Watanabe Akira Japanese, b. 1959

Watanabe Akira is a glass artist whose primary technique is kiriko (‘faceted cut’)

glass. While in college at Kyoto University, Watanabe became interested in glass

art through his exposure to Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Upon graduation, the artist

went to work for the Kamei Glass Co. where he learned to cut glass.

Since he became an independent artist in his late 30s, Watanabe has developed a

unique process called sekiso (‘lamination layer’), in which powdered gold, colored

glass grains, or the like, are dusted between several glass sheets to give a

decorative effect; the sheets are then fused by using an electric furnace to create

the base material with patterns of light captured inside the glass. He gives even

further meaning to his work by carefully hand polishing then with a piece of felt

and an abrasive compound. In 2008, he received the Medal with Purple Ribbon

from the Emperor of Japan.


Selected Awards and Exhibitions 

2016 Asia Week, New York, US

2014 From Crafts to Kōgei: In Commemoration of the 60th Japan Traditional Art Crafts

Exhibition | National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Tradition and Creation by Kyoto Prefectural Intangible Cultural Property Holders | Museum

of Kyoto, Japan