Imagine not having a design or an expected outcome, so you just let your hands guide you. You twist and fumble with the wires, add decorative gems and explore. Every twist, bend or loop is a journey of discovery, and despite not having a plan in mind, you create not one stunning jewellery piece but two hundred! And what’s more, you’re no expert; you’re just a nine-year-old boy who got bored and started making jewellery six months ago.
Through the lens of our little jeweller, it’s something that he views as “fun, fun”, but could it be a foretelling of his future career? We don’t know, and even he doesn’t know. What he is certain about, however, is that he enjoys doing it, and that’s all that matters. And because he comes from a strong line of jewellers and jewellery merchants, are we possibly looking at our next Louis-Francois Cartier?
The story of young Jarrod is a classic tale of where creativity meets passion meets talent. A formidable combination that even his mother is still in awe of. What started as “Mummy, can you teach me how to make it” might very well be the emergence of a rising star, and as Pokok.Asia, we were honoured to interview our exceptional wonder child and his super mommy, Joanna, and this is what they had to say.
When did you first discover your son’s talent?
Joanna: It started six months ago when he said, “Mummy can you teach me how to make it,” and then I taught him the very basics. On his own, he started fidgeting with the wires and ended up making a piece, which was quite a surprise because I never really expected it. Over time he has shown increased growth, and now I just leave him to do everything he wants. He has more ideas, always coming up with new ones at every turn, and it’s pretty fascinating to watch.
When did you start making jewellery?
Joanna: My father owned a jewellery store, and I started making my own jewellery fifteen years back. I graduated from school, and then I took over my dad’s small jewellery business, and at that time, they just sold finished products, including Swarovski beads and all that. Still, they didn’t do any classes, so I introduced them and picked beading from all over the world.
Did it come as a surprise when Jarrod started making jewellery?
Joanna: Yes, it was definitely unexpected. He has always been a handy, crafty child and enjoys making things; he has even tried painting. What came as a surprise was how he invested in all of this and the depth of his curiosity. He is always asking for ways to do better and has improved immensely at every stage.
Does he still paint?
Joanna: No, not anymore. He did some really impressive artwork, and we thought that was the path he intended to go, but after some six months, he just stopped. He lost interest, and we could not get him to pick up the paint brushes again. He just said, “Mummy, I can’t. I don’t know how to do it anymore.” But it’s different with the jewellery making as he is bothering me every other day, asking me to get him materials, about the classes and so on. He is really invested in it.
Do you plan on harnessing this newly discovered talent?
Joanna: Yeah, but now because of the lockdown, we can’t exactly send him out for classes. He has been watching many videos on different techniques and always tells me, “Mummy, I want to learn this and that,” and I just teach him what I know. There is still so much more to explore; he is still so young and has a lot of potential to go further.
How long does it take for you to make a ring?
Jarrod: Ten minutes. It depends on the design.
How many rings do you make per day?
Jarrod: Today I have made six. During summer break, I made twenty in one day.
How many pieces of jewellery do you have overall?
Jarrod: I’ve made over two hundred pieces. Mummy keeps them in a box.
Do you plan on selling them or anything?
Joanna: Well, he had plans to set up a little stall at this market we usually go to. When the pandemic is over, he wants to sell his rings there.
Where do you get the inspiration from?
Jarrod: Nowhere. It just comes.
Joanna: It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it? I just give him a piece of wire, and he just comes up with random designs.
What do you think of when you design jewellery?
Jarrod: I just think of something to make and use wire. I just come up with a random idea and then start designing.
Joanna: He says it’s very random because he has a wire and then will bend, twist, or move the wires in all directions and adjust it based on how he feels. Sometimes he will look at it and say, “Okay, maybe I should add some beads.” It all depends on the movements of his fingers; they guide him towards designing pieces. So he doesn’t have a specific design in mind; what could start off as loops and bends could end up like a crown.
When you look at your jewellery, do you like it or still want to perfect it?
How long did it take for him to master the craft, such as bending the wires?
Joanna: It took him less than a week. When we started making the jewellery pieces, he couldn’t properly bend the loop, but it took him about a week to master that part because he kept practising. He created all these beautiful pieces from that one loop, and it was a natural process for him. Of course, there is still much room for improvement, but for now, he has perfected the basic stages, such as cutting the wire, so it’s not too sharp, but he is a quick learner; he is learning new techniques every day.
What’s your favourite material to work with?
