This morning I was notified that Jurgen Lehl died in an unfortunate accident, and all day my heart has felt a great weight. We were graciously allowed to be one of the only stores outside of Japan to carry Mr. Lehl’s beautiful textiles and designs and having worked with Mr. Lehl for a couple of years we had made plans to come visit him in the New Year to interview him for our next book, and talk about a future exhibition.
I have been diving deeper into the Jurgen Lehl rabbit hole in the weeks before his passing, reading his books. Researching for the interview next year, and of course bringing in a much larger collection of his fabrics and designs than we have ever carried in the past.
My last correspondence with Mr. Lehl was letting him know I received his books, and our daughter Elodie was very interested in the book he did about rocks, and has asked to see it over and over. That was sent the day before he passed away. I hope the message made it to him, although the sentiment was simple I think he would have appreciated it.
A very inspiring man, who will be remembered for much more than his clothing.
If you are not familiar with his works I have compiled a small sampling.
We are honoured to be selected as a finalist in the Nordic Design The Shop Awards! Voting ends on October 19th.
After you vote for us, have a look around the Nordic Design site, it’s a great resource!
On Thursday night we held the opening of the first solo exhibition of Quebec based potter Renaud Sauvé (Atelier Des Cent-ans). We had an overwhelmingly positive response, and many people said it was their favourite exhibition we have held so far. I think this exhibition had an emotional quality added to it. Renaud created an environment filled with moss, stones, branches from his property along with paintings, drawings and antiques providing a glimpse into the inspiration behind his work.
This show was more atmospherically considered than any other we have done in the past.
A calligraphy set including works for sale made by Renaud, as well as antiques.
A soapstone black glazed pourer with stand.
An antique Swedish cabinet with a folk art still life of flowers in a pot. Inside of the cabinet is a carved reversible bowl with turquoise base.
The exterior of the pine wall featured a collection of hand “tattooed” waves plates.
Detail of the waves motif.
The low display bench primarily featured the black glazed porcelain works.
On the left is talc, made from ground soapstone from a mine near Atelier Des Cent-ans–one of the ingredients in the black glaze the potter developed. On the right is a celadon glazed bowl of moss with a plaster head and brass feet, curiosities collected by Renaud.
A Chawan tea bowl, and matching tea container.
A hammered copper handle on a black glazed lidded pot.
Linen square with hand embroidery made by Renaud’s mother, along with a black glazed tray and antique arrow head.
Detail of a carved bowl.
Black and white plate collection.
A carved rabbit “candle snuff” and South American wedding belt.
Our table featured work with both white and black glaze. This series was made specifically for this exhibition.
A charcoal drawing of Stockholm made by Renaud’s pottery teacher.
Small bowls with painted animal motifs.
The detail of a small pourer on a rock from the river near Cent-ans.
The small size white glazed pourer with a celadon drip.
A white bowl with a rim of clay found at cent-ans.
A porcelain cover with carved turtle figure.
A bowl with carved rat figure at the bottom.
Another candle snuff.
A tall porcelain flower vase with moat.
Bowls inspired by hammered metal.
A gourd pitcher inspired by the painting behind, made by Renaud many years ago.
A carved bowl featuring both black glaze, and celadon rim next to a “beehive” inspired vessel. The framed picture behind is actually made from a wasp’s nest.
A small teacup with a leaf motif.
A white oak alcove made by Renaud’s partner Gilbert with a black footed flower vase, and a white bowl with black drip.
A small flower vase / planter.
A unique bowl on a antique Korean lacquered wood stand.
“Shiva” carved hanging bowl.
One of my favourite vase forms is the “Mei Ping”, so I asked Renaud to make one for the show. It is really beautiful.
White and blue pottery on the black library shelf.
Magnesium drip footed bowls.
A large serving bowl with a celadon glaze.
A lidded bowl with hidden pattern inspired by embroidery.
A blueberry branch with red leaves in a magnesium rimmed bowl.
An oak lecture stand with exhibition catalogs.
The opening reception was really lovely, and we had the opportunity to meet many of Renaud’s fans who haven’t visited our gallery before.
The restaurant Bricco which is only a few blocks away from us provided the meat and cheese for the evening and it was exceptional. By the end of the night nothing was left.
Thank you again for everyone who came to our opening!
We have had an exciting morning unpacking all of the exhibition works for our show tomorrow with Quebec potter Renaud Sauvé of Atelier Des Cent-ans.
Here is a small sampling of what will be available tomorrow night.
Above: Classical vase with blue “tattooed” waves motif and rain and clouds embossment.
