June, 2013

Tomii Takashi: 1 week away!

June 18th, 2013


Please mark your calenders! Next Wednesday on June 26th we are  presenting the first North American exhibition for Japanese wood artisan Tomii Takashi. The evening reception starts from 7:00 – 10:00pm, and Tomii Takashi is flying here all the way from Japan to attend the opening and meet you all.

We just received a sizable collection of work that will be making it’s debut next week, and everything is incredible. I took the liberty to photograph a sampling of what to expect come opening night, all of the pieces in this post and many more will be available for sale (and not before).

Anyone who loves wood should be in attendance to this show, please invite your friends.

Here is our little write up for the exhibition:

Tomii Takashi is known as a prodigy in Japan and is quickly becoming one of the most recognized wood workers in his field. His work exhibits very clean modern forms that are contrasted by soft tool marks. These marks leave a connection to the maker, and also reveal that such refined work can be made by the hand.
Tomii Takashi’s interest in woodworking began during his one year stay in Vernonia, Oregon where forestry is the key industry. After coming back to Japan in 1995, he started to carve kitchen tools such as butter knives, spatulas, and spoons out of twigs he gathered in the nearby hills. Although he dedicated himself to science experiments throughout his student years, he was inclined to cook and collect kitchenware, ceramics, and wooden tools and furniture. Gradually he started to dream of living by making wooden tableware, and finally in 2002 when he was 25, left graduate school and entered the “Shinrin Takumi Juku” where he learned solid wood furniture making for 2 years. He then worked for Oak Village in Gifu.

In 2008, Tomii moved to Shigaraki, Shiga prefecture and started creating wooden tableware for daily use in his workshop in Minamiyamashiro, Kyoto. All of his pieces are hand tooled or turned on a lathe into very simple and beautiful shapes.

Tomii lives with his wife, Miyuki who helps his work, a daughter and a son. They are enjoying their everyday lives surrounded by rich nature.


Incredibly deep bread trays made from one solid block of chestnut.


Hand chiseled oak tray, with small sakura dish and lotus spoons.


Large Japanese white urushi lacquer-ware bowls


Tomii Takashi will see you next Wednesday!

Filed under: General,Mjölk | no comments

The Read: Mjolk Volume II

June 17th, 2013


What an exciting week! We received the printed copies of Mjolk Volume II, and I’m always so amazed at how good the photos look after being printed. Photographs must long to be printed because there is just something that doesn’t translate to screen viewing.

After grabbing a copy for ourselves, it is a ritual for us to go over the entire book as if we are reading it for the first time. Of course we have read the book over and over, but there is something about turning the pages of the finished version that is like experiencing the book for the first time, and getting into the head space of a new reader.

There are some notable changes, we went from around 104 pages in our first book to a whopping 144 pages in the second. Of course we are still advert free, so it’s 144 pages of pure content. We’ve also learned a lot from the first book, and know what we liked and what we didn’t like. Based on these decisions we decided to focus on editorial content only, shifting from a magazine / catalog hybrid to a proper book. Last but not least I think the overall voice is clearer, as this time we set out to do the interviews and photographs while the first time was more of a mosaic from our personal travel photos.

We’ve started sending our books to our faithful stockists already, so if you’re in a city and want to get a copy of the new issue we appreciate you being patient to support your local retailers. If we’re not carried in your city yet (and there’s a good chance that we aren’t) please let your local book or special interest shop know! We’ve been picked up numerous times because of customers who wanted to buy it locally.

Above: The Nakashima article, with a tour of the Nakashima studio and houses complemented by an interview with Mira Nakashima. The Nakashima exhibit at Mjölk is July 24 (runs for about a month). Mira Nakashima will be in attendance.




The cover which is the entrance to wood artisan Tomii Takashi’s home. I hope to introduce you all to Tomii when he visits us next week on Wednesday, June 26th, for his first solo exhibition in North America!

To pick up a copy of Mjölk Volume II, visit our webshop or come into the store!

To see stockists visit here, at the bottom of the page.

Filed under: General,Mjölk | no comments

Mjölk Volume 2, at the printers

June 12th, 2013
mjolk_book_printing_warrens-1 mjolk_book_printing_warrens-2

Last Thursday I went with Emily Tu, our book designer, to the press approval for Mjölk Volume 2. It was my first time going (John went last time) and I got to see what a big job printing these books is.

We get it printed at Warren’s Waterless Waterless Printing, thanks to our friends over at Pure Green Magazine, who suggested it. We like that it’s printed locally, so that we can see the paper, process, and proofs, plus they are environmentally responsible. All that AND they are the same price as others quoted (in Toronto).

Above we discuss the proofs, which are unfortunately on coated paper, which makes it tricky to tell exactly how it will be on our paper stock. This is unfortunately industry standard and the paper manufacturer has no ambition to offer an uncoated proofing paper.


