The intent of my studio practice is to create a series of pleasurable jewellery pieces utilising Mokume gane technique as a metaphor of life and the idea of gold cloud as a metaphor of mortality.
In the late 1600s in Japan, Mokume gane, a technique working with fused, layered metal, was invented by an artisan creating ornaments for Samurai swords. The technique flourished until the Samurai era ended. However, Mokume gane is being gradually revived in Japan and overseas. Another influence is gold cloud, which appears in ancient Japanese paintings, and the idea of Ukiyo (floating world). Hojoki (My ten-foot hut) written by Kamono Chomei in 1212, also influences how I think. Chomei suggests that a sense of mortality or uncertainty always exists in our living world. Gold clouds often float in my mind as if they represent the spirit of Hojoki. All these concepts correspond to the demise and rebirth of Mokume gane itself and this realisation was a turning point and why I chose Mokume gane for my practice as it brings its skill to life. Another significant point is to see the mortal world with a sense of pleasure. This notion is supported by John Reeve, in Japanese Art in Detail:
In Edo-period Japan the gloomy Buddhist concept of ‘Ukiyo’ as a dark, shifting world
of existence was transformed t0 mean ‘floating’, in the sense of pleasure. Ukiyo
was a state of mind as well as a world of pleasure-seeking, as so often in Japan
where a religious concept spills over into daily life. (66).
Pleasure is to make jewellery, pleasure is to wear well-made jewellery, and pleasure is to remind one of being alive.