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Yoko ICHIKAWA 市川陽子 was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1985. She studied at the Kyoto City University of Arts and graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. After graduating in 2011, she has been engaged in lacquer creation in Kyoto, specializing in lacquer-leather techniques.


Since ancient times, people have combined leather and different materials to create objects or utensils, which coincides with the long-standing lacquer art. The two materials, lacquer and leather, connect the artist’s emotions. Yoko Ichikawa tries to pass on her grandmother’s needlework skills and the academy’s rigorous lacquer tradition, colliding with her personal life. Through hand sewing and kneading, she reinterprets lacquer-leather craftsmanship with her unique aesthetics. She lightly tones the layers of lacquer to reveal the texture of the leather, trying to combine lacquer and leather to present a dialogue between herself and tradition.



“I was inspired by my grandmother when she taught me various handicrafts and learned about the traditional techniques. I get to know the cultural aspect of the craft and its interrelationship with history, which is very enlightening. This is also worth noting that the technique of applying lacquer to leather seems to originate from China. In Japanese, “Shippi” means “lacquered leather”. This technique was developed as early as the Nara period. Originally, the hides were shaped with wooden moulds and heavily covered by layers of lacquer. This was commonly seen in making boxes. 


I want to reinterpret this technique, creating pieces combined with hand sewing, trying to find a harmony between lacquer, leather and myself.   I intend to keep the blemishes and wrinkles from the process of making to enhance the character of the work and the texture of the leather. Like kintsugi repairing technique, it embraces the beauty of flaws and imperfection.”

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