During our last trip to Japan in September, it was really important that we tracked down 3 artists that I’ve wanted to represent through our store. There were three main mediums we specifically wanted to showcase: wood, glass, and ceramics.
We feel these artisans represent the best of each medium, and we’re honored to be representing them.
This photograph represents all of these materials in use:
Rain glass by Tsuji Kazumi
Ceramic flower dish by Masanobu Ando
The tray is hand tooled from one solid piece of white oak. The coaster and “rain” glass follow this linear pattern.
Round chestnut tray by Tomii Takashi, and 3 glasses by Tsuji Kazumi.
Glass artist Kazumi Tsuji’s pieces are mouth blown and then manipulated based on each specific design. The clear glass series is inspired by weather patterns, representing a clear day, a rainy day, a snowy day, and a starry night. The other “dark” glasses are a experiment in different glass techniques, involving polishing, sand blasting, and cutting. Each glass is big enough to be a drinking glass, or a small yogurt bowl.
Please stop by the store to see all of the new works in person!
It’s hard to believe it, but the holidays are right around the corner. Hopefully you already have some gifts in mind this season, but if not take a look at a curated little gift guide we made in the store yesterday.
Kuro Cube – A charcoal fridge deodorizer $25
Crow bottle opener – $28
Wrapwrap – wood cord organizer – $20
Bird – Made in Denmark, designed by Kristian Vedel $55
Goats milk soap – Made in Finland $10
Goat hair face brush – Made by visually impaired craftspeople in Sweden $18
Comme Des Garcons unisex perfume – designed for Artek, made in Italy $140
Hudsalve – Made in Sweden $12
Concrete Shaving kit with traditional badger hair brush $98
For the survivalist:
Kuksa cup – A traditional hand carved drinking cup $65, $75, $85
Hudsalve – Developed by the Swedish military to prevent frost bite and dry skin $12
Kishu Binchotan – Charcoal water purifier $28
For the Bar:
Skultuna Brass champagne coaster – Designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune $65
Wood bar spoon – hand carved by Japanese artisan Tomii Takashi $85
Tin cup set – designed by Oji Masanori and moldable in your hands $140
PUG! muddler – Made by Chris Gallagher $85
Brass crescent bottle opener – designed by Oji Masanori $50
For the traveler:
Corona globe – designed by Nendo $98
Leather passport wallet – Made by Kenton Sorensen $120
Hoi Bo travel bag – Made in Toronto $740
For the ladies:
Eve aluminum bracelet – designed by Claesson Koivisto rune $65
Belle brass jewelry stand – designed by Claesson Koivisto rune $120
Krummi hanger – Made in Iceland $45
Hoi Bo leather toiletry case – Made in Toronto $160
For the foodie:
Brass knife keeper – Designed by Oji Masanori $300
Kakudo butter case – available in walnut as well $120
Thor Bjorklund cheese knife and planer – $15 each
Cara egg cups – made of linden wood $20 each
Vegetable brush $12
Tomiyama Koichi Japanese walnut cutting board $120
Pia Wallen felt coasters $28
Beech wood and horse hair table brush set $38
Charcoal water purifier and mouth blown bottle gift set $120
Cast iron flower shears $68
Kin set of 5 brass tea light holders by CKR $85
Pia Wallen leather notebook $50
Kenton Sorensen iPad case $200
Masakage Tanno wood business card case $175
Cherry wood shoe horn by Oji Masanori $89
Thoughtful gifts under $30:
Kartio glass by Kaj Franck – many colours available $25 for a set of 2
Peel cup by Nendo $28
White and black Dala horses from Sweden $25 each
Kivi tea light holder (Many colours available) starting from $18
Dress up vase $28
Thoughtful gifts under $100:
Kami mug – Keeps your hot drinks hot longer $75
Copper scissors – $85
Kazan volcano tissue dispenser $90
Ceramic soap dish by Masanobu Ando $65
Same same but different set of 3 drinking vessels $55
Thoughtful gifts over $100:
Ceramic pitcher made by Masanobu Ando $185
Hand tooled oak tray by Tomii Takashi $225
Black lacquer ware dish by Tomii Takashi $120
Magnetic wood cone shoe horn by Nendo $350
Raw candleholder made by hand using a band saw $275
As you can probably surmise from the above photo, we have some exciting news we would like to share! We are expecting a baby, due in early April!
