“Shūseki” is the artist name that was chosen and passed down from master to apprentice. As a cut-glass artisan, Mr. Horiguchi has succeeded to this name held by his grandfather, the first-generation Shūseki, and the second-generation Shūseki, who was his master teacher. He was close to his grandfather in childhood and decided in his junior high school period to become an Edo Kiriko artisan.
“I liked making things with my hands and vaguely dreamed of joining the world of traditional crafts in some way. By the time I was a junior-high-school student, I became more aware of Edo Kiriko artistry as a lifetime career and hoped I could continue in place of my late grandfather. So, I became an apprentice of the second Shūseki after graduating from university. This is my 19th year since becoming a cut-glass artisan. I do my best to produce cut-glass artworks befitting my title, which was first bestowed on my grandfather and further elevated in value by the second Shūseki,” Mr. Horiguchi says.
Today, Edo Kiriko is designated a national traditional craft, and the name is a registered trademark of an artisans’ union called the Edo Kiriko Cooperative Association. Therefore, works called Edo Kiriko should meet defined rules — for example, the center of production should be mainly in the area of Koto ward, Tokyo. However, these rules are simple and flexible, too. This reflects awareness that modern artisans should feel free to pass on the Edo Kiriko tradition to the next generation while preserving its techniques. Freedom is the only key to the shape of art to come.
Mr. Horiguchi says, “Edo Kiriko is glass art. More or less, it is easily influenced by surrounding factors — for example, foods and beverages served in the glassware, the color of the table, and the backdrop of where it is placed, such as the brightness of the ambience, and other elements. Depending on these factors, the appearance of the glasswork changes. This is one of the attractive aspects unique to Edo Kiriko. Therefore, our works can be complete only when a beverage is poured into the glass or the glass is in the hands of the user. I began to be interested in making such glassworks. Now I’m using the keyword ‘emptiness’ to challenge the whole concept of Edo Kiriko works.”