Jarrod: Copper wire. It’s soft, so it’s easy to work with.
What’s the most insightful knowledge you have gained through this experience?
Joanna: That he has got a very bright future! He shows so much raw talent and a zeal to learn; I believe he will go far. Even if he later decides to go to design school instead of studying accounting, Law or Medicine, I would not be upset (laughs). It’s not easy, but he is really passionate about it, and I will support him all the way.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Jarrod: I don’t know.
What other discoveries have you made as both Jared’s mother and mentor?
Joanna: Jarrod is quite private about many things, and through this, he has been able to express himself artistically. The jewellery speaks for him. He can just sit in a little corner and spend hours twisting and fumbling with the wires. Just looking at this growth and observing his talent has been very lovely. He is passionate about it and cannot wait to see what the future has in store for him.
What do people say when they see his art?
Joanna: Many of my friends sometimes post it on their Facebook, and we keep receiving little gifts from people. Many times, people want to buy it, and the overall experience has been amazing. The response has been positive and has definitely played a role in motivating him. The problem, however, lies in trying to remake the same piece. He says, “Mum, I can’t do it again.” His designs are spontaneous and not structured, so it can be challenging to make them again.
Do you sometimes guide him towards making specific designs or following a certain route?
Joanna: I try not to influence him too much towards what I believe in because my way of designing is probably ancient already. His way of thinking is broader, so I try not to limit him by adding my input. I only teach him the basics, and the rest he explores on his own.
How would you describe your designs?
Joanna: I still can’t figure out his style. He has various ideas and has explored many things, so he doesn’t necessarily have a standard style. As for me specifically, back in the day, our jewellery was big and chunky. You want it to be very visible. But now it’s a bit more subtle and classy, a far cry from what we used to wear. So now we do beading and not just wiring.
What do you think of mummy’s style?
Jarrod: (laughs) it is too hard for me.
Joanna: He thinks it’s too complicated, maybe because you pay more attention to detail. His is freestyle and more avant-garde where you can design what you feel, whereas ours has to be done in a specific way. I think that’s what’s beautiful about their age. They are not restricted.
What do you wish for Jared in the next ten/twenty years to come?
Jarrod: I’m going to be twenty-nine. I’m going to be old!
Joanna: Whatever he wants to be. When he was younger, he told me, “Mummy, I want to be a grab driver,” and I said okay. You know they change every time, they are still discovering themselves and exploring, but I’d want him to be the best at what he is doing. It doesn’t matter what exactly, as long as he is doing his best.
You have an open-minded parenting style. Has that always been your intention?
Joanna: I came from a strict background. My mother was a teacher. You could only do certain things, follow a certain path that they felt was better. I felt suffocated growing up as there was so much that we wanted to explore but couldn’t. They were doing what they viewed was best for us, with the right intentions, but it fell short. That’s why I want to give my children the platform to explore as much as they can. I tell them that you can be whatever you want, but you have to be responsible for your actions.
What are the fundamentals you hold when parenting your children?
Joanna: I tell my kids that if you can be anything in life, just be nice. It’s free; you do not have to be mean.
What other hobbies do you have?
Joanna: Is that all you like?
Joanna: Don’t you like cycling and fishing?
Jarrod: Oh, fishing!
Do you talk to your friends about your rings?
Jarrod: No. Because I know what they will say.
Joanna: What will they say?
Jarrod: They will say it’s too dangerous. Their mummies told them the hammer would break your finger, and the wires will cut you.
Joanna: Many parents are sceptical and not keen on having their nine-year-old kids use a sewing machine, hammer or anvil. But he likes it, so we’re pretty open to him just trying things out. He can slice fish and open durian on his own, and if he were to get a cut, it’s part of growing up. We have to remind him to take responsibility for his actions and deal with the consequences. He is happy about it, and we just allow him to explore.
Who is your role model?
Jarrod: Nobody. I don’t have one.
Jared: Because I don’t know.
Joanna: Okay, who do you admire the most?
Okay, who inspires you the most, Jarrod?
Jarrod: I don’t know.
Joanna: Youtube (laughs)
“Oh, the places you’ll go” – Dr. Seuss
To achieve great things in life, one should be open to exploring. Do not be afraid to venture into the unfamiliar, and who knows; you might find your own special calling there! The story of Jarrod and his artistic prowess has taught us that sometimes random doors of opportunities lead us to more extraordinary paths.