May 09, 2004

My devotion to stained glass -4

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The work exhibited at the Second Japan Stained Glass Grand Show in 1984.

Establishing classes greatly contributed to the spread of stained glass in Japan.

"New Glass" - I was shocked when I first saw this book.
A new wave surged into Japan from overseas at a time when old design was still regarded as best.

In those days I think many people were inspired by this book, which triggered off the opening of contemporary design in Japan.
I imagine artists gifted with sharp sensitivity were fed up with old design and jumped at new design all at once.

This phenomenon was exemplified at "the First Japan Stained glass Grand Show in 1983", which was held at the Nomura Building, a ultra-high-rise in Nishi Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan.
Seeing this was a culture shock for me.

It is not too much to say that the new design undercut the foundation of stained glass industry in Japan.
The new wave which erupted from "New Glass" has turned into reality.
I felt a heated atmosphere at the exhibition hall which I can't express in words.
Young artists with creative minds and sharp sensitivity from all over Japan presented many works using new designs and experimental ideas.
It was a shock to me!
To be honest I felt I was left behind.
Especially I took my hat off to Mr. S for his excellent pieces.

I had never felt more keenly that I had been disadvantaged by living in Fukuoka, which is far away from the center of stained glass.
I yearned to make works as good as those ones exhibited and present my work with theirs at the following year's exhibition.
I managed to exhibit my work the following year, but I doubt whether my work was as good as other artists'.

This was the time when I could set clear goal in my stained glass work.
I can never forget the shock I experienced then!
The above is my work presented at the Grand Show in 1984.

Posted by TT at 11:47 PM

May 04, 2004

My devotion to stained glass -3

I sometimes think about the history of stained glass in Japan.
We know from books that stained glass was first introduced into Japan during the Meiji Era (19th century).
It was started by a group under Mr. Sawano in western Japan (the Kansai Area), and Mr. Michi Ogawa in the east (Tokyo).

The technique had long been kept secret inside closed workshops where artists maintained a strict apprenticeship system.
Why has stained glass become so popular among Japanese people that they could learn the necessary skills in open classes, as is done today?
To my surprise nothing has been written or said about this phenomenon.

It is certain that something dramatic, such as the collapse of the Berlin Wall, happened at some point in the Japanese stained glass world.
Am I the only person who wants to know what exactly happened?
There are thousands of people learning stained glass today, and the number of people who don't know the genesis of stained glass education is on the increase.
Am I the only one who thinks we, (stained glass artists), are responsible for discovering the truth about it and proclaiming it to others?

Here is a clue.
A wave of new stained glass began in Nagoya 30 years ago, at a time when only limited kinds of glass were available from limited sources.
People searched for ways to obtain glass more easily and finally found a way to import glass directly from the U.S. They later found it came from one individual stained grass studio.
I can easily imagine how difficult it was to get glass in those days.
This doesn't happen today and even amuses us to think about.

Such a small step led the way to establish widespread stained glass classes.
What happened 30 years ago was very significant and has greatly changed the history of stained glass in Japan.

Posted by TT at 11:16 PM