Release | Akiko Miyanaga
Made in Sapporo “Snow and Ice Candle Series” created by an artist born and raised in Sapporo
Sapporo is the city with beautiful winter. An artist who was born and grew up in Sapporo creates candles to depict snowy landscape. “Snow and Ice Candles” are best for not only a souvenir from Sapporo but also using by yourself. I interviewed the artist, Yuko Fukui from “Progressive Candle”.
When people visit “Sapporo Style Shop” on the sixth floor of Sapporo Station JR Tower, they find beautiful candles always with the “Popular” POP display.
▲Those candles are always in top layers of popular items at “Sapporo Style Shop”.
That is “Snow and Ice Candle Series” created by the artist “Progressive Candle” Yuko Fukui, who expresses winter atmosphere of Sapporo, the city where she was born and raised, to the candles. She expresses icy cold snow landscapes to candles which give light and warmth.
She was attracted to wax, which shapes are flexible and changes to light when it's lighted with the fire. She decided to create candles which no one has created before!▲“Frost Pillar” is a candle with beautiful design, it depicts the icy winter in Sapporo.
She loved candles and spent her life collecting candles since she was a junior college student. As she gazed and sometimes lit candles, she was attracted to candles more and more by its beautiful shape and appearance when it’s lit.
She loved candles so much that she had become to wanting to create candles that no one has created before. She went to the specialized candle shop in Sapporo Factory and started working there. As she was working as a staff, she learned how to create candles by herself, trying every day. She practiced creating candles at home, too.
▲The candles created from the image of icy winter give you warmth when it’s lit. (Photo provided by Progressive Candle)
She experienced working as a staff for about three years and started her career as an artist. The name “Progressive Candle” means “moving a step forward”. At first, she spent slow days by selling at handmade markets, craft events, on commission, or candle classes. The big change occurred in 2006.
She heard from her creator friends that “Sapporo Style” was advertising for candidates. They recommended strongly to apply for Sapporo Style, saying that “candles which Fukui makes matches so well to Sapporo style”. Fukui decided to apply with “Frost Pillar” which she was creating from 2001.
▲The first approved product “Frost Pillar” (The photo is provided by Progressive Candle)
The beautiful design expressed winter in Sapporo and high quality of handmade were admitted. It got approved in 2007! Two years after, “Frost Flower” and “Ice Butterfly” also got approved and now the candles became the leading approved Sapporo Style products.
▲“Ice Butterfly (on the left)” and “Frost Flower (on the right)” became the approved products of Sapporo Style in 2009. (The photo is provided by Progressive Candle)
After the approve from Sapporo Style, her mind changed to professional even more. She creates products wholeheartedly to make people want again, of course, caring a lot about qualities.
Thinking about different methods depending on designs is another fun part of creating candlesFukui’s candle making starts from creating molds. If it is “Frost Pillar”, she first makes a quadrangular pyramid with paper and creates the mold with silicon. She does not use products on the market because she wants to create what she imagines. She always adds new molds and has about 20 molds ready to use.
▲The spring limited “Frost Pillar Sakura Ver.” have small parts of sakura petals in the candles.
The methods are different depending on designs, so that is another fun part of creating candles. In the case of the spring limited “Frost Pillar Sakura Ver.”, she puts sakura petal parts from the tip of the molds which is flipped. The shape does not appear beautifully on the surface if she fails in this step. This is such a detailed work.
After she finishes putting all the patterns, she pours the wax. She melts different colors of waxes, and when she pours at the right timing, the color turns out to a beautiful gradation.
▲Candles are created upside down like above.
In the case of “Frost Flower”, she cuts the sheet-shaped wax on a tray with a snowflake shaped cutter. It takes 30 minutes for the wax to get hard. The amount of work she can do on a day is limited.
▲The spring limited “Frost Flower Sakura Ver.” has sakura petal parts. (The photo is provided by Progressive Candle)
The design with soft rime or frosts uses brushes to put wax chopped like frosts gradually after she cut with cutters. She feels that she was born in Sapporo when she creates detailed shapes on snowflakes. She expresses her sensibility grew up in the snow with candles.
▲“Frost Flower” expresses the flower of ice. This is the floating type candle.
“Ice Butterfly” layers sheet-shaped wax like thin ice, cuts before it gets cool down, and finish.
▲“Ice Butterfly” is created with thin layers of wax sheets. (The photo is provided by Progressive Candle”
The handwork done by Fukui who knows a lot about waxWhen she gets dozens of orders, it is very hard to make lots of amount with the same quality. However, it is one of the characteristics of handmade. She creates each candle wholeheartedly, imagining the smiles of customers who pick up her candles at the stores.
“Oh yes, this design especially needs a lot of work.” She picked a candle and told us.
▲“Frost Pillar Line (Night Blue)” imagines snow field at night colored to blue. The light in a freezing world is expressed with the hand drawn lines.
The shiny texture is expressed with stearic acid, a kind of wax. She melts stearic acid, scoops with a spoon, and designs on the candles like drawing lines very carefully while it’s hot.
All of these designs are expressed as it came up from her mind and she also plans how to create. It is the method only Fukui could use, who has a great sensibility and a lot of knowledge about wax, and high level of techniques.
Beautiful snowy landscape of Hokkaido▲She expresses the beauty of winter in Sapporo with slightly transparent (which makes the use of characteristics of wax) snowflakes. (The photo is provided by Progressive Candle)
“As I grew up in Hokkaido, snowy landscape was in my mind all the time. I project that landscape to my candles. The snow in Hokkaido is different from other parts of Japan. When it is extremely cold, snowflakes fall from the sky. The snow piled up is very fluffy like the belly of a cat. When I look that snow, everything is snowflake, and the impression of shiny snow when it got lights are strongly left in my mind. “ Fukui told us.
To tell the truth, I am a strong fan of Fukui’s candles. I used her candles at Hokkaido related events in Tokyo to express the atmosphere of Hokkaido.
▲The room looks very nice just by putting these candles.
Candle workshops are operated irregularly at private exhibitions or events. If you have a chance to participate in the candle making workshop, you will understand the ideas of design, methods, and amount of detailed works.
“I sometimes see people who cannot use the candles because it is too beautiful, but I would like people actually light the candles. Candles disappear when they are used, but it is similar to the sense of ‘the treasure every meeting, ’ and I think it is good, too.”
▲“Frost Pillar” has fewer wax drips and burns for six hours. (The photo is provided by Progressive Candle)
“I would like customers to purchase my candles in Sapporo. I want those people to take home the atmosphere of Sapporo with the candles”. Fukui told us.
▲It is recommended to get the sight of Sapporo’s cityscape at Sapporo Station JR Tower and shop at “Sapporo Style Shop” on the sixth floor.
These candles with such thoughts sell well throughout the year!
If you think of purchasing some nice souvenir, why don’t you consider getting Fukui’s “Snow and Ice Candle Series”?
▲Candle Artist “Progressive Candles” Yuko Fukui’s “Snow and Ice Candles Series” image video. (The video is provided by Progressive Candle)
Progressive Candle Yuko FukuiOfficial website and online store
TEL / 090-9757-7783
E-mail / candle＠s2.dion.ne.jp
“Progressive Candle” Yuko Fukui Private ExhibitionHer private exhibition will be held in June when lots of candle night events are held.
There will be workshops, too.
Dates: From June 15 to June 20, 2017
Place: Ishinokura Gallery Hayashi (1 Chome-1-3 Kita 8 Jonishi Kita-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido)
Sapporo Style- Official Website
Photo / “Progressive Candle” Yuko Fukui
Photo, Text / Hokkaido Likers photo writer Akiko Miyanaga
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