Sunday, July 29, 2012

guest post - victoria takahashi

Hello, my name is Victoria Takahashi, and I like to make things! I am not sure what to write about today so I have let it organically happen in no particular order, I hope by the end it will be useful or even just validating that we all are not very different from each other. I just read a snippet from Mary Jane Dodd(MJD), something she had written earlier...

“Truthfully, I feel most comfortable when I have made everything from the bottom up...”

When I read these words it really struck me that I should start with her quote as it resonated so true with me. When she used the word “comfortable” It just made so much sense. When I make a piece and build it from the ground up I feel very proud. It begins with your original ideas, your personal physical & emotional skillset that you’ve acquired from your journey, and then to have this materialize into reality is a pretty amazing feeling. When I finish a big piece I usually feel very proud, a bit drained but in a satiated, satisfied, and “comfortable way” knowing it truly is a part of me! When I am working on a piece I usually will have a few other art projects going. I need to be able to break away when there is a lull to something else. If I do not have another to grab I tend to walk out and get distracted. I must confess that I am not as efficient in the studio as I would like to be, it seems to be my ongoing lesson with self-discipline. I often wonder how other artists can have their studio at home and not get distracted as I do, I’m looking for the magic juju, if you have some please share!

I asked MJD what she would like for me to talk about, she had mentioned my leather and metalwork, so to appease I will more than gladly blab some about it.

Starting with metal, it will always be my first true love, it’s crazy amazing stuff! I love to fabricate things, I love my pieces to have movement, a touch of cleverness and a lot of I’ve never seen that before. With the speed of how fast things move around the internet, I make it part of my creative goal to be original and it is very hard sometimes with the supersonic speed things move around the internets, to always be making new. It really is a love-hate aspect of using online as my platform, but overall it’s probably the best darn thing for me, as it keeps me moving forward!

I picked the name Experimetal for Etsy because I  love to experiment and play, I love working out a design problem for an idea, that is the best part of making that is like crack to me, it’s the most fulfilling aspect when you finally do figure it out! I generally do not like to repeat things I make, I like to keep moving forward so I am always focusing on one of a kind pieces. Currently I have created a small exercise for myself; it is making a series of earrings. I have been making a pair and then getting ideas while making one and then using them in the next pair. Almost like a progression. The picture above shows my latest favorites in this series.

I am inspired greatly by natural objects, I feel I have a bit of an organic and industrial feel to my work, I love old rusty antiques, tools to sticks, stones & bones! I am also strongly drawn to other cultures and their art. I have always a soft spot for crows in my work. I intentionally try and stay away from what is trending because I feel there are a lot of others doing it well and often enough and I do not want to add to the oversaturation of the latest thing.  I really want to keep my own voice true and on my path. And I am not saying creating popular iconic items is a bad thing, it’s just not the direction I am choosing to take. I actually feel we need these trends because it is connected directly to fashion in one way or another and we need to have people keep adorning themselves with beautiful clothes and accessories to be walking individual pieces of art! It’s another way for others to be creative with the way they present themselves to the world, it enhances a person’s sense of individuality!

I take a yearly trip to sit at the ocean’s edge, to renew and recharge. It is the trip I look forward to every year, a break from tv, computers, music, and all staticky noise in general. Just me and my significant other, our fur children, birds, waves and the wind with paper and pencil in hand is very much needed and appreciated.

I have found a new love with leather! I must confess this even to myself still. I am admitting to it fully and accepting it as part of my fate and journey. The below picture is a plaque I am working on to sew it onto a journal cover that I will make. I drew an Oni character from Japanese folklore, and then I added in some cherry blossoms. I still want to add a few more details and then we will very carefully dye all the tiny its’ & bits different colors. This one I am making for myself. And the below picture are my “bangles-banglettes” they’re pretty fun to make and a quick instant-gratification project, we need these too sometimes!
Currently I am making both jewelry and leather items. I really enjoy everything about this new medium, it has been very exciting I must say. I have been playing & learning as I go, I am finding myself very attracted to the “carving & tooling” aspect right now, I am trying to explore every aspect just like I do with metal. I love to have a large working vocabulary it’s very helpful for me to be able to pull from a well-rounded library, so I am just practicing and experimenting as much as I can, so far it is working out nicely.

  “The Question”

 “How do you pin the metal?”

I get asked this one particular metalsmithing question a lot, so I think I’d like to quickly address it here. First off I can only stress this point strongly, you must practice & experiment! You will burn things, melt them and fuse them together, so I advise not to practice on you most precious items first. You will find what works for you best. I only can tell you what works for me, everyone does things differently and all are valid as long as it’s safe J  I use a mini torch (propane/oxy) for pinning. There really isn’t a special “mystical trick” to this process. The best advice is to use a small hot flame “get in and out” as fast as you can. Wear your safety glasses or better yet a face shield, as things can explode; glass beads, pearls, stones, etc.  Eventually you will find what works with the tools you have. It’s as simple as that, I think the main factor is the torch and lots of practice!  Good Luck and please be careful!

So to end these words I would like to share a few more pictures of what I consider my more “art jewelry” work.

I hope I was able to share something with all of you that you might have related to or found helpful, thank you for taking the time to peek into my creative life!


Victoria Takahashi


Julie Holmes said...

Hi Victoria! I don't know if it's my browser or what, but I can't see the pictures in your post. So, instead I went to your Etsy store and your blog and enjoyed your beautiful things there. I LOVE your leatherwork, it looks like a steep learning curve to me...but I think you've mastered it! Thanks for sharing!

mairedodd said...

thank you so very much, victoria, for your post here... your work is so beautiful and i love how you move between media... i admire your vision and your craftsmanship sets a high bar for the rest of us...

Victoria Takahashi said...

good morning ladies :)
thank you both!

(i will let someone know about the pics, thanks for the heads up!)

Julie Holmes said...

Be patient and everything will appear in good time...and THEY DID!!! I can see the pictures now, so whatever bug there was has moved on. I'm so glad too...because the work here in your post is glad I got to see.

Stacie said...

Gorgeous work...and I use the same method for putting pins in stirrups...get in, get out...use small, hot flame and love, love, love your 3rd hand tool...thank you for guest posting!

Kelli said...

Your metal work is incredible!!! Thanks so much for sharing

lunedreams said...

I am absolutely blown away by Victoria's work!! The ingenious construction, the utter uniqueness, the feel of it (yes, tribal, industrial, and lyrically beautiful at the same time). I don't think she has anything to worry about in the originality department! The patina on her metals is exquisite, both the color and the soft finish. Off to troll through her Etsy shop! Thanks to Mary Jane for sharing such an amazing talent.

Artisan Beads Plus said...

What a wonderfully, fulfilling post! I love that you talked about being comfortable. I've really been doing that lately and my pieces are coming together so much easier than they used to when I tried too hard. Your work is stunning! And..... you've been an inspiration :o)

Victoria Takahashi said...

*thank you, it was an interesting exercise for me to write for anothers' blog, it made me have to reflect on why it was so different than just writing on my own. Its as if I felt I needed to have something worthwhile to share without being too "me me me" lol. So I just let myself ramble like I am doing now, heh heh... ok enough, thanks you all, it means a heck of alot to hear such nice feedback :) I love all the creativity and support around here! <3

13 said...

Fantastic post and it's great to learn more about your work and yourself. Very inspirational and it's interesting to hear that your using leather too. In fact I'm a proud owner and wearer of one of your amazing cuffs. Loving your other experiments too.

Karen Martin said...

I know this post has some age to it, but I just found it and am blown away by your work! Thanks for sharing!

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