A study in textural and compositional contrasts. A tsuba called ‘Shinsei’ 新生

 

This tsuba is made from nails that came from a 120 year old Japanese farmhouse. The pieces were forged together loosely so that the grain of the material would be visible when the tsuba was finished. The shakudo plugs in the kogai-hitsu are of a shakudo alloy based on analyses of Momoyama period shakudo. The shakudo has been etched with acid to reveal the inner structure of the material. I call this nama-shakudo.

 

By using metal in this way I want to show that it has an inner life that can become part of the expression of 21st century tsuba art. The shape of the tsuba is strongly influenced by the dynamic forms of Shigaraki pottery whose powerful shapes are a very direct and honest expression. I want to try and find a way to make things in metal in the same uninhibited way. To my eyes Shigaraki ware seems ancient and contemporary at the same time. It feels as though it gives me permission to be more bold in the way I conceive of my own creations within the Japanese tradition, of which I am always respectful and mindful.

 

On this organic and irregular ‘canvas’ (my tsuba) I have carved in very shallow relief (sukidashi-bori) as delicately and directly as possible some fine reed grass. I wanted the grasses to be a strong contrast to the strength of the tsuba itself but also for the composition to harmonise with the ground and the rim (mimi) out of which is grows. The butterfly is common in Japanese art. In European art it may represent rebirth. In this tsuba some old steel from long ago finds new life. The butterfly is inlaid in fine gold (jun-kin) and green gold (ao-kin).

 

組織と構造の対比の研究 鍔「新生」 この鍔は,ある築120年の日本農家の鋲で作られている.鋲のかけらは,鍔の完成時に素材の粒が見えるように緩く鍛えられた.笄櫃を塞ぐ赤銅の栓は,桃山時代の赤銅の分析に基づいた赤銅合金である.赤銅は,素材の内部構造が見えるように酸で食刻した.私はこれを生赤銅と呼ぶ.

 

金属をこのように使うことで私は,この鍔が21世紀の鍔の芸術の表現の一部となり得る内なる命を秘めていることを示したい. この鍔の形は,信楽焼の直接的で正直な表現であるダイナミックで力強い形に強く影響されている.私は,この率直な方法での金工の方法を試し,見つけたい.私には,信楽の作品は古典的であると同時に現代的であるように見える.まるで,私が常に尊敬し心に留めている日本の伝統における自分自身の創造に従って思いつく道をもっと大胆に進むことを許してくれているかのように感じられる.

 

この有機的で一風変わった「キャンバス」(私の鍔)に,私は可能な限り繊細で直接的に,細かい葦の草の鋤出彫を彫った.葦は鍔そのものの強さへの強い対比を意図したが,同時に,地と,葦の育つ耳を調和させる要素とした. 蝶は日本の芸術でよく使われる.ヨーロッパの芸術では,蝶は時に新生を意味する.この鍔では,昔の古い鉄が新しい命を見つけている.蝶が純金と青金で埋め込まれている.

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This tsuba comes in a custom fitted box.

 

 

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