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PEOPLEText: Satsuki Miyanishi

Have you ever lost track of time staring at the anthers of flowers, the veins of leaves, or even bugs? The jewelry from Murder Pollen is not only beautiful but also expresses an attraction to nature in a detailed and original way. An interview with jewelry artist Ayumi Yamamoto, from Murder Pollen, was held at an exhibit at Metrocs Sapporo, in which she expressed her passion for creating jewelry which could be part of a room’s interior after being worn.

Murder Pollen

How did you start Murder Pollen?

Back when I had an office job, my friend invited me to go buy some jewelry parts so I started making jewelry. My co-worker at the time suggested that I sell my jewelry at stores, so I took my stuff to Spiral Market and jewelry making became my job from then on. I was making jewelry as if I was drawing pictures and I eventually quit my office job to start Murder Pollen as my full-time job. If I put a charm that I made on someone’s neck, the item is called a necklace. If the charm is put on the finger, it’s now called a ring. The same idea applies to my job title. Since I make jewelry, people call me a jewelry artist, but if I put my charm in a picture flame, I might get called a painter.


As the sound of your brand name ‘Murder Pollen’ might suggest, do you try to include some bad ideas/parts into your items?

The cute stuff is cute of course, but even things that don’t look cute at first glance, such as the leaves of plants, look very cool to me. Spiders look gross when people just glance at them, but if you take a better look, you’ll notice more detailed things, such as the very neat way that their hairs grow one by one and the interesting patterns. I find such things on bugs and plants very beautiful. My favorite parts of things come in as ideas and go out as designs. I hope people who wear my jewelry will understand my idea of beauty a little bit.


Is there anything that you are trying to do when you design your jewelry?

Since I get to create things that I like, I’m trying to make them into a form of jewelry that everyone can wear. This shows my pride and belief in my jewelry making career. I usually don’t have detailed themes for my work. I think of something that I like and start making it into that shape. I used to like flower necklaces when I was a kid, so I would like to continue having that same sort of feeling when I make things.


How long does it take for you to make one item? Do you draw out a design in detail before you start making jewelry?

The time always varies depending on which pieces I’m working on. Some pieces, I can’t even finish after a week, while I only need half an hour to finish other ones. If I know that I’ll be needing a long time to complete my work, I usually work on other pieces at the same time. Since I only want to use jewelry parts that I like, purchasing many parts is the first thing that I do in my work process. I don’t do designs, so I just start shaving, dyeing and putting parts together. I sometime use real vintage parts. Not only contemporary parts, but I also use imitations of lapis from megalithic tombs dating back before the common era. Anything could become a part for my jewelry. Even electronic cords could be.


How do you get the ideas for your work?

Since I was a kid, I was very curious and wanted to know everything about things that I liked. Of course, I’m still excited when I see new sprouts or joints on arthropods. I usually get inspired by the details in nature but at the same time folk art patters such as those of the Ainu, and movies give me some ideas.


The collaboration between plants and the jewelry at your exhibits are usually very beautiful. Do you choose plants according to the concept of your exhibit?

I try to choose seasonal flowers for my exhibits with a florist in charge.

How was your exhibit in Milan and Paris?

I did an installation exhibit at Milan Salone in Milan. Since the place was an outdoor café, people happened to take my leather lizards and roses during the set up. In Paris, even though I wasn’t particular successful since it was my first time having an exhibit there, I was very excited that people from my favorite brand, Anthropologie, came to see my show.


Is there anything that you want to try other than jewelry making?

I’d like to open my own store. I often hear people saying that they want to open a retail store inside of a café. However, I would like to do it with an izakaya [Japanese tapas restaurant/bar] instead of a café. I’d use it as my studio space and open the place as a retail store for a couples days per week and the rest as a restaurant/bar. The reason behind this is because I prefer food to drink. I love cooking and, especially when I’m busy, I cook to take a break.


We believe that you are very busy traveling all over the world, but what do you like to do on your days off?

I don’t really have days off. But by participating in events further way from home, I get to meet the locals and find out about their area, which stimulates my interests. This makes me feel like my travels around the world are a vacation. Sometimes I also feel like going to see movies out of nowhere and I’ll catch a late night show. These are small things that I try doing to take a break.


What type of people would you like to see wearing jewelry from Murder Pullen?

It makes me happy to see people who don’t usually wear jewelry wearing my works and having them realizing that it looks good on them.

I heard that you taught yourself how to make jewelry, but do you have any artists who influenced you?

I’d say stuff like old brooches with scallop shells, and wild flowers influence me more than artists. My main teacher is probably a flower.

What are your plans for the future?

The Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum will have an exhibit with a nature theme called Earth, Sea and Sky: Nature in Western Art; Masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ll be showing my rings at the exhibit. I will also be participating in a show celebrating the re-opening of the Tokyo Station Hotel and exhibits at Spiral Market in Aoyama and Mitsukoshi department store.

Murder Pollen
Date: September 7th – 19th, 2012
Opening Hours: 12:00 – 20:00
Place: Metrocs Sapporo
Address: ARC Bld., 1-18 Maruyama, Odori West 26, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
Tel: +81 (0)11 615 8777

Text: Satsuki Miyanishi
Translation: Yumico Miyagawa

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