Naturaficial : Unexpected Natural Beauty Discovered in the Artificial

The Gallery at Reinstein|Ross ( is currently showing, Naturaficial:The Jewelry of Yong Joo Kim and Yoshie Enda”. 

nat•u•ra•fi•cial   adjective  \‘na-che-ra-’fi-sh´l\

: a combination of natural and artificial

: unexpected natural beauty discovered in the artificial

Provoked and inspired by both the natural and the artificial, Yong Joo Kim and Yoshie Enda breathe new life into everyday, and industrial materials, through their curiosity and artistry. Kim has chosen to work with Velcro® hook and loop fasteners, an industrial material (itself designed to mimic nature), to create her sculptural jewelry. Enda mixes dried flowers and herbs with resin to make her wearable “botanical monuments”.

Sparked by her move from busy Seoul to smaller, Providence, Kim found herself slowing down and taking the time to appreciate the mundane and the common place. Turning her focus away from precious materials “that were beautiful to begin with” Kim began experimenting with the “ordinary and non-precious”. Her work with Velcro® hook and loop fasteners was especially interesting to her. Velcro® is an artificial fastener material that was designed by a Swiss engineer after examining the burdock burrs that continually stuck to his dog’s coat while hiking in the Alps. Kim’s fascination for this material allowed her to examine its potential through cutting, rolling, bending, and sewing the fasteners, she was “discovering the hidden beauty through a process of reconfiguration.”

Kim’s mission is to impact society through her art by challenging our notions of beauty. Kim’s work also explores “how wearable art can provoke meaningful questions and dialogues around trust, beauty, value, and empathy”. In essence, we are all subjects in this experiment when we choose to adorn ourselves with her creations.

Nature, and the creative use of materials is also at the root of Yoshie Endas work. “Flowers bloom gloriously for a brief moment and eventually wither. This is how nature works, but I feel pity for the transient beauty of flowers” admits Enda. Attempting to prolong the life of the flower, she “performs a memorial” whereby she grinds dried flowers and herbs and mixes it with resin, a clear substance that becomes as hard as stone after it cures. During the process, Enda adds natural dye colors for a light to dark gradient effect that has become a hallmark of her work.  Through the “Reflora” body of work, Enda has extensively researched flowers, settling on 6 types of plants that keep their natural color when mixed with resin. “Their translucent colors express the elegant and subtle scent of lingering moments. I wish for my jewelry to travel through time and place and bloom once more.” Endas romantic ideas and delicate materials are in stark contrast to the geometric forms of her brooches and necklaces. With Reflora” she offers us a 21st century take on momento mori – the mortality of all living things.


Brooches by Yoshie Enda (left) and Yong Joo Kim (right)

Yoshie Enda, Reflora Bracelet, 2013, Hibiscus, Resin, Silver

Yoshie Enda, Reflora Bracelet, 2013, Hibiscus, Resin, Silver

Yong Joo Kim, Transitions In Red, 2015, A neckpiece made of hand cut, hand assembled, and hand sewn Velcro® Hook-and-loop fastener.

Yong Joo Kim, Transitions In Red, 2015, A neckpiece made of hand cut, hand assembled, and hand sewn Velcro® Hook-and-loop fastener.

About the Artists

Yong Joo Kim earned her MFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2009 and her BFA in Arts and Crafts (Metals and Fiber Arts), from Sook Myung Women’s University Seoul, Korea in 2004. Most recently she has been the recipient of the prestigious SAC Artist Award in Jewelry from the Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston (2014), the NICHE Award: Sculpture to Wear (2011) and the Adrianna Farrelli Prize for Excellence in Fiber Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft show (2011). She has been invited to participate in the Talente Show organized by the Internationale Handwerksmesse, Munich, Germany (2013). Her work can be found in numerous international private and public collections, including Velcro Inc. and the Museum of Arts and Design, NY. Kim was born in Seoul, Korea. She currently resides in Providence, RI.

Yoshie Enda earned her MFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2010 and her BFA in Crafts from California State University, Fullerton in 2008. She is currently Assistant Professor of the Fashion Art Jewelry Course, Hiko Mizuno Jewelry College, Tokyo, Japan. Her jewelry appeared in the music video for Lady Gaga’s “Born This way” (2011).  She was chosen for the prestigious Inhorgenta Prize exhibition, Munich, Germany (2011) and the Preziosa Young Contemporary Jewelry Prize exhibition, Florence, Italy (2010). Enda was born in Saitama, Japan where she currently resides.

The Gallery at Reinstein Ross

30 Gansevoort Street corner of Hudson Street



On view through April 17, 2015

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