Kyoko Watanabe

Opaque Cloisonné Red Iron-Oxide Colored Lidded Container "Black Camellia"

  • Cloisonné enamel work
  • Presented in 2011
  • H 7.5 x W 15.0 x D 13.0 cm
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Category Cloisonné enamel work
Year Presented 2011
Dimensions H 7.5 x W 15.0 x D 13.0 cm
Exhibition The 23 th Various Works Traditional Kōgei Exhibition

Kyoko Watanabe

photo Kyoko Watanabe

Motto What is tradition? Tradition is something that will die unless the successors "shed their old skin" and take on new challenges. I am respective of tradition, but at the same time, I always set new creative goals as I think this is the spirit of creating things. Wired Cloisonne From the oldest hexagonal cloisonne in Japan discovered at the Kengoshi Burial Mounds in Nara up to now, the method of applying colors within the shapes of leaves, flower petals, triangles and squares etc. hasn't changed at all. In order to shed my old skin, I thought of placing "silver rolls" together with the colors instead of putting the colors within frames. It is a simple technique, but placing heavy silver rolls on a standing vase is quite difficult as they will fall off. I started my new challenge from 1991 and tried over and over again, failing repeatedly for many years. Even though I succeeded in adhering the silver rolls, it was quite difficult to grind the silver which is much harder and thicker than enamel. The thick silver lines and enamel that stuck on the lines would chip. I had to throw away those with 2 - 3 mm chips or cracks. My artwork was selected for exhibitions, but disqualified afterwards. Can you imagine how many pieces I had to throw away for so many years? I finally succeeded and was able to shed my old skin at the 29th Other Crafts Traditional Kōgei Exhibition. Opaque Cloisonne In 1998, after studying opaque clay enamel cloisonne very hard at the Japan Kōgei Association training program, I held opaque cloisonne workshops in Tokyo and Hokkaido upon the request of Monthly Cloisonne Art Magazine. I was completely fascinated by the red iron oxide pigment and started producing my "Black Camellia" series to make the most of the pigment. With my "Red Iron Oxide Black Camellia" I received an award at the Other Crafts Traditional Kōgei Exhibition. I was invited by the town of bengara and copper and birthplace of "Japan Red", Bitchu Fukiya in Okayama to hold solo exhibitions of my artwork using red iron oxide twice. Yet, I still have some large assignments that I need to work on. Metalwork When I decided to start my career in producing wired cloisonne, way before making any vases, I set up a shaft furnace and open-hearth furnace in my studio. After working on wired cloisonne for ten years, I wanted to use silver in my cloisonne and started my new challenge. I studied hammering and metal-carving under Mr. Hoseki Okuyama, Mr. Shotaro Suto, and Mr. Ryoichi Makita for eight years and was selected for the Japan Traditional Kōgei Exhibition, Metalwork Traditional Kōgei Exhibition and East Japan Traditional Kōgei Exhibition etc. three times. My aim was to engrave the silver base, place the silver in the front and back side of a flower vase and apply opaque cloisonne in the silver parts. I was able to complete the piece, but I realized that the silver became weak and soft, and easily dented eight years after completion. But thanks to my years of experience in using heavy silver rolls and failing, I was able to make adjustments and complete the techniques. I am challenging the unknown world of cloisonne, a "tough opponent", every day, trying to make the most of the various shapes of the silver rolls and do the best in grinding. My life is dedicated to cloisonne!