Visit artist "Torimoto Glass Studio"

by Tsuda Ryo

Just around 30 minutes North of
either Kyoto and Kobe, there you
can see rice field surrounded by
cute looking small mountains of
Tamba. Between those mountains,
there is Torimoto-san’s house/
workshop in a small village. The
house used to be owned by Torimoto
san’s master Mr. Arakawa, and is
very cozy and harmonious with
glassworks thats been melted into
this great house. In Particular,
the main door of the house is
stunning made of hundreds of
glass squares.

Torimoto-san had worked as apprentice
under Mr. Arakawa for 14 years, and
in fact he met his wife there, who also
worked under Mr. Arakawa for 8 years.
So, his wife is also professional in making
glassworks, and I realized that Torimoto
Glass Studio runs literally by two amazing
people. Now that I know this, it makes
sense to see all the amazing posts on
their instagram. They are posted by Ms.Torimoto!!

Working as an apprentice for 14 years,
I imagine there must have been some
hardships and some great learning
experiences, he told us in our conversation
“Through my apprenticeship, I learned
power to live.” Honestly, I don’t know
what he meant exactly, but at the same
time it makes me think deeply. This was
the most memorable moment from the visit.

Next to the living space of the house, there
we went to his workshop, where two big
kilns were burning furiously. He told us that
He made those kilns by himself and it took
around 4 months to complete. I wonder
what kind of people they makers are…I often
see them make their own kiln. They must be
something different from us ordinary people.

Temperature inside kiln is around 1300 degree
Celsius, seems to melt almost anything in
a matter of second. He picked up glass and start
demonstrating how to blow and make his glass piece.
He told us that he picks, chooses, mixes his own
ingredients that can be best suited for its purpose.
In order to get right results, he needs to experiment
number of times, and this practice leads to his
recent heat resistant glasses.

Picking up melting glass and blowing in,
I can feel the crisp atmosphere and the
seriousness of making glass piece. He looks
straight into the glass and blows at the perfect
timing. He says”consuming time does not
necessarily mean they produce a good piece.
I think blowing fast and smoothly makes
more beautiful shape, but to do that you
need to have real skill.” I could tell he is
confident of his work and that confident
comes from extreme effort and aspiration.

Shamefully speaking, before visiting Torimoto
Glass Studio, I didn’t have much knowledge
about glass works, so it was nice knowing
knowledge behind the glass works. I thank
Mr. Torimoto and Ms.Torimoto to welcome us
warmly. We were also happy to see their baby.