Mjölk

Junpei Ori Paintings

May 18th, 2015

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We were introduced to Japanese painter Junpei Ori through the OEN blog, and fell in love with the compositions and charm of his work.

Many of the painting depict everyday life with a nod to Scandinavian design and lifestyle. We ended up buying a couple of paintings after seeing the OEN blog post, and after seeing a recent batch of new works decided to round out the collection with three.

The one above is a newer work with figs, these shapes are cut out and painted and placed back on the wooden canvas to give it more depth.

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These shapes remind us of Alvar Aalto’s Savoy vase.

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This one is inspired by the Tea Trolley by Alvar Aalto which is one of our favorite pieces of furniture.
Also in this photo: The Spoke-back sofa by Borge Mogensen for Fredericia, a pillow from Marimekko, a Zebra pillow by Alvar Aalto for Artek, a blanket by Inga Sempe for RorosTweed and a Moroccan Berber rug. All items available from Mjolk.

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Alissa Coe Exhibition

May 11th, 2015

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Last week we launched Alissa Coe’s solo exhibition at Mjölk. Above you can see her stunning installation hanging above the dining table, which is showcasing an exploration in tableware. We had a wonderful turnout during the opening party, and we thank you all for attending!

Below you will find more photos of the exhibition, but if you live in Toronto, we encourage you to come by and check it out in person. The pieces are so fine and delicate, something that is hard to appreciate in photographs. We hope to get a selection of pieces in the webshop as well.

Read more about the exhibition here.

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Vincent Joseph Monastero and Alissa Coe – they collaborated on the Elements carafe and cups

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Alissa Coe at Mjölk

May 4th, 2015

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We’re very excited for porcelain artist Alissa Coe’s solo exhibition, happening here at Mjölk in just two days!

We’ve received some finished samples to photograph and the work is incredible! Please come out to our opening reception this Wednesday, May 6th from 7:00pm – 10:00pm.

PRIMARY

A collection of work in porcelain inspired by the power and primordial nature of geometric form.

With this body of work I have attempted to create a primal feeling, as if each piece could have existed from the beginning of time, encapsulating all the strength and fragility of nature in the quality of the forms and materials.

- Alissa Coe

If you haven’t already had a chance to watch any of the City of Makers episodes, we would recommend watching Alissa’s first. This interview happened during the beginning stages of her work for this exhibition, and you can get a glimpse into her inspirations and hints at what might be in the exhibition.

The image above is a sampling of the vessels and tableware that was made specifically for the show in primary shapes, made from thin white nearly translucent porcelain. She will also be presenting a 6′ long ceiling sculpture and a 6′ tall pyramid sculpture.

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Large hexagonal flower vessels.

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Elements water carafe and tumblers, a collaboration between Alissa Coe and Vincent Joseph Montastero.

 

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Hand thrown cone vase.

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A grouping of three hand thrown vases.

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Black glazed hand thrown vessels with distorted lip.

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Some photos of Alissa’s studio during the process of creating works for the exhibition.

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The rough porcelain components of the pyramid sculpture.

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Various plaster moulds and nearly finished pieces.

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Finished vessels.

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City of Makers

April 29th, 2015

Last summer I (John) hosted a documentary series called City of Makers. Produced by Andrea Orazi for Narrative Pictures and directed by Scott Abraham, the series examines the people who shape a city’s creative identity.

Ive been meaning to share this on the blog once the episodes became available, so very sorry for my delay. Having a store that specializes in goods from Scandinavia and Japan we aren’t well-known for carrying Canadian made things, but you might be surprised how many things we have that are made right here in Toronto. When Scott and Andrea approached us to be involved in their documentary series, I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce our friends whose work we really love and respect and who we feel are on an international level of quality but just so happen to live here in Toronto.

I hope you enjoy this first series!

Learn more about the project from the City of Makers Director Scott Abraham.

Click here for the City of Makers website.

Alissa Coe
Alissa is a ceramicist who mainly produces sculptural commissions, including work for the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. Alissa also produces the Sucabaruca coffee set for Design store and gallery Mjolk.

Brian Richer
Brian is an artist who works in stone, his work is influenced by his training as an architectural stone carver. He is also a designer for his company Castor.

Brian Vu – Latre Art and Style
Brian runs his own store in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto.  Brian uses the ancient dye indigo to colour his clothing, his designs are influenced by his love of military clothing.

Sarra Tang – Hoi Bo
Sarra is a designer who makes bags, clothing and accessories for her company Hoi Bo.  Sarra is known for bags made from her unique hand processed dry wax material.

Lubo Brezina – Lubo Design
Lubo is a furniture designer who works in wood. Lubo’s recognizable style combines substantial timber with Japanese joinery techniques.

 

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Companions

March 26th, 2015

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For the first 5 years of having our store Mjolk, we never offered beds. It seemed like our small showroom wouldn’t be able to display such a large item, and we ourselves didn’t own a bed frame. When people came to us looking for the perfect bed we would say, well… we don’t sell beds, but the nicest bed we have seen is the Companions bed designed by StudioIlse for De La Espada.

