Posted 5 years ago
I have a number of Kitaichi pieces of glass, all very different, all produced at their studios in Otaru, Hokkaido.
The first vase is moulded in green glass with a blue glass casing. Both the base and lip have been hot finished. I love the shape and colour of this vase - the shape is like Japanese architecture and the colours very oceanic. Height 20cm (8in)
The second vase is actually a sake flask. Made in what the Japanese call green tea style, with colours graduating from a beautiful blue, through green then to the brown of the added neck. The green occurs from the inserted brown neck colouring the blue body. The body reminds me so much of a fishing float it is a delight! Like a float the pontil scar remains. Height 17cm (6.5in)
The Kitaichi Glass company was established as the Asahara Glass company in 1901, and was initially involved in making oil lamps and other fishing equipment. Fishing was the main industry in Otaru, on the northern most island of Japan, Hokkaido, but the industry declined in the second half of last century. Asahara suffered and moved into lighting manufacture however with the development of the Otaru Canal the company owners recognised the market available in the tourist trade.
The name was changed to Kitaichi Glass in the 80s at the time the company started developing it's art glass industry. Successfully too. The company (still headed by the Asahara family) now employs over 250 people in a number of glass studios, retail shops, cafes and it's museum.
They make a wide range of glass, from blown and moulded items like these two, to beautiful cameo glass with a very Japanese style.
The Japanese glass industry is interesting and surprising. I am often amazed at how old these companies are and how successfully many of them have remained in business to this day.