The aluminum plates (our book had about 9). The plates are etched directly from the computer, so there are actually images and type all over the green, but because the ink hasn’t touched it yet you cannot see it. Where you see the black writing is where Dave, the production manager, put a felt tip marker to it.

mjolk_book_printing_warrens-3 mjolk_book_printing_warrens-4

After approving the cover, they ran it. On the left is the black plate. On the right is the stack of covers.


The press, plus the black and blue plate. Each of the three colours and black have their own plate.



Running some recycled paper through to prime the press.


Ink pots.

mjolk_book_printing_warrens-13 mjolk_book_printing_warrens-14
mjolk_book_printing_warrens-15 mjolk_book_printing_warrens-16


Removing a page from the press.

mjolk_book_printing_warrens-18 mjolk_book_printing_warrens-17

Then the technician places it on a table where the colour bands along the side get analyzed by a computer (left), then transfers the paper to another table where they can make adjustments to how much ink is distributed along each plate (right).



This was pretty impressive, as a lot of decisions have to be made here. Of course it’s nice for a client to sign off on all pages, but we weren’t able to hang out until 3am!


The ubiquitous calendar / clock (that isn’t a clock) shop shot.

Thank you to Dave who took the time to show us around!

Mjölk Volume 2 is arriving this afternoon, just in time since we have sold out of Volume 1!

Filed under: General,Mjölk | 6 comments

Rainy days

June 11th, 2013



Toddlers are notoriously terrible with staying cooped up indoors.  What to do with all these rainy days we’ve been having? Any and all suggestions welcome…places to go, things to do at home.

Filed under: General,Toronto | 21 comments

Souvenirs from Japan, J & J edition

June 10th, 2013



A few weeks ago we shared some of the treasures we brought back for Elodie. This is our small, but lovely haul.

A beautiful ceramic jar from Zakka (sorry, I can’t find their website…zakka is used in a lot of shop names).

kitka_souvenirs_japan-2 kitka_souvenirs_japan-3

A Boro or Japanese Patch work Tea bowl coaster in various indigo fabric with beautiful quilt stitching.


Minä Perhonen socks. Yup, just socks! What a gorgeous shop though. Classic mid-century modern interior (see the website, I felt uncomfortable photographing it).




We were planning on buying a Chemex so we grabbed one of these measuring sticks from Farmer’s Table (who incidentally moved locations and no longer have a cafe). We have since purchased our Chemex and have been enjoying it every morning.




The most stunning hand towel we have ever found. It is so nice we can’t even bare to use it in our water closet, so it sits on our bench. It’s made of hand spun cotton with natural indigo dyes. The best part is, we’ll be carrying these textiles in our shop very soon!


A wabi towel holder. It even hangs crooked. For the cottage…

kitka_souvenirs_japan-9 kitka_souvenirs_japan-10

We absolutely love this stoneware oven dish. They only had three available but we’d love to pick up one more (or three more!). Everything cooks perfectly in it, and it’s ridiculously easy to clean. So far we’ve made meat pie and mac and cheese.

Filed under: Travel | 4 comments

Junction Flea + mjölk summer hours

June 9th, 2013


It’s summer and the Junction Flea has returned! I cannot even express how excited we are: Micah and Paul (visit their new shop Thank You on Queen W just East of Dovercourt) have done so much for the neighborhood with their events. On Junction Flea Sundays, the area gets so many visitors from other parts of the city, and our streets are filled with so much energy.

Summer is pretty quiet in the city, due to everyone enjoying cottages, farms, beaches, parks etc. As a result we get pretty glum in the shop, having fewer visitors and seeing the sunny days pass us by. So this year, since there is only really John and Frank working in the shop, we’ve decided to CLOSE most SUNDAYS, with the EXCEPTION of every second Sunday of the month in conjunction with the Flea. So many reasons to visit!!!

We will be open the following Sundays:
June 9th
July 14th
August 11th

kitka_junction_flea-4 kitka_junction_flea-5

This year there is a small cover charge, which we paid dutifully. It’s a lot of work pulling an event like this off, and every bit we can help to keep it running is fine by us! We arrived nice and early to beat the crowds (which really got going by 11:30). There’s also some Flea swag to help out with the running costs.


kitka_junction_flea-6 kitka_junction_flea-7

Manual Labour Coffee. Toddlers and rocks, toddlers and rocks.



We finally got a photo done by Tintype Studio! Basically it’s a quick snapshot, but while they prep the plate for three minutes, they place you and set the camera up. It was a long three minutes with Elodie wanting to explore but she sat like a champ for the actual photo, thank goodness. I am so impressed that they took the shot right when she looked at the camera (gosh she looks so much like dad, I’m the odd one out with my scary pale eyes). These guys are pros!
It’s $40.


kitka_junction_flea-8 kitka_junction_flea-9

Cutest booth award. Elodie loved the light reflection from this mirror.

ps. these are instagram photos that mostly never actually appeared on instagram.

Filed under: The Junction | no comments