Kawasaki, JP

Kawasaki, JP

Sunday, 13. April 2014

Productive days

With the first week at Aja Glass studio now over, we were able to exchange 16 work hours against 22 ½ hours for our own use. The work has been mostly sorting glass pieces, separating the remaining bits into crystal, colour and iron crystal glass. The pieces that contain iron will be melted down for green glass, the crystal remains crystal and of the coloured ones, only certain colours can be reused in the furnace. It’s ok work, especially when you are listening to a good audio book, which makes the sorting fun. We also assisted with the usual smaller jobs, like sweeping the floor, setting up the work benches and sorting the pipes.

Our day normally starts at 10am and lasts until 10pm. There are usually three or four classes a day, depending on whether there are lessons or people renting the space. In the 30 minutes between sessions, we help the Aja team to quickly get the studio back in order. After we’ve set up the benches, swept up and exchanged the buckets with water, we have 15 minutes left for a bite to eat. The classes are led by either Shusaku, Kenta or the master himself, Kenji Ito. The teacher overseas the class and students pair up to share a bench, where they work in turns. Each student has their own separate project that they are working on.

Kenji’s class is a bit different in that he starts class with a demonstration and invites the students to copy the piece as well as they can. At the end of the lesson he points out mistakes by showing his piece again. On the first day, when we met Kenji we had the pleasure of taking part in his class. As we weren’t aware how the class was structured, we had first walked away to get an ice cream and so had missed his demonstration at the beginning. However we gave it our best shot and managed to pull together a couple of acceptable pieces. In another class we first tried our hand at small bowls, and then Louise made beakers with a tear feature and Franca made Franconian style stemware.

The Aja Glass Sudio is in a medium sized warehouse with a big furnace for crystal, green, purple and black glass. The waste heat is used for the colour furnace and cooling chamber. They make good use of the space with room for seven work benches including heating drums. There’s also a small room for glass blowing and a tiny office. In a separate room next to the sanding workshop, every student has their own drawer and the artists renting work space have a box. On the second floor, each member of the Aja Team has a small desk and shelf, and we have a small en-suite room with a mattress.