Mariko Sumioka


No contemporary jewellery lover can have failed to see this striking image of Mariko wearing one of her brooches: it’s been one of The images of the season. Born and educated in Japan, Mariko came to the UK in 2009 to study jewellery and silversmithing in Edinburgh. The photo was taken by Agnieszka Tarnowska, who also studied in Edinburgh, and is as stunning as Mariko’s jewellery.


Anyone who has been to Japan will immediately recognise the source of Mariko’s inspiration for this collection. It instantly transports me back to Kyoto, with it’s bamboo, temples, and tiles. It’s definitely worth checking out Mariko’s website for some of her photos, sketches and collages – they’re just so evocative. 


Mariko’s palette includes bamboo, textiles, and metal which she often enamels or patinates, creating a ‘wabi sabi’ aesthetic which I love. This jewellery is adventurous in form: catwalk necklaces, asymetrical earrings, and big brooches. All one-off pieces make this very collectable jewellery, but also very wearable. This is real creativity, and I look forward to seeing how Mariko’s work develops.


I took this image of Mariko and some of her jewellery at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair this autumn – beautifully displayed – this is the art of placement! Right now Mariko’s work is available in the DJG pop-up shop in the Barbican, London. There’s more information about her processes on her blog, and her news on her facebook page.


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