Jiro Masuda - Dedicated to My Students

Artist: Jiro Masuda, Michigan
Materials: copper, sterling silver, cubic zirconia
Size: 8
Dimensions: 68mm x 62mm x 44mm

Artist Statement: This ring was inspired by a lesson on stone setting that I am currently teaching my HS students. It's been a hard two years on them but working on something tangible with their hands with other students around them has been a form of therapy. In my mind, all of my students are stars for getting through the last two years, and this piece is dedicated to them. Perhaps they have been aged prematurely like the heat patina on the copper, but each of them is a shining star in my universe. I try to be like the silver in the piece and provide a framework that holds them up with some semblance of balance. But the balance comes from spanning across three fingers of the hand so each finger can bear some of the weight of the experience. And while the edges look sharp, they have been gently worn smooth but not so much as to lose their crispness, just like my students. As the light hits the stones, either individually or in small groups, they sparkle and reflect brilliance back outward, but it's fun to notice the pattern of light that comes through the stones underneath the ring as well. All of my students have had that moment of insight and clarity at some point during the school year and all have had their chance to shine like the CZs.

Artist Bio: Jiro Masuda attended the University of Houston where he received a BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing. He spent one year at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and then moved to Michigan to attend the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he received his Masters of Fine Arts in Metalsmithing. Teaching Jewelry and Metalsmithing has been his driving passion for the past 30 plus years. Jiro has taught at numerous institutions including; the University of Houston, Temple University, Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, and Dartmouth College. Jiro is currently the Jewelry and Metalsmithing Instructor and Upper School Department Chair for Visual and Performing Arts at Detroit Country Day School in Beverly Hills, Michigan where he is also an alumnus. The industrial aesthetic and culture of the automobile and machining industry of Detroit have strongly influenced Jiro’s art. His work spans the range from jewelry to silverware and from small functional objects to ceremonial structures. He has worked in a variety of materials including copper, brass, bronze, aluminum, silver, gold, platinum, steel, titanium, stainless steel, nickel, plastics, and wood. His creativity and irreverent attitude toward materials and found objects can be summarized with a sentiment by an art historian: “artists are like children, and their joy comes from playing with their materials.” Jiro’s work has been widely exhibited nationally and has been included in three issues of Metalsmith Magazine. His pieces have been collected by several individuals as well as the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. where one of his pieces is part of the exhibit, “The Hechinger Collection: Tools as Art.”

Watch a video of this ring HERE!

This ring is part of Battle of the Rings: Ring Smackdown 2022, an online exhibition and competition. Shop the entire collection HERE, view the matches HERE, and learn more HERE.

Rings from this collection will ship or be available for pick up after the competition concludes on April 29.