Tsugaru Nuri (Tsugaru Lacquerware) is a traditional and honorable artifact of Aomori which began to be produced at the end of the 17th century. Tsugaru Nuri is basically designed for daily use that almost every household in Tsugaru area has at least 1 piece of Tsugaru Nuri item.
Tsugaru Nuri uses cypress body with cloth winded, and it takes more than 40 hand-made processes to complete such as foundation making, whetting, lacquering and polishing. One proper item takes about 60 days to be completed.
The following photo shows some typical process of chopstick making.
Whetting layered lacquer with whetstone, sandpaper or
charcoal,and polishing after some more lacquer layer.
It uses rape seeds for making patterns. While a lacquer
layer is still wet, seeds are spread on the surface,
and removed after a piece gets dried.
Luckily, I had an opportunity to experience one of the processes of making Tsugaru Nuri under the instruction of real Tsugaru Nuri craftsmen. What I experienced seemed the one in the photo above (Kara Nuri).
First of all, I was handed vermillion chopsticks. They looked that just vermillion lacquer was layered, but there lay more than 10 layers with patterns underneath.
I was to whet chopsticks with wet sandpaper. Not to damage the patterns, I had to whet very tenderly.
After whetting about 2 minutes, there appeared patterns from underneath.
I completed this process after about an hour, changing sandpapers three times gradually from the coarse one to the fine .
I have to wait for another 1 week to have my own chopsticks to be sent after real craftsman applies the additional finishing lacquer coatings followed by final surface polishing.
This opportunity was carried out in the exhibition of Tsugaru Nuri, and if you’d like to try, please refer to the following places.
“Tsugaru Traditional Art and Craft Store” from aptinet
“Tsugaru Neputa-mura Village” from aptinet
☆Aomori Sightseeing Guide “aptinet” http://en.aptinet.jp/