As a foreigner living in Japan, I got my start in woodturning when we moved to our current home in the countryside. I have always enjoyed working with my hands and making things, but my time spent in the urban jungle of Tokyo rekindled my interest and appreciation of craftsmanship. When it came time to make a life change and get out of the city, I did not hesitate at the chance to become involved in woodworking and woodturning in particular. Like so maky skills, practice is essential, and my first several years were spent mainly making things best suited to the fireplace in the winter. However, every “failure” has provided a valuable learning experience, and they have helped me advance to where I am today. Although it is never an enjoyable experience, I firmly believe that there is no shame in making a mistake or failing. The important part is not to let it happen again.
My first encounter with lacquer was mainly in response to customer requests. Here is Japan, when most people see a small bowl, the first thing that comes to mind is soup. Many times, I was asked if this or that bowl can be used for soup. At the time, I was using only tung oil, and given the humid climate here, I often hedged my response and indicated while it was not made for soup, it should be OK. I never like this response, though, as it felt like I was somehow cheating the question, but at the same time, I did not want to say that the bowl may discolor or form mold on the surface particularly during the rainy season.
Faced with this dilemma, I decided to give lacquer a try, and after several harsh experiences, I started off on my journey into the world of lacquer.
The overarching theme behind all of my work is natural and new tradition. In addition to the wood, I only use natural finishes. When the right finish is used for the best suited application, they provide unsurpassed protection and beauty without any concern about potential hazards or chemical substances. Moreover, despite being what can be called traditional finishes, particularly with lacquer, there are countless new, unexplored possibilities. Most of what I make is not new in the sense that it is a complete break from anything every done before. I prefer to base my work on existing tradition, while at the same time adding a unique touch. Thus, although familiar in general appearance or function, my goal is to pursue new as an evolution of existing tradition.