Masakichi Awashima (1914 – 1979) Japanese Glassware Designer

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Vegetable Dish 1955Designed by Masakichi Awashima
Vegetable Dish 1955Designed by Masakichi Awashima

“Dripping Water” process

Masakichi Awashima (1914โ€“1979) was a Japanese glassware designer. He was a significant figure in Japanese design after World War II. His company made both useful household items and things that were well-designed. He was known for the “dripping water” (Shizuku) process, which looks like old Japanese ceramics’ soft, round shapes of old Japanese ceramics. Awashima made this style by pouring molten glass into moulds made of clay, stone, or metal moulds. This made the finished pieces look like they were made by hand.

Biography

After studying design at the Japan Art School in Tokyo, Awashima worked for artisan Kozo Kagami, who had studied Western glass methods in Germany from 1935 to 1946. In 1946, he became director of the Hoya glass factory’s industrial arts section, where he stayed until 1950, when he formed the Awashima Glass Design Research Institute. 

He invented mould-blown mass production methods and patented the Shizuku (“dripping water”) glass technology in 1954, which has been employed by the Awashima glass firm (established in 1956) for its distinctively textured ware ever since. Although it is formed with sophisticated processes and metal moulds, it has the feel and irregular glass forms of traditional ceramic moulds. 

The Invention Society of Japan gave him the Inventor’s Prize in 1956.

Goblet designed by Masakichi Awashima
Goblet designed by Masakichi Awashima

Sources

Hiesinger, K. B., & Bill, M. (1983). Design since 1945: published in conjunction with the exhibition “Design Since 1945”, Philadelphia Museum of Art, October 16, 1983 to January 8, 1984.

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