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.
I know there were quite a few inquiries about when we would be putting Mr. Mitani’s work online, and I am pleased to say everything is finally available on our webshop:
Here is a sampling of what is available.
(above plum blossom dish with black and white Japanese urushi lacquer)
A baby spoon, bowl, and plate gift set.
A specially made Chemex coffee sleeve in mountain cherry.
Black and white urushi coffee cups.
A set of nesting bowls.
Tea leaf box in mountain cherry.
A unique white lacquer bowl.
Mr Mitani’s beautiful signature.
Here are some photographs from our solo exhibition of Japanese potter Masanobu Ando’s work called “The way of tea”.
All of the photographs were taken by Toyomi Nakamura of Toki no Kumo, who came along with Mr. Ando.
One of Mr. Ando’s travelling Tea boxes called a “Chabako” This one is an old Japanese lunch box from the Showa period.
We thought serving some deliciously made maple candies from Toronto based Ninutik would be the perfect sweet to serve with Green tea, and it also brought a little bit of locality to the festivities.
A special medicine spoon made from whale bone re-purposed as a tea scoop. The art of repurposing in the Tea Ceremony is called mitate, and Mr. Ando is very well known for doing this.
It was a busy event. Thank you to everyone who attended the exhibition!
Tea Ceremony tools commissioned by Masanobu Ando.
A new bowl shaped ceramic colander with a hole for hanging when not in use.
A very lovely arrangement from out newest employee Reiko.
Finally a full collection of mugs available to purchase!
The main event of the night was the Tea Ceremony performance held in our front window using all works made or found by Masanobu Ando.
A very special Tea canister made by a monk from a famous Buddhist sect over 300 years ago. This particular Buddhist sect made everything including their own plates, clothing, furniture. Essentially anything needed, they relied only on themselves, a commitment very similar to the American Shaker movement. This style of tea canister has been replicated by a famous lacquer-ware artist around 100 years ago, but the one Mr. Ando brought with him is an original.
He went on to say this canister is the inspiration for his silver glazed objects. What an honour!
Adding hot water to the bowl.
The bowl is incredibly raw and powerful.
Gaining an audience out front.
Little Anzu got to sit with his mother Amy to share the moment.
Taking his sip.
A fantastic evening, thank you again for everyone who came out for the exhibition!
I had a chance to add a lot of items from the exhibition to our website this morning, although most of them we only have 1 item each so if you have your eye on something please let me know as it will only be available for a short time.
Thursday night we hosted our second solo exhibition with Japanese potter Masanobu Ando. We were very happy to see so many familiar faces coming to greet Mr. Ando again during his second visit. Thank you very much for making him feel at home.
One of the only sculptures in the exhibition, a “box of air”.
During the exhibition we had a focus on Tea Ceremony tools, and the center of the Tea Ceremony is the Chawan or Tea Bowl.
A tea whisk stand, and cloth holder.
I really love these silver glazed ceramic trays, and wanted one for myself but alas they sold right away.
A torch shaped wall vase, such a symbol for humanity it’s something every ancient society has in common.
Maybe some of our favourite pieces in the show are these large scale wall-mounted flower vases.
A “Coffee Ceremony” Chabako. All of the beautiful implements fit in the gorgeous bamboo basket below.
A specially made Tea box with objects made or commissioned by Mr. Ando. Sorry this also sold right away.
For a limited time, full sets of coffee cups!
A unique Mizusashi with a geometric handle (a water jar used in the Tea Ceremony).
Amazing ceramic pedestals for serving food or display.
A special edition of the coffee funnel in a silver glaze.
Mr. Ando performed a special Tea Ceremony in our front window. People crowded around him from the inside and wrapped all around the front window. It was quite the spectacle, I wish I took some pictures! If you have any, please send some to me.
A close up of some of the special Tea Utensils, I’m sorry none of these are for sale.
Please let us know if you see anything you might be interested in.
We are really excited to announce our second exhibition for Japanese potter and Tea Master Masanobu Ando. For this exhibition we are diving further into our exploration of the Japanese Tea Ceremony. We will be offering Tea Ceremony tools made by Masanobu Ando, considered the highest level of expression in his work, as well as a large collection of unique ceramics for the home.
The opening reception will be held Thursday May 29th, and Masanobu Ando will be hosting a public Tea Ceremony for our visitors.
Above: One of the unique Tea bowls made especially for the exhibition.
A wall mounted flower vase.
A silver glazed coffee funnel.
One of our favorite pieces, a beautiful black and iron glazed footed bowl.
A silver glazed milk pitcher.
We will also be selling a special Chabako (Traveling tea box) put together by Masanobu Ando commissioning work from some of the most renowned artisans in Japan. It is a really special collection for anyone interested in learning Chad?.
We hope to see you next week!
Wishing you all a Happy New Year!
Some things to look forward to:
+ January 22, Luca Nichetto exhibition and new product launch with Mjölk.
+ Exhibitions for:
Studio Prepa glassworks
Renaud Sauvé (Ateliers des Cents Ans).
+ Mjölk Volume III (spring).
See you in 2014!