The following describes the main stages in the production of some of the Kuroki works inspired by the Rimpa tradition of decoration and by the Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō:
Works inspired by the Rimpa tradition of decoration
59. Snow, Moon and Flowers in the Four Seasons of Japan in Rimpa, 2006.
1. The red and milk-white glass for the plum blossom is blown into cylindrical form.
2. These cylinders are cut lengthways and then heated in an electrical kiln until they slump.
3. Petal-size fragments are created using an oil-cutter and then forged into shape.
4. Five petals are assembled to form a flower and temporarily attached on a ceramic sheet.
5. The stamens and pistils are formed using white and yellow glass and then stuck onto the sheets. The flowers are then fused in a kiln at 750°C.
6. The large cylinder in clear glass that will be the base of the panel is blown and shaped.
7. The flowers are organised according to the original design and fitted into the clear glass cylinder.
8. The pieces of coloured glass are in-laid into the body of the object.
9. Rather thick gold leaf is wrapped around the body of the object and worked upon to form a background.
10. Further pieces of coloured glass are added.
11. After 12 hours in a kiln at moderate heat, the ends of the cylinder are cut away using a diamond blade. Then the cylinder is cut in half lengthways.
12. The cylinder is placed back in an electric kiln, fusing into a flattened and decorated panel.
13. Now complete, the panel is adjusted to its wooden frame.
14. The decorated surface is treated chemically and then fitted into the frame.
Works inspired by the Fifty-Three Stations of Tōkaidō
4. Kanagawa. View from the Hill
1. A layer of opaline glass is placed between two layers of clear glass, the whole then being dusted with gold-coloured powder to create a light azure colour tone.
2. Meanwhile, another group has produced the sea part of the landscape, using blue powder on an azure glass base, wrapping the whole thing in clear glass with leaves of silver and gold. The whole is then covered with another layer of glass, to create greater transparency, and then sprinkled with dark blue powder. This section is then fused to the lower part of the finished piece.
3. The mouth is created using a leaf of platinum on clear glass. The other pieces – ships, mountains, clouds (all prepared beforehand) – are then inlaid.
4. After being left to cool for three days, sanding is used to incise the surface lines of the sea and the inscriptions. The details are then refined using engraving before a final treatment with acid.
38. Fujikawa. Bohana Scene
1. The figures are modelled in clay, worked in gesso and then produced in glass paste, also using ground glass, glass rods and shimo (granulated glass).
2. The trees, plaques and indications are modelled in coloured glass, powdered glass, glass rods, shimo and very fine glass confetti.
3. Transparent glass, ‘gems’ of milk-white glass and another piece of transparent glass are blown together. The result is then applied in layers on the main body of the work; the section of the earth and sky are produced using various different powders.
4. Black glass is used for the earth, whilst the mouth of the work is enlarged so that it fits the body, to which is added the base.
5. The neck of the vase, produced separately, is then added to the piece.
6. The other parts, also produced separately, are fused to the body of the piece together with the handle.
7. After being left to cool for two days, the work is completed by using sanding to model the details. Then comes a final treatment with acid.
55. Kusatsu. Famous Stopping-Place
1. First the base layer of glass is created.
2. The part depicting Mount Hiei is made by cutting the original shape out of glass. After sprinkling a mixture of powders in the area of the sky, the piece is fused in an electric kiln.
3. The shapes of the mountains and the roofs are created using black powder and glass rods. The glass, after being sprinkled with mixtures of different powders, is then cut following these outlines.
4. These parts are then laid out on the base, with the text and signature being added through fusion.
5. The piers of the bridge, created from a sheet of glass already treated with powder, are fitted to the original outline and then provisionally fused in place at low temperature.
6. The bridge and the outlines of the figures are placed in position on the background of the work. After being further sprinkled with coloured powder, the parts are then fused and assembled.
7. The vertical panel’s frame is then planed, rounded and lacquered, with the finished object being presented as a single ‘painted’ image.