HALF-MOON (The moon which has lost half of its charm)
I was born in Osaka, in the summers, a few days after man had walked first on the moon.
That year, 1969, an architect from Italy arrived in Japan for the first time.
The name of the man who was sent from Cassina, was Carlo Scarpa. At that time, Carlo Scarpa was one of the leading artists in Italy, and his activities were limited not only to architecture but extended to design as well.
One of his remarkable achievements as a designer was the works at Murano, and, needless to say, it is the most interesting work he left to us, especially to me as a glass artist. In his lifetime he pursued an Oriental sense of beauty in his works. He had a close relationship with Japan, and died there during his stay, I am therefore deeply impressed with him as a person. I even feel envious of the old artisans in Murano who talk about the memories of their experience of collaboration with him in their youth as if it was just yesterday. Next to my atelier is the famous atelier of Venini. In the 1930’s, Venini called in Carlo Scarpa and, from that time on, Venetian glass drastically changed due to designs.
Minimum design. Meticulously balanced colors. A sense of amusement as a designer, skilfully using influence on tha artisans of Murano, and was the greatest turning point in the history of Venetian glass in more than a thousand years.
I think that everything that happens by chance has meaning: 1969, Cassina, Venetian Glass, Carlo Scarpa, and the moon.
But, among these, I cannot help having a negative feeling toward the moon.
When I was born, man had just started making his way to the moon; but in spite of that connection, ironically, the moon continues to lose more of its charm for me year after year.
Whenever a space shuttle is launched, the news is dramatically reported on the TV or in the newspapers, and this pleases us. I am not interested in such news. What is on my mind in the news beyond the hype, such as the discovery of life or water on the moon, the construction of a base, the project of man-made city and travel to the moon which will come true in the not-so-distant future or the article on the next page, underneath the showy front page report on the brave astronauts. And yet, there are many problems our earth has: Pollution and environmental degradation getting worse and worse, and test of nuclear bombs being carried out all over the world.
Hearing these two kind of contradictory news, I cannot but feel that man will lieave the lost earth and move in spirit to the moon.
What a wonderful thing is it to express these feelings, which I do not put into words, to the moon by using my Venetian glass work, influenced by Carlo Scarpa, and now showing 150 items of my works in Cassina. The design of the half-moon occurred to me while working in my atelier, in the spring of1999. I tried to decipit it on the surface of a vase with an image bamboo, which had been my theme since 1997. After many attempts, I finally succeeded , with a great happiness,
Not because I was able to make a beatiful vessel, but because I could reflect my feeling in its glass design. The half-moon on my Venetian glass was completed by the combination of highly advanced techniques, such as incorporating Murrina and the method of blowing by Shifting the centre and the blowpipe three times.
But what I really want to show, perhaps, are my ideas, enclosed within my blown Venetian glass. The moon appears in many children’s songs, in which innocent children look up at it strangely, wondering why it follows them all the way; or in love songs, Where lovers look at it all night speaking of eternal love.
I hope tha the relation between man and the moon will remain innocent forever.
Murano in Midsummer