Jewelry that carries the spirit of “Kintsugi” in pearls. What connects the Urushi Collection [Artisan interview]
The renacnatta collection will be joined by the Urushi Collection, a pearl jewelry that uses traditional Japanese lacquer.
We will deliver two jewelry that colors your ears. Akoya pearls with an elegant color and luster are made into "Akoya Loose Baroque Pearl Earrings", and freshwater pearls with a smooth shine are made into "Bicolor Baroque Pearl Earrings". Sales will start on Thursday, June 29, 2023.
We have selected pearls with diverse characteristics that are considered to be less valuable than perfectly spherical pearls. The bumps, fine scratches, color unevenness, and distortion of the pearl are gently covered with lacquer and gold leaf.
What Renakunatta embodies in the Urushi Collection is the spirit of kintsugi, which has been passed down from ancient times in Japan.
Kintsugi is a traditional technique of repairing broken vessels with lacquer. Even the fact that it is chipped is accepted as the history of the vessel, and the scars of gold overlaid on lacquer are also called "scenery" with the beauty of only one in the world.
The pearls, which could not become a perfect sphere during the growth process, encountered lacquer and took on a new form that takes advantage of the beauty of nature. It has been reborn as jewelry that emits a unique brilliance that can only be possessed by that pearl.
Not only can it be used as an item for special occasions, but it can also be used as daily jewelry to brighten and beautifully color your days.
Takahiko Sato, CEO of Sato Kiyomatsu Shoten Co., Ltd., collaborated with us on this Urushi Collection.
Sato Kiyomatsu Shoten is a "lacquer specialist" who has been dealing with lacquer for 100 years in Kyoto. While inheriting the tradition, Mr. Sato continues to bring innovative items to the world, such as lacquered cars and high-end stationery.
Because of Mr. Sato's technical skills and passion for lacquer, the lacquer-clad pearl jewelry was born .
While listening to Mr. Sato about the beauty of lacquer, its potential for the future, and its depth, we will deliver the thoughts Renakunatta puts into his jewelry.
The appeal of lacquer that only a researcher could discover
Photo courtesy of NPO Tamba Urushi
Lacquer, the sap of the lacquer tree, is carefully collected drop by drop by human hands.
It has a long history and was already used as a paint and adhesive in the Jomon period. In the Heian period, a lacquer department (Nuribe) was established in Heian-kyo, where lacquer craftsmen gathered, and advanced lacquer coating techniques were refined.
Founded in 1921 (Taisho 10), Sato Kiyomatsu Shoten Co., Ltd. is a company built near the remains of a lacquer room, a workshop that produced lacquer products in the Heian period. We are engaged in the production of lacquer products and the refining and sales of lacquer.
Mr. Kiyomatsu, who is also the trade name, is Mr. Sato's great-grandfather. The lacquer industry is often passed down from parent to child for generations. On the other hand, the current situation is that the demand for lacquer is decreasing with the times.
“I was raised by my parents who told me, 'Don't be tied down by the family business, find what you like and do what you like.' rice field"
Mr. Sato, who is currently the CEO of Sato Kiyomatsu Shoten, quietly told me so. Although lacquer was familiar to him, Mr. Sato chose the Faculty of Agriculture at university and pursued a path of research. After going to graduate school, I had the option of working at an agricultural research institute or an agricultural company.
However, Mr. Sato, who felt that something was wrong, went to Central America as a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer, which he had been interested in for a long time, and worked there for two years. After that, I returned to Japan aiming to obtain a doctorate degree at a university in order to work as an expert in pest control at the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
It was around the time that Mr. Sato's father was working with the Kyoto Municipal Institute of Industrial Technology on research and development of new lacquer with excellent weather resistance.
“ I was approached as an assistant for lacquer analysis and experiments, thinking that I would be able to do research because I was a science student.
In order to bring new lacquer to the world, Mr. Sato began to work on research while attending graduate school.
"This is interesting. It was only through research that I realized that lacquer is a science ."
In addition to being a research subject, lacquer has a cultural appeal that has been handed down from the Jomon period to the present day, and an attractiveness as an art and craft that is connected to the traditional beauty of Japan.
If I could combine the charms of lacquer that I feel, wouldn't I be able to do something more interesting?
26 years old at the time. It was the moment when Mr. Sato, who had been striving as a researcher, was fascinated by the depth of lacquer.
A new world of lacquer born from the passion for science and craftsmanship
I liked the workshop, and when I was a child, I sat on an overturned bucket and watched the work. Mr. Sato, who originally liked drawing and making things, traveled to lacquerware production areas throughout the country to discover the possibilities of lacquer.
