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PEOPLEText: Ayako Ishii

Looks familiar and nostalgic, but still original. That is what studio prepa‘s product is all about. Using a glassblowing technique originated in Sweden and Italy, studio prepa cherishes their thoughts for forms and the material and express it in a simple but their own way.

SHIFT interviewed studio prepa on their arrival for the opening of the show “Glasswares for Use and Eyes” at METROCS Sapporo.

Studio Prepa

Please introduce yourself.

I am Katsuhisa Hira. Studio prepa is a glass studio that I run with my wife, Mizuho. I started studying glassblowing almost 20 years ago. 10 years later I opened studio prepa. The name of the studio comes from preparation, meaning a back room of daily use tablewares. As well as artist, we are product maker, whose mission I believe is to produce super normal glasswares. There are a very small number of glassmaking ateliers and we’d like to be a part of society of supplying glassblowing products.


How is the glassblowing process?

It is a traditional and organic technique invented more than 2000 years ago. The ingredient is basically the sand to be melted with over 1,000 °C heat. We have our own melting furnace at our atelier, which makes us unique.

The situation of the industry is getting rather tough as the process of glass melting produces plenty of CO2, the number of glassblower is becoming less, and consequently the tool makers have to close their business.

Still studio prepa is looking for a way that only an individual atelier can accomplish. prepa owns all the colors from the all companies, including ones no longer available in mass products. There are even professional inquiries coming in to us regarding the extinguished ink.

We do all the glassmaking processes on our own. We draw together and after that share roles according to each specialty. For example, my wife is in charge of color selection and blowing of small objects, and I take bigger ones. The day after we had an quarrel, the glassblowing messes up as well (laugh).


What is your philosophy in production?

To pursue the details of a product that mass production would never take into account. Sometimes it takes more than 5 years to realize an idea after drawing. Glassblowing has a mystery that wouldn’t be revealed even after a whole life of studying.

We finish our works with some buffer, which means to be completed with content inside or appreciated with the reflection of the light on a tablecloth or a coaster.

What is your atelier like?

Our small atelier is located in mountainous Nagano. We looked for a place at a high altitude around 700 meters, as the inside the atelier gets infernally hot during glassmaking. In June, this time of the year, its gets 40 °C. Around the atelier extend orchards. People who live there are wild, using sickles without helmet or cutting off the car rooftop to make apple-picking easier. They are also very friendly. We often hang out together for tree planting or party afterwards with a huge kettle of sake, which does require guts.


Where can we buy your products?

At METROCS both in Tokyo and Sapporo, tablewares as well as original lamp shades are available. Interior shops such as a href=”” target=”new”>Landscape Products and Kagure are also selling our products. We are also product maker realizing Simplicity‘s original designs. Our works were born from meeting with great people from those shops and the discussions we have had, and we’d like the users to enjoy that collaboration.


What are your recent projects?

Together with METROCS, our items will participate in Mason et Objet, France. In Paris, the lamp shades we produced for Simplicity have been sold to a 3 star chef, Alain Ducasses for his restaurants and his home use. Our products will also be exhibited at New York International Gift Fair. For domestic, we will exhibit at Holtz in Iwate in August, and at FOR STOCKISTS EXHIBITION in Jiyugakuen, Meguro in September.

Please give a message to the readers.

“Glasswares for Use and Eyes” is an exhibition organized by METROCS with works of Ryoko Takanashi, glassblower and Junko Yoshida, cut glass designer. While we all use the same material, glass, each of us has own technique and philosophy. Please come visit METROCS to see all our products and see the difference.

It’s been 20 years since the last time I came to Sapporo. It’s an exciting city with interesting things such as tires of metro, extremely wide streets, and monstrous car ports. During our stay in Sapporo, we wandered a lot using metro, with a surprise that a metro ticket wasn’t accepted when inserted upside down. For lunch we visited Rokkatei Maruyama Cafe. We’d also like to visit local home products supplier.

Glasswares for Use and Eyes
Date: June 24th – July 6th, 2011
Open: 11:00 – 19:30
Place: METROCS Sapporo
Address: 1F Maruyama Arc, Odori West 26, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
Tel: +81 (0)11 615 8777

Text: Ayako Ishii

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