I’m not going to lie, the first three month were pretty rough. Sheer exhaustion prevented me from doing anything but lay around and read Game of Thrones and nap. As a result, John had to manage the shop, blog and all the every day things by himself. Thankfully he’s been very supportive and I am now feeling a lot more energetic, so we’re hoping to get the blog back on track.
This news is why we dashed off to Japan again, to secure some new artisans and pieces for the shop before we can’t travel to far flung places for quite some time. While John picked up his usual gorgeous trays and cutlery, I had a more singular focus…
A set of handmade baby cutlery from Westside33 in Kyoto, and a natural maple baby rattle we purchased at an exhibition in Tokyo. The wood produces a really soft sound, and it makes a good shaker if you need some percussion.
This hang tag is given out in the Tokyo JR stations to expecting women so that people will know to give up their seat. Sadly, this didn’t work for me on the long train ride to Oji Masanori’s new home. My baby bump (aka food baby) wasn’t prominent enough. But it’s a nice idea.
A silk baby bonnet from Finland. I bought one of these during my first trip to Iceland because I saw it on all of the babies, and I wasn’t sure I would ever find it again. Of course, when we opened the shop we hunted some down, and they are available in store and soon online.
A baby bib by Akiko Ando, a clothing artist from Tajimi city. We have a small collection of her husband’s ceramics (Masanobu Ando) currently in our store.
A soft cotton blanket by Yumiko Sekine for Fog Linen.
We’ll keep you up to date on any big milestones, and maybe some design minded baby stuff we come into contact with, but don’t worry, this isn’t going to become a baby blog! We promise!!!
We’ve been staring at the Cado unit and wanting a change. We brought some really beautiful things back from our last trip to Japan and we just want to look at them and enjoy them. A re-think of our Cado unit was in order.
Honestly, putting things on a shelf is really challenging. Unfortunately our cado doesn’t have very many shelves so it can appear a bit sparse (there are more but they are deeper and we prefer the narrower ones). Also, wires are so annoying!
One of our favorite pieces was this single stem wall mounted flower vase by Masanobu Ando. We’ve been working with Ando-san about getting his work in our store but I hadn’t heard back from him after the earth quake. I was really worried, but I’m happy to report I recently got an update and he’s doing fine and currently working on an exhibition at his gallery to help with relief efforts.
We found a nice spot for our wenge tray, an ebay find.
This amazing piece is hand carved from solid chestnut wood. We imagine keeping this on our future dining table holding fruit and linen napkins.
A beautiful white ceramic water jug.
A bookend holding up a bunch of books we can’t read…yet? We can actually special order these through the store, should you ever be interested. It’s just a bit pricey so we haven’t bothered to stock them. But they are so nice in their simplicity.
We arrived back in Sapporo in the afternoon on an empty stomach after a long train ride. We stopped by the hotel to drop our bags off and headed towards the Maruyama koen Station neighborhood to get some lunch at JetSet Cafe, famous for their Eggs Benedict and mid century modern furniture.
The first floor has a little lounge area and a gift shop.
We headed upstairs to find a seat near the window.
The elusive pancake in Japan.
Their logo is an Eero Aarnio ball chair!
The Eggs Benedict came with a side of fries, salad, and creamy pumpkin soup. It really hit the spot.
We headed down the street towards the Maruyama Park in search of “Sabita”. It can be a little difficult to spot but when you hit the park you need to immediately turn right. Down this small street past the American Embassy sits a beautiful 2 story modernist building that you can’t miss.
The interior is bright with white washed pine floors, there is even a cafe on the second floor (oh Hokkaido and your lovely cafes).
This is one of the nicest stores I have ever been to. It had pieces from many artisans I was familiar with and really admire, the types of artists that in many cases don’t ship their designs to customers outside of Japan. We took this opportunity to spend some wedding money and take home some really special pieces that we will enjoy for a very long time.
Of course it would be way too easy to just show them to you now, I think it would be fun to give these special pieces their own post.
