Questions & Answers（2/2）
Audience Member 3 ───── Thank you for your helpful and interesting stories. I think that in the future Urushi could be used as a resource in combination with recycled wood, plastic etc. Now we have 3D printers. What are your opinions on how we could utilize those possibilities?
SHIHO ───── I hope my opinion can be an answer to your question. There are now 3D printers as well as regular cutting machines. If you use cutting machines with a router, you can mass produce your works or use synthetic wood as a substitute for the real thing. If you use something like a 3D printer, you can attempt forms that cannot be created by hand. In fact, a certain design office makes original forms of chinaware that they cannot make using conventional casting. In this case, the 3D printer is useful, and there are also other techniques besides NC cutters or 3D printers, and I think that a technique should be chosen on a case-by-case basis.
Audience Member 3 ───── With the theme of this exhibition being ‘The Future of Urushi Ware,’ I think we could see more exploration in that direction.
SHIHO ───── I think it is a good idea to take on the challenge of using these modern devices to create artworks. I would be glad if this challenge were taken up.
OHNISHI ───── Thank you all for your cooperation. We are running out of time so I would like to close today’s Special Symposium.
We hope that this Ishikawa International Urushi Exhibition will continue for many years to come. As it is the only Urushi exhibition which accepts submissions from all over the world, it is a very important event. Unless you have seen behind the scenes of the exhibition, you may not be aware of quite how important it is. For us, who have been involved in the planning and management of the exhibition, we feel very proud of it. We want to continue to show the world that Urushi is an important part culture for human beings, a culture with a gentle heart. At present we have two categories, the Art Category and the Design Category. However, the interpretation of art and design is very ambiguous. The question “What is art?” is so difficult. We use the word ‘art’ quite often without a clear understanding of it.
We have listened to the panelists’ heartfelt comments. It takes some time to express what is in your heart. That is also the attitude of Urushi. When you apply make-up, you put on your cosmetics with great care. You don’t just roughly smear it over your skin. Cheap things are made roughly. Time is very important, but in these days it is very hard to take time in making products. Our culture tends to promote cheaper, quicker, and more. Such culture is completely different from Urushi culture. It is the exact opposite. You mustn’t use Urushi in a hurry. You must use it slowly at the pace of nature, the way plants grow when a rain shower makes it feel as if it grows just a little faster.
When you coat an item with Urushi, you tend to think of how to dry it as quickly as possible. That’s why you mix other materials into Urushi, and in fact pure authentic Urushi is quite uncommon. This is very important. You take it for granted that you can buy the same quality Urushi at any Urushi dealer, but the quality can be completely different. That’s why the artist grows their own Urushi trees. I also grow my own trees. They are all around my studio. I draw sap from those trees, but I cannot get the sap all year round, as it depends on the seasons. After I get the sap, I blacken it slowly by exposing it to sunlight and the energy from the sun evaporates the water little by little. As we say, ”slowly, slowly.”
So handling Urushi mustn’t be carried out under strong sunshine. Half shade is good, like a branch with many leaves which sways above the Urushi. When you tilt the sap, it runs very slowly and I have to repeat this many times. It is a lot of trouble. However, this depends on our values. Today’s culture makes you say “too much trouble.” I don’t like this aspect of our modern culture. You should enjoy the moment when time and space are part of your life. The Urushi trees change their appearance according to each season, the sunlight and clouds. Clouds cast shadows which is important to note. The shadows influence Urushi trees and Urushi sap. How great it is to grow such delicate Urushi trees, collect the sap and make something with it.
The audience today includes Urushi artists who are already active in the Urushi field. For those who are thinking about becoming active as professional Urushi artists, please get in touch with me. If you want to create a work in a particular way, I will gladly advise you on where and with whom to study.
The opening ceremony for this exhibition will be held on October 28, 2020. I hope we will receive many visitors. The Panel members, including myself, will participate in the ceremony. I’ll be happy if I see you again as friends who love Urushi.
I’m afraid I have gone on a little too much. I’m sure you received stimulating and rewarding opinions and ideas from the panelists. I would like to now close the Special Symposium. I hope you have written down the good ideas and opinions of the panelists. Thank you very much.
FUJIHARA(MC) ───── Ladies and gentlemen, Thank you very much. We were planning on asking for some comments on the assessment and expectations for the future, but unfortunately we are running out of time. Our apologies for that.
We would like to bring this Special Symposium and Report of the Results of the Ishikawa International Urushi Exhibition 2020 to a close. To all the panelists, thank you for your stimulating and rewarding comments and proposals. Please give them a big round of applause. Thank you very much.