Emiko Shinozaki is a former professional violinist, self-proclaimed science nerd and now, the talk of every craft fair around the country. She's artfully integrated her interest in organic chemistry with her music theory expertise, soldering hexagonal structures that play on repetition and subtlety. Her debut line, fifteen years in the making, is a force to be reckoned with.
Shinozaki began playing the violin at age seven, and continued rigorously into her adult life. She eventually became a violin teacher, teaching the canon over and over again to children, and playing dry, "expected" pieces when performance opportunities arose. She felt an inch. She wasn't making anything "permanent," as she likes to put it, because with music, the moment is here and gone.
" I felt like a fraud because I wasn't being creative anymore. Music wasn't tangible. It was a joy for many years, but when it stopped meeting my creative desires, it stopped being enjoyable. It was something I had to let go, like a breakup with a boyfriend. And then - I moved on."
She moved on slowly, as one does after a bad breakup, and eventually found the love of her life. Mind you, it happened pretty haphazardly. A fan of chemical structures, Shizonaki didn't like the geometric jewelry options on the market. She started taking a general jewelry class at FIT, and "the rest is history."
"Taking that class changed my life. Making jewelry felt so natural to me, like a culmination of ideas I'd had for a decade. I can solder an element or material that will never disappear off this planet. My ideas evolve slowly and steadily like nature, but eventually, I was ready to start my line."
She settled on the hexagon as her motif. Each piece is individually fabricated from metal and boasts a smooth, flat surface. "The flatness challenges me - you can't hide any sins in there." She uses brass but is playing with gold. Her "Emiko" necklace - the signature piece - requires three hours to solder nineteen hexagons together. At the beginning, soldering and finishing a single ring took up to three hours. With brass, you are delaying natural processes because copper naturally tarnishes the metal. So she's both slaving away for smooth perfection and racing against the clock.
"With music theory, you can take a theme and invert it or alter it, as long as it repeats. My jewelry shares the same themes and variations. I'm so passionate about each piece and kill to make every single one perfect, because with a necklace, ring or bracelet, they're here forever unless they get melted down. "
Shinozaki has a brimming pool of clientele who appreciate her hard work, but more so, who love the personal touch she adds to each piece. She's never sold online before, because she makes a point to interact with every single one of her customers. She does no-charge consultations for styling and fitting because the joy of collaborating with her clients is "payment enough."
" When I make a piece and someone else likes it, I'm super flattered. You know, people clap no matter what at a classical concert. No matter what - you're going to get applause. That's what I'm used to. So to me, it's more honest when someone buys my jewelry, because they're putting their money where their choices are. I never forget that. The joy of making something someone loves and wears is the reason I stick with it."
But while her signature style has been easy to pinpoint to date, she knows another evolution is coming. Though there's no rush. Shinozaki likes to let her ideas ferment, and "grow steadily and slowly, like nature." She looks forward to her growth, and so do we. Though we're sure Shinozaki was a strong, beautiful musician, we're thrilled she's taken her creativity out of the ephemeral and into the physical.