Hi everyone! I have a special treat for you today. If you read my review LOOT: Mad about Jewelry (New York) you probably remember my excitement about the stunning zen minimalistic enamels in the wooden frames.
For this Friday I interviewed the creator of the brand Klenodie Kaori Juzu! I invite you to discover this beautiful artist with a very distinguished art voice, who grew in Japan, studied in Europe and America and is currently working in Denmark. Kaori’s works are a part of the permanent collections of Designmuseum Danmark / Koldinghus Museum (Denmark), the Danish Arts Foundation / The Cominelli Foundation (Italy), the Art Association of the 14th of August (Denmark). She is a participant of countless events on contemporary jewellery all around the world (believe me, the list is on 2 pages!), among them the most important such as LOOT (New York), SOFA (Chicago), SCHMUCK (Munich), Art Basel Miami and many others and the winner of significant awards and grants.
When and how did you start to create jewelry?
It started in 2002. I had no background of jewellery making, though I was somehow vaguely interested in it without any concrete idea. When I went to Bornholms Højskole (Bornholm Folk High School for Art) in Denmark to study Danish, I had to choose among painting, ceramic, glass or jewellery making, since it is a kind of art school for beginners. So, I chose the jewellery line without any doubt. But I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do exactly, until I saw the work of Per Suntum. His work blew my mind and suddenly I entered a new jewellery world: Art Jewellery.
What education do you have? Where are you living and creating now?
In Japan I studied at the Department of Hispanic Philology, Sophia University in Tokyo. I was also living in Spain for one year to study Spanish. After I finished Bornholm Folk High School for Art, I did an apprenticeship for 4 years at Per Suntum on Bornholm – a small Danish island in the Baltic Sea – to become a goldsmith. Since then I have been working independently. After Bornholm Højskole I have been living and working in Bornholm, Denmark.
What inspires you? What materials and ideas?
I like to work alone for the sake of inspiration – the mind begins to devour the joy of that inspiration. Creating jewellery is a completely open process, where shapes, colours and sizes meet and interact. “Colour” is achieved by the medium of enamel. Several carefully selected layers of colour are built up and some layers are subsequently removed.
I make it to enhance the material wonders until such moment as “the moon gleaming on water” appears – soft lifting, serene, subdued, yet strong enough to have inherited a life as well as a form.
There is a quote that inspires me. The original text must be in Japanese, but I read it in Danish. I will try to translate it to English.
It is from a meeting of Muneyoshi Yanagi and Inaba no Genza. To understand it better, one should know who they are. I just hope, people won’t misunderstand it as a naive religious story…
On a trip to the Folk Art Association’s country meeting, Yanagi heard the story of an old man, Inaba no Genza, whose belief was so strong that it surpassed even the greatest of priests. “I, an ordinary human without talent do not have the ability to create beauty, but because the Buddha says that he’s making it beautiful, I let him do it beautiful”, was Inaba’s words.
Why Klenodie? How did the idea and the name appeared?
“Jewellery” is a very visual word that can give anyone a concrete image, even though it is associated with so many different sorts of work. The word itself is so common that noone seems to pay any attention anymore.
And there could be a gap between my work and what people usually recognize as jewellery…
One day I found one precious name in danish which better describes, what I experience in the process of making “klenodie” – treasure, gem, jewel …just a small thing, but it always makes me feel warm.
What does your ordinary workday looks like?
I prefer to start working in a clean studio to be efficient, even though I know that it will be in a mess through my working process.
I have both types of work – super busy periods, during which I work almost all day everyday, and periods where I have to be away from “jewellery” to get new energy. This break means a lot. In the past I was often too busy to manage the different deadlines which kept coming up constantly. At the end I even wasn’t sure why I was making my pieces. That feeling felt so wrong, so I try to have a break between my projects, to be aware of each moment.
Do you have any sustainability and eco-responsible jewellery principles?
Well, somehow noble metals are a kind of sustainable materials. No one throws away gold, silver, platin… And it is actually the same with copper, brass, steel, iron and so on. Nowadays most of the enamels are also lead-free, which is good for a working environment.
It is just such a joy for me to work with colours! I hope, that I can share this joy through my work!
You can find contemporary jewellery pieces by Kaori in selected galleries. By the way, among them our own Montreal’s gallery Noël Guyomarc’h!
Also, make sure to follow her on Instagram (@klenodiecom)
Galerie Noël Guyomarc’h / Montréal
Charon Kransen Arts / New York
Galerie Slavik / Vienna
Galerie Reverso / Lisbon
Gallery Viceversa / Lausanne
Galerie Rosemarie Jäger / Hochheim am Main