Nova Scotia native Scott Thomson studied at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design in Fredericton, New Brunswick where he majored in Jewelry / Metal Arts. It was here that Thomson explored Art as a discipline, taking courses in drawing, photography, Native crafts, pottery, and 2D and 3D design. These various media solidified his love of design and elevated his love of jewelry making into his present craft. Self-discovery and hard work became the benchmarks of his new found love. Technical aspects of jewelry making became his obsession from stone cutting, casting, reticulation, to shibuichi—with each new technique, a new doorway of design possibilities opened.
Driving his work is the duality that exists in all things: order/chaos, organic/inorganic, utopian/dystopian. Using gold, silver, copper, and various alloys, he attempts to create harmony through the polarities that exist in the world.
What is shibuichi? Translated to English from Japanese, shibuichi means one-quarter or one of four. Shibuichi historically comprised three-quarters copper and one-quarter silver although variations are often used. In the past, it was used in sword fittings whereas in modern times, it’s used in the construction of furniture, home furnishings, and small decorative objects.
This alloy has a unique characteristic that allows interesting textures to form when certain heating processes are applied. It gives an organic surface to the strong and rigid metal. Polished shibuichi will often have a peachy colour depending on the alloy composition. Another trait of the metal is the beautiful patinations that can be produced through numerous reactions. Colours ranging from browns, blues, greens, and greys are the result.
I use shibuichi because of its organic texture of bumps and divots. It captures the feeling of chaos that reflects the randomness of our lives. I will then juxtapose the texture with clean lines of polished silver, which represent our attempt to control and contain the wildness. Sometimes I will let the organicness live on its own while other times I contain it.
Straight and polished silver represents containment usually in the form of time. Lines cause our eyes to travel as does time bringing up memories of the past and imaginations of the future. Along the lines, there are usually ‘dots,’ balls of silver or gold. These represent moments. Moments in our life that hold significance, of good times, bad memories, or events that for some reason stand out. A gold ball on a square of textured shibuichi is a positive or monumental moment in the chaos of living.