Gallery Yamahon is an art gallery situated in one of the commercial buildings on Kyoto Gojo. The excellent taste of gallery owner Tadaomi Yamamoto never ceases to impress. Whenever I walk into the shop, there’s always something that captivates me. This is the very place where I had my first encounter with Kiyokazu Tsuda’s glass designs. Glasswares designed by Tsuda are delicate and yet strong. Unlike the common glassware of crystal clear outlook, one can see traces of grey, turquoise and brown in Tsuda’s work. The faint shades of colour in his works always remind you of a long gone past and tempt people to imagine their history spontaneously.
The 43-year-old Kiyokazu Tsuda visited Otaru in Hokkaido during a school trip in his third year in university. The brief acquaintance with glass blowing he got from a local workshop during the trip was a turning point of his future. Tsuda, who was a law student back then was greatly moved by the craftsmanship of glassware. The beauty of glassware is apparent, but what truly inspired Tsuda was the picture of artisans sitting in front of the fireplace, blowing out pieces of glassware through steel tubes.
Kiyokazu Tsuda’s design demonstrates a consistent belief of an aesthetic. Tsuda seems to agree that such aesthetic is not to be constructed through skills and techniques. In one of his interviews, Tsuda says, “All you need to do to develop good skill is to invest time and effort, but technique itself cannot reach people’s heart. Retaining the sense of being an amateur is in a certain way essential; to put it another way, one can be poor in skills but gifted in touching people’s heart.”