Enamel / Zentaro Tsuchida
Zentaro Tsuchida, Shippo Enamel Artist
土田善太郎 七宝焼作家 兵庫県西宮市
Mr. Zentaro Tsuchida became fascinated by Japanese enamels when he was young and after studying and practicing on his own for a short time, he opened his own atelier. In the beginning he designed simple abstracts, then as he became more skilled he started making a greater variety of objects. Over time, even though his skills have increased and developed one thing has remained the same since he began - he has never liked traditional styles and believes that his art should not be called shippo.
When Japanese hear the word shippo, they imagine something classical, luxurious, and somewhat pretentious, such as the large vases or dishes that we see displayed in museums.
However, Mr. Tsuchida sees his artwork as closer to the French Cloisonne style of enameling an object, as opposed to the traditional Japanese shippo style. For Mr. Tsuchida, his definition of shippo means applying an enamel paste on a copper plate, and letting his imagination flow freely.
"Me" Shippo (Japanese enamel) Necklace / 七宝ネックレス「私」 / 8cm L x 4.5cm W 62cm L (strings)
"Hina Dolls" Shippo (Japanese enamel) framework / 七宝額「おひな様」 / 22cm x 20cm
"Gold and Silver" Shippo Necklace / 金と銀シリーズ ネックレス / Balls: 13cm L Strings: 50cm
"Gift from Venus" Shippo (Japanese enamel ) Framework / 七宝額「金星からの贈り物」 / 30cm x 20cm
He enjoys making accessories for women, and his designs are inspired by seasonal events, animals, and small everyday objects. Mr. Tsuchida, however, feels more liberated when he designs more abstract work. He likes to express the opposite characteristic of an object on copper, a hard material; for example, the softness of a cloth or the freshness of a vegetable. Even after working as an artist for over half a century, he still sees many challenges ahead of him.
Mr. Tsuchida’s endless flow of ideas means there are no limits to colors or shapes used in his artwork. At any time we might find him sitting at his large work table, producing one-of-a-kind enamel jewelry or simple frames in his toy-box-like atelier, which is full of fun and surprises.
Photography by Kohei Kawata