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  • TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE 卓越した伝統:現代金工作家に見る日本伝統技術

    Penland Gallery & Visitors Center PO Box 37 Penland, NC 28765-0037 828.765.6211 penland.org/gallery

  • TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE 卓越した伝統:現代金工作家に見る日本伝統技術 Japanese techniques in contemporary metal arts

    Curated by Hiroko Yamada

  • October 1–November 17, 2019

  • Seisei Asai 浅井盛征 Kiyoko Fujie 藤江聖公 Seth Gould セス ゴードゥ Noriko Hagino 萩野紀子 Hiroki Iwata 岩田広己 Marvin Jensen マーヴィン ジェンセン Kazuo Kashima 鹿島和生 Morihito Katsura 桂盛仁 Jim Kelso ジム ケルソー Takashi Kojima 小嶋崇嗣 Andrew Meers アンドリュー ミエース Haruo Mitsuta 満田晴穂 Hiroshi Nishikata 西片浩 Ryota Nishikata 西片亮太 Yuko Okahara 岡原有子 Masako Onodera マサコ オノデラ Motoko Oshiyama 押山元子 Yukie Osumi 大角幸枝 Ryuhei Sako 佐故龍平 Hiroko Sato-Pijanowski ひろこ さとう-ピジャノウスキー George Sawyer ジョージ ソイヤー Makoto Susa 須佐真 Fumiki Taguchi 田口史樹 Maki Takehana 竹花万貴 Emiko Takenouchi 竹之内恵美子 Norio Tamagawa 玉川宣夫 Tatsushi Tamagawa 玉川達士 Yoshio Ueno 上野彬郎 Mizuko Yamada 山田瑞子

  • Respected metalsmith Yoshio Ueno, a craftsman for more than 60 years, displaying a silver teapot created in his studio in Tsubame City, a prominent metal manufacturing center located in Nīgata Prefecture near the Japan Sea. Photo by Ben Simmons.

  • The earliest connection between Penland School of Craft and Japan is recorded as 1953, when the international division of the YMCA sponsored Michiko Sato, a social worker from Japan, to attend a Penland class. Penland's archives show visits by intrepid Japanese educators and leaders during the late 1950s and 1960s. This was shortly after the esteemed Japanese potter Shoji Hamada visited Western North Carolina’s Black Mountain College, where he participated in a pottery seminar. The seminar invitation included the heading of Eastern Center for Interchange of Work & Ideas East to West. Soetsu Yanagi, the philosopher and creator of the Japanese Folkcraft Movement lectured on Buddhist aesthetics. Japanese culture, design, artists, and studio practice were influencing contemporary craft in the United States.

    From the mid-1960s onward, the classes at Penland reflected this influence through Japanese- American instructors such as ceramist Toshiko Takaezu or instructors who had developed their skills through study in Japan. Metalsmith Hiroko Yamada began teaching at Penland in 2005 and has taught many times since. Her personal influence on the Penland metals program is measurable through the myriad of students and instructors, both Japanese and American, who have been impacted by her efforts to share Japanese metalsmithing techniques. It was this indefatigable enthusiasm that gave birth to this exhibition; the opportunity to share the works of contemporary Japanese artists side by side with American artists who had adopted Japanese techniques in their studio practice.

    Curated by Hiroko, the exhibition brings together twenty-nine artists: seven American and twenty-two Japanese, three of whom have received the highest honor to be designated as Japanese Living National Treasures. The artists’ work represents a broad view; based in historical techniques and approaches, they range from strictly adhering to tradition to reinventing or reinterpreting it through a contemporary practice. The age range of the participants is just as broad and inclusive; it is evident that Hiroko is reinforcing respect for the masters and sensei while supporting the next generation of makers and their creative practice.

    It was a conscious decision to label the works in the exhibition using Japanese terminology for the techniques used. Although most viewers will be unfamiliar with words such as nunome zogan, mokume-gane, kinkeshi, and shakudo, the terms honor the knowledge and training of these highly skilled artists.

    It bears mentioning that many of these techniques and materials, because of their non- Western roots, are markedly different than those used in contemporary metal work in the United States. This exhibition is quite remarkable in that respect, as well as for the sheer beauty of the works themselves. The incalculable hours devoted to making each of these pieces are unmistakable and humbling. The deft hands—wielding hammers, chisels, and torches—are evident in the final works. The devotion to such skill and perseverance toward mastery should resonate with all who aspire to understand a craft so fully and intuitively.

    With deep appreciation to Hiroko Yamada for bringing this exhibition to fruition— domo arigato gozaimasu.

    Kathryn Gremley Director, Penland Gallery

  • Hiroko Yamada, Curator

    Hiroko Yamada was born and raised in Japan, and her first career was as an architect in Tokyo. She became interested in small-scale design and chose to pursue this interest at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the mentoring of metalsmiths Fred Fenster and Eleanor Moty. In addition to becoming an accomplished jeweler, she dedicated herself to helping others create one-of-a-kind works in metal. This commitment has included teaching Penland workshops regularly since 2005.

