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Activities in Yunogo: Glass accessory making at aun

14,Sep 2015 Activities in Yunogo

aun is a modest shop in Yunogo that sells mostly jewellery and other accessories made of glass. All of the goods in the shop are skilfully hand crafted in-house by artisan Eda Akihiro. For a sum, Eda-san will demonstrate how to make a glass pendant, and then guide you as you try to make your own.

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There are two courses to choose from: the simple course costs ¥2160 and lasts about 20-30 minutes, whereas the challenge course costs ¥4320 and lasts about 45 minutes to an hour. We will be talking about the challenge course today.

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After deciding on the course, you will be invited to choose the colours that you would like to incorporate into your glass accessory. For the challenge course, you can pick up to three colours from the colour charts. Dark colours are recommended because they stand out more; light colours tend to fade into imperceptibility.

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When you have finished picking the colours for your accessory, it’s time for Eda-san to give his demonstration. Eda-san clearly explains every step of the accessory-making process whilst dexterously executing every action. The process is over within 10 minutes, and it is extremely necessary to watch and listen because trying it out first hand is much harder than it seems.

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A thick glass rod is held with one’s dominant hand and rotated continuously whilst being held to a flame, so as to melt the glass evenly to create the round body of the pendant. When the glass has reached an ideal size, it is pressed onto a metal plate to shape its face.

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Then, colour is added to the pendant – the pendant face is held directly beneath the flame, and very carefully, the colour stick is melted just enough that the molten glass can be dripped onto the pendant face. The first drop of colour is placed in the centre of the pendant, but the other placements can go anywhere.

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When one is satisfied with the colour placement, the pendant face is once again returned to the flame whilst being rotated, so that the colour will set. After a few minutes of rotation, the pendant face is gently pressed onto the metal plate whilst turned lightly, and then returned to the flame again for more rotation. This is repeated several times, until a pattern forms and the colour is sufficiently centered in the pendant.

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When one is satisfied with the shape and appearance of the pendant, Eda-san will take over for the finishing touches. You will be asked if you would like for the pendant to be in a teardrop shape or a round shape. After he has tweaked the shape, he will create the pendant bale according to where you would like it to be. Then, he will detach the pendant from the glass rod, placing it in a special cooling bin. After an hour, your unique pendant will be ready for collection!

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Glass accessory making is difficult but interesting, and the finished products are always unique and special. The process is also very forgiving – no matter how much of a struggle it is to shape the pendant, or how clumsily the colour spots are placed, the result is very likely to turn out satisfying, and not only because it is something made with your own hands. Why not create something special as a memento of your visit to Yunogo? aun is a 5 minute walk away from Kifu no Sato. If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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