25 Sep 2023
Presenting the Present: The Current Wave of Japanese Craftsmanship
When many people think of traditional Japanese crafts, they often envision items with classic, time-honored designs. However, the landscape is evolving. Thanks to emerging young artists and technological innovations, there's a growing assortment of tableware that exudes a modern sensibility. In this feature, we aim to highlight the allure of these unique pieces, accompanied by stories about the artisans who create them and the creative processes behind them. Why not consider these extraordinary items that capture the contemporary spirit of Japan as special gifts for your loved ones?
- Universe Unfolding in a Matcha Bowl
- A Fresh Take on Edo Kiriko
- The Sake Cup that Keeps Surprising You
- The Fusion of Wabi-Sabi and Italian Art
- The Joy of Arranging
Universe Unfolding in a Matcha Bowl
Yoshita Kasho Glass Ginga Matcha Bowl Chawan
We are delighted to feature a masterful creation by Yoshita Kasho, a lacquer artisan boasting 65 years of expertise. Residing in Ishikawa Prefecture, Yoshita Kasho is celebrated for his avant-garde blend of traditional craftsmanship and modern aesthetics. His ongoing commitment to expanding the potential of lacquer as a medium is palpable in every piece he crafts. Let's turn our attention to the "Ginga (galaxy)" Matcha Bowl, a veritable celestial tapestry composed of silver and gold leaf, set off by radiant shards of blue shells. As you lose yourself in the deep blue expanse of the bowl, it evokes a sense of limitless space—truly a work worthy of its galactic name. The enchanting interplay between the cool gleam of glass and the muted luster of lacquer establishes a unique balance of contrasting elements, making the bowl a versatile masterpiece for any tea enthusiast, and any season.
Constructed with heat-resistant glass from the Tsugaru Vidro tradition of Aomori Prefecture and finished with an exterior coating of wooden powder and black lacquer for heat retention, this bowl is as functional as it is visually stunning. Presented in an original wooden box, it's the perfect gift to represent both creativity and contemporary sensibilities.
A Fresh Take on Edo Kiriko
Hirota Glass Soba Choko Cups with Lid
Discover an artful blend of traditional craftsmanship and contemporary design in this versatile soba choko cup—a true collector's item by Y2 International. Founded in July 2005 by the Arii sisters, Yuuga and Yuuka, the unit reinterprets the age-old Edo Kiriko for the present. Edo Kiriko itself traces its roots to the late Edo period, where glasswork brought by European traders was transformed by Japanese artisans through intricate cut-glass techniques. Hirota Glass, a stalwart in Japanese glass-making since 1899, fuses this heritage with new-age aesthetics in this lid-covered soba choko cup.
The design diverges from the more linear Edo Kiriko patterns of yore, filling every inch of the cup—from bottom to brim—with intricate motifs. The refracted light creates mesmerizing displays from any angle, whether under natural sunlight or the glow of an indoor lamp. This multifaceted piece is not only visually stunning but also immensely functional: use it as a soba choko cup, rocks glass, dessert holder, or even a decorative piece like a candle holder or trinket tray.
The lid itself is cleverly designed to double as a saucer or a small serving plate, offering yet another layer of versatility. Encased in an elegant paulownia wood box, this piece makes an exceptional gift for anyone who appreciates fine alcohol, gourmet cuisine, or the joy of collecting small treasures.
The Sake Cup that Keeps Surprising You
Sinra Nishiki Kagawa Lacquerware Wide Guinomi Sake Cup
Kota Matsumoto, founder and lacquer artist of Shinra, redefines authentic Kagawa lacquerware by fusing it with a new sensibility.
What makes this sake cup unforgettable is its multiple layers of surprise. The metallic, hard, stone-like appearance that makes one forget that it is lacquerware is due to the use of "Aji stone" from Kagawa Prefecture, also known as the "diamond of granite." Not only is it beautiful, but it is also highly durable and resistant to wear and tear. Also, despite its rugged appearance, it is surprisingly lightweight when held. The ergonomically designed wide rim and gently curved body enhance the taste and aroma of sake, bringing pleasant pleasure with every sip. These features create a synergistic effect, resulting in a product that, once experienced, becomes an unforgettable memory.
Housed in a beautifully crafted box, the sake cup exudes a chic elegance that makes it a special gift that goes beyond mere practicality.
The Fusion of Wabi-Sabi and Italian Art
Tsubame MODERN WABI SABI Mirror Finish Fruit Fork Set
Designed by Nishida, a ceramic artist from the famed Arita ware style, this "MODERN WABI SABI" fruit fork set embodies the harmonious blend of tradition and modern sensibility. Crafted in the metalworking hub of Tsubame-Sanjo, these forks boast an unmistakable quality and a sharp yet luxurious feel, thanks to their 5mm stainless steel construction.
Inspired by 20th-century Italian artist Alberto Burri during her stay in Italy, Nishida's design explores the concept of "cracks" and "texture," skillfully blending Japanese "Wabi Sabi" aesthetics of imperfection with contemporary design elements. The forks feature handles with a tasteful cracked pattern, reminiscent of Japan's rustic earthen walls, offering both tactile pleasure and visual sophistication.
Dishwasher safe and presented in a sleek black box, this is a gift that transcends mere utility, perfectly suiting both everyday use and special occasions. A masterpiece from an artist bridging cultures and heritage, this set is a standout gift for anyone who appreciates the finer things in life.
The Joy of Arranging
ALART Aluminum MUSUBI Single Flower Vase
A single flower can bring a sense of tranquility to various spaces in your life, be it a table, windowsill, or bedside. Why not gift someone special this versatile single-flower vase, designed to suit any interior?
ALART, highly acclaimed for its keen sense of design and impeccable craftsmanship, has been selected as a Destination JAPAN product at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). The brand harmoniously blends traditional techniques with innovation.
This unique "MUSUBI" vase features an aluminum frame hand-knotted by skilled artisans. Its inorganic expression perfectly accentuates the natural beauty of a flower, creating a one-of-a-kind ambiance. This piece captures the essence of Japanese craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Choose between two colors: a neutral aluminum to highlight your flower's natural hues, or a subdued brown to complement greenery. Either way, it's an eye-catching conversation piece that seamlessly blends classical techniques with modern aesthetics, making it an excellent gift option.
You might think these items are too modern to be considered traditional crafts. However, they are the embodiment of ideas and designs made possible only by the highly skilled expertise honed over many years. These pieces truly represent the current state of Japanese craftsmanship. If you're looking to give a gift that offers a unique take on the "present" of artisanal work, these items would undoubtedly make an excellent option.