Monday, February 20, 2017

Tableware for Daily Use

While I was taking a stroll on the street close to our store, I came across a gardener trimming a beautiful tall stewartia tree, so I asked him if I could have a branch. 

Tall stewartia, “hime-shara” in Japanese, is a type of camellia that blooms in spring to early summer and bears charming fruits that split into five parts in fall.  

Placed in a titanium glaze pitcher by Shiho Takada, the hime-shara branch revealed simple, quiet beauty.    Perhaps because they are made from earth’s natural ingredients, ceramics made from clay seem to enhance and complement beauty when placed with items from nature, such as vegetables and wildflowers.   

Soetsu Yanagi, the founder of "Mingei Undo" (folk craft movement), advocated that beauty lies in ordinary, functional objects and handicrafts for daily use created by nameless and unknown craftsmen. Although our ceramic artists are not nameless craftsman, we also believe that simple beauty lies in everyday functional tableware, so today we wanted to introduce some of the beautiful items that are perfect for daily use. 

Rice bowl by Toyoki Onimaru from Koishiwara-ware, a type of pottery made in Fukuoka Prefecture in the southern island of Japan.  It is said that Bernard Leach who is regarded as a father of British studio pottery visited Koishiwara village and praised Koishiwara-ware for its beauty.    

One of the unique features of Japanese tableware is that they are designed to be held in hand while eating, except for the large plates that are not moved away from the table.  In the old days, meals were eaten on a tatami floor, and therefore, bowls and small plates were held in palm so that the food would not drop on the way to the mouth.  

Rice bowls are usually held in the left hand when eating, so how the bowl fits in the palm is critical.  This particular bowl has a tall, slightly curved foot, which makes it easy for the palm and fingers to cradle the bowl, and pick it up from the table. The bowl is available in the following three patterns: brush mark, slip trailing, and three color pattern.   

Toyoki Onimaru   Rice Bowl
dimensions:  diameter 11cm×height 7.5cm   1296 yen

Fuminari Araga-san is well known for his kohiki (white-slip) series, but he also makes wonderful porcelain series and ash glaze series.    The following rimmed plate from the porcelain series is a practical piece that can be used as a bread and butter plate, or a dessert plate.  The understated color inspires use with all sorts of colorful meal and is easy to coordinate with other tableware!  

We also love this porcelain piece because of its durability.  Durability is one of the most important factors when choosing tableware for daily use.  While fragile, delicate dinnerware may be suitable for formal occasions, it could be a little stressful worrying about them breaking.  This sturdy porcelain piece does not break easily and is very reliable when it comes to using them casually every day.  

 Fuminari Araga   White Porcelain Rimmed Platel
dimensions:  diameter 17cm×height 4cm   2808 yen

This elliptical shaped bowl is also a nice addition to a table.  We adore the refreshing, yet muted tone of bluish gray which beautifully showcases a meal.   

Fuminari Araga   Ash Glaze Eliptical Shaped Bowl
dimensions:  14cm×12cm height 6.5cm   2160 yen

You can never have enough of tableware that are functional, easy to use, and inspire cooking.  We have gathered quite a bit of a collection of those functional items, so please come see them at our store in Shibuya.  

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