Urushi art has fascinated people all over the world, with its glossy surfaces and decorative beauty. Ms. Yamakawi is one of the key practitioners of this art. For this collection, we have selected some of her most fascinating pieces. Accessories made with inlaid mother-of-pearl called raden and the maki-e technique. Her unique appeal reflects the inspiration she draws from nature and the world of plants growing and blossoming. We hope you feel and appreciate the joy of nature through her unique products.
Ms. Yamakawi’s work begins with the design. She combines her original decorative style with practicality, something which can sometimes be challenging. She shapes the wood to form the outline of her artwork. There are three stages to painting with urushi : the undercoat (shitaji-zukuri), the middle coat (nakanuri) and the final coat (uwanuri). Once the item is painted, it needs to be dried and polished with charcoal. Then it is painted again. By repeating this process over and over, urushi strengthens the artwork and adds an elegant gloss to it.
To finish her accessory artworks off, Ms. Yamawaki uses a maki-e technique, with inlaid mother-of-pearl or inlaid egg shells. With meother-of-pearl decoration called raden, shells are added to the surface of the urushi artwork. She also uses an urushi coloring technique irourushi, which uses shells to color the surface. This is how she expresses her own individual creativity.
Her delicate but bold decorations are a key attraction of her work. Her art is not only stunningly beautiful, it also has a sense of calmness and tranquility because of its urushi character. The balance she gives to such small artworks is what makes her accessories so special.
Note: The rings we introduce for this project have used silver as a body.
The bowl contains raw urushi. She adds earth powder to make the paste for undercoating (shitajizukuri) which will strengthen the artwork’s surface.
Platelike inlaid mother-of-pearl. She cuts patterns in various shapes and sizes for the accessories, and places these onto the surfaces of her artworks.
She uses skewers to stick each small piece of shell onto a small area. “This requires a lot of concentration. However, this is the most enjoyable part of the process!” she says.