Urushi (Japanese Lacquer) and I
I studied Urushi as a material for artistic expression in university, and Urushi for japan ware for everyday use in Urushi-producing districts.
In addition to those, there are innumerable ways of expression using Urushi.
In working with Urushi, I would like to acquire various ways of expression and continue to produce Urushi products.
Shinshu and I
In 2007, when I studied Urushi-Art (Japanese Lacquer) at Tokyo University of the Arts, I visited two Urushi-producing districts, Kisoshirakawa and Naraijuku, in Shiojiri-shi in Nagano Prefecture for the first time, as part of a study tour.
Being attracted strongly by rich natural ambiences and the way of living of the local people working with Urushi, I started to visit there regularly to meet with the people I got acquainted with.
I am now renting a building which was formerly the residence of an Urushi master in Kisoshirakawa together with my friends, and we use it as a center for activities, including workshops and ceramic classes, or simply engage with the local people there.
There are episodes of conquered warlords whose skulls were covered with lacquer and painted with gold after being beheaded. This process is known as “hakudami” and, once completed, their crania were put on display. In the modern world, this may sound extremely crude. However, this was thought to be the way to pay the utmost respect for the dead. The “hakudami” created by HASHIMOTO Haruka is, of course, not made of real human skulls. He uses plaster heads produced from shaped casts. The plaster skulls are lacquered in layers. This method is called “hollow dry lacquering.” HASHIMOTO’s aim is to show the possibilities of the lacquer technique. It looks as though HASHIMOTO is creating just lacquer crafts on one hand but, on the other hand, he truly becomes deeply involved with “hakudami” with an innocent look on his face! I would like to keep my eye on what HASHIMOTO continues to create with his dry lacquer technique.