May 10, 13 | Fumiko Magota
"Sapporo's Studio π" - Beautiful glass pieces that you have to see to believe!
The glass oil candle above makes for a beautiful picture, but I really wish I could show you a video of the fascinating patterns the shadows make while the candle flickers.
The piece is called "ーZenー."
The candle creates no soot, and heat from the burning wick doesn't change the quality of the glass after use.
It is a piece made for easy, everyday use, improving the look of any room it is used in.
The creator of this work is Sapporo native glass artist, Koga Uesugi.
I spoke with him about his past in glassworking.
"I took my first steps in the world of glasswork when I was in high school. One day I randomly biked out to Otaru and, during a break, visited a local glass museum.
During the visit I was able to view the western sun through a beautiful clear piece of glasswork, and that's when it hit me. I wanted to be a part of this art."
As soon as he returned from his trip he opened a phonebook and began calling every glass studio he could find.
He soon found Toyohira Glass, and proceeded to call and ask them about every aspect of the world of glass making.
They quickly suggested that he should "try going to a specialty school." So he decided to attend the Tokyo International Glass School.
After graduating, Mr. Uesugi established "Studio π" in Uehara Town, Yamanashi Prefecture. While working, lecturing, and teaching at at summer school, he moved the studio to its new location in 2006.
The work produced by Mr. Uesugi is quite unique.
Inspired by indigo dyeing, some works make used of mixed colors such as "Ainen Glass" indigo blue (like the previously shown "ーZenー" piece), other pieces fit into a "Mosaic Glass Group" which is a Japanese-style Venetian glass set. The color and design of each piece works well in Eastern-style rooms as well as in the Western style.
The mosaic glass works are stretched glass pieces made from between two to four different colored glasse pieces. Each mosaic piece is cut to a size easily held between thumb and forefinger. These pieces are arranged on a ceramic plate and melted together in high heat, and then blown into various shapes.
▲The pieces used for the mosaic glass works. They resemble colorful rain drops!
From April 27th through May 6th, the studio held a solo exhibition which featured these mosaic glass works. The color combinations and textures are quite novel and make tasteful decorative pieces.
▲A mosaic glass work is featured on the bottom right of this picture.
▲The center piece here is also a mosaic glass work.
I asked Mr. Uesugi about the concept behind his work.
"I like to make things which have a comfortable feeling, but are irreplaceably unique."
Blown glass isn't the main focus of the studio, but there isn't really a main focus to be found. The techniques and materials used take precedent, and the pieces made are created to fit these aspects.
The studio has been in Hokkaido for seven years now, so I asked how his style has changed since the move.
"It's the first time I've spent so long in a snowy environment, and it seems that at some point I became much more comfortable using the color white in my work!"
These pieces, from glasses to candleholders, are great for everyday use and yet stand out due to their unique beauty.
For those interested in trying their hand at glasswork, the studio also offers a unique learning experience!
By all means, you must see these pieces in person to truly appreciate them, so be sure to visit the studio or keep an eye out for new exhibitions near you!
(1-41 Ishiyama 1-Jyo 8-Chome, Minami-Ku, Sapporo)
※One attempt at glass blowing is only 2,000 Yen!)
(Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer - Fukko)
Photographs by Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer - Megane.