She is passionate about portraying the cute, adorable animals and the beauty of Nature to be seen in her hometown in her accessories. For this project, she chose the kingfisher as a motif, since it reminds her of her childhood. The cute and pretty kingfisher is beautifully decorated for this brooch, bringing a grown up style to this ladies’ fashion item.
Ms. Shimamoto’s work begins with the design. She combines her original decorative style with practicality, something which can sometimes be challenging. She shapes the wood to form the outline of her artwork. There are three stages to painting with urushi : the undercoat (shitaji-zukuri), the middle coat (nakanuri) and the final coat (uwanuri). Once the item is painted, it needs to be dried and polished with charcoal. Then it is painted again. By repeating this process over and over, urushi strengthens the artwork and adds an elegant gloss to it.
The uniqueness of this product derives from the way in which she combine the different shells. Ms. Shimamoto cuts shapes out of the shells and matches shells with different textures, shapes and colors. Traditional mother-of-pearl (raden) artworks usually have thin shells, but she uses the thicker parts of shells in her own art. Her modern design incorporates beautiful maki-e adornments.
The artist keeps a stock of shells in her workshop. From right to left: ear shell from New Zealand, great green turban, Japanese ear shell, black-lip and white-lip pearl oyster.
Shell plates are taken from the back of the shells. They are polished with a file and an abrasive.
The artist paints red-colored urushi on the areas where she want to decorate with maki-e. The gold powder sticks to the urushi when sprinkled on. Then she polishes it.