Tucked in a small workshop on the outskirts of Tsubame-Sanjo, an area in Niigata Prefecture known for metalworking, Fuukidou is an artisan producer of copper cookware. Founded in 1945 and currently run by third generation Takeshi Fujii, this company is as artisanal as it gets. There are just four people sitting in a small workshop, each hammering away at copper pieces and almost magically transforming them into items that are at once both incredibly practical and also works of art.
Tools of the trade - copper, wood and iron
The pieces are made completely by hand and the hammering is almost deafening...indeed even though we are in the room next door, our meeting discussion is hampered by the tap, tap, tap of the artisans. Nonetheless, the hammering is mesmerizing. Sitting on a large wooden block, Fujii-san employs various hammers and hooks...each a different shape or size and meant to help at a specific step in the process. We watch in awe as Fujii-san works on a piece, moving his hammer around the piece and up the sides, producing a bulge in the copper that slowly moves up the sides of the pot, like a partially frozen wave moving in slow motion. This hammering not only shapes the copper, it also makes it stronger. And in a further nod to how artisanal this process is, they say you can tell a person's work by both the sound they make while hammering and the size and pattern left on the vessel from the hammer strikes.
Beautiful patterns from Fujii-san's hammer strikes
We are honored to introduce these copper cooking vessels to the US. And we are very grateful to our friends, Unplugged Japan, for introducing us to Fuukidou.
Click here to shop all of Fuukidou's products.