Kyoko Hashimoto is a Japanese-born Australian designer working across critical craft and design. Concerned with environmentally sustainable practices, Hashimoto creates objects that address existential threats posed by globalised resource extraction and the particular materials that dominate urban experience: plastic, concrete and fossil fuels. Using methods of place-based making and drawing inspiration from the Japanese animist religion of Shinto and its veneration of natural phenomena, Hashimoto is interested in how designers engage with materials for production and their relationship to the land.
‘Bioregional Bodies’ brings together new and recent works made from locally sourced materials found in the Sydney Basin, a bioregion characterised by the presence of sandstone, oyster shells for making concrete, and intriguingly, coal. A challenge to obtain, Hashimoto forages coal from decommissioned mines and carves it with diamond tools. Hashimoto has written about the material: “Coal is possibly the most contentious material of our time. This ancient material formed from trees that fell 300 million years ago before bacteria and fungus had evolved to decompose their lignin. Now it’s burnt to fuel infrastructure and economy at the cost of the environment and our future.”
By contextualising bioregional materials within the typology of contemporary jewellery, Hashimoto prompts their examination from different vantage points—political, ecological, aesthetic and temporal—and questions the role that coal, concrete and sandstone play in our culture and economy. In revaluing local materials, Hashimoto’s jewellery questions the design, making and manufacturing paradigms of our time, as well as the ethical complexities of local versus global resources.
Kyoko Hashimoto would like to acknowledge the support of Associate Professor Katherine Moline and Zoë Veness at UNSW Art & Design, and the studio support of Guy Keulemans. This research was funded by the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.
Banner: Kyoko Hashimoto, ‘Coal Necklace’ 2020. Coal, oxidised sterling silver. Image courtesy: the artist and Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert, Sydney
Tile: Kyoko Hashimoto, ‘Sandstone Musubi Neckpiece’ 2019. Sandstone, kangaroo skin, eucalyptus and waxed linen. Image courtesy: the artist and Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert, Sydney