Black Elephant: The Art of Lacquer
Lacquer Master Veronica Gritsenko has spent the past 8 months preparing an exclusive collection of lacquerware for AsiaStore, reinterpreting the ancient art of handmade lacquer using traditional crafting techniques combined with progressive design. Today she takes us through the process, which begins with creating a base from either bamboo, teak wood, or horsehair. The base is shaved smooth and a layer of 2nd quality lacquer applied to reinforce the surface. The piece is again shaved smooth and raw lacquer applied. Bone ash and Thao (lacquer juice) adhere cloth to the surface to reinforce the base, followed by another layer of thao. 2-3 layers of 1rst quality lacquer are then applied and the piece is polished by hand. Now time for the decoration to be applied. U Sein Win etches Veronica’s intricate design into the lacquer and then the color is applied. Veronica uses up to 5 colors including red cinnabar and fully decorates her pieces on both the face and back . Color is applied one color at a time and must dry for several days after each application, before the washing of the color takes place
(Veronica’s favorite part!). We look on as one of the artisans carefully sponges away the excess color. The finished piece is then polished with powder from fossilized wood. The result while stunningly beautiful is also extremely durable and is resistant to heat, moisture and cracking.