Our search for exemplary craftsmanship took us back to japan where Hiroko had made the first pieces as a student of architecture. We hesitated to look for a casting studio in Japan at first because we were worried about the costs to have it made there. But after realizing some of the sacrifices in quality we would need to make to keep our production costs low we just simply didn't feel good about doing it. Once we realized that making something well designed and well crafted was the most important thing for us, we were ready!
Our search, well, Hiroko's search because all of the websites were in Japanese brought us to a small family run jewelry casting studio located in Niigata, Japan. For those of you who may not know, Niigata has a long history in the metal arts, and many of the countries finest metal goods are made there. The company's name is Craft Sanyuu, and have been in business since 1980.
We had many questions from working with the Indian Casting company - about their process, finish, casting methods, modeling methods, etc. After visiting the website of Craft Sanyuu, we became very excited as most of our questions about process where very clearly laid out. We got in contact with them, and they took interest in us as well as they had never worked with anyone located outside of Japan.
Photos of various production techniques courtesy of Craft Sanyuu.
We sent them the twist series bangle that we had made in India to see if they could tell us why we were getting small black holes on the surface, and they were able to walk us through the process and identify what mistakes the previous casting company had made. Essentially, when you cast a piece that large, you need to provide multiple points for the air and gas to escape or it will get trapped inside resulting in those pitch marks. This is something we also try to control when working in concrete in Architecture.
About two months after we started our search in Japan, we finally had our first prototype from them in hand. We were blown away by how beautiful they turned out. The tolerances in the geometry was unbelievably accurate, the edges were completely crisp, and the surface finish was uniform and pristine. Yes, it cost us more to make it this way, but we feel that the end result justifies the added cost.
Twist Series Bangles, Matte, Mirror and Scratch finishes.
By December of 2009 we had made our first production runs and by Christmas our bangles were in our first store: Walrus. Hiroko has visited Craft Sanyuu on her trips back to Japan, and we continue to have a productive working relationship with them. Every year at New Years we send them some small treats to show our appreciation for their great work. So, in closing, our jewelry is made by good people, and we are happy to have come across them.