A porcelain drinking cup with walnut display stand.
A Soap stone black glazed lidded bowl with a hand hammered copper handle.
A hand carved celadon incense burner.
A deep hand carved plate with “tattooed” tidal wave motif. Can be hung on the wall.
Candle snuffs with carved animals.
A large Mei Ping vase with crackling glaze.
A celadon glazed cup with drip.
Shapes and Desire of Nature
A solo exhibition Renaud Sauvé of Atelier Des Cent-ans
Thursday, October 2nd 7:00pm – 10:00
Artist in attendance
We hope to see you tomorrow night!
We are very excited to announce our first solo exhibition with Renaud Sauvé from Atelier Des Cent-ans. Many of you will be familiar with Renaud’s work if you have visited our store or read the 3rd volume of the Mjölk book, which features a large profile on Renaud, his work and his studio in Irlande, Quebec.
Renaud is most recognized for his hand-thrown white porcelain work with crackling glaze, but for this particular exhibition, over the course of the past year, he has been exploring natural minerals found within his province to create new glazes and new expressions. The result of his experimentation is a collection of pottery that embodies not only the artist but also his surroundings.
Shapes and Desire of Nature
A solo exhibition Renaud Sauve of Atelier Des Cent-ans
Thursday, October 2nd 7:00pm – 10:00
Artist in attendance
Renaud on Shapes and Desire of Nature:
My workday typically starts in the morning. Sitting at my potter’s wheel, I centre a ball of porcelain on the wheel and start hollowing it out to give it a shape and ultimately create a bowl, plate or vase.
However, one morning in May, instead of following my usual routine, I took a drive to a soapstone mine in the village of East Broughton, Quebec, where I dug for this mineral, which can be crushed into a powder. I had the idea to incorporate this rock dust into a concoction of different minerals to obtain a black glaze.
After testing and ensuring the mineral’s workability, I started focusing on creating new porcelain shapes because it seemed to me that this was befitting a newly discovered glaze. Although an interplay of transparency and opacity can already be achieved with a clear glaze, by adding a black glaze to my palette, I had ventured into new territory where I could highlight and amplify contrasts, but where I also had to take extra care lest the piece be too austere.
· In fact, a potter works with stones.
· Firing is the last step, and this is where the true nature of the minerals emerges.
· Through this transmutation, it seems to me that fire is the true artist at work.
These pieces, exhibited here at the Mjolk gallery, are the end result of a journey that began in a quarry and continued in my studio. It is an answer to many questions . . . or perhaps, more accurately, an outcome of my connection not only with Nature (digging) but also with the history of ceramics (shapes).
Much like 19th century poet Paul Valery, I like to compare the process of creating a porcelain vase with the geological shaping of our planet.
The morning after the evening reception we hosted for Mr. Ryuji Mitani, we arranged for a special spoon carving workshop at our home above the shop/gallery.
Mr. Mitani has hosted these workshops in Japan and he came up with the idea in order to further connect people with hand crafted things, and give them an appreciation of the work that goes into making something as simple as a wood spoon. He does the workshop also to show how enjoyable it is to use craft products in one’s life, so that is why he also invited famous chef Ai Hosokawa to come along to cook lunch for all of the participants of the workshop. The idea was to carve a spoon, then use it during dessert.
Carving tools for the workshop.
Chef Ai Hosokawa went to the Duffering Grove farmer’s market to pick up some fresh and in season produce.
Chef Ai Hosokawa (left) and actress Hijiri Kojima (right).
Wooden cups and plates waiting under tea towels before being used for lunch.
We were lucky enough to have a beautiful day, so we decided to have the workshop outside.
Mr. Mitani showing how it’s done.
Cross-handed carving technique.
Using every possible container in our kitchen to serve 14 people. Here is a Dansk loaf pan with strawberries.
Oven roasted peppers.
You can breathe easy, our home is littered with toys, despite our best efforts.
Serving dishes brought in just for the workshop.
Ai’s daughter making her own lunch with play food.
First dish: fresh Ontario strawberries with roasted red peppers.
Next a Rhubarb soup.
Pork ribs with peas, asparagus, cilantro, dill and parley.
This is making me hungry.
We had to move the table inside as the sun became too intense!
Just before dessert, Mr. Mitani instructs the students on how to oil finish their spoons.
While the spoons are drying, Ai gets her refreshing panna cotta ready.
The finished dessert with a freshly carved spoon to enjoy it with! Best panna cotta ever.
The whole group holding up their new spoons!