Experience the Ancient Crafts of Gifu Prefecture

Showcase: 1st - 14th August 2018, atomi Boutique, #04-26/67, Mandarin Gallery Singapore

Gifu Prefecture is a large and landlocked prefecture in the Chūbu region of central Japan. Gifu Prefecture has long played an important part as the crossroads of Japan given its location. It connects the east to the west through routes like Nakasendō.

There is a long history of thriving craft industries in Gifu prefecture. Ceramics in the Tono region, woodcraft in Ogaki and the Hida region, Mino Washi paper, and Seki cutlery are among the most distinctive local industries found in Gifu. The skills and expertise of the artisans – who have passed down the techniques and technologies of these exceptional products for generations – remain treasured by many to this very day.

This August, atomi is bringing in various products from 9 different companies to showcase the craftsmanship. From paper, woodcraft, mino ware to tea products, we want to bring you a holistic experience to the sincere  and simple lifestyle from Gifu.

 

Mino Washi Paper

Mino Washi owes its creation to the naturally rich environment of the Mino region and the ingenuity of the local people. With recent industrial expansions, a much wider variety of products (including placemats, lamps, and other accessories) are being produced now more than ever before. In 2014, one of the techniques of making Mino Washi by hand was designated as an UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, helping it attract international attention. 

Ieda

Founded in 1889, Ieda paper craft has been processing and producing paper for lanterns. The company takes on the challenge to produce new products made of traditional Mino paper, making it a suitable decoration for modern homes. It aims to provide the sustainable and authentic ‘beauty of utility’ in modern life.

Ieda’s Mino Washi is an exclusive range of handmade Washi paper. The smooth and soft texture of Mino Washi allows it to stick to the smooth glass surface such as window, candle holders and drinking glasses simply by spraying water on it. It will not fall even when it is dry.

Woodcraft

With forests occupying more than 80% of the land, Gifu’s abundant resources and wealth of unique craftsmanship has resulted in a variety of wood products being produced in the region. Traditional techniques have been passed down through generations resulting in advanced carpentry skills that are used to make a wide range of wooden products today, from the finger jointed masu boxes of Ogaki to the furniture of the Hida region.

Oak Village

Oak Village is a woodcrafts company with an aim to build a sustainable society where humans and the surrounding environment can evolve symbiotically since 1974. Oak Village’s studio is in the woods of Takayama, Japan, where the woodcraft heritage has existed for over 1,300 years.

The use of non-recyclable and non-biodegradable materials are minimized in Oak Village’s products so they may be recycled or returned to earth. They use solid wood (as opposed to plywood or veneer), and different parts of a given tree is used for different purposes. The wide range of products from Oak Village includes foldable tables, wooden toys to wooden xylophones.

Nissin

Nissin Furniture is a furniture maker located in Hida, Takayama. A major area for furniture production in Japan. Since 1946, they have been pursuing the concept of “using traditional techniques to provide modern-style furniture that fits a modern lifestyle”. The sylvan environment of Takayama has a long furniture manufacturing history where the spirit and techniques of masters are still very much alive. In the affluent natural environment, the craftsmen who have inherited the traditional techniques produce modern furniture that matches contemporary urban lifestyles.

In the drying process of the wood, the furnitures are brought up by the winds of Hida, overcoming the harsh winter and acquiring a strong supple power, without warpage and cracking. This is the backbone of their furniture making process. Making them light yet strong and durable.

Ohashi Ryoki

Since the early 1300s, the Masu has played an important role in Japanese tradition. It was used as a measuring device for not only food but currency. For Japanese people, the Masu was as valuable and important as the rice it contained, and this tradition remains valuable and essential to people’s lives now. More recently, the Masu is widely acknowledged as a vessel for serving Sake and a symbol of good luck. The term ‘Masu’ translates to ‘growth’ in Japanese, and is thus an icon of prosperity and great happiness. Masu is also used in sacred rituals and holy offerings to the spirits and often presents in the Masu box.

Ohashi Ryoki’s Masu box is made of Hinoki wood, which gives our crisp fragrance and has a versatility as building materials. It also has relaxation effects and is environmental friendly.

Yagi

History of wooden boxes dates back to the 6th century. During the Azuchi-Momoyama period, Sen no Rikyu influenced the society with a habit of drinking tea. Tea became popular among samurai warriors. The popularity of tea caused a great value in pottery. Warriors then wanted to collect pottery and porcelain from different countries. “Lee Ipei”, who actually was dispatched to Japan, searched for good quality kaolin (porcelain soil) in the area of Arita in Saga prefecture and set up a kiln there.

In the 13th century, Kaito Kaito (Kaito Shioru Kaesamasa) discovered good soil in the Seto city and built a kiln. As the pottery industry grew bigger, a container used to store these porcelains became necessary. Then, a wooden box with a design function was born.

Yagi produces wooden boxes of many sizes and shape. Different designs are suitable for different purposes. You can always find the perfect box for your item.

Mino Ware

Mino Ware (“Mino Yaki” in Japanese) is a style of ceramic ware produced in the cities of Tajimi, Toki, and Mizunami. Pottery production in this area goes back 1,300 years, and items such as tableware tiles, and industrial ceramic products began to be mass produced in the 1930’s. Mino Ware boasts more than a 50% share of all pottery goods produced in Japan.

Oda Pottery

Oda Pottery has been making white ceramic products with high quality and commitment since its establishment in 1931.

The white porcelain is translucent and suitable for all kinds of food. The beautiful visual adds so much joy to one’s dining experience.

Oda Pottery strives to make functional porcelain products that match contemporary Japanese space. The company pursues charm and the ways of using these tableware in everyday life scenes.

Housen-Nendo ‘Likestone’

Likestone is a new ceramics brand that has inherited the land’s particulars and characteristics. By mixing clay with broken half-finished ceramics that have been crushed, mixing together different colours of clay, and by giving the products a matte finish, Likestone creates products with a unique texture. A material effect like stones pulled from rivers and beaches is created, with some resemblance of marble stone as well. The textures, produced naturally, with a highly organic feel, will make you feel at peace just by taking it in hand and looking at it. Daily goods like flower cases, cups, saucers, and bento boxes are designed as if they were carved directly from the stones themselves. Likestone, while preserving the Japanese style, offers ceramic products that combine functionality and design with new lifestyle.

Kaneko Kohyo

Kaneko Kohyo Co., Ltd. Ceramic Co., Ltd. has been doing "manufacturing" since establishment to cherish the history and tradition of Mino-yaki. The company strives to deliver "small" happiness to life through creation of yakimono, create fun and comfortable lifestyle of everyday living.

From the clay, the form of the pottery, the gloss to the baking condition, Keneko Kohyo makes sure that every process is done with precision and a passion for this artisanship.

atomi’s Gifu Fair is showcasing a set of sake cups that allows you to enjoy various sake with different characteristics. The straight type for the enjoyment of drinking; the rappa type for the enjoyment of the aroma; the wanguri type for the enjoyment of the taste; the Tsubomi type for sipping and enhancing the aroma and taste.

 

Tea

Masubuchi-en

Located in the hilly mountainous part of the Shirakawa Town is the small village of Higashi Hirakawa. This village is well known for their tea production in Japan due to the favorable highland climate most suitable for tea growing. The steep terrain, large diurnal temperature difference and fog results in the production of aromatic tea with rich flavors.

For more information, please click here


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