New Maker in the Shop, Japanese Woodworker Hiroyuki Sugawara


This blog gives me a place to showcase all my inspirations, but it also allows me to hunt for people that we could represent in the shop here in the UK. All of a sudden we seem to have become a destination for Japanese craft and design, possibly thanks to my fascination with the culture and also their eye for simplicity and attention to detail. I often receive emails from happy customers saying that they can’t believe the craftsmanship and quality that has gone in to the items, to be honest either can I, I’m always fascinated when these type of objects arrive and I get to feel them in my hand. It’s a great feeling.

I saw Hiroyuki Sugawara’s works over a year ago now, and we’ve been back and forth discussing how we could get him involved in the shop. The obvious thing to do was to stock a small selection, so we started with a few smaller items and are going to work ourselves up to a wider range in the future. One thing that I think sets Hiroyuki’s works apart from others is his unique manipulation of wood, often leaving handmade marks and traces of the making process. When it comes to the plates these little details mean that the food gains traction, a natural ‘non-slip’ surface as such. To be quite honest it’s very hard to photograph such products, as doing them justice isn’t that easy. Hopefully the ones here and others in the shop give you an idea of what they’re like up-close in person.

These “tools for daily life” are all made at Hiroyuki’s studio titled ‘greenlight’ in Chichibu, Saitama prefecture, and he has a background in product design, later studying woodwork at Takumi Juku, where he learnt to get hands on with wood and manipulate it into everyday forms. In 2005 he opened greenlight, and started to create modern shapes that have simple form, being heavily inspired by functionality and works that have a warmth and charm when you pick them up in your hand. He has definitely achieved this. My favourite item is the lacquer spoon (which has already sold out unfortunately!), it’s a great example of craftsmanship, with the form being hand sculpted and the lacquer applied in various coats to protect the spoon. I hope you enjoy this selection of lovely goods.

Click here to browse woodwork by Hiroyuki Sugawara →