The Seeds Project: a Fundraiser for Japan

28 04 2011

Regular readers of the wonderful Pieces of Eight blog would already be aware of this. But for everyone else, please read the below … I think this is a beautifully thoughtful and gentle fundraising project.

Information from, and reproduced with permission of, Pieces of Eight gallery.

About the Seeds Project:

One of our represented artists, the Japanese born Yuko Fujita, has been moved to create a fundraising project which would assist in helping the people of her homeland affected by the recent devastating earthquake. We are honoured to support her in this endeavour, our hearts go out to all those affected.

“As a Japanese born Jeweller, it has been heartbreaking to see what is happening in this beautiful country and to its people. I approached Pieces of Eight Gallery in Melbourne to ask if they could share sympathy for what Japan is facing. Melanie Katsalidis, (Director) who is also a lover of Japan’s rich culture and heritage, and other members in the gallery were willing to accept my small project.

I made ‘seeds’ thinking of the people in Japan who are going through a difficult time. The seed is a symbol of hope, growth and the future. In some cultures people wear seeds as protection and a respect for nature.

The seeds will be spread with the help of people here. The seeds will grow through people’s kindness, generosity, awareness and action. The seeds will help heal the deeply hurt land, life and people. The seeds will contribute to the making of a new era. The seeds are for people who believe in a brighter future. Thank you for your donation.”
Yuko Fujita

Seeds are available in exchange for a $10 donation via Pieces of Eight Gallery.
For further inquiries, call us on (03) 9497 8121.

photograph from gallery; click on image for original source

Yuko Fujita ‘Kodama (return to me)’ @ e.g.etal

16 07 2010

Last night I attended the opening at e.g.etal of Yuko Fujita’s ‘Kodama (return to me)exhibition.

Melbourne jeweller, Yuko Fujita, is transforming recycled objects of distinctly domestic and ordinary origins into bold pieces of jewellery. Discarded and all but forgotten, the wooden objects used by Fujita were retrieved from thrift shops and friends’ cupboards.

opening night; photograph taken with gallery permission; artist on the far left

The exhibition design, by Katherine Bowman, is thoughtful, subtle and quite perfect for the work. The space, bordered by hip-high cabinets and walls, was empty of people when I first walked into the gallery last night – I felt like it was so quiet in there, a precious place set aside, and I was almost reticent to enter as my presence would disrupt the stillness.

At the door is a projection of images, which is both visually engaging and provides context – though I was so interested in getting inside I didn’t see all of the film. Next to the door is a collection of wooden objects held in one of the display boxes, the glass of which has japanese text written on – I loved this, it seemed very wabi-sabi to me; a little temple to the everyday objects; a group of ordinary things that any moment may become a piece of Yuko’s jewellery.

Another small but enjoyable touch were the blackboards with handwritten jewellery-related text in the retail cabinets … very cool, and quite effective in separating the two bodies of jewellery (Yuko’s from the retail pieces of many other artists).

After visiting the exhibition I found Katherine’s post about her thoughts and the approach she took to creating the setting for Yuko’s work. Make sure you read it; for me, knowing such care of thought and more about each detail enriches the experience.

installation; photograph taken with gallery permission

I do have a confession though: when I first saw the detail/cropped photograph on the invitation, I must say I thought I saw similarities to the work of Natalia Milosz-Piekarska. Of course this was triggered by the main material. However such initial (almost unconscious) responses are often unformed and unfair; the brain likes to make connections quickly as a means of placing new information ‘in place and around’ already known information. While both artists (and many others besides!) have a strong connection with hand-working wood, their respective collections are made with different techniques and of course different topics of exploration and intentions.

I enjoyed speaking with Yuko about her work; hearing of how she observes and waits to see the characteristics that show the essence of an object. Patience and trust – personal characteristics I admire. As is written in the exhibition text: ‘Fujita’s pieces are realised through a reaction to her materials – sometimes spontaneous, other times they evolve slowly while she allows the materials time to ‘communicate’ with her.

installation; photograph taken with gallery permission

The quality of the construction is wonderful and meticulous. I wish I could conceive and make such beautiful connections between necklace components – I especially like those on ‘frozen vein‘ and ‘quiet show‘ (second from the left in the image above). And the little details that catch the eye … like the silver insets in the components on ‘frozen vein‘.

There are three brooches and eight necklaces in this collection. My favourite piece being the black necklace ‘midnight meeting‘ (second from the left in the second image above) and in fact I really loved the brooch Yuko was wearing at the opening.

Yuko Fujita’s ‘Kodama (return to me)‘ is at e.g.etal until 31st July 2010, as part of State of Design Festival Look.Stop.Shop.

Update (18th July): Katherine has more photographs of the exhibition on her site here. E.g.etal blog has an interview with Yuko and also photographs of the opening night!

Upcoming: Yuko Fujita ‘Kodama (return to me)’

22 06 2010

The next exhibition at e.g.etal is Yuko Fujita’s ‘Kodama (return to me)‘. Yuko was in the year above me at RMIT, and I admired the way she makes and the way she saw the place of jewellery in completing personal identity (which she was exploring at the time).

The below information about the exhibition is from e.g.etal. … it brings some very interesting images to my mind:

Melbourne jeweller, Yuko Fujita, has transformed recycled objects of distinctly domestic and ordinary origins into bold pieces of jewellery.  Fujita’s pieces herald a new beginning for these objects, while consciously reflecting on the many lives they may have had since beginning as a tree. Careful not to erase the memory of previous incarnations, Fujita has carved and chiselled each object by hand.
Responding to an inaudible echo of the forest (Kodama), Fujita’s pieces recall imaginary plants, creatures or endangered habitats. This uplifting collection of jewellery resonates with ancient themes and traditional materials while producing work that is powerfully contemporary.

Yuko Fujita is producing an exhibition of work based on wooden items she has found in op shops (bowls, spoons, clogs, etc) to make amazing pieces of jewellery. The title, ‘Kodama’, has two meanings – echo or spirit of a tree. When Yuko talks about the pieces she talks about each piece containing an echo from the tree that once was.

Her exhibition will tie in with the State of Design Festival Look.Stop.Shop program. This year the theme is “Change by Design”.

Dates: July 14 – 31 at e.g.etal, 167 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC
Opening night: Thursday 15 July (readers can subscribe to our mailing list to receive an invite at

Exhibition design: Katherine Bowman

image provided by e.g.etal

The round one is called “Lost World” neckpiece; bowls, spoon handle, bookend, 18ct gold, shell, 925 silver, silk code, paint. It represents a lost environment (habitat) where all life existed harmoniously and dynamically.

The second image is of “Memory Reading” neckpiece; found wooden clog, wooden spoons, 925 silver, paint. It refers to an extinct creature and its rich and various experience memories that we can no longer share.”

The pieces in the image above look like quite a departure from the work Yuko has in e.g.etal (which from memory is mainly blackened silver and beautifully mutely coloured silicon and porcelain), and I’m very interested to see the new group!

Thank you to Katherine Bowman and Steph at e.g.etal!

Update (23rd June 2010): see the update on e.g.etal website here

Update (7th July 2010): see Katherine’s blog also; and this post surprised me, as the necklace shown is so much bigger than I had imagined from the initial images (I am always amazed by the ‘scale’ of pieces in reality versus the idea I have when looking at ‘white background’ images of them!)