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Reflection, refraction and transmission. The charm of "Edo Kiriko" made with rare craftsmanship

Reflection, refraction and transmission. The charm of

Edo Kiriko, a traditional technique that is indispensable for SIRI SIRI jewelry. We spoke with Mr. Michiyo Shimizu, president of Shimizu Glass Co., Ltd., who handles the production, and Ms. Ryoko Nakamiya, a cut glass craftsman, about the history and technology of the glass.

The history and decoration methods of Edo Kiriko

The history of Edo Kiriko dates back to the latter half of the Edo period, in the 5th year of Tenpo. It is said that Kyubei Kagaya, who runs a glass wholesaler in Odenmacho, Tokyo, had craftsmen ingenuity in the craftsmanship of the glass. At that time, Kagaya's Hikifuda (advertising papers and catalogs) included tableware, inkstones, hairpins, etc., and it is said that they were luxury items that were treated as tributes.

After that, as a means of modernization, the Meiji government established the Shinagawa Glass Factory as part of the promotion of new industries, and invited Emmanuel Hopemann from England to learn the technique of cut glass.

For example, in the case of "strawberry cut", it is replaced with a name unique to Japan, such as "Nanako" and "Arare", which refer to Komon, and it is applied to tableware and lighting. became.

At that time, "Edo Kiriko" was crafted on transparent glass, and the commonly imagined colored ones were the Satsuma Kiriko technique of the Satsuma clan. Satsuma Kiriko has been discontinued, and Edo Kiriko has been handed down to the present day.

Many of the colored ones are "sotogise," which is transparent on the inside and colored glass on the outside, and the color changes depending on the metal added. For example, blue is cobalt, copper red (dark red) is copper, and gold red (pink) is pure gold.

There is also a trend in color, and recently black with a modern impression has appeared and is popular with men. In addition to the color, it is also characterized by how the bottom, surface, painting style, etc. are applied and the atmosphere changes greatly. It is also a part where the personality of the craftsman can be utilized. However, the cut glass on such covered glass loses its color if the blade fails to hit it, so training to acquire high skills is essential.

By the way, at this time, only glass products that can be officially called "Edo Kiriko" are glass products that have been crafted by craftsmen of the Edo Kiriko Cooperative Association. It is a measure to protect the technology and value and pass it on to future generations.

"Fluttering water surface" drawn on glass by Edo Kiriko

The KIRIKO series, which boasts popularity for more than 10 years at SIRI SIRI, includes KIRIKO Bangle , KIRIKO Hair Tie LONG , KIRIKO Earrings SCRAPER , and KIRIKO Ring , using this Edo Kiriko technique. .

These are produced by "Shimizu Glass Co., Ltd." in Katsushika, Tokyo. A 97-year-old studio opened in 1923 in Kikugawa-cho, Honjo-ku (currently Sumida-ku) by Naojiro Imamura, a glass craftsman who studied under Hopeman, Jinosuke Imamura. For a long time, we have been subcontracting products such as narrow glasses (wine glasses, goblets, etc.), tumblers, and tableware and crafts such as vases.At present, we also handle architectural and interior products such as decorative plate glass, lamp hoods, and objects. I am working on it. Decorations and objects such as elevators in Tokyo Sky Tree (R) are one of them.

Regarding the most familiar glasses and tableware, president Michiyo Shimizu says, "I want to propose simple and modern items that can be used everyday."

We propose designs that combine both decorativeness and functionality, such as a glass with a pattern on the bottom that spreads out like a kaleidoscope (photo) and a sake cup with a pattern that fits your finger.

There are many collaborations that are not found in conventional traditional crafts, such as the creation of goods with magazines and content works. In projects like this, he draws on his experience of understanding the designer's intentions and working together with them since he was a subcontractor. However, ten years ago, Okamoto asked him to apply facetwork to a heat-resistant glass bangle.

Shimizu: When I received the offer, I wondered if it would be possible to process Pyrex glass. However, when Mr. Mita (Mr. Ryuzo), the former factory manager, tried it out, he said it seemed to work. At first, it seems that Mita gave advice on processing and tools, but after that, Nakamiya (Mr. Ryoko), who is currently a young leader, was put in charge and encouraged him to work on embodying Ms. Okamoto's image. From now on, it's the era of young craftsmen.

Ms. Ryoko Nakamiya, a cut glass craftsman who is still in charge of production. In 2019, she became the first female traditional craftsman of Edo Kiriko, but even so, it was quite difficult to make Okamoto's request a reality.

Nakamiya: I was surprised when Mr. Okamoto came to talk to me for the first time. He showed me the hand-drawn design and said that he wanted to make it "like the water surface of a pool". I proposed several patterns of designs that I thought would look like this, and Mr. Okamoto chose them. After that, we discussed whether to make the pattern the same size as a whole, or change it little by little.

Even in his regular work, he says that understanding the designer's intentions is the most difficult task. Based on impressions and design drawings, we propose replacing traditional patterns with them, and add further requests from designers to create a unique design in the world.

