Lacquer ware artist, Kagari Miyoshi – Using lacquer and mother-of pearl to illustrate night scenes

Lacquer ware artist, Kagari Miyoshi
- Using lacquer and mother-of pearl to illustrate night scenes

Night view surfacing on lacquer work

Lacquer work artist, Miyoshi’s encounter with lacquer work was by chance. Her arts club teacher in high school was a lacquer work instructor. She makes a variety of pieces such as vessels, boxes, and cups; all of which are applied with gold lacquer. Scenes of a city appear on the background of black lacquer. A light illuminating a window, headlights of a car. These lights are expressed with gold lacquer. Gold lacquer glitters, and it becomes even brighter when in layers with the opaque coloring of lacquer.
”When I first came upon the gold lacquer technique, I was inspired with its potential. If I can use all these colors, I felt I should give it a try. In those days I used to go out for drinks, so the night view naturally became the motif.” she laughed and told us how the night view came to be the motif for her work.

Illustrating various motifs

Miyoshi projects various things other than night views on her work. At the time of the interview she was working on her pieces for a exhibition. The motif she was working on was ”Shimacho”. ”Shimacho” is a sample book of ”kimono” patterns from the old days with actual pieces of fabric pasted on it. She illustrated the sample book with lacquer and gold lacquer.
”Where do you get inspiration for the motifs?” asked Nakata. ”Whatever I find interesting, I store it in little compartments in my mind. Not just the scenery, but things like movies, too. I pull them out later and try it on my work.”
She uses things like music for her motif. She herself is familiar with music as she sings Gregorian chants. She has gilded musical notes and musical instruments in gold lacquer. Various motif are introduced into her lacquer work, and it gives her work a certain mystical atmosphere. It is a representation of how she was inspired by the item or event.

New appeal of collaboration

”I want to give you something,” said Miyoshi as she handed Nakata a sommelier knife. The handle was decorated with lacquer and gold lacquer. ”Wow, this is great!” exclaimed Nakata. This piece was a collaboration with Keiji Onizuka, a metal worker. Miyoshi showed us other pieces she collaborated with artists who use different materials. A small box she was planning on exhibiting at Higashi-Nihon Dento Kogei Exhibition. It was already very beautiful with a night view illustrated in gold lacquer inside the box, but Miyoshi showed us a glass lid. When she covered the box with the lid, it seemed like light shone from within, giving it a completely different side to it.
The lid was created by Akira Shirahata, a glass artist in Saitama. At first, the lid was just simple cut glass but Shirahata volunteered to cut the glass. He cut out the glass to bring out little rays of light creating a beautiful collaboration.
Small discoveries ignite Miyoshi’s imagination that are represented in her creative activities, and the resulting pieces are something to look forward to.


Lacquerware artist Kagari Miyoshi
Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture