Nakano Kaoru

Nakano Kaoru (b. 1946)

“They may be made from the delicate fibre of mulberry paper but Nakano Kaoru’s brooches and rings exude the rock-hard attitude of shallow ocean coral. …  Believing that the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hands and feet are themselves sculpture, Kaoru doesn’t consider the application of one of her works to the body as an act of accessorizing but rather an act of ‘ornamental attire’. “ To attire oneself is to move from the mundane to the extraordinary.  I want the objects to make statements about the being, the existence, the identity of the person wearing them…I want them to be something to be looked at.  So for me they are sculpture.”  – Annemarie Kiely Belle Magazine 2006

Nakano Kaoru grew up in Kyoto, near Lake Biwa, the much loved subject of many forms of traditional Japanese art. But Nakano takes her inspiration from the contemporary spirit, from the multiplicity of sources that besiege her spirit. She revels in the freedom of unrestricted creativity, discovered in a hobby course of metal carving. Basic techniques mastered, Nakano turned her talent to Japanese washi- the fibre of the paper mulberry Broussonetia Kazinoki. Tough, yet soft and pliable in the hands, washi jewellery from the Meiji Period remains.

Nakano layers the paper, progressing from thin to thick paper. Natural glues help preserve the paper and she uses chemicals that will aid whitening by the sun over time. Saturated and formed by hand in this state, she is able to create wonderfully textured surfaces that blend with her organic shapes to form unique forms of jewellery art. Silver and gold metal, gold and silver foil, red and black lacquer applied directly to the paper extend the canvas of her creativity.

An invited exhibitor in several jewellery shows in Italy, Nakano’s works express the joy of freedom in design that is a major motivating force in her work: “ Washi is a gift from nature, a gift which contains and passes on the wisdom of mankind. I am grateful to be able to work in such a blessed environment.”


Solo Exhibitions
2004   Gallery What’s, Tokyo
2005   Gallery What’s, Tokyo
2006   Gallery Nokiha, Tokushima
2006   A & C Gallery, Tokyo
2007   Gallery What’s, Tokyo

Group Exhibitions
1995   Takaoka Craft Exhibition, Takaoka, Tokyo
1996   Japanese Craft Exhibition Fukuoka, Osaka, Tokyo
Selected Japan Jewellery Art Competition, 02’, 06’ & 08’
1999   Selected International Craft Competition – Jewellery, 01’
2000   Selected Asahi Contemporary Craft Exhibition, 03’ & 06’
2000   Contemporary Japanese Jewellery Craft Council Gallery, UK
2001   Selected International Craft Competition
2002   ‘From the Rising Sun’ Vizo Gallery, Brussels
2003   Japanese Jewelry and Hollowware Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge USA
2006   Metal Element Beyond Gallery Gac, Seoul, Sth Korea
KATACHI –The essence of Japanese Design, Flow Gallery, London
Japanese Cool, Lesley Kehoe Galleries, Australia
2007   Contemporary Jewellery, Japan
2008   International Paper Jewellery, The Scottish Gallery , Edinburgh
The Magic of Jewellery Art, GALAERIE SLAVIK, Vienna Austria

International Art Fairs
International Art & Design Fair, NY, Lesley Kehoe Galleries, 06, 07
International Asian Art Fair, NY, Lesley Kehoe Galleries, 06, 07, 08

Nakano Kaoru
Lesley Kehoe