    For the past five years, Hiroko has promoted exchanges between American and Japanese metal artists through exhibitions and workshops with a goal of introducing traditional Japanese metal work and techniques to Western art metal culture.

    Hiroko worked closely with Penland Gallery director Kathryn Gremley in creating two exhibitions that presented the work of American metalsmiths in Japan. The Art of the Brooch appeared at Gallery C.A.J in Kyoto, Kobe Design University, and Museum of Kyoto in 2014. North American Mokume-Gane Exhibit in Japan appeared at Tsubame Industrial Materials Museum in Niigata and Yamawaki Art College Gallery in Tokyo in 2016. Both included Penland-affiliated artists.

    In 2018 Hiroko’s work was included in the Japanese Traditional Art Metal Exhibition in Tokyo and Kumamoto along with work by Seth Gould and Andrew Meers, who have both been Penland resident artists and students of Hiroko’s. In 2017 and 2018, she co-curated, with professor Hiroki Iwata of Tokyo University of Arts, an exhibition of work by American and Japanese metal artists at Ginza Okariya Gallery in Tokyo. She also facilitated an invitation for American artists to study with masters and Living National Treasures in Japan, and she invited a Japanese master to teach workshops in the US in 2016, 2017, and 2019.

    Hiroko explains all of these activities this way: “The long history of Japanese traditional metal skills has slowly seen a decline in being passed to the next generation. The technique and skill has either been closed and protected or limited to certain families or selected artists. In order to pass on the skills, Japanese artists and masters have realized that there is a need to be open and willing to teach, not only within the family, or even to other Japanese, but also to be open to instruction internationally. My mission is to bring together artistic skills and knowledge that will help both Japanese and American artists grow in their work and achieve new levels of excellence.”

  • Seisei Asai Incense Burner, Dance of the Moor 2002 Silver, shakudo, gold; kasane-gane, kinkeshi, ginkeshi, rokusho patina 5 x 7½ x 6 inches

    Seisei Asai 浅井盛征 Tokyo, Japan

    Seisei Asai Incense Burner 2010 Silver, shakudo, copper; kasane-gane, hagiawase zogan, rokusho patina 2 x 3½ x 2½ inches

    Seisei Asai Incense Container, Wild Goose in Moon 2013 Silver, shakudo, shibuichi, gold; hagiawase zogan, kinkeshi, rokusho patina 1 x 3 x 3 inches

  • Seisei Asai Water Dropper 2010 Silver, shakudo; kasane-gane, hagiawase zogan, rokusho patina 1¼ x 2 x 2 inches

    Seisei Asai Incense Container, Fish Shadow 2008 Silver, shakudo, shibuichi, gold; mokume-gane, kinkeshi, rokusho patina 1 x 3 x 3 inches

    Seisei Asai Incense Container, Bird 2000 Silver, shakudo, copper, gold; kasane-gane, kinkeshi, zogan, rokusho patina 3¼ x 4 x 3 inches

  • Kiyoko Fujie Confectionary Dish 2010 Kuromido, 24K, 22K, and 18K gold, silver; ginkeshi, kinkeshi, nunome zogan, rokusho patina 3¾ x 5½ x 5½ inches

    Kiyoko Fujie Tea Caddy 2005 Copper, gold, silver, shakudo; kinkeshi, nunome zogan, rokusho patina 6¾ x 6 x 6 inches

    Kiyoko Fujie 藤江聖公 Tokyo, Japan

  • Kiyoko Fujie Ornament, Japanese Silver Leaf 2010 Silver, gold; uchidashi, kinkeshi, wabori 1½ x 1¾ x ½ inches

    Kiyoko Fujie Ornament, Kadsura Japonica 2013 Brass, shakudo, silver, copper, gold; uchidashi, kinkeshi, zogan, wabori, rokusho patina, hidō patina 1¼ x 1¾ x ½ inches

    Kiyoko Fujie Ornament, Snake Gourd 2011 Shibuichi, shakudo, copper, gold, silver; uchidashi, kinkeshi, zogan, wabori, rokusho patina, hidō patina 1¾ x 1¾ x ½ inches

  • Seth Gould セス ゴードゥ Bakersville, NC

    Seth Gould Padlock 2019 Wrought iron, spring steel, copper, 24K gold; nunome zogan, rokusho patina 8¼ x 5¼ x 1⅜ inches

    Seth Gould Container No. 6 2018 Steel, brass, fine silver; nunome zogan 2¼ x 3⅜ x 3⅜ inches

  • Noriko Hagino 萩野紀子 Saitama, Japan

    Noriko Hagino Bottle 2015

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