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Fuji Wisteria, Masako Ando Art, Kaikado Tea Caddies

Posted on May 10 2021

Wisteria is one of our favorite flowers that we look forward to seeing in Spring. There are many beautiful places to view them in Japan. Wisteria is easily found in all the botanical gardens across the country, and many temples, zen gardens grow them as well. We can find beautiful prints in old wood block art work, as well as modern work.

Wisteria usually comes in shades of purple, but they also come in white, yellow, and pink. One of the most famous places chosen as a “must see” is the Kawachi-Fujien (Wisteria Garden) in Kitakyushu-shi, Fukuoka.

 

MASAKO ANDO

We discovered a new exhibition at the Tomiyo Koyama Gallery with New Work by Masako Ando. The artist’s fourth solo presentation with the gallery since her previous showing five years ago, and features ceramic relief works that have developed a new frontier within her practice, along with a selection of charcoal, pencil, and water color drawings that will be shown for the first time.

【About Masako Ando and her works before 2016】

Masako Ando was born in the Aichi Prefecture in 1976. She graduated from the Graduate School of Fine Arts, Aichi University of the Arts in 2001. She currently lives and works in Seto city, and is an Associate Professor at Aichi University of the Arts.

Working with motifs such as young children, woolen knitted items, animals, plants and flowers, Ando creates paintings with eloquently smooth surfaces that take advantage of the characteristics of oil paint, and are conceived through various pictorial elements such as detailed depiction and her composition of the picture plane that incorporates the presence of large blank spaces. In contrast, while engaging with the same subject matter, her pencil drawings distinct for their meticulously elaborate execution, illustrate a much harder and solid texture. The poetic world of Ando’s work, in which the events of daily life were linked to broken memories and fragments of text, had received significant attention and acclaim.

Ando demonstrates an insatiable passion for exploring various ways of expression and continues to pursue the possibilities of painting and drawing. While gaining scope to enjoy the uncontrollable, she looks towards the everyday with a “violent yet honest gaze” in creating work.

KAIKADO Tea Caddies

Kaikado was established in Kyoto in 1875, the year of the Meiji Restoration, as the pioneer of tinplate canisters using imported tinplate from England. They have continued to implement their unchanged hand making techniques developed by their founder for over a century.

The interesting thing is how they’ve been able to continue making their “chazutsu” or tea caddies by hand for over a century in this way. It’s because they share the same understanding as the founder, know the essential value of “chazutsu” and have inherited the same techniques of their forefathers even when times and circumstances are constantly changing.

During World War II, Japan implemented a metal collection act forcing Japanese people to surrender all forms of metal. The third generation successor at Kaikado, knowing the rarity and importance of the tools, decided to bury them to protect them from disappearing. He then continued to secretly make the “chazutsu” which caused him to be imprisoned. The end of the war lead Japan into a high economic growth period and foreign industrial products became more popular causing people to think that machine made factory style produced products were better than those made by hand. Kaikado never chose that path which made them suffer affecting them financially. To maintain their livelihood, they moved into the pharmaceutical field and crafting “chazutsu” became their side business.

Thanks to the support of our customers and the realization of our quality through craftsmanship, we were able to return making “chazutsu” as our main business and received an opportunity to pay tribute to the emperor with one of their masterpieces. Being successful in business in Kyoto in these times would not be enough, so the expanded gently into Nagoya and other areas, north and south of Kyoto as well.

This era of mass production and mass consumption arrived in Japan and demand for our products propagated sales and our following but we continued to make everything by hand. We felt that machine making reduces quality and we couldn’t put our Kaikado brand on such a product. The bubble burst in Japan and the economy plummeted forcing us to discount our products significantly to make ends meet. The 5th generation successor questioned the future of Kaikado and even considered throwing in the towel in these bleak times. It was the 6th generation successor and current president that re-recognized the value of “chazutsu” and shaped a new marketing plan, involving general public retail and introducing their products to the world. Thanks to this new vision, orders once again started to grow and Kaikado has become a product that can be found all over the world.

Our “chazutsu” can be repaired even if they are dented or distorted. They can be passed down from generation to generation because of the traditional hand making techniques even now being practiced. Your grandchildren’s grandchildren will be able to bring their “chazutsu” back to craftsmen if they ever need maintenance.

Kaikado will continue to provide living tools that can be used even 100 years later.

To see Bows and Arrows selection of tea caddies, please visit Here