Shea Mizuno creates work out of precious metal and gemstones in a way that is unconventional, experimental and organic. She currently lives outside of Boston, MA, and is a recent alumni of Massachusetts College of Art and Design with two degrees in Jewelry/Metalsmithing and History of Art.
Shea began making jewelry after taking a Beginning Metalsmithing class as an elective her first semester at MassArt, which she attended with the intention of majoring in photography. During this class, she instantly fell in love with the medium of metal. In her journey, she found that allowing the material to react to influence, such as flame, allowed her to give up some control in what is traditionally a highly controlled craft. This let her dispel both negative and positive energy through her work, which she finds both therapeutic and cathartic. It lets her connect with, and understand, the natural chaotic tendencies of material and surrounding world, in a way she never thought possible.
All of her jewelry is completely handcrafted by herself, which gives her absolute artistic freedom to make all of the decisions regarding her designs, as she often works intuitively. Due to the melting techniques she has developed in her jewelry practice, many of her pieces are one-of-a-kind, and will always remain to be completely unique.
"I recycle memory, experience, and material in the making of my jewelry in a way that is cathartic for me as the maker.
Taking the idea of historical palimpsest, I begin my process by taking raw materials and transforming them into more usable materials. Through this, the significance gets reset, and a place for new interpretation and meaning can be added.
I then make an object that is inspired by memory. These memories can come from either dreams or experiences which I have replayed over in my thoughts, and seem significant enough to have had a major impact on my life. The form of the object depends on the memory.
What happens next is brutal, yet cathartic: I destroy it. I use this destruction as a way to release emotions associated with the object. Through this process, I cannot control how the end result will look, as I cannot completely control emotion and experiences I have had. Each work retains traces of information of what it was before. This is done as many times as I see fit, through recreation and destruction.
I then take these new objects and make them into jewelry. For me, this is a way to give these objects new life as an object of preciousness, for though the memory associated with them has caused pain or emotional distress, they are still extremely important to me, as part of the memory has been erased to make way for the new. I believe that negative emotion and experiences are part of who a person is, and that negative experience and memory in one’s personal history can be eventually converted and recycled into positive and constructive experiences because of the knowledge gained about oneself and the world."
Shea, another awesome MASSART alumni! I was always so impressed by Shea while we were in the Jewelry & Metalsmithing department together, double majoring in History. Her work spoke with rich influences from history and eventually evolved to a process in which she makes little pieces of history through what she explained as recreation and destruction. Shea has been setting up at the SOWA Outdoor Market in the South End in Boston since May 2017. She was also a featured artist as part of RAW Boston 2016, and shared a joint booth with Adrianna DeCastro at the Boston Home Show in the Seaport Convention Center 2017.
What interested you in being apart of the Guidelines project?
"I am interested in this project because I like to challenge myself with working within a set of parameters set by another, as opposed to parameters set I normally would set for myself. It will be fascinating to see what I, and others, come up with intuitively within the rules of this project, and whether I embrace, or rebel, against them."