Pate De Verre is a form of glass making using molds and glass paste baked in a kiln. The technique was developed around Mesopotamia in the 16th Century BC. It is also said to have been used to make jewelry in Japan from ancient times.
It is a very time-consuming and labour-intensive method which almost vanished after glass blowing was discovered.
It experienced a revival during the Art Nouveau period in France when artists such as Amalric Walter and Henry Cros used the technique to create extraordinary pieces. After this period, however, it seemed once again that the technique would be forgotten.
It was passed down to very few disciples and presently, there are not many practitioners of this ancient method.
Unlike other glass making methods, Pate de Verre has a translucency which is the deliberate result of colours infused in the minute bubbles which occur when the piece is fired.
The result is a graceful colour quality akin to Japanese confectionery. The colour gradations in Pate de Verre pieces are unlike that which can be achieved in any other method.
Ishida Glass Studio
Wataru and Seki Ishida have been making Pate de Verre glass art for over 30 years. They were initially involved in designing traditional kimonos and sashes but became captivated by the beauty of this rare art and began their study of it in earnest.
They taught themselves the technique in city of Kyoto, a place which has long fostered a subtle sense of artistic beauty. In this environment, they developed an art which fuses the traditional Japanese sensibility with the ancient technique to create something truly unique, a “Japanese Pate de Verre”.
In 2009, Wataru Ishida’s art was designated an Intangible Cultural Asset by the Kyoto Prefectural Government as recognition for his development of a unique art, that art being called “Ikomi Glass”.
Currently, Wataru’s eldest son Satoshi and his wife Chisato are working alongside both parents to bring this ancient art into yet another modern direction.