ガラスペンGlass Pen

宝石のようにエレガントな煌めきを持つガラスペンは眺めているだけでも心が躍り、思わず手に取って文字を書いてみたくなります。滑らかに指に馴染むガラス特有の曲線、ペン先から螺旋状にインクが吸い上げられる様の美しさ、書き味さらさらの心地よさ、一度インクに浸せば葉書一枚分ほどの文字を書き上げることができる機能性、まさに「用の美」を備えた一生ものの筆記具です。

「ガラス工房 ほのお」は終戦後、金型職人から硬質ガラスに魅せられて職人となった初代菅清風さんがネオン管の加工業として開業し、本職の傍ら明治時代から日本で使われていたガラスペンを独自の製法で復刻した工房です。ネオン管づくりで培った高度な技術と経験に基づき研究を重ねて生み出された世界初の硬質ガラスペンは、国内外問わず幅広い層の人々から愛され、手書きの文化が失われゆく現在においても問い合わせや注文、工房を訪ねてやってくる人が後を絶ちません。工房にはガラスペンの他、先代がすべて手作りした道具や、初期のガラス細工、また世界各国の文化人や政財界人など錚々たる顔ぶれから届いたお礼状や写真が犇めき、並ならぬ情熱を賭けて生まれたガラスペン作りの歩みを知ることができます。現在、二代目として工房を継ぐ孫の菅清流さんに、作業風景を見せていただきました。

京都の川の流れを模したというペン軸の波模様は、直径1㎝ほどの硬質ガラス棒をバーナーで1200度に熱し、均一の柔らかさを保つため満遍なく回す作業を繰り返しながら形作ります。ペン先は同様にして螺旋状の溝を作ったのち、目で追えないほどの速さで一気に引っ張り、髪の毛より細く真っ直ぐに尖らせます。ここは最も神経を使う工程ですが、手前の作業に少しでもずれや傾きがあればペン先に大きく影響が出るので最初から最後まですべての工程に均等な緊張感と集中力が必要となります。ガラスは火から離すとすぐに温度が下がって固まるので一瞬一瞬が勝負。視覚だけでは足らないほど微細な手の感覚を要するため、作業はすべて素手で行います。

一つ一つのペンに微妙に異なる表情があり、また大切な人への贈り物や特別な日の記念にと購入する方も多く、ペン先が摩耗しても使い続けたいという要望に応えて無償で修理も行っています。けれど、どんなにいいものを作ったとしても使ってもらわなければ始まりません、と清流さん。ガラスペンの素晴らしさを新たな層に伝えるため、オンライン販売やワークショップ、他業種とのコラボレーションなどにも意欲的です。受け継いだ技術を磨き続けながら時代に合わせた百年先へのガラスペンの在り方を探る姿に、先代譲りの真摯な職人魂とチャレンジ精神を感じます。

 
 

– 写真説明 –

– 写真説明 –

[Ⅰ]硬質ガラスペン 清風。
[Ⅱ]自在に変化するガラスの特質を生かし繊細な模様を形作っていく。
[Ⅳ]二代目管清流さん。幼い頃から先代の姿を見て育ち、技と心を受け継ぐ。
[Ⅴ]先代の故・菅清風さん。ただただものづくりが好きだった、その無私無欲な職人魂が各界の熱いファンを生んできた。

The elegant, jewel-like shimmer of a glass pen is a joy to behold, and makes one want to pick it up and write with it. The smooth curve of the glass that fits one’s fingers, the beauty of the ink spiralling out of the nib, the silky comfort of the writing, the functionality that once dipped in ink allows one to write a postcard’s worth of words… A glass pen is a writing instrument with a “beauty of utility” that will last a lifetime.

“Glass Atelier Ho No O” was established as a maker of neon tubes by its founder Kan Seifu, a one-time metal mould craftsman who was fascinated by hard glass and became an artisan. While making neon tubes, Kan Seifu reproduced a glass pen that had been used in Japan since the Meiji era through an original manufacturing method. The world’s first hard glass pens, created through research based on the advanced techniques and experience gained from making neon tubes, have been loved by a wide range of people both in Japan and abroad. And even today, when the culture of handwriting is disappearing, the Atelier still receives numerous enquiries, orders and visitors. In addition to the glass pens, the workshop is filled with the handmade tools of the previous master, early glassworks, and thank you notes and photographs from the world’s leading cultural and political figures. Kan Seiryu, the grandson and second generation master, showed us around their workshop.

The wave pattern on the body of a pen, which resembles the flow of a river in Kyoto, is shaped by heating a 1cm diameter hard glass rod to 1200 degrees with a burner, turning it constantly to ensure an even softness. The nib of the pen is made in the same way, with spiral waves, and then pulled rapidly to sharpen it thinner and straighter than a hair. This is the most nerve-wracking part of the process, as any slight deviation or tilt in the previous stages could affect on the nib significantly. Tension and concentration are therefore required in equal parts throughout the entire process. Every moment counts, as the temperature of the glass drops and hardens as soon as it is removed from the fire. All the work is done with bare hands, as it requires a fine sense of touch as well as sight.

Each pen has a slightly different feature. Many people buy them as gifts for loved ones, or for themselves for special occasions. The workshop offers a free maintenance service responding to the requests of people who wish to keep using their pens even though the nib becomes worn. However, no matter how good the pen is, Seiryu says, there is no point if it is not used. In order to introduce the excellence of glass pens to a new audience, Seiryu is also keen to sell his products online, hold workshops and collaborate with other fields of business. The way he continues to refine the skills he has inherited, while searching for a way of making glass pens that will meet the needs of the times for a hundred years to come, shows the sincere craftsmanship and challenging spirit that he succeeded from his predecessor.

 
 

– photo explanation –

– 写真説明 –

[Ⅰ]Hard Glass Pens, Seifu.
[Ⅱ]Creating delicate patterns using the flexible nature of glass.
[Ⅳ]Kan Seiryu, the second generation master. From an early age, Seiryu grew up watching his predecessor and inherited his skills and spirit.
[Ⅴ]The late founder Kan Seifu. His pure love of making and his selfless spirit of craftsmanship has earned him a number of enthusiastic fans from various fields.

 
 

photo by Tomoko Hayashi

硬質ガラスペン 清風
Hard Glass Pens, Seifu
 
Seseragi (blue) / Sakura (pink)
Wakaba (green) / Clear (transparent)
Size:approx. 15mm (thickness) x 155mm (length)
Accessories:velvet case, PILOT black ink

JPY ¥18,000 (excl. tax, free shipping)

ガラス工房 ほのお Glass Atelier Ho No O

〒606-8251 京都府京都市左京区北白川東伊織町26-2 26-2 Kitashirakawa Higashiiori-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto 606-8251 JAPAN

075-723-1300(電話受付 9:00〜17:30)

Website: https://www.kanseifu.com/

  • 営業時間: 9:00〜18:00
  • Opening Hours: 9am-6pm