Nakamiya: It depends on the designer how much they value the discussion. For someone like Mr. Okamoto who tries to create something with aesthetics and commitment, it takes time and sometimes it is difficult to understand his intentions and thoughts. However, once you understand that, you can create very good products.

The site where KIRIKO is created

The amount of work and the time required for Kiriko work vary greatly depending on the complexity of the pattern and workmanship. As an example of a very limited situation, even for a simple small bowl, one person is limited to about three per day. As for the process, there are ``waridashi'', which puts the allocation lines vertically and horizontally, ``rough grinding'', which is roughly shaved with water, ``sanbankake'', which is further shaved with a fine-grained wheel, and smoothing with water on artificial whetstones and natural stones. Ishigake", polishing with an abrasive, and buffing with water-soluble cerium oxide.

For example, if the glass is just cut, it will look like frosted glass. At Shimizu Glass, in this polishing process, the apex of the carving is polished first, and then the entire piece is polished. This allows the pattern to stand out without blurring. Every process requires a delicate awareness and high skill, but the craftsmen pay particular attention to the layout, where the design will not come true if one mistake is made, and the rough printing, where once the blade touches the material, the material will be cut off.

According to Mr. Shimizu, ``A craftsman makes any kind of work look easy, and it looks like it, but it's actually a very difficult process.''

Nakamiya: SIRI SIRI's processing creates a beautiful finish when the patterns are overlapped without any gaps and the size of the pattern is subtly reduced. Also, since it is thick, there is little risk of it breaking, but it is prone to distortion. While making these adjustments, make sure that a clean hexagon appears when viewed from the front.

Nakamiya: It's not difficult to add similar patterns to individual shapes, but there is still a limit to how many can be lined up in the same way. This is because there is a great deal of individual difference in the overall shape, the curves of the edges, and the thickness.

`` KIRIKO Bangle '' is finished only by cutting (artificial whetstone), so ``rough grinding'', ``sanbankake'', and ``stoned'' are performed collectively for shaving. When he first worked on it more than 10 years ago, it took hours to finish one piece. In addition, due to the unique request for the finish to be "lightly cloudy", the process of making it little by little so as not to make it too transparent, washing, and inspecting is repeated three or four times.

Nakamiya: If you take it easy, only one part will shine too much, so you need to proceed little by little while looking at the whole. Normally, finishing buffing is a one-time process, so it takes a lot of time and effort.

Although there is a gray cut technique that does not dare to polish, the "semi-gloss" finish is rarely seen in the industry. We had many discussions before we found the perfect line, and by measuring our mutual understanding, we found the best finish.

Nakamiya: There is a subtle difference between what we craftsmen think about, how to accentuate the semi-glossy look and patterns, and what Mr. Okamoto does. Not too polished, not too polished. Make it stand out, make it stand out. It took me a while to adjust. But thanks to that, I think I'm finishing with almost the same recognition now.

Those words remind me of my past hardships. However, what is actually more difficult than the bangle is the small " KIRIKO Earrings SCRAPER " that can be completely hidden with your fingertips, and the " KIRIKO Hair Tie LONG ", which tends to look distorted due to the design of the handle and the shape of the main body. With kiriko, it is difficult to handle the weight of the glass, but if it is too small, you will need more finger strength than usual. In addition, the " KIRIKO Earrings SCRAPER " is scraped with a flat plate, so every time I feel like my nails are gone, I smile wryly.

Nakamiya: But I enjoy working with Kiriko. When I first started, I didn't think much about it, but now that I've gained experience, I hope to be able to create something that conveys the charm of glass' large reflection, refraction, and transmission.

Currently, SIRI SIRI items are also being promoted by division of labor. While adjusting the materials with individual differences and the habits of the craftsmen's hands, she creates accessories with fluctuations that make the surface of the water move.

In order to maintain the high level of craftsmanship

Edo Kiriko has become a traditional Japanese culture by fusing cut glass technology with Japanese patterns and craftsmanship. It is also exported to Europe, and has become a popular souvenir for tourists from overseas.

Shimizu: Even though the shape of the glass is the same, it can look completely different depending on the craftsmanship. I would like people to use and touch Edo Kiriko everyday. Beautiful Kiriko tableware and glasses make everyday sake and ingredients feel a notch higher, and add joy and richness to eating. That's why I want people to enjoy it casually without hoarding it away just because it's expensive.

After the interview, Mr. Shimizu said, "Not only Kiriko, but various other traditional industries are on the brink. I think we should preserve the traditional techniques that take time and effort to create." It takes time to acquire the skill, but the rare skill should be loved for a long time.

I sincerely hope that SIRI SIRI's KIRIKO jewelry, which is produced by a generation that is said to be very young in the world of craftsmen, will be one of the ways to pass on traditional techniques.

Written by Sanae Kimura

Photo Go Itami

Reflection, refraction and transmission. The charm of

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