Alissa Coe Exhibition

May 11th, 2015


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


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.


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.


Large hexagonal flower vessels.


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



Hand thrown cone vase.


A grouping of three hand thrown vases.


Black glazed hand thrown vessels with distorted lip.


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


The rough porcelain components of the pyramid sculpture.


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Various plaster moulds and nearly finished pieces.




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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March 26th, 2015


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.




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


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.



Real life in progress.

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Anderssen & Voll + Mjolk: Garden Works

February 3rd, 2015


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.


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.


Herb Pot Large


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.





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.




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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Anderssen + Voll at Mjolk exhibition and opening night

January 27th, 2015


On Wednesday January 21st we co-hosted the first retrospective for Anderssen & Voll with the help of the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
We had an incredible turn out, between 500 – 600 visitors within a 3 hour window. Thank you everyone who came to the opening and came out during the rest of design week. Of course if you want to visit us, the exhibition will be on for most of February.


Oslo Sofa and Grid cushion for Muuto, blankets for Røros Tweed and Jøtul wood stove.


A little reveal of the Oslo sofa and Grid cushion.


The Ori pepper / salt mill, Wrong for Hay. We picked up the soft green version for our home and are really enjoying it.


The prototype of the Good Morning Moka pot, soon to be put into production.


The rest sofa and ottoman for Muuto, Elephant tables by Wrong For Hay and blankets for Røros Tweed.


The Tibu bar stool in the classic A&V colour palette. These are produced by Italian company Magis.


The magical Yoko lamp for Foscarini.


One of the product collaborations produced locally in Toronto: “New Mexico Cactus Pots”. The design consists of a clay pot floating above a sculpted saucer. This allows for proper drainage, so the cactus is never sitting in water, thus ensuring a happy life.


The Min watering can, the starting place for the Indoor Garden Works project. We settled on producing the watering can in brass or copper with an oak or walnut handle. Nicest watering can ever?


The Glass water bulb is a water saver that automatically waters your plants if you go away on a trip, or keeps thirsty plants like ferns hydrated if you can’t keep up with watering them.


The hand-thrown herb pots, the idea being to water the herbs 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.


We were awarded Best in Festival: New Work, the highest prize for the Toronto Design Offsite Festival, for this innovation!


The collection together.


Elodie testing out the Tibu stools, colour coordinated and all.


The soft sage green float candle holder on a solid oak Elephant table.


The grey glass water-saver in practice.





Some photos from our opening night: thank you to all of our generous sponsors, you really helped make it a special night, along with all our wonderful guests!


VOSS water kept everyone hydrated.


Parts and Labour provided some incredible catering using fresh Norwegian seafood from DOM International, and Jarlsberg cheeses from Norseland.




Espen Voll and Jan-Terje Studsvik Storaas from our sponsor, the Royal Norwegian Embassy.


Norwegian seafood soup shooters.


Mushroom tart.


Whipped Smoked Cod Mousse on Kettle Chip.


Creamy Cold Water Salad Shrimp on Rye Toast with Pickeled Quail Egg





From left:

Espen Voll, Torbjorn Anderssen, John Baker, Juli Daoust Baker, Jan-Terje Studsvik Storaas.


Thank you also to Innovation Norway for your contributions!

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