鋳物/ metal work

鋳物とは、加熱して溶かした金属を型に流し込み、冷えて固まった後、型から取り出して作った金属製品のことです。山形、盛岡、水沢、高岡などが代表的な鋳物の産地で、それぞれ歴史も古く、得意な素材や特徴も分かれます。いずれの地域も仕事は見事なもので、職人の技術の高さを感じることが出来ます。人類が金属の使用を始めた当初から使われていた技法と言われ、古代では自然界に純粋な形で産出する金及び精錬が容易な銀、銅、青銅、黄銅等の銅合金が主に用いられてきました。現代では、銅、鉄、錫、真鍮などが使われ、用途によって製造法や仕上げ技法が使い分けられています。また、型を用いた加工は切削などの他工法に比べて、量産性や形状の自由度が高いことが特徴と 言えます。おりんや湯釜、その他の仏具、茶道具、花瓶、鉄瓶、鍋、フライパン、灰皿、生活品だけでなく、水道の蛇口、マンホール等、実は古代からいたるところで使われている鋳物の技術。華美な装飾が施された完成品が多く流通していた経緯はあるものの、素材本来の美しさを際立たせるという点では現代では最も有効な手段であると言えるかもしれません。使い手の創造性でどうにでも膨らむ鋳物の技術。伝統技術もかつては現代技術であったと言われますが、鋳物はそれを非常に分かりやすく体現しているように感じます。

Casting is a metal working product which is made from liquid metal. Pouring the liquid metal into a mold of a desired shape, then allowing it to cool and solidify. The solidified part taken out of the mold is the product.
Yamagata, Morioka and Mizusawa in Tohoku region, and Takaoka in Hokuriku region are famous production places. Each are has long history of casting, and vary, from place to place, in material characteristics or their strong points. Needless to say, their techniques and the quality of work are all superb.
Casting is said to be an ancient technique since when the human beings began using metals in their lives. In those ancient times, the naturally existing material such as gold, or easy-to-refine metals e.g. silver, copper, bronze, brass, and alloy of bronze were mainly used.
Today, materials such as copper, iron, tin, brass, etc. are used and its production method and finishing technique are carefully chosen.
As its characteristic, the processing of casting with cast, compared to other processing methods as machine cutting, is good for mass production and flexibility of the shape.
Casting is very popular processing method for long time and used around our daily lives here and there: The items for Buddhism ceremony e.g. Orin, the bell, Tea ceremony wares, daily stuff such as flower bases, Japanese Kettles, bowls and pans, ashtrays, and taps and utility covers on the streets.
Items with gorgeous decorations used to be popular in the past days. However, today, the casting can be the best way to make its original beauty stand out. The Casting technique gives unlimited flexibility to craftsman what to make with it.
“Traditional” techniques used to be “the latest” techniques. Casting seems showing that fact in front of us.