a mug from Portland, USA

My daughter and her boy friend have been to Portland in USA 
to spend holidays this year.
There she bought a mug made by a local potter. But when she came back to Tokyo,
she soon broke its handle inattentively.

She asked me to fix it because it recalls her happy holidays in Portland.
As it was a very heavy mug , I decided to fix it by putting inner wire.

I drilled holes at both sides of all broken parts and put a wire into each hole,
and assembled with lacquer.

I finished it with powder of silver.


painting on matcha container (natsume)

I like putting 'makie:蒔絵’ (lacquer painting) on matcha containers or 'natsume'.
In the kintsugi workshop I could paint on a plain lacquered wood plate or on a ceramic saucer
which are easier to paint.
Natsume, on the contrary, difficult to paint because of the curve.

The one with gold fish is not from traditional pattern.
My teacher said,
 'Goldfish on natsume?? ...hmmm,seldom to be seen (on the tea ceremony).'
I gave it to a friend who likes to drink matcha.

The other ones are from traditional pattern.

Putting seashell (raden: 螺鈿) takes time but makes the work more gorgeous.
I gave the work below to a friend who loves Japanese tea.

eggshell or 'rankaku :卵殻'

The 'rankaku' technique uses eggshell.
The picture below shows the finish of rankaku using eggshell of hen.
First, glue small pieces of eggshell on the surface of ceramics or lacquer ware with lacquer,
and then fill the gap between pieces with black-colored lacquer, and then polish it after drying.

Rankaku is used for covering repaired surface of kokuso (lacquer clay),
and is also used for makie (lacquer painting) as below.

Recently I made lilies with rankaku on a tea container (natsume: 棗).
This is not the eggshell of hen  but that of koturnix which is thinner.


Ms K's teapot of Ito Gafu (伊藤雅風)

I have got to know Ms K at a Chinese Tea Party, called 'bravo! tea party'
where every participant brews a Chinese rock tea.
And brewed well, the leader says 'bravo!' and all people clap hands.

Ms K is specialized in Chinese tea. Her broken teapot is originally a Japanese teapot
made by Tokoname's teapotter Ito Gafu (伊藤雅風) that she uses for Chinese tea.

As its handle is off, I put these two parts together using lacquer and 
fixed them with scotch-tape until lacquer gets dry.

I drew a line on the seam and finished it with silver-colored gold powder.


Eriko san's tea cup: tomonaoshi

Eriko san is my old friend living in Osaka. She had asked me to repair a broken tea cup which belongs to her favorite sencha tea set with five cups.

First I put the pieces together.
Although Eriko san wanted me to finish it with gold powder,
I thought it would be better to use 'tomonaoshi' technique.
Tomonaoshi is a finishing way using the same color with the ceramics so that the
joint lines will disappear or at least will not be that obvious.

This is my first 'tomonaoshi' work, and as I did it in the too short time 
 before I met her in Osaka today, it's far from perfect.
In fact, I would have to take more time to make the same color, to make the surface smooth
and to make the luster the same.
I need more practice.



Sometimes lacquer painted surface becomes relatively large and gives a dull impression.
In that case there are a lot of techniques to cover it using seashell(螺鈿),
egg shell(卵殻), metal powder(梨地), metal foil(箔仕上げ) and so on.

Recently I'm practicing  'jimon' (地紋) that is to paint a pattern 
on the finished surface.

This is a traditional finite pattern called 'seigaiha (青海波)', or sea waves.

And this is a pattern of chrysanthemum. 
It took two hours after practicing on the tile as below.

I painted with lacquer and let it dry halfway and scattered gold powder on it to finish.

This is also a chrysanthemum pattern.


fixing a glass broken in two

I practiced fixing a glass broken in two in the workshop.
First I made holes on the surface of the both parts of broken handle.

The holes are deep about 5mm. 
I used a 10mm wire and lacquer to join the parts.

After reinforcing the joint with lacquer and clay,
I swaddled it with a piece of cloth and painted it using blue colored lacquer
and then white colored lacquer.

Let it dry and filed off the surface.

The master examined my work and gave it A
that means 'barely okay'. 


repairing a chipped bowl

I bought this bowl made by Wadayama Masahiro (和田山真央)
 at Wad Omotenashi Cafe in Osaka. 

But soon after starting using it, I found it chipped while I was unaware.

So I repaired it with finish of gold that suited the ware very well.
Kintsugi is a repairing technique of ceramics which we use in our daily life.
In most cases kintsugi doesn't conceal cracks or chips, sometimes
even make them stand out.
After the repair we feel all the more attached to the ware and enjoy using it.


practice of 'yobitsugi'

I recently practiced 'yobitsugi' in the workshop.
 It is to repair broken ceramics using a piece from another ceramics.
'yobi' means 'invite' or 'call' ,'tsugi' means 'kintsugi'.

 I had prepared these sake-cups. 
Their size look almost similar, but in fact,their thickness and radius are a bit different.

First, I broke a cup and assembled it together again with lacquer leaving one piece aside.

Then, I cut out a piece from the other cup and put it into the assembled one.

This technique needs a skill to put together a piece which is not really 
the same shape with the lack, 
and also needs a sense of beauty to decide from which ceramics to take the piece to fill the lack.


beginning of kintsugi

Recently I practiced repairing a tea cup with small clamps or  'kasugai'. 
This technique has developed in China.


The picture below is a famous celadon bowl from Nansong dynasty China.
It is in the National Museum in Tokyo.

The original holder of the bowl is the Muromachi Government's shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa
 (足利義政: 1436-1490). At that time such  Chinese ceramics were of particular value in Japan.
As the bowl had got a crack, Yoshimasa sent a messenger with the bowl to China to seek a similar one.

But in Ming dynasty China there was no similar bowl, the cracked bowl was repaired with kasugai and sent back to Yoshimasa. 

However, Yoshimasa didn't like the way of repairing at all. It is said that it is when the kintsugi has begun to develop in Japan to repair broken ceramics more beautifully.