"URUSHI (Japanese wood lacquer)"
is a natural paint material that is gathered and refined from
URUSHI trees, which can mainly be found in Asia. Since the dawn
of history, we commonly used wooden and earthen vessels coated
with "URUSHI" until we began to import porcelain from
China. The techniques to decorate furniture and tableware are
well known as traditional craft works of Japan. Lacquered "URUSHI"
has a uniquely pure beautiful shine, profoundly serene colors,
gentle warmth of touch and very impressing surface, it is never
seen on surface of any other painted objects. Japanese have
a particular affection for them and hold them in high esteem
due to their unique ability to convey the richness of Japan's
Construction of URUSHI objects and my
Generally, according to traditions, URUSHI
objects consist of hemp fiber and URUSHI. First of all you prepare
an object made of clay, and put the hemp fiber on the clay object
to ensure the fiber fits to the clay's surface. And then you
soak URUSHI into the fiber. After it's hardened (it takes a
few days), you repeat the process until it becomes hard enough
to form itself without the inside clay. To paint URUSHI smoothly,
you should grind its surface with a grindstone. Every time after
hardening painted URUSHI, you polish the surface, and repeatedly
do this process until you get smooth and fluent surface.
In contemporary, G.F.R.P. or C.F.R.P. is well known as stiff
and light material of productive objects and seen in not only
Japan but also everywhere around the world. When you come to
think of it, both traditional URUSHI objects mentioned above
and modern material like G.F.R.P. or C.F.R.P. have the same
essence of their construction. The only difference is the character
of them. One has natural character and another has chemical
one. The chemical materials make it easier to form the objects
than using natural materials, therefore many artists use F.R.P.
as a convenient medium when they make URUSHI objects in Japan.
But there are social tendency to think it imitative and even
contemporary URUHI artists themselves tend to shirk manifesting
about the inside material of their objects.
As for me, I had already realized the estrangement between the
traditions and the moderns mentioned above when I was a student
in the university and have been researching a possibility of
the combination of URUSHI techniques, established by traditions
and modern material and technology, which is still improving
even now. Because URUSHI is not an old-fashioned material but
I believe that there is still much possibility in the future.
Research Prospects in UK
Two elements are needed in order for
an object to be termed as URUSHI. In other words, it is impossible
for something to exist as an URUSHI work in its own right. It
must first be coated in URUSHI, itself, merely a liquid material.
Thus objects to be painted in URUSHI are as important as URUSHI
itself. It is therefore very important what form an object takes
and the material from which it is born. Contemporary practicioners
of Japanese laquerware have begun to re-examine the elements
make up their pieces in order to create works unique to this
I have been pursuing "Natural Form" by using a tensioned-cotton
cloth and rubber sheeting with vacuum pressure to form a smooth
and pure surface on which to apply URUSHI fluidly. By this method,
I have attempted to emphasize the organic nature of URESHI and
its sense of pureness and fluidity when it appears on curvilinear
surfaces. I have also been looking at site-specific placement
of my work in order to place URUSHI in the context of fine art.
Besides using and refining a process that I have developed,
I want to research other possibilities in creation of form by
using other materials and techniques which are enabled by the
use of computers.
With the aid of CAD it is possible to create "Natural Form"
largely inconceivable by human mind and hand. Today we have
many options in the methods of production and the making of
three-dimensional objects. A mechanical molding system enhanced
by computer is one useful way of making organic objects with
a sense of fluidity in shape.
While exploring the form and fluidity of the object, it is further
possible to examine the organic nature of URUSHI through the
fluid surface characteristic in laquerware. In addition to natural
or liquid form, application of URUSHI gives a strong sense of
the organic. The combination of an object formed by the aid
of computer and machine with skills of the hand and mind will
lead to new futures in URUSHI work.
In addition, I can offer my Japanese lacquering skills as a
Japanese applied artist to people in the university, and URUSHI's
uniquely character must influence upon applied art in UK. I
believe that it is going to be an intellectual stimulus for
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