Hairpins (3), 'Comb for Otohime', PET bottles / silver, made by Rui Kikuchi, Osaka, Japan, 2010
Inspired by the shapes, colours and textures of seaweed and also by Japanese folk tales about underwater societies such as 'Urashima Taro', this striking contemporary interpretation of Japanese hair combs for women is part of a recent range of works created by the Japanese jeweller Rui Kikuchi (b. Kyoto 1982).
The pins are a result of an unusual but highly successful combination of kirigami, the traditional Japanese paper-cutting technique that relies on a repetitive pattern made by folding and cutting paper, with discarded PET bottles which are such potent symbols of our throw-away society. The artist developed the highly naturalistic seaweed patterns by transferring cut paper patterns to PET bottles which were then hand cut, dyed and mounted on hand crafted silver pins. Kirigami is the openwork technique frequently used by Kikuchi in her jewellery practice.
Kikuchi, represented by these three pins, was a finalist in the Powerhouse Museum International Lace Award in 2011. The pins were first displayed in the resulting 'Love Lace' exhibition as well as being published in the accompanying book of the same title. Kikuchi says: 'I am inspired by the complexity of marine botany and more generally by how modern interaction with objects is defined by a specific purpose - once its function is fulfilled, the object is disposed of. This behaviour has little emotional bearing on the user and consequently leads to the over consumption of goods and the decline in our ability to recognise simple beauty. Â? I hope that my use of PET bottles can lead to a reconsideration of what beauty is and the humility to see wonder in the everyday'.*
*from 'Love Lace' artist statement, 2011.
Eva Czernis-Ryl, 2012
The pins were made by Rui Kikuchi in Osaka, Japan, in 2010.
Rui Kikuchi was born in Kyoto in 1982. She moved to Sydney with her family in 1988 and spent her formative years in Australia. In 2003, she graduated from the University of Sydney's Sydney College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Visual Arts, majoring in Object Art and Design. After completing her degree Rui returned to Japan and attended the Itami College of Jewellery in Hyogo Prefecture in 2007.
Since 2007 she has exhibited in Australia, Japan and Europe. She has been a finalist in prestigious competitions including the Friedrich Becker Prize, the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize and the Itami International Craft Exhibition. Kikuchi was awarded the Good Material Award at the 2009 Itami International Craft Exhibition. More recently she showed work in such exhibitions as 'By example' at the Itami Museum of Arts and Crafts, Japan, 2010 and 'Signs of change- jewellery designed to make a better world' organised by Form, Perth, Australia, 2010.
Her works have been published in the 'Compendium of Contemporary Jewellery Makers', Darling Publications, Cologne, 2009; 'Workbench Guide to Jewellery Techniques', Thames and Hudson, London, 2010 and in '500 Gemstone Jewels', Lark Books, New York, 2010.