Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Built in the early 18th century, the Rikugien Gardens in Tokyo, Japan is a beautiful area with lush, green hills, a pond, and a weeping cherry tree. The garden's structure is patterned after Japanese waka poems, which are characterized by five lines. Japan is also the hometown of featured jewelry designer, Meiri Ishida.

Ishida's creations are essentially tactile textiles. Try saying that three times in rapid succession. That is quite a tongue twister. One look at Ishida's objects and jewelry made with multi-colored felt, gold and silver had the same effect. I was at a loss for words.

I like it when a designer goes with an unconventional design approach, setting himself/herself apart, establishing their individuality, and expanding their creativity.

A graduate of Tokyo's Tama Art University (T.M.U.), Ishida specialized in glass art, but her love of various textures and aesthetics led to lots of experimentation. Four years after graduating from T.M.U., Ishida attended the Alchimia School of Contemporary Jewelry in Florence, Italy, under the tutelage of Giampaolo Babetto, and Barbara Seidenath

Ishida's designs are full of color and whimsy. The multi-colored, horizontal pattern of the felt material she uses brings to mind winter attire: warm cozy mittens, sweaters, socks, and a skullcap.

Her jewelry is structured like standard necklaces or bracelets. "When the form, color, and tactile feeling are mixed with someone's personality, my jewelry is complete, and creates a new poetry," she says.

However, the objects she creates are altogether different. It is an unusual aesthetic and I enjoy her creative expression. Some objects appear to be silhouettes of rabbits, and the head and shoulders of people, while others are non-descript.

The silhouette cutouts are layered creating a three-dimensional aspect, and as you look closer, you can see that there is perhaps a centimeter's difference in size. This allows you to see levels of colors.

"Color, humor, mixture, and continuation, my work consists of these elements. Color especially is the transcendent sensation."

Some objects resemble a toddler's play toy; another resembles a floral arrangement, while yet another looks like a small bowl of salad.

Over the last seven years, Ishida's work has been featured in exhibitions around the world including the Florida Craftsmen Gallery in the United States, the Contemporary Art Center in the Netherlands, and the Galleria Marcolongo in Italy.
Photo 1 (top right): Unnamed Felt Object (resembles salad)
Photo 2 (bottom left): Unnamed Felt and Gold Necklace
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