Yuko Ishikawa Okuhara's Tsuzumi: A Testament to Traditional Japanese Craftsmanship

Unveiling the Tsuzumi: A Double Sakazuki Design that Marries Functionality and Aesthetics

Yuko Ishikawa Okuhara's Tsuzumi, a double Sakazuki design, is a testament to the beauty and functionality of traditional Japanese craftsmanship. This award-winning design, inspired by the aesthetics of everyday life, showcases the unique gloss and feel of Shikki, a traditional Japanese lacquerware. With its symmetrical shape, Tsuzumi harmonizes with almost any style, offering a sustainable and repairable design that promises to be a long-lasting companion in your home.

What sets Tsuzumi apart is its unique design features. It boasts a symmetrical shape with two cups on either end, each adorned with a different color and Makie, a traditional Japanese lacquer sprinkled with gold or silver powder. Unlike conventional designs where Makie is applied to the body or the inside bottom, Tsuzumi's Makie is positioned as if peeking out from inside, embodying the essence of Japanese beauty - modest but impressive. The choice of cup to use can vary according to the user's preference, adding a personal touch to the experience.

The Tsuzumi is not just a beautiful piece of art; it's also a functional masterpiece. It can be used to serve sake or delicacies, and its easy maintenance due to the absence of angles between faces makes it a practical choice for any household. The body is polished by a Roiro specialist to represent the true black, Shikkoku, further enhancing its aesthetic appeal.

Handcrafted with natural materials, Tsuzumi is light and has low thermal conductivity, offering a pleasant touch and usability. The curved surface is extremely smooth, making it an enjoyable objet d’art. The production process requires high-skilled turners, as the finely carved finished side must be connected to the turning machine without being damaged. This meticulous process ensures the highest quality and durability of the product.

One of the cups is finished in Tamenuri, a technique that involves layering Urushi, a natural lacquer, to create a deep color that brightens over time. This feature allows users to enjoy not only the graceful shades but also the aging of the Tsuzumi, adding another dimension to its beauty. Furthermore, it is repairable, ensuring that it can be a lifelong companion.

The Tsuzumi project started in October 2019 in Toyama and finished in April 2021 in Ishikawa. It was exhibited at the National Art Center, Tokyo, in December 2021. Despite the challenges faced due to the shrinking market and decrease in skilled artisans, the Tsuzumi was successfully created, showcasing the splendor of traditional Japanese craftsmanship. This design was awarded Silver in the A' Bakeware, Tableware, Drinkware and Cookware Design Award in 2023, a testament to its outstanding design and innovation.

With its blend of functionality and aesthetics, Tsuzumi is a shining example of how traditional craftsmanship can be seamlessly integrated into modern lifestyle. It is a celebration of the beauty of nature, tradition, sustainability, and the art of Shikki, offering a unique experience that goes beyond mere utility.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Yukino Shunme
Image Credits: Yukino Shunme
Project Team Members: Yukino Shunme
Project Name: Tsuzumi
Project Client: Yukino Shunme

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