What kind of work?
Delicate cutting technology make various traditional designs.
In Kiriko, the Edo Kiriko of Tokyo and Satsuma Kiriko of Kagoshima are famous.Edo Kiriko using transparent glass and glass with a thin color.The cut is deep, crisp and glamorous.In contrast,Satsuma Kiriko uses a “color covering glass” that covers a transparent glass with a thick color.Therefore, there is a difference that the cut produces a color-rich gradient（bokashi）.The production process is approximately same as. It is called “Waridashi（Sumitsuke/Atari in Satsuma）” and starts with drawing a basic line which is helpful when entering a pattern. Then, I do the work to dig the groove along the basic line called “Arazuri（Arakezuri in Satsuma）”Next, the final process “ishigake” of the cut is done, and it becomes the flow “Migaki” which gives birth to the texture which is familiar with the hand while putting out luster. Kiriko has many traditional patterns such as fish (Nanako), hemp leaves, Yarai and so on, but there are craftsmen who give innovative cuts suitable for the times.
Creating beautiful patterns,
Skillfulness and an aesthetic sense are essential
To become a Kiriko craftsman it is important to have skillful fingers and experience that can create beautiful patterns that are characteristic of Kiriko. The certain techniques and intuition that are cultivated from a great deal of experience determines the finish of the work.
Furthermore, it is also important to be able to create designs that are not just for Kiriko which will be used only as ornaments, but also designs for glass that take into account practical aspects and which can be enjoyed at the dining table every day. On the other hand, in contrast to the glamorous image of Kiriko, because work is carried out by spending all day sitting down, it is essential to have strong powers of concentration. In order to acquire the techniques of Kiriko, the same task must be performed over and over again and it is important to constantly challenge yourself to make better and better pieces.
Moreover, it is vital that Kiriko craftsmen have a sense of design. In the pursuit of these techniques, while it is important to work steadily, it is also essential to have a playful spirit. It is necessary to have an attitude that you are willing to continue learning from a variety of sources in the future as well.
The Path to Becoming a Kiriko Craftsman
Take up an apprenticeship to become a Kiriko craftsman,
Study and experience at a Kiriko workshop is the recommend path
In order to become a Kiriko craftsman, no special qualifications are required and instead people generally choose to take up an apprenticeship to become a craftsman. Many apprentices come to the profession after graduating from school, but there are also those that are changing their jobs mid-career. For example they might have been an office worker in their previous career.
Those that desire to become a Kiriko craftsman are encouraged to see and experience for themselves a Kiriko workshop. If they wish to learn Edo Kiriko they should go to a workshop in the eastern area of Tokyo. If they wish to learn Satsuma Kiriko they should go to a workshop in Kagoshima.
Moreover, although it is a good idea to read up on Kiriko to learn the finer details, recently it has become possible to learn about Kiriko at culture schools and the like and so surely this would be a great way to actually experience what Kiriko is all about. In recent years, there have also been a growing number of female craftsmen that have been fascinated by the beauty of Kiriko.