Modern Japanese lacquer shines in Cork St

Lacquer screen and sake setI feel a bit guilty about this post. I try to write about exhibitions I’ve seen while they’re still on, so you’ve got a chance of going to them too. But just occasionally it doesn’t work out; exhibitions are short, I don’t get to them in time and they’ve closed before I tell you about them. This is one of those, and it’s really a shame as it was a lovely exhibition with lacquerware to die for, and what’s more you could buy it there and then. You see why I feel  bad. Continue reading

Takumi Japan – skill, craft and the pursuit of perfection

Aluminium rings by Marushin Materal Co

I seized the chance of a rare break in the rain earlier this week to take a trip to the Truman Brewery in Shoreditch for the opening of the Takumi exhibition. Takumi is a collective of Japanese craft studios and their show was to give UK retailers the chance to take a look at what they have to offer and maybe decide to stock it. I hope they do as I saw lots to covet there. Continue reading

Kintsugi lacquer repair – when broken is better than new

Kintsugi lacquer repair

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of mending pots. Not mending them in the way you’d imagine – so you can’t see they were ever broken. No, it’s mending them in a way that makes a feature of their brokenness, celebrates and enhances it, so that the broken and mended piece becomes more beautiful and valuable than before. It turns our ideas about the meaning of damage and imperfection on their heads. I’ve just been to see a kintsugi artist in action. Continue reading

Maki-e – Gold sprinkled on lacquer

Shokan Matsuda maki-e bowl

Shokan Matsuda, master of maki-e (decorated lacquerware, made by sprinkling wet lacquer with metallic powder, usually gold or silver), and his pupils have to come to the UK, with an exhibition of their work at Chelsea College of Art and Design and a series of workshops where you can learn to make maki-e too. I’ve been to the exhibition and also visited one of their first workshops, at the V&A, so I can tell you just what to expect if you sign up. Continue reading