Mood Indigo with HARUNA SOUMEI of Kyutarou Lacquerware

Mood Indigo with HARUNA SOUMEI of Kyutarou Lacquerware


Lacquerware is steeped in nature.

A unique and centuries old craft that works with both wood turning and the harvesting of sap to create the lacquer used in the coating of the turned timber. 

Relying on trees and managing natural resources for the core and finish of each piece. 


In the autumn of 2023 W.P.S.C travelled to a small village in Fukui, Japan to find the beautiful blue of 'Kyutarou Lacquerware'. 

Kyutarou Lacquerware was developed by the third and fourth generations of Kyutaro Soumei, who founded Soumei Lacquerwear in 1923 and has been operating in Fukui Prefecture ever since. 


We met Haruna Soumei, the great grandaughter of Kyutaro Soumei, and talked to her about how and why she developed the unique Kyutarou BLUE Series. 

H.S: "Dark blue and blue have long been familiar colours for ceramics.
In fact, blue has a strong affinity with food... I wanted to make a blue vessel that retained the unique qualities of the wood."

Looking for a contemporary way to bring lacquerware back to the dining table Haruna Soumei wanted to break away from the traditional Red and Black of lacquer and try her hand at creating a blue.

A colour synonymous with Japanese craft, in both ceramics and textiles. 

An interaction with a customer who picked up a traditional black, very glossy bowl and asked 'Is this material wood or plastic?' lead Hanura to develop lacquerware that highlights the wood grain of each piece. 

 Haruna's workshop is in the small village of Kawada.
Surrounded by mountains, Kawada craftspeople have been producing a style known as 'Echizen' lacquerware for about 1,500 years. 

 Soumei workshop has developed a technique for commercial lacquerware based on traditional techniques. Using this knowledge Soumei craftspeople were able to create a translucent lacquerware with a deep blue colour and wood grain.

The consistent colouring is a result of repeated trial and error to develop tableware that is easy to care for and easy to handle, with almost no deterioration over time.

Each piece made individually.

The result, Kyutaro Blue.


When we visited the Soumei workshop in Autumn we responded to the clear contemporary difference of Kyutarou Blue and recognised the colour choice as a connection to indigo textiles.
 We love how the blue emphasises the wood grain, and timber is a material Australians love to use in our homes relating to the big blue of our Australian skies and the clear blue of our precious oceans. 
We found a product that would resonate with our customers for all the right reasons.  

We are so proud to represent Hanura and her family workshop with their beautiful and considered tableware. 

Find our collection of Indigo Lacquerware here.