Japanese Glassware by Shotoku Glass Co.
Apologies to all of you who have been looking for good video content. I have come across a few short films on my travels but they’ve not really ticked all the right boxes. Some were in a foreign language, which doesn’t really help in terms of inspiration, well unless the imagery is absolutely superb. One clip I did find was on woodworker Takahashi Hidetoshi, the forms that he makes are pretty sensational and I’ve always admired how thin his vessels are. But it didn’t seem long enough to post up here. It’s definitely worth checking out though if you like craft in general (view here), even if you don’t speak Japanese.
Saying that, this video that I’ve placed below featuring Shotoku Glass was very mesmerising indeed. I often get asked if I’m against manufacturing and mass-production because I’m very involved with handmade goods, but that’s not the case at all. Both forms of production intrigue me, Shotoku Glass for example is a middle ground between the two. You have a set of master craftsmen who blow the glass to the desired shape with the help of wooden moulds, machinery then plays a part by smoothing and heating the glass in the right way. Without these two methods working in tandem you wouldn’t have such a quality product with a high standard of finish, with the glass so thin and beautiful in form. I’m really in awe.
I suppose it helps that Shotoku Glass was established in 1922, so they have had nearly 100 years to establish a working process. They originally started manufacturing the glass portion of electric light bulbs. Since then, Shotoku has developed the “Usuhari glass” series which was based on the knowledge they gained from making the glass for the electric light bulb. After that, the “e-glass” series was introduced in 2003, glasses which are made from recycled fluorescent light tubes. This series was recognised as an environmentally friendly product and became the first glass product in Japan to be given the Eco Mark. A fantastic feat in itself.
Hopefully you’ll enjoy this weekend watch below and will go on to their website to view more series that they’re currently producing. I thought it made sense to compliment the moving imagery with some stills of the products, these were produced in collaboration with ITO Masako and are very beautiful. I also really love the simple tall glass at the end of the video, after watching it go through all those different processes it must be very satisfying to drink from.