Contemporary Master Craftsman who blows life into crystal  ” Michihito Kono”

Contemporary Master Craftsman who blows life into crystal
” Michihito Kono”

Crystals, which are softer than gemstones, are polished by ”wood”.

A single flower vase that has an air of tense dignity.
One would think it is made of porcelain, but it is actually made of ”crystal”. A magnificent piece of work which Michihito Kono, a certified Contemporary Master Craftsman, has carved out of natural stone.

According to Kono, crystal is somewhat softer than gemstones. So, he uses ”iron” for carving, and ”wood” for polishing.

He showed us the process of carving the crystal with the tip of a high speed rotating machinery, while applying abrasive to the crystal. Then Nakata asked a question; ”You can’t see the crystal you are carving, because the abrasive is not transparent, can you?”
”No, I can’t. We also make very fine and complicated things like animals or the statues of Buddha. But we can’t really see what we are carving, so we have to use all of our five senses.”

A surprising similarity of crystal work and ”kiriko”.

On hearing it, Nakata remembered about Satsuma Black Kiriko. ”I have once experienced carving of Satsuma Black Kiriko. I found it extremely difficult because I could not see the lines I have drawn.”

”You have a good point,” said Kono. Turning to Nakata. Then he went on to say, ”I have several acquaintances among Edo Kiriko craftsmen. Yes, there are similarities. So as fellow craftsmen, we exchange our techniques and try out new things.”

In Koshu, raw crystal was found about 1000 years ago. Since then, the technique of crystal work has developed over the years.
Kono is seeking for further new techniques, while preserving the old ones.


Michihito Kono
Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture