Do you speak Jewelry?

by studiodeanna on October 12, 2008

Konnichiwa(Good Afternoon) from Japan,

About a year after my husband and I moved to Japan I realized I needed to find a way to continue learning jewelry design and techniques. 
Thankfully I was able to join Kamimura Sensei’s Chyoukin Circle (Fabrication class) and it has been a wonderful experience!  It turns out Sensei is one of the top designers in Japan for the kind of jewelry the Japanese women wear in the traditional hair styles we(westerners) generally associate with Geisha.  He speaks almost no English and my Japanese is limited.
Most of the technical words specifically associated with metalsmith work are not in a regular dictionary.  Sensei showed me a technique called “uchidashi” and it was almost a year later before I discovered it is what is known as Repousse in the States.
I take a sketch pad with me to every class along with my electric dictionary to ensure I can communicate what I am trying to accomplish that day in class.  Sometimes Sensei draws additional ideas for me to contemplate or he’ll draw a more feasible idea depending upon the equipment materials available in the class.  Whenever he recommends I anneal or solder something he says, “Fire”:)
I have been in his class for almost 4 years now and I know I have barely scratched the surface on the 50 years of knowledge Sensei has in his head.  This knowledge motivates me to continue studying Japanese, but I do know that if I never learned another word of Japanese that we would still have the language of Jewelry in which to communicate. 





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