One of the world’s most complex teaware techniques, Tsuiki craftsmanship (‘tsuikidoki’ in Japanese) has its roots among the famous rice fields of Niigata, in the town of Tsubame. Claimed to be the only ones in the world who know and use these techniques with such a perfection, teaware and sake-ware craftshop Gyokusendo reveals the key behind its copperware success.
Patience is all it requires during the twenty to thirty years learning process to become a tsuikidoki craftsman. Such a profession doesn’t cost only time but also big bucks. Trying to give a more modern look to the two hundred year-old technique of hand-hammering copper sheets, Gyokusendo saw the designer extraordinaire Ken Okuyama, a wristwatches lover, especially those from TAG Heuer, as a great partner.
The 51-year-old made a name for himself as the Pininfarina design director behind the Ferrari Enzo, Maserati Quattroporte, and Maserati Birdcage concept. Since leaving the Italian styling powerhouse in 2006, Okuyama has expanded his design focus to encompass everything from iron tea pots to eyewear, furniture to massage chairs, motorcycles to sports cars, buildings to robots and even the next-generation Shinkansen bullet train.
Now, his drawings had to become reality in the hands of the artisans at Gyokusendo who were met with the challenge of turning copper sheets into three dimensional teapot. Experienced smiths master this fine art and are able to strike the copper sheet just enough, which is crucial since it’s difficult to make the copper contract later on.
Gyokusendo’s copperware of a wide variety of colors and shades is unique. The surface oxidization adds a nice patina to the artwork when tin and potassium sulfide are fused onto the surface of the copper.
You may wonder why copper is so special in this art. Well, copper has antibacterial properties, and it purifies the water, meaning that the copper ions mellow the flavor of the tea and sake. So over the time it becomes even more lustrous, and the flavor becomes more full and rich: copper turns ordinary water into ‘good water’, to mellow tea, and mellow sake.
Shanghai Metal Corporation offers a wide range of metals such as copper, widely used in architectural artifacts such as Gyokusendo’s teaware and sake-ware. To find out more, please visit our Website or send your inquiry here. Our English speaking professionals will be more than pleased to help you. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Or you could try our new mobile app by scanning our QR code.
Source: gyokusendo.com, designboom.com, motortrend.com
Camilla G.//SMC Editor
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