DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
AS : Practice of chasing techniques and tool making, the technique which was introduced to me during my graduate studies.
I was fascinated by the rich variety of textures and shapes that small tools and hammers could add to a metal surface.
The design idea came through the process of making tools based on the images in my sketchbook.
DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
AS : While I was in schools, I tried to learn different techniques as much as I could.
For this work, I focused on the traditional technique, chasing and I used line tools and embossing tools that I made from steel rods.
I wanted to check how these tools could create two dimensional and three dimensional elements on metal.
DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
AS : After the notification email of this award, I pulled this piece from piles of boxes that I sent from the US when I returned to Japan.
Then I cleaned it to take photographs and brought it with me to Italy(yes, I wore it at the ceremony!).
I think I will keep it until at least I have my own workspace because it will remind me of where I came from and what I have achieved.
DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
AS : I remember this bracelet as one of the assignments to submit at a final critique.
The assignment could be a piece in any metal, style and size.
First I sketched this design as a headpiece, and one of my professors told me to try something different.
After I decided to make a bracelet, I spent at least several weeks to learn chasing technique and to make tools.
This project took perhaps two months, but chasing still interests me.
DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
AS : This was one of the school assignments to help students learn new techniques and styles.
I tended to make detail oriented designs, and this heavy decoration was a good practice of hammering and chasing.
DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
AS : Not only this design, but I have been a single player who make all works by myself.
It will be interesting to see if working with someone works for me.
DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
AS : My interest in chasing technique and my obsession with intricate patterns.
DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
AS : What I have encountered in the past and my memories are often rendered into my works.
One example is rose windows of Gothic architecture; when I sketched the designs and drew outlines on metal, I imagined the interactions between rose windows and people, such as those who made them, admired them, and got inspired from them.
I often collect different designs and ideas in my sketchbook, and this shows in my works.
DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
AS : Since it was an assignment of metalsmithing course, I did not have a customer.
But if anyone is interested, perhaps that person will be the target.
DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
AS : Perhaps I can write a paper about this design like college essays.
Long story short, I will highlight the originality.
It was new to me to make something with this technique and tools made for it.
Plus, the stone riveted to the metal surface, was created from my question, “how far can I go to make this piece from scratches?”
Instead of minerals and precious stones, I made a stone by fusing glass to copper.
This also makes it easier to recycle the work in the future; I can remove the riveted stone and melt the brass sheet.
DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
AS : I was not going to give it a title at first.
However, when this piece was included in an exhibition at school, my professor from Taiwan advised me to name it.
He told me that he sometimes asked his friend(who wrote poems) to title his work because a title was an important component to tell the audience the artist’s view towards the work.
Then, he closely observed my bracelet and cheerfully said, “I see many flowers…How about Secret Garden?”
So, this bracelet is Secret Garden.
Now, I start to see his point because I used to plan to name my works like “Study of Color I” or “Untitled I,” but these titles do not speak to the audience and will confuse artists after they go up to “Untitled ZZ.”
DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
AS : Hammers and hand-made chasing tools.
DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
AS : How it reflects on my experiences of living in Europe, and intense hand fabrication.
DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
AS : No, it was an individual project.
DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
AS : Tools and inspiration(I see chasing as a technique filled with metalsmithing-related technology, such as heat-control, application of mild steel, hammers…).
DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
AS : I remember looking at designs of rose windows to understand their characteristics.
DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
AS : The balance between time and my want of practice.
I tend to make complicated, “busy” designs by adding multiple components.
It often means that a work needs a certain amount of time and a lot of practice.
Because this work was an assignment, I kept reminding me of the due date and when I had to switch from researching and sketching(or even practicing) to making the actual work.
DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
AS : An email from the design competition was delivered on 01/29/2019.
At that time, I was depressed because I did not have money and job after I returned from the U.S. where my boss broke a promise to give me a working visa.
I felt worthless and its pain took away my confidence, drive, and self-esteem.
Then, I received this email asking me to submit my work.
After I double checked that this organization and sender existed(then I thought it might not a phishing attack), I sent a thank you email and asked for details about submission.
So finally, I can say this after three years(it is 01/29/2022 today); thank you, Ms. Linda Clark.
You will never know how much your email encouraged me.
DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
AS : As a student, I was in the cycle of planning, making, presenting, critiquing, and photo shooting(some students added submitting their works outside their studio and selling, but I only had a few experiences).
Within this cycle, I started to get a sense of what a project required from its start to finish and where I could find necessary information.
Art making usually brings me something new, so how/where to find information about designs and techniques is a skill.
DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
AS : I wish if I can say something cool at the end, but I am not that kind of person.
Thank you to those who read this interview, and please watch me where I am going next!