I don’t know how many people we must have recommended this bed to over the years but it seemed to come up a lot. Fortunately for us, we had the opportunity to meet Luis De Oliveira the head of De La Espada and after telling him how much we admired the work they were making especially the work designed by Ilse Crawford and Luca Nichetto we were given the opportunity to represent two of their brands: The Nichetto brand and also the StudioIlse brand. Finally, we had the chance to offer, in our opinion, the best beds available today.

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That brings us to our own home, which for us gives us the inspiration for the store and has become our laboratory and testing ground. It acts a little like an extended showroom for customers looking to see what will happen to their furniture after years of use and with children, how natural leather patinas and soaped furniture becomes like driftwood with age. We decided we should order the bed for ourselves, along with the Companions bedside table so we could start enjoying it in our own daily life.

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The bed is made from solid white oak with a hand-turned spindle back which acts as a bench for you to prop yourself on while you read in bed. We have put this to test ourselves every night since we like reading before bed, and it makes the act much more comfortable.

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A small collection of items we have acquired including a ceramic vessel for storing incense, ancient roman glass and the “box of air” sculpture by Japanese potter and Tea Master Masanobu Ando.

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The companions bedside table is soft and warm but also incredibly practical. A generous top surface with a beveled edge for our Cestita table lamp, a cork basket for our iPhone and hudsalve and a lower shelf for books. This keeps all of the surfaces organized and clean looking.

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We had this Japanese paper fan framed for the room. The pattern is designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune, and the fan is made by a small workshop in Kyoto for Sfera Gallery. We also sell this in our store.

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A large floor vase inspired by African water jars made by Uchida Kouichi, one of our favourite potters.

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Howell lurking from behind the bed. Did you notice all of the feet on the StudioIlse craftworks have copper legs? From the smallest stool to the longest table, it is such a beautiful and thoughtful detail.

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Real life in progress.

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Anderssen & Voll + Mjolk: Garden Works

February 3rd, 2015

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We never formally got to introduce all of the individual works in the Garden Works collection by Anderssen & Voll, so I thought I would share each piece  along with some words by A&V.

 

Anderssen & Voll on the Garden Works Project:

Research has taught us that people who do gardening are happier than people who don’t. Either gardening makes you happy or you are more inclined to do gardening if you tend to be happier than the average. Anyway, the conclusion is the same: gardening is good for you. For this project we chose to work with natural materials to ensure that the products would tolerate heavy use and still age with grace. This is closely linked to the Japanese notion of “Aji-ga-deru” – a patina in the object and an understanding of the object that can be obtained only through long term interaction between the object and the hand. The collaboration with John, Juli and the team of Toronto artisans and crafts people has been amazing in terms of the contribution to expression and content from everyone involved. We can’t imagine how these results could have been reached with any other people in any other way.As the Norwegian manufacturing industry is in decline, the presence of Norwegian designers on the international design scene is growing stronger. These opposite motions may be seen as a paradox, but on the other hand, one thing might be following the other. Without a strong industry as a unifying platform, the designers spread out to form a richer and more varied field. Norwegian design should be viewed as an independent exporting industry of its own: Made in Canada – Designed in Norway.

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Herb Pot

The herb pot containers are primarily meant as safe havens for the pots of fresh herbs you buy at the grocery store. In our experience these herbs lead an unsafe existence once they hit the kitchen counter: heavily plucked and with no designated place to stay.

The pots are made from hand thrown terracotta, the side opening promotes watering the soil from the bottom instead of from the top, which displaces soil and exposes sensitive root systems. Watering from the bottom promotes healthy root growth and as a result, a bigger plant.

The opening on the side also allows you to pour away excess water 20 minutes after watering.

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Herb Pot Large

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Min Watering Can

Indoor gardening is a miniature world. Clean, cultivated and controlled. In this context, we wanted to work with the watering can as a precision tool: a big, softly shaped wooden handle with references to kitchen utensils, a relatively small volume of water leading out in a long and precise spout. The ornamental dialogue between the sensuous shape of the handle and the drawings of the wood grain is something we really appreciate in this product.

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Water Bulb

The water saver has basically the same function as a PET-water bottle turned upside down. The water is filtered through the soil and seeps slowly into the pot. We adapted this function to a sculptural glass object that mimics the plant and that would be nice enough to park in your flower pots even when it’s not in use.

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New Mexico Cactus Pots

Cacti and succulents enjoy being watered directly into well drained soil. Their roots should never be standing in water. Our answer to this was to lift the pot on a short stem above the water collecting disc. The ornament on the disc as well as the chosen colour palette (not pictured) is influenced by our image of sun baked landscapes and the natural habitats of cacti: New Mexico, Arizona or even closer destinations like The Canary Islands.

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