Comments on the Silver Prize Winners（2/2）
OHNISHI ───── Thank you. Let’s move on to the next work, the Silver Prize winner in the Design Category ‘-yoitsugi- Liquor Cup’ by Ms. Yui MATSUMOTO. We would like Mr. KAWAKAMI to comment on this work.
KAWAKAMI ───── Let me tell you my personal experience from the beginning of the bubble economy. At that time, I was helping to build a hotel in Nasu Highland which has now developed into a nice auberge. I was involved in the project to build a very luxurious hotel which had only five rooms, and I was designing the interior of the hall. We wanted to make a large zelkova table, 15 to 16m long and 1m wide, but we could not find good zelkova wood which was not too expensive. Instead we used imported bubinga wood for the table and karen wood for the chairs.
The hall was multipurpose and the table could also be used for dining. The hotel was planned to open in the early spring. We coated the table with Suri-Urushi and we believed we were well prepared. However, the Urushi coating of the table did not harden nor dry, because we didn’t have such large and heavy wooden material and because the climate was not appropriate. As you know, Urushi is dried or hardened by absorbing the moisture in the air. The Urushi-coated table did not harden. We waited and waited, but the surface of the table still looked wet and the opening of the hotel was approaching. We managed to install the large table without a problem, however, because the Urushi was not completely hardened, almost all the staff members including the manager got a rash on their skin from the Urushi. I was in a lot of trouble. Fortunately, it was still before the opening so I quickly took out the table and removed the Urushi. I coated the table with urethane resin and reluctantly installed the table in the hall of the hotel. The rhythm of Urushi, just like the rhythm of making anything that takes a lot of time and consideration of the seasons, does not go with the fast-paced, efficient rhythm of making industrial goods. I learned an important lesson.
I expect that the trend of the times will change, and we will aim at a slower and richer life without being restricted by economy or money. In such an era in the future, Urushi will be reconsidered, and making items by hand will be valued again.
Regarding the sake cups, I’m happy this work was selected at the Preliminary Assessment, although it was hard to picture the size or scale of this work. I helped assess the crafts at the Crafts Competition in Takaoka. This kind of Urushi ware has been made and used in large quantities. The technique is also used quite often. However, when you hold the sake cup, you will understand its excellent formation. The artist’s linen cloth covering-technique has her own individuality and the combination with the Tsukiita(Veneer) is not decorative but calming. The cups look quite ordinary but are also soothing and gentle for our hands. I have come across many different works and I still feel that this work is excellent, which is why I selected this as a Silver Prize winner.
You may be wondering whether the work proposes a new lifestyle or something like that, but I think this work is a real beauty. The artist created a bold presence as an object and made the work lovely and gentle with great care.