Exploration Notes #1 a craftsman who creates eyeglass


One day in 2022, I visited an eyeglass craftsman's workshop.

The craftsman warmly welcomed me into the workshop. The scent of sandalwood wafted through the space, giving me a solemn feeling as if I had stepped into the realm of temples. Machines and tools are lined up there, giving the impression of a functional and well-organized workplace. At first glance, it looks like a typical workshop, but I felt there was something different about it. My secret theme of the day arose and it was whether I could figure out its true identity.


I visited the workshop to pick up the glasses I had ordered and to watch them being made. It's not every day you get the chance to talk to the craftsman who made the glasses you use.

When I received the glasses, I was surprised at how smooth they were. The parts are organically connected and become a whole. The material is acetate, which means it is a plastic frame. It is cut from a single board, undergoes a series of detailed steps, and then is carefully polished. All processes are done by hand. Smoothness also means softness on the skin. It felt comfortable around my nose and ears, and after a while, it became like a part of my body. Just as there are no flat surfaces in the human body, these glasses have no flat surfaces, only rounded curved surfaces. My heart fluttered when I saw myself and my glasses reflected in the mirror, as if we had been together for years.


By the way, eyeglass manufacturing generally involves a division of labor, with each process and part being undertaken by specialized contractors and craftsmen. Whether the work is done by machine or by hand depends on the planning and design, but the division of labor serves to improve efficiency and hedge risks. This form has probably settled down over the long history of the eyewear industry. As if to defy industry norms, the craftsman we visited was responsible for almost all of the processes, handcrafting eyeglass frames.


As I listened to the craftsmen's stories, the word "seeking the truth" naturally came to my mind. I won't write into details, but I think the theme of the day was not the space, but the sense of discomfort that came from being exposed to the worldview of the craftsman. He is also an artist who explores ideas and techniques while incorporating them into objects, much like the craftsmen of the time when faith and art were inseparable.

It's no wonder that the method used was to make glasses, but personally I'm happy that it was an everyday tool that comes into contact with people's skin. It is a tool that can be worn, and it also means that one can wear the art created by the craftsman. Still, he says, "It's okay if you treat the glasses roughly. I'll fix them again." What was intended to be a light workshop tour turned out to be a very stimulating and enjoyable time.


3-1-2 Yuigahama, Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture

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