Glass craft artist, Toshiki Uchida – Beauty within glass beads

Glass craft artist, Toshiki Uchida
- Beauty within glass beads

Painting a picture inside the glass

Various types of glass art is produced at Atsugi Glass Studio. Glass art classes are also held at the studio to introduce glass work to many people. You can experience a wide variety of glasswork, from blowing glass to burner work, sand blasting, kiln work, cut glass, etc.
We interviewed Toshiki Uchida who produces glass art using a burner. Apart from creating glass art, he also teaches at his studio, at Joshibi University of Art and Design, and at Tokyo Glass Art Institute. Uchida mainly creates glass beads called ”tonbo-dama” or dragonfly beads, which are made by melting glass with a burner. Various motifs can be seen within a glass bead with a diameter of only two to three centimeters. Glass flowers and various shapes made with different materials look as though they are painted inside the beads. These are beads that give a perspective sensation, and some that you cannot help but gaze into.

The restrictions make it interesting

There are many variations of glass art. From large objects and vessels, vases to drinking cups. Nakata asked why Uchida chose to work with beads. Uchida answered, ”Because there are restrictions.” ”In the beginning, I used to make all kinds of things, but once I started to make beads, I became too busy making them. There are restrictions to making beads, especially size-wise. The challenge made it all the more interesting.” The fun is in how you can express yourself with the small ball in your hand. ”What do you call this technique?” asked Nakata. ”Lampwork. In Japan, we call it burner work. The incredible fact that ’glass melts’ was of great appeal to me.” replied Uchida. Recently, he has been working on motifs such as eyeballs and ruins.

Pouring his heart and soul into the beads

Even the larger beads are only as large as candy. Uchida can make a bead in about an hour, but it takes as much as three to four months for an idea to become an actual bead. First, he draws a motif he wants to make, then immediately makes it into a bead. Of course, it is often not exactly as he imagined. He then explores and determines what he can and cannot do with the glass and burner. If he cannot do it one way, he will search for the right method through trial and error to realize his design. Making beads is discovering new techniques. Uchida’s beads loaded with these techniques shine mysteriously.


Atsugi Glass Studio
2-13-8 Tsumadakita, Atsugi-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture