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Watering Can


A Watering Can and a Watering Jug handmade of brass.


This project for a watering can was quite a local one for me. My studio in Tokyo is in Monzen Nakacho and the watering can maker Negishi san is in Sumida ward. Following a project of a drinking glass made for Ando Gallery about five years ago at Shotoku Glass Co. in Kinschicho this project was the second with a craftsman within a few kilometres of the studio. It is remarkable in itself to find craft producers with healthy businesses in central Tokyo, you wouldn’t find any in London or Paris! But aside from this notable geographical phenomenon, the quality of both producers is exceptional. On the first visit to Negishi san’s workshop with David Glaetli we observed him cutting and bending sheets of copper and brass and soldering them in intricate shapes. Nearby on the floor was an old Bonzai watering can which looked like it had been in an accident with some heavy machinery. We asked what had happened to it and he replied that an angry Bonzai gardener had hit his assistant on the head with it after he made a serious mistake! The gardener had asked Negishi san to repair it rather than buy a new one. Zen and the Art of Bonzai!

After the visit I understood that there was no point trying to produce another large watering can, since Negishi’s models had been developed over a couple of generations to satisfy the delicate needs of those miniature trees, so we agreed to work on a smaller model for domestic use. In the course of the project I moved back to London, but Negishi san continued to send prototypes and even visited the London studio on one occasion. He overcame all the new complexities of our design and the result is a satisfying hybrid of oil and watering can.