Comments on the Honorable Mention Winners（2/2）
OHNISHI ───── Thank you. Let’s move to the next work, ‘Small Boxes’ by Ms. Yuko HIROSAWA.
KAWAKAMI ───── I can understand her works knowing that she is from Niigata Prefecture. She created lovely little cylindrical containers with brass lids by coating them with Urushi, utilizing various techniques including Kyushitsu, carved Urushi, gold, and Nuriwake. The cylindrical containers can be used for our personal seals or as pill cases. Originally, such Kawarinuri reminds me of the Samurai sword sheaths made in the Edo period. Here you can see a huge variety of coating techniques for various materials, and I’m afraid these ornate works might not be very appropriate for everyday use. I do think though that the containers would be suitable for holding our official personal seals.
It is a pity that she used premade metal fittings that probably squeak as the cap is being screwed on to the container. I’m afraid that it will be difficult for her to develop the metal parts because of her specialization in Urushi, so I suggest that she work on this in collaboration with other people. I would like her to experiment with coating the metal parts after understanding the basics, such as function and purpose. There are many diverse and sharper shapes to be found to decorate such containers, and even more so with the Kawarinuri technique. I think if she can look closer and express herself more deeply, it will improve her works greatly. For those reasons, her works now are a little unsatisfactory, but her endeavor to combine metal and Urushi is innovative.
OHNISHI ───── Thank you. Her techniques have been developed for coating Inro (rectangular cases with a lid) and the accoutrements of a Kiseru (traditional Japanese tobacco pipes). Not many people smoke tobacco using a Kiseru nowadays, but it is very durable. Some other suggestions I made for possible products were cases such as for stationery or jewelry. These would be light, you would not even feel their weight in your pocket. There are many possibilities for new expressions by keeping this in mind. These aspects are unique to Urushi.
OHNISHI ───── Next, Mr. Shinya YAMAMURA, please comment on ‘MAKIE Earrings of Twelve Months’ by Mr. Kosei OSHITA.
Shinya YAMAMURA ───── At last my turn has come. Why do I feel like this? I am also an Urushi artist and create Urushi ware mainly with some decoration. My impression of this exhibition is that the works with decoration seldom compete for the higher prizes. At first, this work was not so conspicuous, nearly overlooked due to the size, so small. Finally, I asked all the Assessment Panel members to look at the work thoroughly and then the work began to receive votes until it was selected as the Honorable Mention winner.
Mr. OSHITA is from Yamanaka and all of his family members have been involved in the decoration of Urushi ware. They make their living through Urushi, in one way or another. One important aspect of Urushi, even for the decorative works, is that these works come into the hands of people. For that to happen they must have attractive qualities and I think it is very important that a work is purchased for a certain amount of money. I imagine this artist creates his works every day wondering how best to make people understand and use the Urushi ware through his decoration.
He created twelve pairs of earrings for twelve months. They are created with twelve different decorating techniques and materials and each work is about 1cm long. Only by looking closely at the works, can you see that Urushi and Makie are applied to the black stone (onyx), the fluorite, and pearl. These base materials have been rarely used with Urushi and I find this very interesting.
These works are made with high technical skill. If the techniques were not good enough, artists would not be able to express their intentions nor give an allure to their works. Although it is difficult to sell such sophisticated pieces today, I think that they should become more popular. This submission justly received the Panel members’ votes for its refined designs.