KOGEI & Me

Masanori Soejima

副島正稚

Forming in the air while listening to the heat.

Mr. Masanori Soejima is a glass craftsman who carries the next generation of Soejima glassware who excels at free-blown glass without using any mould. And this type of glass called “Hizen Vidro” is unique to the area of Saga. After studying glass making at the university and joining his family business, Mr. Soejima have learned techniques watching his father and seniors. The forming process of free-blown glass by hand requires day-to-day dialogues with heat. He says “Not only a hand dexterity but understanding of heat is also needed in the manufacturing of glass. We can change the form of glass in the air as long as we exactly  aware of which part is cold and which part is hot.” While feeling responsibility as a successor of the traditional technique, he has an insatiable inquiring mind and is trying to improve the raw materials and manufacturing process. In spite of busy work without long break to continue operation and keep the fire of the workshop with a small number of skilled staff, he says “ I still do not know much about glass. I want to know about it more and yet more”. Mr. Soejima’s spirit keeps sparkling beautifully.

熱に耳をかたむけながら、空中で形づくる

副島硝子工業の次代を担う職人である、副島正稚さん。副島さんは「肥前びーどろ」と呼ばれる、佐賀県地方特有の型を用いない宙吹き硝子を得意とする。大学で硝子を学び、入社してからは父や先輩たちの背中を見ながら技法を学んできた。手作業のみで行う宙吹きの成形作業は、熱との対話の日々だ。「硝子のものづくりは、手の器用さだけでなくて、熱のことを理解していないといけないんです。今どこが冷めていて、どこが熱いのかという、それさえきちんとわかっていれば、空中で形を変えられるんです」。伝統技術を継承する者としての責任を感じながらも、硝子の原料や製法の改善をするなど、飽くなき探究心を抱いている。少数精鋭の工房で火を絶やすことなく稼働を続けるには、長期の休みをとる暇もないが、「まだまだガラスのことを知らない。もっともっと知りたい」と話す。副島さんの志は美しく輝き続けている。

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