Every trip we have had to Japan has been a wonderful one, but we always fill our itinerary too much and we are embarrassed to say we rarely get the chance to visit museums, gardens, or temples during our visits. We do sometimes come across beautiful gardens and buildings by mistake (it’s not very difficult in Japan), but during our next trip we have to create a more leisurely schedule and try some touristy stuff for once.
Having said that, through our work we had the opportunity to visit some spectacular architecture projects by one of my favorite architects Terunobu Fujimori. I guess the first time I was acquainted with Mr. Fujimori’s work was around 5 years ago when we first started to have a conversation with Peter and Christine from Studio Junction. I remember right away being smitten with his work, and enamored with his use of materials and craftsmanship. I would be even more impressed as I learned more about him, that he almost always uses amateur craftsmen for his projects, and was an architecture historian for decades before being commissioned his first project.
As luck would have it, we visited one of the handful of public architecture works by Fujimori, and his very first commission which was completed in 1991.
The Jinchokan Moriya Historical Museum.
We hope you enjoy the photos!
Cedar timber peaks extend through the roof to the entrance of the museum.
All of the metal components of the museum including the handles and hinges on the windows and doors were forged by a very famous metal worker in Kyoto.
Of course you have to take your shoes off to enter the museum.
A handmade window looks as if it has rain constantly trickling down.
The interior walls and floor are a mix of mortar, straw, and mud.
Because the walls, ceiling, and floor are the same colour there is a visual softness to the space. All of the lines are blurred.
The collection of taxidermy represents the various sacrifices during the festivals in the region.
The exterior cedar paneling is actually hand split log, by a master who unfortunately has since passed away. We were shown two boards, one attempted by Fujimori-san, and the other by the master and it was incredible the difference between the two. The hand split log follows the natural texture of the wood grain, as oppose to a saw which cuts straight through the wood. The texture on the wood is incredible, and the owner of the museum told us if one day they must replace the cladding they will not be able to do it with hand split logs.
The building resonates perfectly within its surroundings.
In other news, we are happy to say our 2nd book is going to print very soon. Please stay tuned!
Mjölk is proud to present the first Canadian solo exhibition for Kanazawa based glass artist Kazumi Tsuji (Factory Zoomer).
The exhibition will feature Kazumi Tsuji’s modern interpretation of Kiriko glasses, which is titled “Men-choco”.
This is the Japanese technique of layering paper thin coloured glass over a clear glass base which allows the artist to cut patterns into the coloured surface to reveal the clear contrast underneath.
Kazumi Tsuji’s interpretation uses a black/purple outer layer, which she cuts or polishes away, leaving a soft matte texture. A combination of bowls, plates and glasses will be available to purchase.
We will also present a limited series called “Re-claimed blue” which is the result of re- cycling broken or defective glasses from her studio. The combination of clear glass and black/purple glasses from her “Men-choco” collection resulted in a stunning blue colour.
A surprise that revealed recycled glass could be even more beautiful than their originals.
Please join us for our opening reception May 30th from 7:00 – 10:00pm
Kazumi Tsuji will be in attendance at the exhibition.
As anyone who has been away from a loved one can attest, the more you buy the more you are thinking about them, am I right? At least that’s what we told ourselves every time we bought something for Elodie. Actually in the end it seemed like we bought more than we actually did. So that’s good, at least for our wallet.
A book about a cat (we surmise). A wooden car that plays music when you move it.
This happened. Mother / daughter hats. Couldn’t help myself.
Last year we went to see the cherry blossoms in High Park. It was about a week after Elodie was born and she was asleep in her car seat. This time proved more difficult with a toddler. It’s just so amazing how much they change in the first year. From tiny blob to fully mobile and four times the size. Elodie became more preoccupied with pushing her stroller around than looking at the blossoms.
A few weeks ago we headed to Japan for a whirlwind trip to gather content for volume 3 of our book and to visit with friends. First stop was a day in Kyoto. It’s kind of embarrassing but we’ve been to Kyoto twice and still haven’t visited a temple or garden. I demanded that next trip we make it a priority. But this time we had another agenda – glass artist Kazumi Tsuji traveled in to say hello and to introduce us to another artist. We have an exhibition with Kazumi on May 30th.
A cute sweets shop, and playing ball at sunset in a back street.
As many East coasters can relate, we were desperate for a hit of spring.
John was obsessed with the potted trees. We wandered through Gion over to Pontocho to find some dinner. We ended up at a Japanese bbq joint where we grilled some amazing marbled beef. I am sparing the vegan/vegetarians from the obligatory gross raw meat photo. You all know what it looks like!
After a wonderful stop in Tajimi to visit Masanobu Ando, we headed over to Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture. We were treated to an incredible cold soba lunch, to which we realize we have never truly had soba before. Unfortunately I don’t know the name of the place but it’s renown and the outside looks like ^^
The space is so simple and calm, just three tables. The owner, pictured, does it all.
Love the plant.
The pottery has been used for 20+ years and has a beautiful patina. It’s the kind of thing that needs special care, like hand washing, but creates such an integral experience.
The owner made the indigo textile rug draped over the Tsuitate in the front entrance. She does it as a hobby! Next door there is a nice antique shop with plenty of indigo pieces but we didn’t have time or cash (we always forget how Japan is still quite the cash society).
We stopped in for a coffee and cheese toast at the famous Cafe Marumo. The cafe is designed by the founder of the Satsuma-Mingei-Furniture movement, and it was the local hang out for philosopher Soetsu Yanagi, and other famous Japanese writers. The cafe opened in 1956 and is a part of a Ryokan (Japanese style Hotel), but you can just visit the cafe on its own.
