Three years ago I visited Mr. Saito in his studio in Kyoto. On washi paper, he first applied Urushi lacquer. Next he carefully placed ultra-thin gold films on top of it. Yes, the real, 24K gold. Once the gold films were laid out, he brushed off the surface to create intricate patterns.
The sheet of paper with gold films was cut into thin threads…so thin, about 0.3mm. At his studio, Mr. Katsuyama made sure that the thin threads were meticulously woven into the beautiful obi.
Mr. Katsuyama is one of Rakufurin’s partners (同人）. Rakufurin has been producing high quality, one of a kind obis with unique, beautiful designs in Kyoto for over three generations. I thank Ms. Reiko Horie, the third generation CEO of Rakufurin, for introducing me to Mr. Saito and Mr. Katsuyama. Ever since then, what has become my hidden goal…. You can guess.
This spring my hidden goal has been achieved! Reiko-san showed me some the collaboration work by Mr. Saito and Mr. Katsuyama at Rakufurin’s Exhibition in Kyoto. With Reiko-san’s assistance, I have selected one….
I don’t want a necklace. Nor a ring. This is my Japanese way of wearing gold.