Community. Engagement. Advocacy. Humor.
This blog documents the exhibition opening of Forged in Metal: Deshi/Shisyou- Mentee/Mentor and the related workshops and lectures that were held at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. The exhibition and related workshops and lectures were organized by Renee Zettle-Sterling and Jim Bové. The exhibition will remain on view to the public until November 2nd, 2012 before returning to Japan. An exhibition catalog will be released shortly.
This exhibition explores the artwork of students and teachers from Hiko Mizuno Jewelry College in Tokyo, Japan. Not only were we interested in showcasing the amazing artwork that is coming out of Japanese schools, but we wanted to open dialog about how students and teachers influence each other. Deshi/Shisyou equates to the English Mentee/Mentor. It was intentional to place the student, the mentee, first. Learning is a two-way street. Often we are inspired by the innovative ways in which our students view things and how they interpret ideas and techniques. As I document the workshops here, I invite people to express how they were influenced by a teacher, or by a student.
Link to exhibition details in the Lanthorn newspaper
Co-curator of Forged in Metal: Deshi/Shisyou- Mentee/Mentor
Toasting to an amazing opening at the Grand Valley Performing arts Center. Shown here in front of images of the student participants are co-curators Jim Bové, Renee Zettle-Sterling, Student Natsuko Kawabata and Teacher Yoshinori Tsukudate.
It was very important for us to have both a student and teacher present. Yoshi (as he let us call him) is an expert in traditional Japanese metalsmithing techniques and taught nuno-me zogan (fabric pattern inlay), mokume gane and how to make shibuichi along with rokusho (a patina used to color the different alloys used in Japanese metalwork). Natsuko assisted in the workshops and presented her own work during a lecture.
A true teacher and educator, Yoshi made sure to pay attention to every student. Here, James is getting a one-on-one demonstration of the chiseling technique. Yoshi makes it look easy, but it takes time to develop the skills needed to place five strikes per millimeter close together and parallel.
Once the 'fabric pattern' is laid in, gold or silver foil is cut to shape and tapped into place to create your design. Here a student uses a bamboo rod to tap the foil down. Once everything is in place, a copper rod will be lightly hammered over the surface to permanently secure the foil.
The metal used for the Nuno-me Zogan pieces was Shibuichi, an alloy of copper and silver. Yoshi and Natsuko prepare the chemical Rokusho in order to patina the work. The same patina will affect different alloys of copper and silver (some with a percentage of gold) differently.
The key to making sure the silver and gold foil does not get affected by the patina is Daikon. The radish juice has some property that makes this possible. The beauty of this process is that no one really knows why the radish juice works, it just does.
Artwork after the patina. Two of the most amazing things about this process 1. the gold and silver are completely unaffected by the patina (due to the daikon juice) 2. Even a slight change in the alloy will produce a different color or shade.
Mokume Gane Demo
Set up for mokume gane demonstration (bag of silver and gold in the center will be used for the shibuichi demo next). Note that Yoshi will use the two stainless steel plates on the far right to sandwich the copper and silver metal squares.
As you can see, the shear amount of information taught in just a few short days was immense. But we didn't just work our esteemed visitors...
I had to post this picture of Renee, less than 24 hours after major surgery on her hand she was back with her Japanese guests. This project took over a year of active planning, grant writing and coordinating between several schools, agencies and scores of people. She did an amazing job bringing this wealth of artwork and metalsmtihing knowledge to the US. No wonder something as simple as surgery wouldn't keep her down!
Thank you for looking over this blog. I hope you enjoyed it. The catalog of the artwork that was exhibited will be out shortly. If you have a chance, try to see the show before it comes down in November, it is worth it!