Kazumi Nagano


linen paper thread colored with sumi (aosumi), nylon thread, 14 karat gold wire, and silver 950
3 1/2 x 3 1/8 x 1 1/2 inches

Japanese artist Kazumi Nagano transforms the materials and techniques of traditional Japanese painting into wearable adornments. Sumi, a Chinese ink made from soot mixed with glue, is applied to linen paper thread to create the typical shadings and layered effects of nihonga painting. Combined with nylon thread and metal wires, the painted textile is folded into soft, organic shapes that emphasize or contradict the light and shade of the pigment. Soft and supple, Nagano’s work is tactile and appeals to touch as much as to the eye, and evokes the traditional subjects of Japanese painting through abstract, three-dimensional objects. As she writes, ‘A Japanese-style painter pursues the beauty of nature, which changes seasonally, and tries to portray it. Snow, the moon, and flowers (cherry blossoms) reflect the beauty of transience in nature and are motifs often used, and I love them, too. That aesthetic feeling is important for me when I make jewelry.’ Nagano’s work is represented in public and private collections in Europe, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Alice and Louis Koch Rings collection in Switzerland.