From a distance, Hirotoshi Ito’s creations, such as clutches, pouches and all, seem to be made of a soft material, albeit quite dull in color, but a closer inspection reveals that these are nothing but solid rocks! Such is the magic in the hands of this Japanese stone worker that he’s able to infuse life into lifeless rocks of all shapes and sizes.
Ito’s expertise in stonework doesn’t come as a surprise, because his family has been into this business since 1879. For him, this was not just the case of a son taking over the family stone business. Before taking over, he decided to change his trajectory a bit and get some exposure in metal work too.
Ito joined the Metal Work Department of Tokyo University of the Arts. This unique exposure and interaction with other metal artists got him thinking of combining stone with metal. The result was creating incredible stonework with metal embellishments.
Ito has a two-pronged approach to his creations. In one, he takes solid marble or granite and alters its natural surface to appear like some other material, other than stone. In the other, he uses only the stones found on the beaches and river banks. Depending upon their shape, he makes alterations and additions to give the stones a totally different character.
Whatever be Ito’s approach, all his sculptures reflect ordinary objects and images that depict the experiences of daily life. Of course, he attempts to create an illusion that the stone is not a stone, but something made from an altogether different material. The secret of his unique stone sculptures lies in his magical hands. He makes rocks what they’re not, compelling the viewers to look twice.
When it comes to selecting the rocks, Ito does it by himself by visiting a riverbed in the neighborhood. Since Matsumoto City in Japan, where he resides, is surrounded by mountains, sourcing stones pose no problem. In fact, the stones found here are already shaped by water giving them unique forms.
Ito finds a stone a perfect canvas to express his creativity. It’s not surprising that these tough rocks seem to melt in the expert hands of this master carver. According to him, stones have the potential to express warmth and humor. And his lovely creations make the viewers genuinely believe that rocks have souls. Little wonder his stone works are gaining in popularity on the internet.