Interview 03: Yusuke Fukushi - The Fine Balance Between Handmade and Modern Technology

"Flexibility of handicraft is not an excuse. I want to ensure the quality that is consistent in beauty and design.”

Yusuke Fukushi
He became a glass craftsman after experiencing various hands-on "maker" jobs such as landscaping and interior design for over the last 10 years. He feels a strong connection with "NEBUTA Collection," that reflects the memories and sceneries of Tsugaru-city. 

Fukushi was inspired to become a glass craftsman by his strong aspiration to become a maker. He is now one of the few craftsmen who specializes in "compression molding" method in which glass is poured into a mold and "spin molding" method in which glass is formed by centrifugal force that rotates the mold. These molding methods have helped increase the production volume while incorporating the warmth and unique characters of the handicrafts.  Developing these methods were a major turning point for Hokuyo Glass, who pursued to carry on the old tradition of handmade crafts, yet introduced the new “colors” to Tsugaru Handblown. It is one of the important reasons why Tsuguru Handblown offers various designs at such high volume, all handmade in their one and only main workshop. 

“I believe our quality is the best in the world!” says Fukushi. “ The goal is to out-perform the automation system.”  Glasses made by Fukushi have a uniform thickness, and the dishes and tumbler's mouth are perfectly horizontal.  The exquisite balance of consistency in sizes and forms and the warmth of handicrafts, is what make Fukushi’s creations one-of-a-kind.

"Glass making is difficult. Every time I learn the new method, I also notice what needs to be  improved. It's not easy, but also rewarding."

Although automation systems can produce standardized products without any flaws, it is not possible to add various colors and delicate patterns like Tsugaru Handblown products. Fukushi continues to aim for the ultimate balance of calculated precision and the beauty of handicrafts. 

Spin Molding Technique

A technique that combines the high productivity of molds with the natural touch and characteristics of handicrafts. “Spin Molding” technique utilizes centrifugal force to mold by dropping molten glass into a mold and turning the mold itself. The texture can be adjusted depending on the speed of the mold turning.  Even if the same mold is used, each craftsman will eventually come up with their individual style. The timing to insert the glass and the way you turn it also allow you to design an intricate and unique pattern.