Eiji Shiga was born in Sendai in the Miyagi prefecture, on the Pacific coastline north of Tokyo. Shiga completed the Glass Course at the 3D Design Department of the Tama Art University, Tokyo, in 1994, and later studied glass making at the Seattle Pilchuck Glass School, USA.
“I entered university because I wanted to study design. However, the craft design course that I enrolled in only had courses for glass or metal. I followed my intuition and took up glass. Here I could not only study design, but also actually learn to craft the glass.”, the artist says.
Between1994 and 2004 Shiga worked as the chief of staff at the Niijima Glass Art Center on the small volcanic Niijima island, close to Tokyo. In 2005, Shiga went back to Miyagi prefecture and opened his own studio in the town of Murata, called the Glass Studio Kirlo.
He has been actively creating glass art since the mid 1990s, and has held numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Japan and abroad. Shiga participated in the artist-in-residence program at the Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts, Okayama, in 2008, and became a teaching assistant at the Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle, in 2013. In 2015, he was a jury for the 55th Japanese Crafts Exhibition in Tokyo and Osaka.
His many awards include an award by the New Glass Review survey of contemporary glass, a flagship publication of The Corning Museum of Glass (New York, 1998); the Jury Kuma’s Award at the 3rd Contemporary Glass Art Exhibition in Sanyo Onoda, Yamaguchi (2006); the Grand Prix at the 18th Kahoku Craft Exhibition in Sendai, Miyagi (2009); the Encouragement Award at the 51st Japanese Crafts Exhibition in Tokyo and Osaka (2012).
Today, Shiga sits on the board of directors of the Japanese Craft Design Association (JCDA).
“I focus all my energy and attention on the movement of molten glass and grab the right moment to fuse my will into the material. My creation should exist beyond the process. A great joy fills my heart when the beauty of the glass material and my forming fuses well.”, says Shiga.
“My father was a master carpenter who built traditional Japanese houses. I grew up surrounded by a lot of wood and woodworks. I think that the things underlying my creations are the intriguing wood grain, the beautiful form of natural wood, and the wisdom and skills of predecessors who brought those things into architecture and design with ingenuity.”