Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Every aspect of Japan's Rinnoji Temple from the flowers to the swimming koi fish emits an aura of tranquility. Japan is also the home of featured jewelry designer Momoko Kumai.

Many of Japan's art forms, such as Haiku poetry and calligraphy, focus on understated yet precise detail and execution.

Like calligraphy, jewelry pieces I have seen by Japanese designers never seem to be overdone. The structures appear to be simplistic but upon closer observation, they are not and possess uncanny delicacy.

From the crochet metal designs of Haruko Sugawara to Yoko Izawa's ethereal pieces of knitted nylon and polypropylene Japanese jewelry is a marvel of quiet innovation.

Kumai's jewelry, of course, is another example of an aesthetic that is intricate, delicate, and groundbreaking. The Royal College of Art alumna explores various materials to express themes of permanence, semi-permanence, and impermanence.

"In the permanent series I made rings with silver and gold. I took inspiration for my design from the repetitive arrangement of bundles of slightly scattered copy paper," she explains.

"I combine silver, a permanent material, with impermanent materials silicon and yarn for the semi-permanent series; and I use paper in the impermanent series. My jewelry reflects the ephemeral breath of nature with its fragility."

Her lei-like paper jewelry neckpieces seem more like elaborate dickeys; one of her necklaces is floor length and billowy flowing like a scarf. "I use tactile material to create jewelry that evokes the inner landscapes of my mind. I fold, twist, and roll tissue and Japanese Washi paper using my hands, at times unconsciously," she says.

Kumai's exceptional work has been exhibited at the Goldsmith's Hall in London, and the CODA Museum of the Netherlands. To view more of Kumai's thought-provoking and unique items, check out Dazzle Exhibitions.
Photo 1 (top right): Tissue and Washi Paper Necklace from Impermanent Series
Photo 2 (bottom left): 18-Karat Rose Gold Ring from Permanent Series
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