“Give me people who are earthy, natural and lacking in pretense,” says jewelry designer Akiko Gordon. “It is their work I emulate.” That wild, untethered influence is readily apparent in the artist’s clustered, textural creations.
From 1996 to 2001, Gordon was a host sister to Japanese students in Massachusetts. One of these exchange students taught Gordon to make jewelry in 1999, and she’s been perfecting the art ever since. In 2001, Gordon relocated to Asheville with her boyfriend and increased her repertoire to include gothic and Lolita pocketbooks and bags, T-shirts and plush toys. She sells them locally at Earthworks Gallery (452-9500) and Indigo Salon (454-5460), both in Waynesville.
Gordon’s one-of-a-kind jewelry—featuring sterling silver, semi-precious stones, pearls, antique findings and fossils—run from $25 to $500. Asymmetric turquoise beads, swirls of oxidized silver and natural metallic pearls all conjure up the Asian roots of Gordon’s first name, but when she sets to designing, Japan isn’t necessarily her first thought. “While I am intrigued with many styles of jewelry, it is tribal influences that endear me the most,” she says. “This work reflects life on earth that lacks the self-consciousness and sophistication of ‘more civilized’ societies.”
• [left] Pearls of wisdom: Charm bracelet with freshwater pearls.
• [right] Spirit healer: Bracelet with a handmade chain, turquoise, clear quartz and Bali silver beads.
• [left] Ancient mountain: Necklace of sterling silver with tiger-eye, turquoise, river rock, fossil stones and leather cord.
• [right] Purple wildflowers: Necklace of amethyst with clear quartz and jasper.