Drawing, coloured pencil on black paper, 1964
Chang first became interested in acrylic in the sixties, but it was not until the mid-1980s that he began to turn his attention to jewellery, which he regards as wearable sculpture. Some of his jewellery pieces seem to be almost Frankenstein-like creations with bone and gristle; whilst others seem to show every stage in an insect’s life cycle from pupa to butterfly.
He obtained acrylic from the local sign writer in Berry Street, collecting offcuts or parts of old signs taken from shops in Liverpool’s Chinatown. Red and yellow were popular colours in that community and were often used in shop signs. This colour combination is not uncommon in Chang’s work.
Although some of Chang’s jewellery is fairly large, it is surprisingly light. The core of each bracelet is made from polyurethane foam carved to shape. Chang then encases this core in polyester resin, reinforced with glass fibre strands. He then applies acrylic and uses heat to mould it to shape. Several layers of resin might then be added and polished.
Chang considers every detail of the design carefully and takes incredible care in the construction of each piece. Even the smallest pieces may take days to make.