The Reclaimed Blue project, which started in 2011, is now in its 12th year. We have been making and handing out our standard works, like the men-choko for more than 20 years now. It is only natural that over time some of them are broken or no longer needed by my clients; however, as an artist, I do not feel very good when I encounter them being sold or discarded. That is why I have decided to find a new use for such works and created the following method. I take back your men-choko but since we don’t get many returns in general, I combine them with glass shards and broken pieces that naturally occur during the production process at my studio. I melt them all together to create the source material for this process with the goal of making something special.
As for the blue color, the standard pieces in the studio contain a lot of black, so when they are mixed with other glass and re-melted, the cobalt content is the highest. Cobalt is the most resistant to heat, and thus a deep indigo color is produced. It is interesting to note that the color varies slightly from year to year depending on the composition.
So, what to make? Since it was originally garbage, I wanted to make something that was the exact opposite of garbage, something with a sense of value. I wanted to create something that would give a sense of irony, something that would make the viewer feel the opposite value. It would be interesting to create ceramics from the Tang and Sung dynasties in China, which were the origins of the Lee Dynasty white porcelain that all Japanese people admire. Once again, like recycled raw materials, we can regenerate the form as well. I don’t want to be a loud voice about recycling, but I believe it will become the norm. As a person who produces things, I want to keep this in mind. While the world is buzzing about the SDGs, what am I doing about them? What am I doing? As always, glass production requires electricity, gas, and water. I only hope that I can make things that heal people’s feelings and enrich their lives as much as I can, and hand that over to them.