Shaker-Style Oval Tea Boxes by Kobayashi Katsuhisa
I’m always on the look out for new and exciting shops that revolve around a concept like ours, I guess it’s just the same as finding people with similar inspirations. Usually these little places are quite hard to find online, as they’re ultimately not pushing towards a mass audience, but one that caught my attention a month or so back was an online shop titled Studio KotoKoto. It’s owned by Kathryn and Ai, two friends who share a passion for “thoughtful, simple objects made with care from natural materials”. They primarily look to Japan, where Ai was born, but they also stock items from the U.S. and other parts of the world.
One artisan that I picked out from the store was Kobayashi Katsuhisa, today I thought I’d bring across some of his fantastic boxes to the blog. These oval tea boxes have been inspired by the Shaker design philosophy, who were pioneers in making simple and utilitarian design. Oval boxes like these were first made over 200 years ago and are very simplistic in their nature, just lovely clean lines with no decoration apart from the wood itself. One thing that I thought was intriguing was the fact that Kobayashi believes a woodworker needs the ability to resist the temptation to be individualistic. He says it often results in unnecessary form that serves no purpose. To be quite honest I have to agree, seeing work like this makes me very inspired and I personally think it changes your perception of everyday items that you use without thinking.
These particular boxes are constructed using a flat piece of wood which is then cut to shape to feature swallowtails on one edge, the wood can then be bent over and secured with copper tacks. The exterior of each box and lid is carefully rubbed with beeswax to protect. Overall I’m a massive admirer of Kobayashi’s work, so I decided to pick up some photography from both the KotoKoto shop and also the Kobayashi Katsuhisa blog, his journal features some really stunning photography. Unfortunately I couldn’t pick much of this up because of the image size being much smaller than what we require but I would recommend going that way now to check them out. You’re sure to be inspired.