Maki-e & Kintsugi: Studio Visit & Conversation


MKatwork 300dpi 43 1 1000x543Photograph by Morvarid. K

Discover the Japanese arts of maki-e and kintsugi and be transported into the Kyoto-based family studio of maki-e craftsman Shimode Muneaki in this online event.

Literally translated as ‘sprinkled pictures’, maki-e is a decorative technique, first developed in the Heian period (794-1185 CE), by which powdered gold, silver or other precious materials are hand-applied to urushi (Japanese lacquer). Aspiring maki-e artisans go through many years of rigorous training to develop the highly skilled craftsmanship required to use this technique effectively.

During this event Shimode Muneaki discusses maki-e and it’s historical and cultural background in Japan, and provides a behind-the-scenes look at his family’s studio in Kyoto, introducing the tools, materials and techniques he uses in his daily life to pursue his craft.

He is joined in conversation by Japan House Programming Director Simon Wright and Oxford-based kintsugi practitioner Nishikawa Iku to explore the relationship of maki-e with the art of kintsugi, a craft underpinned by a philosophy of finding beauty in the flawed or imperfect. Roughly translating as ‘joining with gold’, kintsugi is the process by which broken ceramic pieces are mended using urushi often dusted with powdered gold or other precious materials. The process results in a decoration which treats the damage as part of the history of an object, and as something to celebrate rather than to disguise.

There will be an opportunity for guests to asks questions to the speakers during this live online event.

To get some practical advice on how to use kintsugi techniques to repair your own broken items at home, watch the recording of our past demonstration event with kintsugi practitioner Nishikawa Iku ‘The Art of Kintsugi: Online Talk & Demonstration’ on our YouTube or Facebook page.

This event is held online only.

About the speakers
Shimode Muneaki

Maki-e craftsman Shimode Muneaki was born in 1987 in Kyoto, Japan, the first son of Shimode Yasuhiro, the master of the maki-e workshop Studio Baisen. Shimode has supported his father’s activities and developed his skills as a maki-e artisan for over 20 years. His works have been accepted for the Japan Sencha Crafts Exhibition in Kyoto on multiple occasions. In 2016 his work was acknowledged with the National Japan Sencha Arts Institute Prize and the Kyoto Uroi Lacquerware Exhibition Encouragement Prize. He was artist-in-residence at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford in 2015. Currently Shimode is focused on refining his practice as a maki-e craftsman and teaches kintsugi and maki-e at Studio Baisen in Kyoto.

Nishikawa Iku

Founder of Kintsugi Oxford, Nishikawa Iku was born and raised in Kochi, Japan. She first became attracted to the art of kintsugi while assisting Kyoto lacquerware craftsmen Shimode Muneaki and Sato Takahiko with the delivery of kintsugi workshops at the Ashmolean Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. Although kintsugi has often been considered as a professional craft technique achievable only in Japan, through practice and training Nishikawa found that the craft could be accessible outside of Japan by using recently developed new materials. As Kintsugi Oxford, she has given kintsugi workshops in Japan, Italy and the UK using new materials. She hosts individual and group lessons from her studio in Oxford from where she carries out kintsugi repairs for private clients. She has worked with artists including Lisa Hammond, Bouke de Vries, Kat Wheeler and Claudia Clare.