April 27, 2018 We visited Kenji Tsukaji, who is exhibiting at a special exhibition at Aoyama Square.
Echizen ware: Kenji Tsukaji
Echizen ware is one of the six ancient kilns in Japan, and it is a traditional craft of Fukui Prefecture that has been baked since the end of the Heian period. Many vessels used in life such as kame, urns, mortars, funa tokuri, and ohaguro urns are made.
However, although the scale of the production area is currently smaller, the youth department of Echizen ware has been established, and the power of young people is gradually increasing. Mr. Tsukatsuji belongs to the youth club, and it seems that he actively interacts with youth clubs in other production areas.
Echizen ware that has been around since childhood
Family business is Echizen ware
The Tsukaji family makes Echizen ware, and Tsukaji grew up with soil nearby since he was a child. Therefore, it seems that the existence of Echizen ware was natural in me, not to mention that if it grew up, it would succeed Echizen ware.
However, there was a time when I thought that there was anything really interesting other than Echizen ware, so I went to school in Osaka.
There, I learned not only vessels but also jewelry and other things that I had never been involved in before, so Tsukaji’s perspective expanded at a stretch.
Encounters with colorful stained glass
Mr. Tsukatsuji met stained glass and learned that there was something so colorful in the world. At one point, he thought about becoming a stained glass craftsman instead of Echizen ware.
However, when I thought about living, I didn’t have an image of stained glass, so I decided to take over Echizen ware, which I liked second.
New style of Echizen ware
Thin Echizen ware
In the production area of Echizen ware, we are currently developing thin products.
The soil of Echizen ware is originally sticky, but I made it so that I could make strong pottery even if I made it thin by making it more and more breeding by making the best use of its nature.
This shape, which can not be easily done in other production areas, is likely to become the future style of Echizen ware.
A world of 1 millimeter thin
Mr. Tsukatsuji also worked on this thin Echizen ware.
However, even if there is a soil that has been improved breed, it is not easy to make it. According to Mr. Tsukaji, it is not possible to do it only after various trial and error, such as the technology of potter’s potteries to make thin things, the temperature of the kiln, and iron erupts even if it burns well.
Tsukasa himself said it took three years to complete this thin Echizen ware.
The world of astringent Echizen ware
Speaking of Echizen ware, there are many astringent ones even if they are baked tight or glazed, and there is no colorful one. However, there is a reason why it becomes it.
The reason for it is that it becomes a dull color no matter what color is applied because the soil of Echizen ware becomes blackish when firing.
Therefore, the image that Echizen ware is only astringent in any work might have attached.
However, Tsukatsuji, who was interested in stained glass, decided to inherit Echizen ware, but did not abandon his commitment to color.
Tsukasa-san’s Echizen ware
When he was in his 20s, he tried to incorporate stained glass itself into Echizen lacquerware, but after trying it for about a year, it did not reach the level of product.
Currently, I think about Echizen ware every day to be as colorful as possible, and I make something different from Echizen ware so far.
Some people think that Echizen ware should be bitter about the soil, so there are pros and cons of what Mr. Tsukaji makes, but he still continues to make new things without throwing away his commitment to color.
Echizen ware × lacquer
Although it is out of business
In the Meiji period( 1868-1912), among the creators of Echizen ware, there was a house that lacquered and made vessels. In any era, there must be a creator who feels boring only by simple color.
The person painted lacquer on the outside of Echizen ware to make something unprecedented, but he was not evaluated as a product and went out of business.
However, Tsukatsuji-san seems to be encouraged by the fact that there were people who were making such attempts.
Finally, when I asked him what kind of things he would like to make in the future, he said that he wanted to make something that would make Echizen ware say that it was cute.
I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of Echizen ware will be produced from now on.
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Mr. Tsukaji, who spoke to me this time,
The special exhibition “Fukui’s Traditional Crafts Spring Gifts” will be demonstrated at Aoyama Square until April 30.
(Fukui’s traditional crafts Spring gifts are until May 2)
Please come and see me.