3. Crafts and Life in Ibaraki


Crafts and Life in Ibaraki

We would like to introduce two artists who are attracted to the rich nature of Ibaraki and are passionate about creating unique craftworks.Both of them are highly evaluated both inside and outside the prefecture. They use “iron” and “wood” to create works that are full of originality and creativity.

Let’s take a look at their works and their creative activities in a workshop surrounded by nature in Ibaraki.



Blacksmith Studio ZWEI 416, Juocho Takahara, Hitachi City TEL: 050-8012-5102 http://www.net1.jway.ne.jp/s.zwei

Blacksmith Studio ZWEI is a “forging” workshop opened in the mountain area of Hitachi City, Ibaraki Prefecture, in 2002 by Naoto Uda

“Forging” is a technique in which a metal such as iron is heated to get soften, and then hit with a hammer to apply pressure to the metal to increase its strength. Mr. Uda trained in Germany for four years and learned various techniques at three local workshops in order to learn the forging techniques handed down in Europe.

Most of the works are large ones, such as gates, signboards, handrails, iron stairs, iron furniture, and garden supplies. Mr. Uda creates various things from decorative ones with roses, which can be said to be the traditional motif of European blacksmithing, to simple and modern ones, and Japanese style ones using Kanji, according to the request and the scene where it is used. His highly accurate technology makes this possible.


It is definitely worth visiting the renovated workshop and showroom of an old folk house. (Currently, they are not accepting tours because of Covid-19.)

The next solo exhibition will be at Kasama Gallery Gate. “Naoto Uda Forging Exhibition” is scheduled to be held from April 10th to 22nd, 2021. It will also be held at Kasama Craft Hills. Please check the website for the schedule.

By looking at the work up close, you can feel the high-precision technique and the profoundness peculiar to casting.


Woodworking and Plant Dyeing

Japonica 1078 Nakado, Ishioka City TEL: 0299-43-2860 https://www.ookamiwood.com/

In 2012, by Masayuki Shimizu from Chiba prefecture in Yasato, Japonica opened as a “woodworking plant dyeing workshop” in Ibaraki prefecture, where beautiful satoyama scenery spreads.

Mr. Shimizu’s work of “Woodworking plant dying” is unique because he uses cedar trees to make vessels and furniture, and dyes them in various colors using plants while making the best use of the beautiful grain of cedar.


Works with soft and simple modeling and high design are grabbing people’s attention. It is highly evaluated nationwide and has been widely featured on various media.


A representative work is a hand-carved cup named “KIKSA Cup“. It was made based on the motif of a cup made of birch called Guksi, which has been handed down from ancient times in Finland.

The gentle and sophisticated form, the beautiful grain of cedar, and the deep colors of gardenia and rosemary are the true essence of Shimizu’s work.

Japonica’s standard vessels can also be purchased at the online shop on the site or at “Utsuwaya Kikirakuza” (195-3 Yonezawa-cho, Mito City).