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Although there has been a lot of talk about how contemporary craft practitioners could work with particular craft method, the first thing they have to do is to understand precisely how it has been established.

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 practitioners of Japanese laquerware have begun to reexamine the elements make up their pieces in order to create works unique to this discipline.

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 making 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 lacquer ware. 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.

June 2003/Kenji Toki

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