Saturday, August 06, 2011

When fire = poetry

Seattle-based Japanese artist Etsuko Ichikawa writes, "My work is a continuing investigation of what lies between the ephemeral and the eternal.

Moment and memory, absorption and evaporation, light and shadow are some of the triggers that inspire me and relate to my work. My “glass pyrographs” are made by drawing hot molten glass, which is one way to capture and eternalize the immediacy of a moment, while my hanging and floating installations are about ever-changing states of mind. . . " 

"The yin to Etsuko Ichikawa's soft-spoken, intro-spective yang is fiery, molten glass. Handling while aglow at 2100 degrees F, she loops, stretches and presses the smoking mass of lava atop paper to create abstract drawings known as pyrographs. Filmmaker Alistair Banks Griffin captures the dramatic choreography of Ichikawa's art in this short film for The Anthropologist*. . ." 

For more vids of the artist at work, visit this page on Etsuko Ichikawa's website -

Thanks +++ to RachvB for introducing us to the meditative, alchemical work of this remarkable artist. 

* rich pickings await you at The Anthropologist


  1. Dear Claire, this is astonishing art, layers of metaphor, suffused with meaning upon meaning, even at the level of language--pyrgrograph is kin to petroglyph, but instead of the images pressed into stone they are written in fire. And think of the elements that make molten glass: the element of fire, the humblest earth. And to write with fire on paper links one to paper being made from wood pulp/trees which grow in the earth. And burning an image into the most fragile of things, paper, when the burning ball sets it alight like a sun. Oh, it is wondrous, Claire. Thank you--and Rachel. It's stunning. xo

  2. Dear Melissa - I imagined this woman's work would ignite you. With similar lyricism and clarity of expression, you have broken down the elements with which she makes her work, identifying the relationship between them all; earth, air, fire and water. The artist brings all the senses to bear, too - as author of the work, and also for us as audience/participant. Touch. Sound. Sight. Smell. Taste (how often do we taste the things we smell?), balance, temperature, etc. . . Funny, when I came to live in my studio (six years ago), I thought about making drawings with my kitchen blow-torch, but never have. It would be fun to try! Thank you, M - and RachvB xo

  3. I'm glad you both found something in this. It woke me up again. It seems impossible that's she's doing this - fire and paper, but she is and it's incredible to see.