Necklace, plastic, designed and made by Mikiko Minewaki, Tokyo, Japan, 2005
Mikiko Minewaki (born 1967, Akita Prefecture) studied jewellery making at the Hiko Mizuno College of Jewellery between 1985 and 1989. She now works in Tokyo where she lectures at the Hiko Mizuno College of Jewellery. Her work, which makes use of brightly coloured plastic products that remind her of her childhood, has toured Europe in both solo and group exhibitions, including the international craft show Schmuck in Munich in 1999. For an exhibition entitled 'Contemporary Japanese Jewellery' shown in 2001-2002 at the Craft Council Gallery, London, Mikiko Minewaki prepared the following statement about her work:
"I was born in the countryside in Japan. Every day I picked flowers and leaves from the fields and made jewellery- necklaces, rings, crowns- from them. This is the source of my making. One day I found that these natural forms were hidden in plastic products. So I started to pick a selection of them from my daily objects, and I am now searching for new forms in my day-to-day objects."
Jewellery art in Japan is mainly a twentieth century development. Traditionally women in Japan wore kimonos and hair adornments rather than jewellery, while objects such as beautifully crafted belt toggles, hair pins and fans were designed with a practical purpose in mind, being worn for social and religious occasions. The last few years a whole new studio-jewellery scene has emerged in Japan. Mikiko Minewaki is part of Japan's developing studio-jewellery scene.
In an essay entitled "Circumventing Modernism: Japanese Jewellery of the 1990s" by Toyojiro Hida, curator and writer on Japanese decorative arts, Mikiko Minewaki's work is described :
"According to the artist herself, Minewaki has chosen to work with plastic fragments to show that jewellery can be made form ordinary, mass produced materials. In making this statement, she does not criticize, as junk art has done, the self bestowed supremacy of fine art; instead, her work is an expression of her appreciation of ordinary, everyday activities and the values that are based on them.
Created according to such precepts, Minewaki''s jewellery stands in direct opposition to Modernism, which emphasizes originality of expression and form, as well as the uniqueness of each work of art. More precisely, she remained uninfluenced by the Modernist trend in Japanese jewellery of the 1980s, staying aloof from its emphasis on artistic purity, originality and creativity. What lies at the basis of her work is a constant and determined desire to continue creating pieces of jewellery, even when there is no central concept to support the act theoretically. This attitude- creating jewellery for the satisfaction to be found in the making process rather than in pursuit of innovative artistic expression- is widely found in the Japanese jewellery of the past decade."
Necklace was designed and made in Tokyo, Japan by Mikiko Minewaki in 2005