Tasting the Spirit of Japan

Tasting the Spirit of Japan was designed by Carol Lee. This table is sponsored by Roger Fairbourn Real Estate.

Kon’nichiwa! I hope you will enjoy dining out on my travel experiences and that you will consume my menu with wasabi relish.
During the month of November 2019, I visited the amazing country that is Japan. The centerpiece on my table is a folding visual diary of our adventure, recording memories of our explorations into Japanese art, design, food, history, and philosophy. The diary is reminiscent of a paper screen and has wooden covers—the front one showing symbols of old Japan (Edo) and the back one showing Zen and Shinto symbols for the meaning of life.


Table curation:
1. Sitting on a chair draped in sheepskin you will see a large plate and bowl from the Leach Pottery in St. Ives, Cornwall, UK. Bernard Leach formed strong connections to Japan beginning in 1909 and was instrumental in developing the Studio Pottery movement.
2. My sketchbook, page opened at one of the “Lockdown Series,” using mixed media collage to explore the feelings of isolation and hope.
3. An antique Japanese basket, lined with kimono silk sits alongside a square of handmade paper. From the basket falls a necklace I constructed using long ceramic beads, roughly salt glazed, bought from a potter’s stall in Kyoto flea market. The rings displayed on the paper are (i) a diamond set in gold on an oxidized silver band, sitting on a heavy band of forged silver (ii) two rings in bound silver, one with repurposed Victorian coral beads (iii) silver stirrup ring with amber wrapped in a silver wire basket (iv) oxidized silver ring with large carborundum stone enclosed in a fused gold garland.
4. Center back (behind the diary screen)—hanging necklaces (i) reticulated silver and gold bar which hooks through a carved ironstone pendant, sourced from Mount Canigou in the French Pyrenees (ii) handmade chain with heart shaped ironstone pendant (iii) rusty iron pendant (woven wire) beach find, mounted in a forged silver clasp (iv)oxidized silver circular base with forged silver branches.
5. Center back (in front of diary screen)—rings in silver and oxidized silver with forged branches, one containing a Tibetan turquoise bead.
6. Ceramic vase made by Shigeyoshi Ichino when he worked at the Leach Pottery. His home and family pottery are still in the Tamba Valley.
7. Personal Notebook of ideas and designs.



This visit has created a layer of influence that weaves throughout my work, building upon foundations inspired by nature and cultural references. It has also confirmed my love of the drama of using scorched and rusty materials in contrast to the precious and shiny minerals used more commonly in jewelry design. I have included some of my pieces of jewelry and artwork on the tables well as Japanese and British artifacts to create an atmosphere of contemporary and ancient design.