“I never thought that if there were so many people who liked lacquer, I would be able to make it. It just felt like a waste to see it become obsolete .”
While attending university to obtain a doctorate, Mr. Sato will push forward with the work of spreading groundbreaking lacquer that can withstand outdoor use to the world.
In 2003, a glossy car with lacquer all over the body was completed. “At that time, I was completely immersed in the world of lacquer,” says Mr. Sato.
In addition to lacquered cars, elevators, collaboration works with contemporary artists, and this time's "Urushi Collection" are one of them. In all of them, the experience of facing and researching lacquer is utilized.
"Because whether it's fun or not is the most important thing."
Mr. Sato laughs. Sato Kiyomatsu Shoten's works are unique, beautiful, and unique. There is a feeling of manufacturing that has been in Mr. Sato's heart since he was a child.
Renakunatta jewelry with lacquer culture
The “Urushi Collection” will offer two types of jewelry: “Akoya Loose Baroque Pearl Earrings” using Akoya pearls and “Bicolor Baroque Pearl Earrings” using freshwater pearls.
All pearls are carefully selected by Aika Okouchi, representative of Renac Natta. This time, I dared to use pearls with distortions, fine scratches, and uneven colors.
Pearl, the only gem born from the sea. Applying lacquer to them is not an easy task. If you just apply lacquer, the pearl and lacquer will not adhere to each other and will peel off.
Pearl jewelry wrapped in lacquer is an item that can only be realized by Sato Kiyomatsu Shoten. Based on the wealth of knowledge and techniques that he has cultivated over many years as a lacquer material dealer, Mr. Sato has developed techniques for applying lacquer to metal, cloth, leather, etc., and has opened up the possibilities of lacquer. .
Furthermore, what Mr. Sato says is important is the perspective of a “manufacturer” involved in manufacturing.
“ This time, I used gold leaf to express the worldview of Renacnatta. By using foil instead of gold powder, it gives a slightly cool and high-quality shine, which I think is typical of Renacnatta.”
Pearls that look similar, but are not the same. Craftsmen carefully process each piece while assessing their individuality.
"Akoya Loose Baroque Pearl Earrings" are jewelry with lacquer and gold leaf applied only to the protrusions. Lacquer is applied to the parts that are considered negative in the market, giving them new value as jewelry.
Among Baroque pearls, which are considered imperfect, very few pearls are born with protrusions. Pearls use Akoya pearls from Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture, which boasts the world's largest market share.
The quality of Akoya pearls nurtured by the rich water quality of the Uwa Sea is top class in both color and luster. Gold leaf adds a subtle accent to the elegant and mellow color.
"Bicolor Baroque Pearl Earrings" are jewelry made with freshwater pearls. The surface with fine scratches and color unevenness is gently covered with lacquer and gold leaf.
We use "nucleated" pearls, which are rare among freshwater pearls.
Nucleated pearls grow to envelop the nucleus inside the shell. While it is easy to produce large pearls that are close to a perfect circle, it is a pearl that requires time and effort to produce.
Just as a chipped vessel is reborn with kintsugi, bi-color jewelry covered with lacquer presents different views depending on the angle. It is a design that naturally blends in with everyday outfits as well as special days.
Kintsugi is a Japanese restoration technique that finds beauty in a chipped figure, while Western restoration techniques aim to restore the appearance. The beauty of jewelry is created by the spirit and the skills of craftsmen.
A once-in-a-lifetime encounter brought about by lacquer and pearls
Each piece of "Urushi Collection" jewelry is one-of-a-kind.
Each baroque pearl born from the sea is unique. In addition, the speed at which lacquer, a living paint collected from trees, hardens depends on the temperature and humidity of the day.
“Having been involved in this work for many years, I can tell when and by what craftsman it was made, in what kind of weather, by looking at it.”
Pearls are lacquered with a fine brush and gently wrapped in gold leaf. While maintaining high quality, today and tomorrow, no two pieces of jewelry will be the same.
Lacquer, a traditional craft that met with pearls in the history that has continued since ancient times.
Jewelery woven by people and nature awaits a fleeting and beautiful once-in-a-lifetime encounter with pearls, lacquer, and the person who picks up the jewellery .
“Lacquer is a traditional culture that has been closely associated with the lives of the Japanese people. I hope that through pearl jewelry, you will be able to experience its charm.I would be happier if more encounters with lacquer spread from there. ”
I sincerely hope that Renakunatta's jewelry will shine even brighter with your individuality, and that it will serve as a bridge that connects you with lacquer culture.