Kokeshi & Hemp - "Asa-no-ha" brooch

Artist: Maru Almeida
Materials: sterling silver, 22k gold
Dimensions: 2.5''x 2.5''

Artist Statement: The iconic pattern of the Asa-no-ha Japanese print has always been a favorite of mine. The play of geometry and repetition inspired the three-dimensional design of my brooch. It was interesting to learn that it represents the hemp leaf. Creating work with thin silver sheet and folding it by hand as if folding origami is a process that I have always enjoyed and is often part of my jewelry making. 

Artist Bio: Maru Almeida was born and raised in Mexico growing up surrounded by a rich silversmithing tradition and the work of local artisans. Her curiously of the artistic transformation of metal guided her to pursue both a BFA and an MFA in jewelry and metalsmithing from the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Oregon, respectively. Through her education she learned the necessary skills for working with precious materials as well as exploring non-traditional materials to incorporate on her one-of-a-kind work.  In her work she develops ideas exploring movement, tactility and discovery through the senses; always looking for a true connection to the work through the body. Maru has been working as an artist and professional jeweler for more that 15 years and has taught at several institutions including the University of Oregon and the Seattle University. She also teaches private lessons at her Seattle studio. Maru’s work has been featured in Metalsmith Magazine and is part of the jewelry collection of the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Oregon. Her wedding rings have been published in the book "500 Wedding Rings" by Lark Books.

Fabric Motif: Two popular icons intersect in this pattern - kokeshi, a souvenir doll from hot springs resorts of northern Japan and hemp, a traditional fast-growing crop used for rope, textiles and more.

This piece was part of the Yukata Inspired 2024, a collaborative exhibition between Okan Arts & Danaca Design featuring metalwork and collage. Learn more and view the entire collection HERE.