I was on the hunt for a new set of photography this morning when I came across a small series on Natsumi Akatsuka’s photo journal. I’ve been a subscriber to Natsumi’s website for a fair few years now and it’s great to see her return to Japan and visit different places, in a lot of ways I’m very envious. This particular series is titled Mashiko, named after the town where she’s currently staying in Japan, and I picked out one that seemed most appropriate for our site and content. Saying that, you do really need to head that way to see other lifestyle shots and different glimpses of Natsumi’s world, she’s got a great eye.
These photos in-particular are of a pottery studio/workshop that Natsumi and her father visited in Mashiko (Tochigi). After reading through the paragraphs that she attached to her post a few thoughts instantly sprung to mind, relating to crafts and functional items. Mainly the mentality that a lot of the Japanese seem to have. For example her father has a set of small tea cups which he always returns to, they’re white, simple, smooth and delicate. Every single night he chooses a small white tea cup and serves his green tea, basically a ritual. Although we do this in the West I feel like we don’t take these day to day items seriously and we often shun the small details which make life that much easier or more special.
Instead of purchasing these pieces without a thought and forgetting about their importance, Natsumi’s dad was willing to go and visit the man who makes these to get an idea of the work he went through to produce it. I also like the fact that he feels some attachment to the craftsman through these tea cups, as if he knows him or that he’s a good acquaintance. I think it brings a whole new context and meaning to the objects we use around the home when you can attach a face to them. As you can imagine this is something we’re trying to intertwine in our own shop, focusing on the people who make these functional items and hopefully bringing the ideology to this part of the world in a more prominent nature. Leading a simple life and respecting beautiful well-made objects that are useful.