Thank you everyone who saw our most recent exhibition with Japanese / Danish enamel artist Kaori Juzu. It was such a pleasure to have Kaori come here all the way from Denmark and allow us to show her incredible works with you.
We are currently working on our new website which will include all of the work that is still available for sale, but in the meantime if you see anything in this post that you might be interested in please feel free to send us an email through our Mjolk address.
This grouping of brooches above are some of my favourite works in the show. They are all visually quite soft and the depth of colour is brilliant. It is hard to imagine some of these shapes (especially the pinched work on the top right) are hand from hammered copper.
A grouping of earrings on the left, and the lovely exhibition catalog in the center.
Very architectural pendant necklaces.
Some of the newest works presented in the exhibition. These are also pendant necklaces.
Here is Kaori at the opening reception of her exhibition.
Please join us and Kaori for the opening reception of Selected Solo: An exhibition of enamelware by Kaori Juzu.
Thursday, September 24th 2015 7:00pm – 9:00pm at Mjölk, 2959 Dundas Street West. Artist in attendance.
Kaori Juzus’ jewellery is a gentle and sophisticated blend of materials, techniques, texture and pattern.
Born in Fukuoka, Japan, Kaori moved to Bornholm, Denmark, to study art. She apprenticed with the Danish jewellery designer Per Suntum before establishing her own practice.
Each piece she creates is carefully crafted from copper, silver and gold and is hammered into their individual forms. Colour and texture is applied through multiple layers of enamel, a form of powdered glass, which is then fired at high temperatures to transform wearable objects into art.
Her process is laborious and time consuming. It is also conscientious of the interactions between forms and environment. Kaori Juzu seeks to enhance the expressive quality of an object by giving depth and texture to form, allowing form and surface to melt together.
Above three images are brooches.
Above two photos are necklace.
The enamelware and shapes echo natural forms.
During our visit to Japan we had the pleasure of visiting the Jicon showroom and workshop located in Arita, Japan. At Mjölk we are only carrying stock of two different plates and the Jicon collection is our most refined service. The brand was co-founded by Japanese designer Oji Masanori and Imamura Kenichi with a focus on creating beautiful everyday objects made from Amakusa Touseki (porcelain stone).
The word Jicon means “porcelain (ji) in modern times (con).” In the Buddhist words, JICON is very similar to the phrase Carpe Diem, meaning “seize the day”. The history of the Imamura family making porcelain dates back 350 years, as a house kiln under the patronage of the Hirado clan.
The most striking realization about visiting Jicon in person was that the entire production is done entirely by husband and wife Imamura Kenichi and Imamura Maki. To see the hand process was a revelation, and gives us a greater respect and appreciation of these beautiful objects.
We hope you enjoy these images and videos.
A beautiful sign board designed by Oji Masanori.
Porcelain exposed knob and tube wiring. Something surprisingly beautiful in its purity, but for safety reason illegal here in North America.
Broken fragments of antique porcelain fill the cracks in the concrete floor.
A mix of brass works, and the Jicon pitcher by Oji Masanori.
Imamura Kenichi shaping a meshi-wan bowl.
The potter wheels look out onto a small courtyard.
Imamura Maki wiping the dust off each porcelain work.
The glazing process.
Their son drew this, of all the people directly involved in the process, including a portrait of Oji Masanori.
A few other noteworthy highlights: On left, champon, a local to the region specialty (this photo was taken in another town, closer to the sea). On right, where they used to get porcelain materials from, however, now there is nothing left.
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We were so impressed by Jicon and their small production and processes that we managed to take a couple of videos.
Imamura Kenichi shaping a meshi-wan bowl.
Imamura Kenichi showing us the glazing process. Each piece is individually handled from start to finish. Incredible!
During our recent trip to Japan our friend Ai Hosokawa arranged for us to visit the restored farmhouse of Kazuhide and Hiromi Hashiya in Fukuoka.
The couple go about the daily requirements of up-keeping a farmhouse including chopping their own wood to keep their home warm during the colder months. There have been renovations made to the home, but they have been done so tastefully that everything looks perfectly balanced and within period. There are carefully selected art objects that were on display for our arrival, a mix of contemporary craft as well as Japanese and Korean antiques. The Hashiya’s have a remarkable collection of craft and antiques, and pieces are displayed during different seasons.
You can sense their genuine love of their home, and also their appreciation of daily ritual. For instance the couple enjoy having their own Tea Ceremony every morning,
The top floor of the home, where all of the solid wooden walls are removed to open the room completely to the open air.
The covered patio off the kitchen.
I really like the simple gardens in Japanese farmhouses, they remind me more of the gardens here in Canada.
A repair to the plasterwork reminds us a little of calligraphy.
The front gate to the house, framed by large wooden beams with walls made from plaster mixed with grass.
The outside of the front gate, an impressive structure in its own right.
A closeup of the textured plaster.
A hanging swing is in the front entrance of the home, complete with a traditional mud floor.
The raw tree trunk support was a nice contrast to the square columns.
The interior with double height paper shoji screens.
A traditional Irori in floor hearth, originally used for cooking but now being used to perform Chanoyu.
A beautiful lidded ceramic chest by Uchida Kouichi, next to an antique game board.
Ai, her daughter Tsubaki and Hiromi on the front steps colouring.
The living space off the entrance and patio, one of the only spaces with western style chairs all of which are antiques. The carpet is very interesting, it is Japanese dyed with indigo. It isn’t that common to find antique Japanese carpets like this, and this one was especially beautiful.
Our recent trip to Japan found us in the most Southern part of Japan’s main island, spending our first days in Kumamoto city. Japan always has us returning because every region seems to have their unique cultural specialties, so even though there is a familiarity to some cities in Japan, it really does feel like a completely new experience when you go to a new region
Kumamoto Castle just so happened to be outside the doorsteps of our hotel. It has a special place in popular culture because of the epic Samurai movie Ran, directed by Akira Kurosawa in which soldiers attack the castle. It was the most expensive film ever to be made in Japan in that period.
The stone walls are very beautiful, and incredibly difficult to scale I’m sure.
The exterior is really beautiful, but it isn’t an old castle. Actually it was rebuilt in 1960, and the interior is now a museum.
The laying of Japan: parking lot, stone tower for spirits, bamboo, and office building.
Kumamon bear, the character for Kumamoto City.
We also visited the former home of author Lafcadio Koizumi who is famous for translating traditional Japanese folklore and ghost stories for a Western audience.
His home and garden were very beautiful.
American icon-ism in Japan.
We would be spending most of our visit with our friend Ai Hosokawa, who took us to an incredible coffee shop called Antiques-Coffee.
The owner is a famous Ikebana artist (pictured), curator of antiques, bee keeper and makes some incredible coffee which is served in lacquer-ware cups by famous wood artisan Ryuji Mitani.
Most of the antiques come from Japan, Korea and China. There are also beautiful floral arrangements to be found throughout the cafe.
These two Mei-Ping vases really caught my eye. The one on the left is ceramic and the other to our surprise is made from copper coated with lacquer-ware. We ended up taking that one home with us.
The antique glass vase also caught my eye, but I could only chose one piece for myself so early on in the trip.