Each of Akihiko Sugita’s works are crafted by hand at his studio in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture.
His training under fellow Japanese craftsman Akira Noboru of Wajima for approximately 7 years helped cement his current skill set. Now he works as an independent artist in his workshop. With the help of his wife, Mihoko Sugita, who carves some of the woodwork and polishes the pieces, they’re able to produce stunning works of art that are not only beautiful but also functional.
Sugita has a fantastic eye for form, with these pieces fitting gently in the hand making them easy to use and nonintrusive. He’s also able to make different textures and make the best of the wood underneath the lacquer surface, which gives them a mystical and rustic sensibility.
Surrounded by the sea and mountains, Akihiko Sugita’s workshop in Kanazawa, Ishikawa prefecture is where he crafts his beautiful lacquer vessels by hand. This area is well-known for its regional handicrafts and is said to be home to around 36 different traditional arts and crafts, from pottery, to traditional toys, and lacquerware. Although the separate crafts could be considered art in itself, they are mostly functional works that have been, and still can be, used in daily life.
Here resides Akihiko Sugita, a young maker who is continuing to carry the torch of promoting the functional use of lacquer in everyday living. He apprenticed under well established craftsman Akira Noboru for over 7 years. Noboru works in the city of Wajima in Ishikawa, Wajima lacquer is known as being one of the most ancient lacquer crafts in Japan and is where lacquer of the highest quality is applied to a core in a process of 8 coatings. This protects the wood and gives it high durability. After completion of his training, in 2013 Akihiko became an independent maker and has since gone on to exhibit at various galleries in Japan.
The process of applying the lacquer is painstaking, first they paint the urushi on to the wooden object, it’s then dried and repeated many times over, finally finished with a special coat to help protect the previous layers. These works are so delicate in the making process that a specific drying cupboard is made where the vessels and plates sit inside, they are rotated so that lacquer does not run, and the cupboards environment means the lacquer does not come in to contact with dust and can adjust to the humidity slowly.
Akihiko is attracted to the fact that these are long lasting pieces of design that can stand the test of time. Not only that, they can be used on a daily basis and become one with the user. We hope you like this small feature from inside his workshop and home, we’re also really proud to present a selection we have on offer at OEN Shop.