17 September 2014
Both the intimate treasure-trove of Aoi Matsukura's studio and the work that emerges from it, conjure a world all of their own. Within a customized wardrobe, in the corner of her Osaka apartment, Aoi creates a kind of wearable geometry, working metals and silk threads into pieces that communicate her passion for structured forms and delicate hand work.
Her live/work space pays homage to her inspirations; boxes of roughhewn stones - like mini, lunar landscapes - can be found next to woven rugs, the ordered Perspex of mathematical measures and clusters of leaves that her children have collected from outside.
At the heart of AOM, founded in 2011, is this gentle collision of the domestic and the cosmic; a basis in the elemental shapes that make up the universe, combined with wrapping and weaving that could only be achieved by hand. Even the name AOM is a signature that appears in the work as a pattern of circular and triangular forms.
"I love these ultimate, functional shapes, patterns that have meanings within them and unexpected designs that occur by accident," she says.
When combined with natural materials, her finished pieces call to mind the miraculous geometry of nature. Rock formations, crystals, tree rings and constellations....
Each piece is created by Aoi in its entirety - from brazing and shaping the metal, to finishing with a rainbow of silk threads, using the Hikimusubi technique of slip knotting.
The base of much of her work is stainless-steel rather than silver as she prefers its color, texture and industrial image, providing a pleasing contrast to organic silks and stones.
"My dad was a pawnbroker," says Aoi, "so I've seen enough second-hand, mass produced stones which don't have much inherent value. I am attracted more to one-of-a-kind, rather than artificial beauty; I find the value in knowing it's the only one in the world. When I see hand-crafted works like bags, embroidery or beading I always think "Wow, amazing work, how long did it take to finish?"
It is craft and individuality that appeals to Aoi's aesthetic. Her materials may not be precious but the intricate work, dedicated time and - most of all - presence of a wearer elevates the everyday to the uniquely treasurable.
"I would like customers to interpret the meaning of the pieces on their own," says Aoi. "The Ainu (an indigenous Japanese people) have a phrase;
Jewelry makes people shine - People make jewelry shine
I like that one wouldn't make sense without the other."