May, 2013

Art in a Courtyard House 2013

May 28th, 2013


On Sunday evening we went to Studio Junction‘s closing party for the participants in their Art in a Courtyard House exhibition, which they put on in conjunction with Doors Open.We were very honored to be able to participate in the show and debut a set of tea and baking carts designed by Mjolk and Studio Junction, and crafted by Studio Junction.

Here is our description:

Tea Cart and Baking Cart Concept

It wasn’t too long ago that the tea cart was a much needed extension to the family home. It was much more common 30 or more years ago that the dining room was a separate entity from the kitchen, and things like formal living rooms were used for high tea in the afternoon. In contemporary times things like dining rooms and formal living rooms have become redundant, and this is probably for the best. However there are some things that were lost in this transition that we feel could have easily found a place in the modern family home.

Tea carts are an extension of the kitchen, they are on wheels and can be used to easily shuffle everything from tea or alcohol, to desserts from the kitchen to table. When necessary the tea cart can take on an important presence, and at the same time be quietly tucked against the wall when not in use. We made the top tray of the tea cart removable to be used like a tray when serving tea. This solves the awkwardness of moving many teacups and desserts at one time, but also provides a thoughtful presentation.

Several reoccurring themes that Studio Junction has been exploring are the court yard as an architectural element, and thinking of the kitchen in terms of a piece of furniture. When using this bar cart, it becomes an extension of the kitchen to the outdoor space. This could be the same for any Toronto backyard or balcony and brings an element from the inside of your home to the outside further blurring the line.


The handles are actually cut and sanded, not steam bent. It makes for an incredible grain.


You can clearly see the Danish influence with the use of tapers and the mix of oak and oiled Peruvian walnut. Our little “Ceremony” milk set was on display as well. As mentioned before, the tray is removable, so you can easily carry its contents from the cart to the dining table or living room table and keep it in use as a serving tray.


A burl pedestal by Adrian Kuzyk.


Paintings by Judith Geher


A potluck dinner with all the participants and their families.


Screen by Joe Lin


Bamboo, rocks and water feature. Their courtyard is amazing (this photo doesn’t do it justice, was using a different lens and setting than usual and it was a hot mess).


Chair by LUBO –


Hanging terrariums by Crown Flora Studio


Charred wood wall installation by Scott Eunson


Elodie nomming on some yogurt


Oak rocking chair by Megan Blake


Metal paintings by Lisa Petrocco


Children’s book by Jarl Anderson, illustrations and mask by Thomas Barker

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The Boston Ivy is everywhere, greening the space in such a nice way.


Mjölk update!

May 25th, 2013


I hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine! I just wanted to let everyone know I spent the day yesterday updating our website with around 20 new items! Please take a look when you have a moment.

We’ve also started to get some exciting new shipments to freshen up our showroom for the summer. There were too many to photograph, but here is a little sampling of some notable new works available.


Vass cabinet by Claesson Koiviston Rune, Ilse Crawford lamp, Copper patina oil lamp, funnel vase by Renaud Sauve, Cast Iron river stone door stop by Makoto Koizumi, and Rocket stool by Eero Aarnio.


This is pretty incredible, the Tati coatrack by Mats Broberg & Johan Ridderstråle. Also pictured is the Gallery Stool.


Finnish shoes not for sale.


Our hinoki pail and stool, Brass and mouth blown glass vase, ceramics by Masanobu Ando, and Tin sake pitcher and cups.


Brass “Fanny vase” by Ami Katz. We’re thinking of getting one for the cottage.


The long awaited brass and silver cutlery by Masanori Oji for Futagami. We exhibited the prototypes last summer, and we’ve had people waiting ever since to get their hands on them. They are now finally available and added to our online shop.


The most beautiful teapot by Masanobu Ando, along with an Ando milk pitcher and Masanori Oji “Sun” pot rest.


New black lacquer-ware bowls and cherry soup spoons by Tomii Takashi. Along with a specially made white-lacquer lidded cutlery box. Tomii Takashi will be at Mjölk June 26th!!! Save the date!

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Terunobu Fujimori

May 20th, 2013




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.

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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!

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Kazumi Tsuji, May 30th exhibition

May 14th, 2013


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.


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Souvenirs from Japan, Elodie edition

May 8th, 2013


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.

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Hey, we went to Japan (again)!

May 6th, 2013


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.

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A cute sweets shop, and playing ball at sunset in a back street.


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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!

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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!


Matsumoto castle.


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We stopped in at a beautiful shop / cafe called Laboratorio. There is also an Arts & Science store on the first floor of the building.


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!


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