The mention of jewellery brings to mind necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other pretty, elegant things you wear on your person.
Jewellery is an art form, and like most other art forms, subject to evolution. Kazuhiro Oya stands at the forefront of the changing face of jewellery as he brings his own brand of art and sparkle to the most unlikely of places, earphone faceplates.
Based in Tokyo, jewellery craftsman Kazuhiro Oya pushes the boundary of jewellery beyond purely decorative wearable items, stepping into the realm of personal audio. He creates beautiful, intricate earphone faceplates under his brand K2 Craft with the use of casting technology learnt from his time as a dental technician, producing works that run the gamut from delicate golden florals and butterfly motifs to anime characters from K-ON and Girls Und Panzer, to name a few.
Project Perfection and DITA have had the honour of Oya offering his advice to us in the manufacturing of the cast-titanium shell for our flagship earphones the DITA Dream. Recently, Oya also displayed 4 pairs of beautiful, jewelled Dream front-plates at the recent Fujiya Avic 2017 Fall headphone festival.
Ever since PP/DITA and K2 Craft encountered each other at the Fujiya Avic Headphone show in 2014, Oya has been a great friend of ours, to the extent that his name gets bandied around multiple times a day within our office. In this feature, we catch up with a treasured friend and a master craftsman, getting to know more about his work, history and psyche.
Q: When did you begin working on jewellery?
KO: Originally I was working as a dental technician. At the age of 24, I started working on jewellery work with casting technology, which was a dental technician's technique. I am now 50 years old, so I've worked in the craft for over 20 years.
D: How did you get into jewellery?
KO: First for money. But I was fascinated by the special energy of jewellery. Yes! There is a power that fascinates ready with beauty. After studying the actual techniques I studied design. I mostly picked up the techniques on my own but I visited some overseas high-end jewellery shops and studied. When I worked I learned naturally with requests from designers
What sets your works apart from other jewellers?
KO: My work is focused more on techniques than designs. My jewellery casting technology also supports theory for the manufacture of casting machines. Since the casting result changes according to the environment, I have taught methods that can stabilise the manufacturing process. These techniques can also be used with metallic materials and I am teaching these techniques to a casting machine company.
D: How did you get into the hobby of casting earphone face-plates.
KO: I thought that earphones could become jewellery by using diamonds and gold. Although jewellery such as earrings and pierced ears exist, I believe that earphone space can contain more space for expression.
D: How did you come across DITA/PP?
KO: I love DITA. In 2014 I made a silver casing of Kumitate Lab TRIO, when I participated in the Japanese headphone festival, the next table was DITA. At that time I met one of DITA’s founders, Danny-san.
Danny-san started to interact with me as a friend since he was interested in things I made. Through Danny's introduction, the technical specialist in DITA of that time was fascinated by the silver plate and I also began speaking with him. The tech made a special recommendation to Danny for the manufacture of his Dream earphones. I think that the attitude to challenge new things is always common with DITA.
D: What do you think are some similarities between K2Craft and DITA.
KO: Both DITA and K2 Craft have their own ideals decided, DITA has its own sound and I, too want to make special things. I think this is all about the relationship with DITA.
When it comes to both earphone and jewellery design, we need to look beyond what is defined by our industry. Partnering with other artists and sourcing for inspiration among other aspects of design can provide interesting insights and fresher ideas for the future. It is in this spirit that our friendship with Kazuhiro Oya began, and it is in this spirit that we hope it will continue to thrive.
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