Fukaura-Town, located in the southwest area of Aomori is well known with Lake Juniko. If you are heading for Fukaura Town either by car or train, WeSPA Tsubakiyama would be a convenient place to visit and stay on the way to Lake Juniko. It is the resort facility consists of a gift shop, hot spring, insect exhibition, cable car, cottage accommodation and glass studio which allows you to enjoy your holiday with your family and friends. I am introducing one of the very popular hands-on activities in this facility, making glass seals in this post.
This studio ”HOO” is a rare glass studio in the world, equipped with glass melting furnace using wind electricity.
Can you guess what these colorful glass objects are? They all become seals by engraving the bottom surface. You can pick out your favorite one. I was indecisive and took 10 minutes to decide my seal….
I could finally pick this out… a bird-shaped one! Don’t you think this is already cute enogh as an ornament?
After tracing the outline of the bottom of the seal on the paper, you can draw whatever you want as far as drawing within the outline.
This is me deeply absorbed in my work and didn’t know my colleague was taking a picture of me.
The instructor scanned my design into the computer, and reversed the design(because it is a seal) and made a sticker with my design. It was so quick and I couldn’t help being impressed with the computer technology which makes everything so easy.
After attaching the sticker at the bottom of your workpiece, you have to cut out the sticker of the area need to be engraved. Since the sticker has a cut along the line of your design, it would not be too difficult even for little kids.
We moved to the another room equipped with the “Sand Blaster”, the device carving glass with fine sands.
You can turn the blast on and off by using a foot pedal. You have to hold the workpiece tight and put it under the sand blasting nozzle. I wondered how the thin sticker could prevent the glass from abrasion. But it was working pretty well.
It took me about 10 minutes to complete engraving.
Ta-dah! “夕子” is my name Yuko in Kanji, with my Chinese zodiac sign “boar” on top.
My colleague made the seal of Ikubee – the mascot of Aomori destination campaign( held between April – July in 2011).
I could see the other visitors’ great works in the seal work collection book.
The gallery & shop in the building displays the distinctive art glasses. I loved the glass tumblers putting on bikini panties, but 8,400yen/pc is not quite affordable to me…too bad.
I heard that a family from outside of Aomori stayed in WeSpa Tsubakiyama became a big fan of this place, and started to come back every summer to enjoy making new glass arts in this studio. It will be a good gift or a souvenir to yourself for the memory of your trip to Fukaura Town/Aomori. Of course various hands-on glass activities including glass-blowing and jewels are available.
Why don’t you visit WeSpa Tsubakiyama to make a masterpiece this summer?
Shirakami Glass Studio “HOO”
226-1 Nabeishi, Henashi, Fukaura-machi
Hands-on Glass Seal Fee： 2,310 yen / piece
Open Hours：9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Closed: Tsuesdays (November – March) Open 365 days (April – October)