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Thoughts on Koishiwara, the ceramics village.

The more time I spent in Koishiwara, the more I see the uniqueness of this hidden village.

With Takatori, as you start digging deeper, you will feel the endless layers of intelligence behind. It's very easy to engage in conversations with the masters and ended up concluding "it's very hard to explain...", "it's a bit beyond words". The symbolism, the poetic sensibility, the abstract expressionism, the zen buddhist philosophy... universe. It's about impermanence in life as well as life-long learnings.

Then 15 meters away, you'll walk into a Koishiwara kiln, which grounded you back on planet Earth, talking about utilitarianism! During research, I was reading Yanagi's writings on Mingei (Folk Craft) Movement from the 1920s, it strikes me that his subject has never gone outdated. From how we are deceived by mass-produced cheap commodities, the importance of preserving quality craft culture, a country's cultural identity, user-experience... I can even relate this to Bauhaus' "timelessness" and "form follows function". Aren't these on-going subjects of exploration for modern day designers as well?

The even more interesting experience is when you get to pick up works made by the artisans. Takatori-ware is rustic-looking but extremely delicate. Where Koishiwara is heavy and modest ( feels like an "ummmch" weigh-drop when you hold one in your hands). The tactility correlates to their history, function and philosophy.

And not to mention, these passionate masters show ultimate hospitality to anyone interested in learning about their craft and culture. I felt super lucky to have met them, to learn from them and to collaborate with them. I hope you would embark on this extraordinary journey of discovery as well.

-- Mikki from Taketombo

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