Today I was lucky enough to visit the studio, and home, of artist Mariko Kusumoto with my Alternative Materials in Jewelry class (which I am loving.)
Simply put, I was in awe. I felt like I was in a dream the whole time I was there, and it’s not just because I’d only gotten a few hours of sleep last night. It was beautiful, inspiring, incredible, and made me so happy that I made the choice to become a part, even just a very small part, of the jewelry and metals world. I love Illustration and how I feel like I’m growing every day in it, and the community it involves, but wow, this was incredible too.
It began with the drive out to her contemporary-ish style house in the woods, which was gorgeous today with the foliage. We walked in and put on our slippers (Mariko is Japanese) and walked into her studio- I was immediately in love with it. There were tiny shelves, drawers, antique cabinets and cases everywhere that each held tiny little treasures- vintage plastic and tin toys, old anatomy and medical prints, tiny bones, seashells, and beads, japanese and american toys and decorations, many of them 40’s to 60’s era… It was an amazing collection. And even better is what she does with them- what we looked at was mainly casting in resins, plastics, urethanes- in reality she uses a wide range of materials besides metals in her work, from found objects to paper cutouts/prints to natural materials… The list goes on and on.
Then we went upstairs for make your own sushi… Unbelievably easy and delicious… As well as green tea and some other tasty things brought in by our class. We were all amazed to find how her collection of objects and decorations continued troughout her whole house. Everywhere you looked there was some little object or item that was amazing just in itself… a holographic eye that blinked, a toy tin refrigerator from the 50’s with all the foods printed on the inside door, a birdcage, vintage containers and toys, little dolls… I wish I could show it to you somehow. It all fit together so well, even as different as each piece was. I think in a way we share an aesthetic, or at least I admire hers, because I could be happy living there for the rest of my life. And all of it was organized neatly in this big bright space, scenes of the woods coming in from all directions. It was just beautiful.
Ad then we saw her work! Not in person, though, much of it is in museums, galleries, etc. at the moment. but here are a few videos just to give you the gist. these structures are nowhere near the usual size you see in the metals studio. these are huge, maybe 5 feet tall pieces, all intricate and with millions of little doors, compartments, and surprises. Some of the parts can even be worn as jewelry, and there is so much drama and playfulness to some of the pieces… Well, just watch. 🙂
Videos above. or below. ? haha