Lacquer Artist Saeko Ando

9 March 2016 Posted by Marion

Alex recently hosted lacquer artist Saeko Ando in the Bangkok workshop.  The two artists met almost one year ago at a lacquer conference in Thailand and then again during Alex’s last trip to Vietnam.  Enthralled by the depth and complexity of her lacquer work, Alex immediately recognized that he had met someone of kindred spirit.

Devil Fruit by Saeko Ando
Nazar Boncugu by Saeko Ando

Originally from Japan, Saeko studied Japanese Art and Philosophy, and later moved to Vietnam in 1995 to pursue her passion in lacquer or ‘son mai’ as its called in Vietnam (‘son’ meaning lacquer and ‘mai’ for sanding).  Her ability to combine rich colours, natural materials (e.g. silver and gold leaf, eggshell, mother of pearl) along with the many skillful techniques she employs results in bold compositions of nature, textures, materials and colours. 

Agate by Seako Ando

Saeko explains that it’s the metamorphosis of the process that she finds most fascinating about working with natural lacquer.  By building layers of different colours and texture and then sanding them flat she creates something very organic akin to the skin of a snake, the wings of a moth or the translucent body of a jellyfish. The artist does not entirely control the effects therefore the finished work might look like something created by Mother Nature. 

Her passion and talent in the art of son mai combined with her strong command of the culture were recognized in 2000 when she became the first foreign member accepted by Hanoi Art Association.  Saeko’s dedication to the potential and preservation of natural lacquer has made her a distinguished ambassador of this time-honoured art and someone Alex looks very much forward to collaborating with in the near future.  

Mirror Mirror 1 and 2 by Saeko Ando
Saeko Ando
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