Tuesday, May 31, 2011

AYAKA NISHI

Model Wears 18-Karat Gold Plated
Honeycomb Necklace, Earrings, Rings
and Cuff Bracelet
Erected to honor the Japanese goddess Amaterasu-omikami, the Ise Shrine, located in Japan’s Mie prefecture, is a complex compound of hundreds of Shinto shrines. 

According to custom, the shrines are “rebuilt every twenty years” so that architectural styles are not mimicked.  Japan is also the ancestral home of featured jewelry designer Ayaka Nishi.

Nature is an incredible muse of never-ending surprises and complex details.  Most every designer of jewelry has expressed the influence of natural surroundings on his or her jewelry collections. 

The textures, shapes, colors and even deeper intricacies like the veins of nerve cells leave these men and women indelibly awestruck.

Presently based in New York, Nishi grew up in Kagoshima, Japan; a region that she describes as “a medium-sized metropolis in a mostly rural prefecture on Kyushu Island.” 

As a child she was completely engrossed by not only the landscapes of the area but also the images in the medical books owned by her father, a surgeon.

“Deep in Kagoshima are natural wonders: a raging ocean all around, the Sakurajima volcano lying in its uneasy slumber, woodlands, green hills and tea farms,” she recalls.  “I roamed the meadows in the summer, watching bright insects, reaching out and touching their iridescent bodies.

I hunted for fossils.  I gazed at the stars.  I always communed with nature.  I am interested in anatomic design because my father is a surgeon.  Seeing his medical books spurred by interest in bones and anatomy.
Sterling Silver Spine Cuff Bracelet
My collection, the Bone Collection, is inspired by the images in my father’s medical books.  Bones often conjure up death and fear but bone structure is sophisticated; developed through long evolution.”

The F.I.T. graduate and former intern for jewelers Philip Crangi and Justin Guinta creates delicate, intricate jewelry of Thai gold (brass alloy) and sterling silver.  Her aesthetic is dedicated to replicating forms in nature that includes honeycombs, sea urchins, fossils, starfish, insect wings, and spiders’ webs.

Cuff bracelets, silver earrings, silver necklaces each take a turn at embodying a form in nature.  While the motifs of vertebrae and rustic ammonite fossils certainly fits into the bold and edgy trend for this year at the same time there is a lighter tone to Nishi’s designer jewelry.
Thai Gold Honeycomb Pendant Necklace
with Black Onyx

The sleek and precise aesthetic is not so much about being provocative or shocking as much as it is about Nishi’s fascination with the art of the natural world.  Her objective is to capture the sheer miracle of nature.

“I studied Art History and Aesthetics.  The core questions were whether a creation had artistic value; what is a great shape, and what makes a design great. 

To me, every shape within nature is bond by rules; every contour exists for a reason.  All is efficient as it is beautiful.”

A selection of jewelry items is available for sale online at Not Just A Label.
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