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The More You Use, The More Gloss and Love You will Get Wooden Ware by Mr. Ken Fujimoto
post : 2014.05.25 21:00
A gallery and an atelier of a woodwork artist, Mr. Ken Fujimoto stand in a lush greenery on the premise of his house in Nanjo City.
When I opened the door to the small, white-walled gallery, his wooden wares showing their serene beauty was displayed on the shelves.
After working in a carpentry shop in Tokyo, Mr. Fujimoto moved to Okinawa 13 years ago. Taking advantaqe of the opportunity, he decided to open up his own business and crafted custom-made furniture and cutlery.
A turning point came to him three years ago.
One day I crafted a wooden ware I had been interested in for long, which made him fall in love with the charm.
“I had been working to create a shape of furniture as customers requested, but now in crafting wooden ware, I can create a shape in a way I like to express. Once I tried, I found that it came naturally to me,” said Mr. Fujiwara with a laugh.
Wares are crafted mainly using Okinawan trees such as gajumaru (Banyan tree), akagi (Bishop wood), horutonoki (Elaeocarpus sylvestris var. ellipticus).
His woodworking has its own style. Usually a woodwork artist forms the shape when the wood is dried while Mr. Fujimoto uses a rough wood to form the shape to the nearly finished and dries it.
Then, he will see some distortion or contraction formed unintentionally.
He feels insecure about that he won’t be able to see the finished image until it is completely dried. “But actually it is fun,” he said.
Parts formed by his hand and parts he leaves to nature are blended into one wooden ware that cannot be found anywhere else.
Mr. Fujimoto has been crafting characteristic wares like a ware with natural edge to show the wood surface, a ware with its rim carved with chainsaw, etc. for the past three years. Now his main focus is on black ware with lacquer applied once or twice.
Some parts of the wood are suitable for lacquer application and others are not. So just applying a few times of lacquer brings a soft, gentle look of a floaty wood surface
When he cut out of a tree roughly, he had the irregular shaped cut accidentally. He used it for the rim of his work.
“As I craft wooden ware, they turn out be interesting look. I keep searching in between the intention and the natural result to express the finding on my wares.”
A wild sense of fun is also Mr. Fujimoto’s characteristic.
Once he works on it, even a hole or crack on the wood turns to the charming feature.
He tries to cut out of the wood that should be usually carved or just ignored, with which he crafted a ware.Every time I look at it, the ware makes me comforted to give a little chuckle.
He displaces the axis at the final stage of carving a free-sized cup on purpose to produce a unique, slightly-inclined shape. Cups are applied with four different colored lacquers: red, green, yellow, and white.
When I look at Mr. Fujimoto’s wares, I strongly feel that how much he enjoy crafting with his whole heart.
When I hold it softly, I feel excited as if I got his feeling.
When his wooden wares such as a black-lacquered ware bracing the atmosphere at the table, a ware with a hole on it, an unbalanced free-sized cup appear at the table, they will bring you a fun conversation and your meal time should be a more sociable one.
The gallery built on the slope was designed and constructed by Mr. Fujimoto.
It will be one of the pleasures (!?) to clime the slope timidly until you get to the door.
In June, on the premise, a chef, Ms. Asako Sekine, will open her restaurant called “Ibukuro (stomach),” where you can enjoy seasonal food and alcohol.
Mr. Fujimoto will provide his wooden ware for her restaurant.
He also designed and crafted wares for the restaurant, so he has developed some feeling for the wares.
“I am looking forward to seeing how my ware looks like when food is served on it and seeing how customers like my ware. That experience might create a new image of another work.”
As far as his curiosity goes and his fingers move, wooden wares created with an unconventional, flexible mind must keep developing.
Address: 123-1 Aza-Yakabu, Tamagusuku, Nanjo City
Hours: 13:00 to 17:00
Open on Fridays and Saturdays
* Other than Fridays and Saturdays, the gallery might be open if you call him before your visit.
*Now Mr. Fujimoto’s first personal exhibition is held at GARB DOMINGO in Naha City!
You can enjoy his latest work of large bowls, small bowls, free-sized cups, cutlery, etc.
“Wooden Ware Exhibition by Ken Fujimoto”
Date: May 24 to June 1 (Closed on Monday and Wednesday)
Time: 10:00 to 13:00 / 15:00 to 19:00
Place: GARB DOMINGO
(Please note: This website is written in Japanese. So please ask your Japanese friend for help.)
* “gallery k. is closed during the period of his personal exhibition.
Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer Akiko Ono