R：林琪香 Ron Lam / M：金森正起 Masaki Kanamori
R: What is this? Is this crocheted out of paper strips?
M: This is called Koyori. It is crocheted with twisted strings of traditional Japanese paper washi.
R: Is this traditional craft originally from Japan?
M: I believe it is from Japan, but the first Koyori I got to know was from the Joseon dynasty of Korea. I would always spare time looking for this kind of paper when traveling to Korea; I would also visit shops in Japan that are specialized in Korean antiques. This kind of papercraft is usually made for practical use. The paper strips are crocheted tightly together before being coated with lacquer to enhance durability. My favorite is the pure white ones that appear so soft as if they weren’t lacquered. This is just my guess seeing how subtle the textures appear to be. I’m still fond of those Koyori from the Joseon dynasty for their delicacy, but in comparison, I prefer the coarse quality of the roughly made ones.
R: Its top doesn’t look completed yet. Is it an unfinished piece of work?
M: I’m not quite sure. It could be finished already but only got its opening damaged.
R: What is the charisma of this craft to you?
M: I’ve always been drawn to paper as a medium. I guess I wanted to express the fragile quality of this material.
R: Although the media of your works have been mainly dominated by metal, you seem to have a particular fondness for materials like paper, ceramic, and fabric. It is quite often to hear how you want to exhibit the vibe of these materials. I am always intrigued by this idea. Metal exudes a cold luster, whereas fabric and paper appear gentle and mellow. There is a huge contrast between them.
M: That’s right. One of the aims of my metalwork is to show the tender and warm side of the material. This is a far cry from how other modern metal artists try to express the boldness of it. Each of every material has its power to communicate. I am not sure if this is a good way to put it, but this is how I feel.
R: Could you elaborate on this “power to communicate”?
M: For instance, the messages conveyed by solid and synthetic wood planks are very different. The same goes for metal. Even a handle made of solid iron holds the same shape as one made of a metal pipe, the messages they give are absolutely different. Soil, fabric, paper, everything can convey a different message at a different state. Within the same space, all types of information need to strike a balance. If one material speaks too much volume, it would appear out of place. When I work with architects and customize parts like metal gates and letterboxes, I really stress on such balance of different messages. I have to understand the design of the building, its materials, the overall environment, before determining what materials and design I should go for.