Everything in the gallery was beautiful. We were especially taken by this ceramic dish that is then dipped in silver by Andou Masanobu.
Another series of dishes by Andou-san, we have already been working with him on bringing his work to our store!
A beautiful set of 3 nesting lacquer bowls.
Next stop was Cafe Morihiko, which was tricky to find! We walked around and around and finally realized we had been missing the street it was on all along – a lane way of sorts.
It was getting dark and cold outside, but it was warm and cozy in Morihiko.
There are little brass bells to let the server know you’re ready to order.
A cool flip menu.
In usual Morihiko fashion, beautiful ceramic mug and saucers with brass spoons and tiny milk pitcher.
We looked in the display cabinet and ordered this delicious cake to have with our coffee.
Evidence! Charcoal in a water pitcher, get your own at Mjolk.
tea cups and saucers in the walls.
Jacked up on coffee (we have no idea what we had, but it left Juli with heart palpitations and anxiety into the night), we headed up the road to Maruyama department store. Seems like all we do is drink coffee and shop!
Haraiso specializes in Japanese cloth and Furushiki, it’s the same owner as JetSet Cafe.
After shopping we stopped in at an Izakaya that was recommended by our hotel. We were a bit tired and wanted to keep things simple so we stuck with ordering skewered meats.
Pork with onions and side mustard.
King crab legs with edamame.
And our favorite, bacon wrapped asparagus.
During our last day in Sapporo we got up and decided we wanted to visit Cholon again and have some cheese toast and coffee for breakfast.
We were a little over confident and took a couple of wrong turns before consulting our map (we already thought we knew the city so well). We did manage to find Cholon.
It also gave us a chance to see the store one last time!
On our way back we noticed this cute little bakery.
It was a hip young bakery with all sorts of treats, we asked them what they recommended for us to try and they pointed to full loaves of bread. We weren’t just going to eat a loaf of bread (even though it looked delicious) so we opted for the rabbit shaped bun with custard filling. It was so warm, and so delicious.
The bakery is near Kusaka Koushi the leather artisan studio. We liked seeing the PH5 pendant hanging in the window.
Musica Hall Cafe was the last Cafe we visited in Sapporo. Located on the 3rd floor of the Choi building (Yuichiro Tadokoro cafe and live music venue), this cute cafe has guitars, and pianos set up for evening music performances.
They have a set lunch menu starting with salad.
They gave us a couple of feed sacks to keep our bags off the floor.
The one thing we always end up eating in Japan is Spaghetti with tomato sauce, it is always delicious.
And last but not least is this single scoop of ice cream.
The rest of the day we simply wandered around Sapporo. This impressive building is the former city hall which looks as if it was plucked from Toronto.
We do love Hokkaido, it was an amazing experience being on this trip.
In late October there was an exhibition called “Design a life” featuring a collaboration by wood artisan Mitani Ryuji, and glass artist Kazumi Tsuji. I’ve already started a collection of pieces by Mitani Ryuji (wooden spoons), so I saw this work as being an opportunity to invest in something really limited and really special.
This collaboration features a series of mouth blown glass canisters with hand made wooden seals.
A pamphlet on the exhibition.
Last night we met with Alison from Coriander Girl to work out some details about the flowers we will be using for the wedding, and she brought us a beautiful bouquet! It’s now looking pretty in our glass pitcher by Kazumi Tsuji.
I’m used to being turned down from most stores and galleries in regards to international shipping on limited run products. There is such a high demand for works by someone like Mitani Ryuji it is usually preferred not to have any of the work sold or shipped outside of the gallery.
I contacted the gallery Momogusa and spoke with owner and ceramicist Andou Masanobu, who was nice to not only facilitate my request but photograph and email me photos of the exhibited pieces for me to choose from. While I was picking which jars to buy for myself I took a look at Andou Masanobu’s ceramic works and inquired about 2 pieces that I really connected with. One was the ceramic soap dish (above).
The other was a set of 4 interlocking ceramic dishes.
The first book on the left is about Momogusa gallery, the next is the newest book by Mitani Ryuji (which I can’t read), and the last is in English and Japanese by glass artist Kazumi Tsuji.