About this project
Save Traditional Japanese Metalsmithing Techniques from extinction! Master Classes made available to artists and enthusiasts alike, anywhere in the World!!
Why create these Master Classes and provide these tools?
"[Kashima is] a gifted and dedicated teacher. Step-by-step videos will give students everywhere the opportunity to learn his style. The classes will also be important documentation of a master demonstrating his craft" --Kristen Fyler, Metalsmith
"I am not someone who is easily impressed, but I must say that learning from Kazuo Kashima completely transformed my approach to precious metals inlay" --Bill Dawson, Metalsmith/Toolmaker
"It is very difficult to find the distinctive tools used for Japanese Metalsmithing outside of Japan. These tools are critical to performing the complex inlays seen in traditional Japanese metalwork." --Metalsmithing Student
Many traditional metalsmithing techniques are dying out. As the Japanese population declines and interest in craftsmanship wanes in an increasingly technology-driven economy, it is possible that these techniques might never be learned and adopted by new generations. Kashima-style Nunome (Nuno meaning 'cloth', and Nunome meaning 'cloth-like pattern'), which is an inlay technique, might be among those lost.
Through this campaign, I hope to bring awareness of Japanese metalworking culture to the world, and support to Japanese metalsmiths and toolmakers that practice these traditional techniques. This campaign, if successful, will provide artists and those who want to learn access to lessons on traditional techniques, translated into English, and access to the tools needed to perform them. Much of this learning is currently only communicated in Japanese, and the tools difficult to acquire outside of Japan.
What is Nunome inlay?
The story of the Japanese Nunome inlay technique begins in Damascus, Syria. Their technique was called “Damascene”, and it reached Japan via the Silk Road. Typically, Nunome inlay was used to decorate sword fittings and sword guards with gold or silver designs on steel. In 1876, the Japanese government issued the Sword Abolishment Edict and many metalsmiths who made their living by making swords were put out of business. Swordfitting maker, Mitsuyuki Kashima, was one of those affected by the edict.
What is Kashima-style?
The son of Mitsuyuki Kashima, Mitsunori Kashima, was also affected by the Sword Abolishment Edict, but responded by inventing special tools that allowed him to perform the Nunome inlay technique on precious metals, such as silver, brass, or other metal alloys, instead of steel. This technique came to be called “Kashima-style Nunome”.
Why Kashima-style Nunome?
If this campaign succeeds, I will have the amazing opportunity to record Kashima-style Nunome inlay master, Kazuo Kashima. Kazuo Kashima is the only 5th generation master of Nunome technique. He studied under his grandfather, Ikkoku Kashima, who was the Living National Treasure of metalsmithing in Japan.
Master Kashima is willing to teach his techniques to metalsmiths outside of Japan, yet he faces a common issue, the language barrier. He has been my teacher and mentor since I was a graduate student, and he supports my mission: to act as a bridge and spread the use of Japanese metalsmithing techniques throughout the World. Because I am bilingual and have studied metalsmithing in both the U.S. and Japan, I am well-positioned to translate these incredible techniques for a broader audience.
What will I accomplish?
I will fly back to Japan and record footage of Master Kazuo Kashima instructing each step of this complex Nunome technique. I will also build a relationship with the toolmaker, who crafts the specific tools necessary for this technique, so that these tools will be available for those who strive to accomplish Kashima-style Nunome inlay. After my return, I will produce instructional videos that will be translated into English, professionally edited, and made available for purchase and download online. They will be a series of step-by-step videos approximately 1-hour each in duration. I will also import and make available the Nunome-specific tools.
Videos will cover:
- Nunome toolmaking (Learn both School Nunome and Kashima-style Nunome toolmaking process)
- School Nunome Basics, “Let’s Make a Circle” (How to attach metal onto Pitch, use Nunome chisels, cut surface, attach silver foil and cut out circle)
- School Nunome Instructional Project, probably a pendant
- Kashima-style Nunome Basics
- Kashima-style Nunome Instructional Project, “Traditional Japanese Pattern Making”
- Japanese Patination Process “Niiro”
- Japanese Black Pitch Making Process
First, I will go to Tokyo to record Kazuo Kashima at work in his studio. Then I am going to visit Kanazawa, Ishikawa to reconnect with other metalsmiths, and build relationships with companies and manufacturers that handle tools and materials important to traditional Japanese metalsmithing techniques.
What if I receive more?
This is a work in progress! If I receive additional support I will continue to translate and make a variety of metalsmithing techniques and tools available to a broader audience.
WHO AM I?
Hello! This is Momo. I am a Japanese metalsmith and mixed media artist. www.okadamomoko.com
I studied metals in the U.S., U.K., and Japan and hold two MFAs in Metals from both the U.S. and Japan. Through my education, I learned that Japanese and Western metals techniques differ greatly in their approach to processes, tool use, and materials. Currently, I teach Japanese-based traditional metals techniques in the Pacific Northwest.
In 2013, I co-curated an invitational exhibition called "East-West: The Hammered Metal Object" with my friend, Greg Wilbur, a metalsmith in Portland, OR. This exhibition displayed the many different hammering styles used in the U.S. and Japan. 11 metalsmiths from each country exhibited their remarkable works at the Waterstone gallery and Contemporary Craft Museum in Portland, and the Velvet da Vince gallery in San Francisco. I invited two of my Japanese teachers in Metals, Satoshi Hara and Kazuo Kashima, to conduct workshops at the Multnomah Arts Center, in Portland, OR. This exhibition was my first foray into educating and celebrating Eastern techniques in a Western context. ewhammers.com/
In order to learn Nunome or any other Japanese metals techniques, it is essential to use specific tools and materials. However, most of these tools and materials are unavailable to purchase in the States.
So I decided to start a website, www.momokoya.com. Momokoya opened to the public in February, 2017--yes, last month! While still in progress, these essential tools and materials will be available to metalsmiths via the website. If this campaign is successful, the Master Class instructional videos will also be available here. I am hoping Momokoya will become a platform where metalsmiths from all over the world can learn Japanese metals techniques and have access to Japanese tools and materials.
I would like to say THANK YOU! ありがとうございます。
I had given up on my dream to move back to the U.S. to be a full-time artist. However, as a parent, I wanted to be a real role model and show my daughter how to actively pursue happiness and dream BIG. In September 2015, I moved back to Portland, OR with my 3-year-old daughter. I am thankful to my daughter for giving me courage to believe in myself.
I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such amazing friends and family in both Japan and the U.S.
Thank you very much for your support by pledging and being a part of our mission to help Japanese tradition flourish.
Risks and challenges
One main risk is international travel in this current political climate.
If, for some reason, I should not leave the country my plan B would be to invite Kazuo Kashima to Portland, OR and record him working in studios here.
If this campaign does not succeed, I will continue working towards my mission because it is my passion and I think it is important to keep these techniques alive. However, I am confident that it will succeed, and I am very excited to imagine what this project will bring to the metalsmithing world!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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