3-3-10 Chuo, Matsumoto-city
8.00 – 18.00 (open 7 days a week)
End of the cherry blossoms, but still photo worthy I guess!
A beautiful vintage book shop.
We stayed in Asama Onsen at a ryokan. Usually we stay in the super mod ones, but this was our first classic ryokan experience. It actually took awhile to relax, though we desperately needed it. After a bath and dinner served in our room, we passed out at 8pm! The other plus was all of our meals were included, and since we usually stay at modern ryokans we got really used to the gastronomy Kaiseki experience which we weren’t enthusiastic about. Here the kaiseki was more approachable, still delicate and beautiful but everything just tasted delicious.
By the time we returned to Tokyo I was over carrying my camera around! We met up with Masanori Oji and Taku for izakaya.
A platter of sashimi and sea urchin. So delicious!
We’re looking forward to sharing some more photos with you this week!
This past week we welcomed Norihiko Terayama to the shop, to exhibit his new g,a,r,d,e,n ruler. Norihiko set up a beautiful window display of foraged flora from the neighbourhood as well as from the multitude of Coriander Girl bouquets we had floating around. It took two days of laborious cultivating and placement.
Window decal by Sali Tabacchi.
Elodie helping set up the exhibition.
Mouth blown glass, soap water solution
The Awaglass (awa meaning bubble) is inspired by the experiential aspect of an hourglass. The captivating visual of time slipping away.
The vessel contains a clear liquid that looks like water. It seems ordinary at first but after one turns the vessel over bubbles begin to form creating an unexpected moment.
The Awaglass does not have a pre-determined time, and allows the user to create their own schedule.
during cherry blossom season, I visited a park which has a small round pond. The next day I went to same park and I saw fallen petals floating on the water. This inspired me to make a vase for fallen petals, rather than just the flower itself.
two unique cups that appear to be broken and mended together using each other’s parts. One is a matte white cup, and the other a blue and white patterned cup with a glaze. Together they are mended using gold, which is a traditional technique in Japan to mend broken pottery.
In this instance, two ordinary looking cups can look more beautiful after they are broken and re-mended.
$150 / set of 2
Everyone who attended the opening observed that it was a very calming show.
Acrylic, various plant specimens
garden is a ruler containing a collection of wild plants placed in increments of 1cm. I forage these plants near my home, I find many different types of plants and am at the mercy of chance and seasonality. To me, this is a miniature garden, a little piece of my own garden. Whether this ruler is placed on a shelf or a desk, I hope you will find a little garden in your own home.
$285 (sold out)
Thank you to everyone who braved the crazy rain we’ve been getting (on a Tuesday evening no less!). The rulers sold out in 30 minutes, and everyone was so engaging with the artist, we are so pleased to have such a supportive design community.
Norihiko chatting with a guest.
The Børge Mogensen bench was a popular hang out all night.
Norihiko (left) and guest.
Everyone always congregates in the kitchen.
We did it! We officially have a toddler. We cannot believe how fast and slow and timeless this last year has been.
[walking photo series by Taylor Shute, captured on March 23rd, 2013]
Last weekend we celebrated Elodie’s first birthday! It was truly a perfect day, spent with friends and family, small and tall.
[banner made by Hollie via a Martha Stewart pattern - thanks Hollie!]
Our friend Celine Kim was so nice to offer to photograph the party, allowing me to give my full attention to the birthday girl and guests. Thank you so much Celine, the photos really capture the day. All photographs are by Celine unless otherwise noted.
Cake by Lindsey.
Where would we be without instagram and iphone? I mean, it’s so distracting but I don’t think I’d have as many great shots to choose from! Am I right? But really, I need to take a break now that Elodie is taking such a vehement interest in these technological doodads.
Flowers by Coriander Girl.
And that’s it for my decorating! I was going to do some more things but who am I kidding, I can barely do my part for the shop and take care of a now one-year-old. Plus I only think I’m crafty, heh.
Elodie and Grandpa Baker taking a stroll. Petit Bateau dress from Grandma Daoust, thank you!
Hey, it’s Eloise!
Oliver (and Adam). You cannot wrestle this baby from John or me. Elodie is such an active baby she’s not much of a cuddler. Oliver simply exudes gooey squishy love.
Time to open presents! What can I say, our friends and family spoiled us. Elodie gave each card and gift her rapt attention, and loves them all. Thank you!
She hugs gifts.
A thoughtful custom wood block set from Taylor and Jen (btw, they started a great blog about home brewing and food)!
Hi Uncle Frank, Taylor, Blaise, Ronnie and Hollie!
Cake time. Yes, that is a gigantic cake. Maybe a little overwhelming for such a young pup but she handled it with the requisite level of awe.
John shows Elodie that cake is for eating.
Isha was so there for the cake.
So was Eloise. Now if only they could share toys.
Time to play with nanna. Hollie spends a lot of time with Elodie and knew these balls would be a hit.
Elodie and neighbourhood pal Elle are up to no good, as usual. Looks like Elodie is becoming a ringleader…great…
Amie, Aria and Blaise.
Elodie became intensely fascinated with Celine’s husband Jin.
I wanted to share four photos that Taylor took too, so indulge me for one (four) more moment!
Happy Birthday sweets! It’s been an amazing year, to say the least.
[Hollie Martha Stewart'd again with the above owl and elephant applique on wood pieces. What a doll.]