Yukako Hamachi of tree frog is a metalwork artist working in copper and brass. She is particularly drawn to metalwork’s most time-honored techniques of forging, welding, hammering, and forming metal from scratch, and draws inspiration from the natural world.
Hamachi fell in love with metalwork 40 years ago after encountering a coppersmith hammering a kettle at a street stall in Kyoto. Captivated by the motions the artisan made as they turned a sheet of metal between their legs and hammered the shape of the kettle, she said to herself then and there, “One day I will learn this technique, too.” The hammering technique that fascinated Hamachi is called shibori. By hammering, a two-dimensional sheet of metal becomes a three-dimensional object.
Inspired to pursue a career in metalwork for years, she later sought out a shibori craftsman in Kyoto, apprenticed under them for one year during the COVID-19 pandemic, and fully devoted herself to learning the craft during this period when the pace of the world had slowed down.
Hamachi moved to Tottori Prefecture’s San’in region, an important historic center of iron sand production and metalwork techniques in Japan, and opened her independent studio, tree frog, in Hoki Town, drawing inspiration from the surrounding mountains, sea, and the things she loves. Here, she creates fresh and contemporary designs using the traditional techniques which fuel her passion for metalwork.