An interview with Fumiko Nagano

When you hold her glass in your hand and look at it, you would feel temperature, light, the universe, and the sparkle of life. We interviewed Fumiko Nagano, who creates works full of poetic sentiment.

She has a memory from her childhood that has left a strong impression on her.

’’My parents had run a lumber business, and I loved the smell of wood on the job site. I remember looking up at the scene where the carpenters were working and seeing the sawdust dancing and glistening...I still remember that scene vividly."

She says with a smile that her love of imagining the universe and playing in imaginary worlds has not changed since she was a child. Her first experience with glass making was at a glass blowing workshop she attended as a student at an art college. What she felt at that encounter was a painful heat, so her initial impression was not necessarily a good one. However, the molten glass, which looked like a living creature, made a strong impression on her.

She explains why she is attracted to glass.

"I am always moved when I roll molten glass out of a crucible. It's red hot and shining, like life itself. I feel like I always want to be in touch with such existence. Glass is hot and cold, sharp and soft. I think the fact that it has these contradictory aspects is similar to human. And yet it is transparent. I'm enchanted totally.

Nagano has felt the wonder and beauty of the world around her since childhood, and her works that are full of surprises and have the power to lead beholders away from their everyday lives into another world, but more than anyone else, she herself transcends time and space through making glass works and is thrilled by what she feels and sees there, even unexpected results, then she feels alive.

"When I am creating, I don't feel sleepy or hungry, and I am just engrossed in making. Each piece has its own story. For example, the work titled ''DICE'' was born in my small home studio at the time of my childbirth, when I was unable to go out. I felt liberated when I looked at the number in DICE, which seemed to be floating even though locked up. It's because of a wonder of transparency of glass. I could feel that the universe is always in the palm of my hand.  Numbers are a great invention of mankind, aren't they? It is the most simple and special line that everyone in the world knows. It is so beautiful that I can look at them forever with losing track of time. Speaking of time, the concept of time is also a human creation, and numbers symbolically represent it. I love to spend time thinking about these things."

Nagano looks at the world made up of both human creation and the laws of the universe and nature with great emotion. In closing this interview, she said this about creating.

"I love photography, film, architecture, and dance, but I feel like I want to see the light through these creations. When I look at the works I have created and the worlds I am drawn to, I think I want to catch the light. More precisely, I may want to capture light and shadow. When you encounter something that shakes your soul, that tremble of your heart becomes a part of you. I would be happy if something born from my hands could be a part of someone."

 


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