aim to create jewelry pieces that are therapeutic and inspiring.

My goal is to create more intimate and personalized jewelry aimed at reducing anxiety, boosting confidence, and courage. Each piece will be one-of-a-kind because I believe everyone has unique emotions and experiences. I hope my jewelry pieces can bring comfort and encouragement to people, serving as special gifts and symbols of strength in their lives.

Most importantly, I realize the need for more professional knowledge and skills. Therefore, I will strive to learn about the latest therapeutic techniques, identify the most vulnerable demographics, and create specific healing jewelry tailored to their needs. This will be a significant direction for my future work, aiming to make a more meaningful contribution to social health and well-being.

ring made out of silver and dog hair
Moonlight Waltz ring, 2024 by Qian Sun. Image courtesy of Qian Sun.

Do you believe that engaging in artistic expression is a mode of nurturing? If so, what are the reasons behind this perspective?

First of all, artistic expression is a creative activity that fosters an individual's imagination and creativity. Through art, people are able to explore their inner world and express their thoughts and emotions, thus promoting personal development and growth.

Secondly, participating in artistic expression can cultivate individuals' ability to express themselves and their communication skills. Art, as a language, can help people express themselves in non-literal ways and build emotional connections with others.

In addition, artistic expression promotes emotional expression and mood management. Through art creation, individuals are able to express and perceive their deepest feelings and emotions and release repressed emotions.

What message or call to action would you like to leave our readers with?

I would like to leave our readers with a simple yet powerful message: cherish the moments spent with loved ones, both human and animal, and find joy in the beauty of nature's healing embrace. Let us embrace the present moment, treasure the connections we have, and remember the profound impact of love and companionship in our lives. Take the time to appreciate the simple pleasures around us and recognize the resilience and beauty of life in all its forms.

Find more about the artist here.

Cover image:

Whisper necklace, 2024 by Qian Sun. Image courtesy of Qian Sun.

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