Rings excavated from cigarette lighters, collars filled with lipstick and necklaces knotted from antique love letters contrast with golden rabbits, refined enamel work and brutally chiselled silver in the latest Crafts Council exhibition. Contemporary Japanese Jewellery will premier the work of 50 Japanese makers in the UK, showcasing precious and non-precious jewellery created in the last ten years. The exhibition will explore the use of traditional and contemporary materials in an extraordinary range of jewellery that will appeal to the style-conscious wearer as well as the more traditional
Until the 20th century, Japan had no historical tradition of jewellery making in the Western sense and the practice of jewellery art within Japan is a recent development that has been strongly influenced by Western styles.
There will be a rich diversity of jewellery on show ranging from the recycling of 19th century love letters in Yoshie Kobas necklaces to the stunning cut glass rings of Kazuko Mitsushima. Family connections in this exhibition are also very strong, with father and son Prof Yasuki Hiramatsu and Kozo Hiramatsu, and mother and daughter Reiko Yamada and Mizuko Yamada, showing the skills of two generations of contemporary Japanese jewellery.
Practitioners have been selected from those formally trained in the Japanese university system, from private schools, craftspeople, and from individuals working alone.
By selecting work
produced in the last ten years, the exhibition will chart the changes and trends of some of the finest jewellery being currently produced in Japan.
Simon Fraser, curator of the exhibition comments: Contemporary Japanese Jewellery is an important and exciting show for contemporary jewellery practitioners in this country, bringing an influential body of Japanese work to the UK. I strongly believe that the exhibition will have a lasting impact on future jewellery practice for both Japanese and British makers and continue our centuries old cultural dialogue.