The Discovery that Made Her Tremble with Excitement
Words by Megumi Rokuhara
-Giving shape to her love for Kagawa,
the smallest prefecture in Japan.
Japan has 47 prefectures. Kagawa is the smallest one. Local people are proud of this small province surrounded by the calm Seto Inland Sea and mountains.
Rie Sugiyama, a glass artist, was born in Kagawa. She is one of those who have deep affection for the prefecture, and she chooses to express this feeling through her glasswork.
Thinking of the blueness of the Seto Inland Sea.
Seto Inland Sea, located between the Kagawa prefecture and the mainland, is a beautiful blue ocean with small islands. The calmness of this sea, compared to the wildness of the sea of Japan, often surprises us. This sea brings rich seafood products to the people who live around it. It would be incomplete to talk about Kagawa, which is far away from the mainland, without talking about this sea. After leaving her hometown, Sugiyama went to study glasswork in Tokyo. However, she always felt that she wanted to create her works using materials originating from Kagawa. She therefore decided to cross the blue Seto Inland Sea again, and to hold her studio in Kagawa.
The Discovery that made her tremble with excitement.
Isamu Noguchi, one of the most internationally renowned sculptors, found Aji-stone in Kagawa and loved it. Kagawa local residents are proud of the Aji-stone, the stone that is considered the highest quality of granite in Japan. After a lot of trials and errors, Sugiyama finally found that she could depict the blueness of Seto Inland Sea by using this granite. “I might be able to make people discover Kagawa more by using a local material.” The discovery made her tremble with excitement.
Go beyond the sea, Aji-glass.
In the white-colored gallery near her studio, there is a great number of Sugiyama’s works. Upon visiting her gallery, we feel as if we can see the clear reflections of the blue ocean and hear the calm, soothing sound of the ocean waves coming from her glasswork. Each glasswork is unique in its own characteristics, so you will never find two similar items. The studio has a cozy atmosphere with product lines that she made and which show us how much she loves the Seto Inland Sea. “My dream is to spread my works all over the world.” She continues, “It is very exciting. I really hope that customers overseas come to see the real blueness of Seto Inland Sea someday.” In a modest manner, Sugiyama shares with us her beautiful goal. “I want people to love my homeland, Kagawa, through my work.” This strong hope motivates her to continue her journey beyond the sea, the journey of Aji-glass.