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Akiko Momiyama

I’m a goldsmith based in Tokyo, Japan. In my lace works, I fabricate fine gold threads made entirely out of gold alloys. Before my training of goldsmithing, I was a research neuroscientist, which career taught me the discipline of diligent working and the reductionist approach to solve the question. I also learned to stay open to interdisciplinary approaches and engineering resources which may become essential tools. Such background made me feel that learning only from the past legacy of tradition is not enough, and led to my need for the new materials and technical systems of my own, to make unique gold objects bearing new
beauty and meaning.


I’ve been also interested in textiles for their own beauty, and my learning about textiles triggered my aesthetic cravings to realize fine semi-transparent objects with gold. To practically integrate the textile techniques with goldsmithing became an important quest to me.


Fortunately, I met two great masters at the early stage of my quest. Giovanni Corvaja, a world renown goldsmith artist/researcher who taught me goldsmithing and especially about working with fine wires in great depth. It was indeed Giovanni who introduced the world of bobbin-lace to me. I then felt the need of learning how to draft the lace designs, and met a seasoned lace artist Kumiko Nakazaki, who taught me the practical basics of lace designs. I’m eternally in debt to their generosity in sharing their deep
knowledges and experiences with much kindness.


I value the advantage of the bobbin-lace in creating various semi-transparent patterns with great freedom and at a high resolution. Weaving fine gold laces appealed to me as a potent means provided a functioning technical basis. Having learnt the basic principles/techniques of drawing very fine gold wires from Giovanni, and having learnt how to design laces from Kumiko, my next issue was to tackle down many inherent technical difficulties.


One of them was to identify the recipe of the gold yarn suitable for weaving the specific lace design. Also, there was a rather obvious problem of a contradictory nature; how to maintain the contour of such soft, yielding and delicate material when the structure becomes three-dimensional? And how to add necessary security if the object is a jewelry piece?
 

For many years I’ve been studying and experimenting the methods of making gold laces, trying to solve above issues, and to figure out the way to bring in the sense of integrity in the final gold objects. The specific nature of this unique approach itself influenced the way I see the construction process at the very fundamental level, often questioning what’s been taken for granted. The design idea and technically limiting features are reciprocally influencing, both of which developed and were overcome with time. In general, every process was fairly time consuming and labour intensive, so I had to learn to adjust myself to it while constantly improving the method wherever possible. Still, every piece brought me new learning, new surprise, and new joy, followed by the next challenge.

About Akiko
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Born in Shiga prefecture, Japan in 1965.


1990-2003: Research Neuroscientist (Japan, UK)
2003-2005: Jewelry Design course and Jewelry Making Course at The Hiko Mizuno College of Jewelry
(Tokyo, Japan)
2007-: Attending masterclass by Giovanni Corvaja (Todi, Italy)
2013-: Taking lessons in lace design by Kumiko Nakazaki (Tokyo, Japan)

 

Her work can be viewed at www.akiko-momiyama.com and on Instagram @momiyamaakiko