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Contemporary jewelry / Yoshie Koba (1942-)

Primitive works : on the skin


Approaching to shapes thorough accessories and going back to the origin of human nature

The artistic expression by Yoshie Koba

A peice of accessory has been a tool or an artistic expression delivering forms and colors on our bodies since ancient times.


Wearing accessories made by Koba, you can feel a flow of time and blood in our body as the identity of human nature. Looking at her approach to the primitive and simple design, color and materials of her works, her quest towards “highly-honed shapes,” which contradict the concept of accessory or “additional decoration,” is revealed. Her works also store the strength of handworks that indicates the origin of human nature. 


In 1960s, Yoshie Koba went to Zohkei Kenkyusho (an institute of formative design); since then, she has been creating carvings and sculptures. In 1980, she changed her field of work to jewels or accessories. Koba commented that the creation of accessories is always a retrospective effort and an aspiration for expression of minority world, and also she has to try to find the interface of her adoration to minorities and identity of the Japanese people.


For Koba, the first encounter with a material is a great stimulation to her aesthetic sense and may simultaneously be a threat that she has to overcome. In 1993, she started to create one of her representative works -- a series of "Time Fading Away" "The pieces of this series are made of Koyori [a thin-twisted Japanese paper].The creation was evolving from her encounter with books made of old Japanese paper. The characteristic of Japanese paper is, however, too strong and established as a material for accessories and the artist had to try to utilize it for numerous times before she successfully transformed the material into an accessary.


“I felt that it is too strong to use as a material for my work. I was not able to create an accessary of the material at first. So, I tore and twisted paper to accept its strong energy by myself. that I felt when I touched it, and then denied that feeling. Through this process, I finally forged a shape. I found out a way to utilize Japanese paper as a material. Adopt it into my work. This is how the series of Koyori was born. I also apply this refuse-adopt procedure repeatedly when I use other favorite materials,” she explains.


This process indicates her way of creation to forge a shape expressing her sense of beauty over time.


“When I started creating sculptures, I carved only big pieces; however I decreased the size of works gradually, and I found that the beauty of works exist regardless of its size.”


Beautiful shapes in nature and its maturity in time passage; these are features of things which have to fade away. Koba has been seeking to find an interface to incorporate this feature of nature as a very different expression of jewelry. Koba has dedicated herself to improve her technique that is crucial to bond between parts with metal.


Her passion and adoration for energy of human nature are combined with the material and resulted in her works. This means that the time and experience, which she had spent and had for 70 years, embody in the color or shape of her work.


Now, when you touch or wear accessories made by Koba and understand the point of view of the artist, you can reaffirm that the expression of her contemporary accessories represents the most primitive and intimate artistic expression which has been inherited from ancient times to the present and will remain in the future.


Nao Masaki

Yoshie Koba 

1942 born in Kobe

1960 stated going to the laboratory modeling 

     - Sculpture presentation of contemporary

  at public exhibition, received the Encouragement Award, Honorable Mention Award

1980  started the production of contemporary jewelery

1993  93THE ART Jewelry Exhibition, Grand Prize Winner

1997 Gallery Lesley Craze, London

  Japanese Contemporaries

2000  Japan and South Korea women metal Art Exhibition (Seoul, Tokyo)

2001  Crafts Council (London)

2005  CAGNES-SUR-MER (France)

2013  Gallery NAO MASAKI (Nagoya, Japan)

Other solo exhibitions in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, etc.

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