Etsuko Nishi (b.1955) Japanese Glass Designer

Lavender bowl by Etsuko Nishi
Lavender bowl by Etsuko Nishi

Etsuko Nishi (b.1955) is a Japanese Glass Designer. She makes beautifully sculpted vessels whose calm restraint and delicacy render function obsolete. Two major sources of inspiration have led to her current work: first, an abiding interest in the textile arts of quilting and lacework; second the miraculous cage-cups of Ancient Rome.

Expert in Pâte de verre.

She is a leading expert in pâte de verre, one of the oldest and most difficult glass-making forms. The desired shape is first made of clay, which is used as the basis for the mould. The glass powder is then mixed with a special type of paste, and the mixture is then placed in the mould and then fired. The heat causes the glass to melt and to take shape. It is removed from the mould once it has cooled. Etsuko Nishi uses pâte de verre to create very complex forms, relying on more than ten years of study and years of experimentation with glass. Over the course of her career, she has developed a unique technique for creating her moulds inspired by floral forms.

Pâte de Verre Technique shown by Etsuko Nishi
Pâte de Verre Technique shown by Etsuko Nishi


She studied at the Canberra Institute of Arts to 1990.


Her work included in the 1986 ‘National Glass’ exhibition at Downey Museum of Art in Downey, California.


She has exhibited in permanent museum collections worldwide, including Japan, Australia, Europe and the USA.

1987 ‘Contemporary Glass’ exhibition at D’Erlien Gallery in Milwaukee; 

1987 ‘The Art of Contemporary Japanese Studio Glass’ at Heller Gallery in New York: 

1988 ‘International Exhibition of Glass Craft’ at the Industrial Gallery of Ishikawa Prefecture, Kanazawa; 

1990 ‘Glass ’90 in Japan’ in Tokyo; 

1990 ‘Chicago International New Art Forms Exposition’ in Chicago; and 

1991 (V) Triennale of the Japan Glass Art Crafts Association at Heller Gallery. 

Her work won the 1990 Prize of Australian National University and included in 1989 and 1990 ‘Corning Glass Review,’ Neues Glas journal. 


Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Etsuko Nishi. Japanese Glass.

Layton, P. (1996). Glass art. Black. Retrieved from

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