The Japanese craft known as Yosegi Zaiku (marquetry) is a style of decorative wood craft combining timbers of different colors to create beautiful patterns and mosaics. The original technique of Yosegi Zaiku was developed during Japan’s Edo period in the Hakone area of Kanagawa Prefecture. The craft has since come to be widely known and respected throughout the world, as an example of ‘Long-Life Design’ representing enduring local Hakone culture. In 1984, the practice was certified as a national traditional craft by Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry.
As part of the exhibition, JAPAN 47 ARTISANS, Japan House is pleased to offer two introductory level Yosegi Zaiku workshops and demonstrations with artisan Yuta Shimizu direct from Hakone, Japan. Participants in these workshops will have the unique opportunity to create a personal work of Yosegi-art by combining individual small, natural colored pieces of wood to create a flat 6-sided coaster or personal mosaic design. The multi-colored wood pieces are representative of the remarkable diversity of trees in the Hakone area, which uniquely contributed to the genesis of the Yosegi Zaiku craft!
During the introductory portion of the program Shimizu will share his own work and introduce the two primary Yosegi Zaiku techniques, Muku (the process of combining different woods to make a mosaic – which participants will practice in the workshop) and Zuku (an original Hakone technique where a tanegi, or block of "combined woods" from the muku process, is shaved using a traditional plane creating paper thin sheets of patterns). These zuku sheets often decorate the exterior of traditional Japanese boxes, or the popular himitsu-bako (puzzle boxes). Each participant will receive an intricate zuku sample strip to take home. Please join us in celebration of a new year with an afternoon of enduring, traditional Japanese craft from Hakone!
Yosegi Zaiku technique is said to have been created in Hatajuku area of Hakone by a man named Nihei Ishikawa in the late Edo period (mid-1800s) and original designs were modeled on the cobble-stones of Hakone’s old highway. The Hakone region is the only place in Japan where Yosegi Zaiku is produced, and the craft continues to be passed down from generation to generation. Guest artisan, Yuta Shimizu, studied under the Hakone Yosegi master, Katsuhiro Kanazashi. Shimizu has since established his own studio in Hakone and creates contemporary lifestyle goods and sculpture applying traditional Yosegi Zaiku methods.
The workshop and demonstration are open to all ages. The workshop will include gluing small wooden pieces, which is best done under the supervision of an adult. All materials will be provided.
Space is limited, register here.
About Yuta Shimizu
Born in Tokyo in 1980, Shimizu became intrigued by Yosegi Zaiku while on a trip to Hakone, Kanagawa in 2001. After a year-long effort seeking employment in the industry, he joined Kanazashi Woodcraft Co., Ltd. led by master artisan Katsuhiro Kanazashi, upon graduation from Tokyo City University in 2002. He participated in the launch of Zōki-Bayashi, a collective of young Yosegi Zaiku artisans in 2005, and started showing works overseas in Milan Design Week, Maison&Objet Paris, etc. Since 2011, he has been creating works that shines a new light on Hakone Yosegi Zaiku in his independent studio, Luthier.