For 29 year old jewelry designer Akiko Shinzato its not enough to make jewelry that is beautiful, it must have another layer of communicative meaning. Either by using found materials like used food cans to create a collar, or by deliberate means like her recent collection, Another Skin, which is a meditation, and in some ways a scathing rebuke of the obsession we have with our appearance, especially as it relates to other's opinions about it; she is always interested in making something that is pointed, as well as unique.
Artist designers like her are exciting to me, because they are the ones who are asking us to see more, and see differently. They are the ones who turn the mirror onto us, and command us to look at ourselves with intention, not simply vanity.
Shinzato has already garnered much attention and praise for her work, having received awards for her design work, and already having her work shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, which she now calls home. I wish her a long, splendid career. And I hope her messages of confrontation and examination don't stop making us think.
Here is a look at some of her work. I hope you see at least as much to admire and ponder as I do.