Layers of Layers - Holding Place

Materials: Mokumegane with copper and red-brass, Starling Silver, Abalone Shell, Cocobolo, Purple Heart, Bloodwood, Walnut, Aromatic Cedar, Maplewood, Japanese Lacquer.
Dimensions: 6.5” X 7”

I put the title, Layers of Layers, because I wanted to utilize the possibility of the Mokukegane. Mokume is literally meaning “wood grain” in Japanese. As everyone knows, wood grain is known as growth ring, which is simply a layer of wood. So, Mokumegane beautifully shows us the artificial pattern of wood grain. All material I chose has layer naturally and artificially. Moreover, I vertically made eight sections, which also represent the layer like a stratum, on the vessel. I firstly made a big mokumegane sheet with copper and red-brass. I raised it and fabricated to make channels with starling silver wire on the vessel. After that, I inlaid woods and shells with epoxy in the every space of channels. Finally, I painted the Japanese lacquer on the wood part. As you see my vessel, the material itself and the design itself have layers. Thus, my piece has layers to all direction. That made me put the title,“ Layers of Layers." I believe that all artists must make full use of materials’ possibility into the piece.

Photo credit: Mark Herndon

Yusuke Kuwano
Toyonaka-shi, Osaka. Japan

I, Yusuke Kuwano, was born and raised up in Osaka, Japan. In my early twenties I discovered my love for the metal arts. Deciding that this was something I wanted to do with my life, I began to look for mentors to teach me. Eventually I succeeded in finding a said mentor, however, I wanted more. After discovering southwestern style jewelry, I decided to come to the U.S and went to the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in New Mexico. In 2012, I graduated from IAIA with Bachelor of Arts and decided to return home to Japan. The possibilities for areas of the metal arts to focus on were endless, for now, I decided to study the art of vessel making with taking a personal seminar by one of the national treasures of Japan, Morihito Katsura.

These containers and vessels definitely hold their place in the world of stunning art objects as well as in the world of metalsmithing.

Since the dawn of time humans have created containers to hold things that were important to them, from large vessels to hold food and harvests to intimate containers for small precious things. They might hold memories, ashes, medicine, beverage, fruit or food - but all spring from the imagination and skill of the maker. Some have specific religious functions, some are meant for everyday use. When one thinks of a vessel or container the inclination is to think of something with solid walls - yet many of these works involve the exploration of positive and negative space, and the use of negative space to help create the illusion of the wall of the vessel.

As the world’s largest jewelry related internet site, Ganoksin strives to develop exhibitions showcasing work from around the world. This exhibition was open to all metalsmiths, professional and amateur, advanced and beginner. Participants are from The Netherlands, the USA, Canada, Australia, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, Israel, Hong Kong, Colombia, Romania, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia and Denmark. While most of the pieces are by an individual metalsmith, some are collaborations, one of three artists spanning 50 years.

In total 319 artists contributed 729 show pieces for the permanent online exhibition.

Objects in the exhibition include boxes, lockets, urns, ash containers, bowls, wine cups, reliquaries, match holders, vases, teapots, pitchers, sugar bowls, baskets, nests, pillboxes, clutches and a range of sculptural forms. A variety of techniques are showcased covering a wide range of metalsmithing techniques. Materials used include everything from gold and silver to less expensive metals. Ornamentation includes the addition of enamel, chasing and repousse’, gemstones and found objects.

The exhibition was curated by Beth Wicker, President of the North Carolina Society of Goldsmiths in the United States, and Adjunct Instructor at Northeastern Technical College in South Carolina. Director of the exhibition is Hanuman Aspler, founder of The Ganoksin Project, the world’s largest internet jewelry site.