Mamoru Nakagawa: Kaga zogan metal inlay (October 17, 2008)



Introduction by Chris Genik and Yoshio Ikezaki, who acts as Nakagawa’s translator. Genik begins by discussing the evolutionary quality of design, as well as the necessity for a relationship to the rest of the world. Ikezaki discusses Nakagawa’s academic and professional background. Nakagawa was trained in product design and is currently a professor at Kanazawa College of Art in Japan. Ikezaki explained Nakagawa’s journey that brought him to the United States and Los Angeles, and the significance of his work.

Nakagawa’s discusses the significance and responsibility of being a Japanese Living National Treasure and the history of the appointment. He describes his background, training as a product designer and then worked as a graphic designer. When he began working with metal inlay, due to the lack of knowledge of the Kaga Zogan method, Nakagawa found himself in a position where he was required to make his own tools and perfect his methods. He incorporates 300 different chisels in order to create his inlay projects. He then discusses the process he utilizes for his projects, as well as stating that his title was received due to his ability to incorporate five different types of metal sheet inlay, while others in the craft simply glued them together.

Nakagawa discusses his method of inlay that provides for smoother surfaces, than inlays relying on glue. He discusses the science of mixing metals into compound metals, in which he must decide which metals to combine, and determine compounds of minerals and the chemical reactions needed to achieve desired colors. His method creates oxidized layers and the desired color changes without interfering in oxidation. His video also shows samples of his work and process.

Nakagawa discusses the inspiration for his designs which are derived by nature. He states that his goal is to always challenge himself, innovating as well as protecting tradition. He finds interest in nature due to its constantly changing quality. He moves on to discuss his philosophies of teaching. His approach is different due to his background and training and he is constantly looking for new and different types of inspiration. He states that part of his philosophy is to give all of his knowledge to his students and maintain a constant level of focus.

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