Awhile back we had our bedroom at home painted with Pure & Original fresco paint. We chose Old Linen as the colour, because we were fond of it at the stone house. It's taken awhile to get used to because it interacts differently against the warm oak vs white trim in the parlour. It simply reads as warmer and I worried for a bit that we went too warm but now it's like it's always been this way, a natural backdrop that contributes to the soothing bedroom atmosphere.
Another subtle change in the bedroom is that we switched out our white Libri shelf for an oak version from De La Espada, in part because we wanted the oak, but also because it has one drawer to help keep all the little things tidy.
Some favourite objects along a shallow shelf, an excavated vase.
Looking out towards the hallway.
Before & After
Honestly, the white was ok at the time. The house could use a repaint all around so we started with the bedroom and decided to change move away from the white.
It definitely warms things up and feels less stark.
Visiting Petra and Tanja of All the way to Paris is almost becoming a ritual upon arrival in Copenhagen. With a very limited 12 hour stay in CPH, we needed to optimize our time and who better to spend it with than friends? ATWTP has been working on our packaging rebranding, which includes greeting cards, tissue paper, stickers and one day, hopefully, if we can ever get them printed, new shopping bags. We popped by their studio to have a quick chat about our state of affairs, then headed over to Admiralgade 26.
This restaurant is always a relaxed pleasure. The mixture of furniture, lamps, plants and objects makes the atmosphere endlessly cozy and relaxing. The food is quite fine too.
We've shared images previously on our blog Kitka but there is a new relevant addition to the space from &tradition: a loafer chair and 2 seater Mayor sofa, in a soft creamy white colour. Who said you couldn't be daring in white where food is served?
Next we visited the Frama Studio, which is housed in an old apothecary. The spaces are moody and the perfect backdrop for their sculptural work.
We love when the history of the space is maintained, and it works well, of course, with their apothecary products.
After our tour of the studio, Niels and Cassandra treated us to a really fun and delicious dinner at Apollo Bar, which was absolutely packed with people, hence the single "we were here" photo.
Copenhagen was a whirlwind as usual. Off to Malmö and Skåne for day two!
We are so happy to introduce Cecilia Vissers work in our showroom. I remember the first time I saw her work was at the home of Eero Koivisto, of Swedish architect firm Claesson Koivisto Rune. It was evening, and I remember seeing two plates, one raw aluminum and another that was anodized orange which hung in Eero’s hallway. It wasn’t the same vibrant orange as the piece in our showroom. It read closer to burgundy in the hallway, and I distinctly remember Eero mentioning that the aluminum panel was somewhat of a chameleon. Changing its colour throughout the day.
Claesson Koivisto Rune had recently completed an incredible project in Marfa Texas, a town that continues to feel the presence of late-American artist Donald Judd. The build is called the Inde/Jacobs Gallery, and happens to be our second point of connection with Cecila Vissers work. I remember seeing an incredible range of plates, all interacting with each other in this perfectly realized white space. The desert seems like a perfect home for this work, as does the edge of the world hanging over the Irish sea.
title: Faraway I and II
edition of 12, in linen bound box with inscription
material: hot rolled steel, black patina
title: So Close, two-part
edition of 25, in linen bound box with inscription
material: anodized mill aluminium
Interview between Cecilia Vissers and John Baker of Mjölk.
JOHN: I have been living with your work here at the showroom, and I’ve spent a good amount of time thinking about where exactly I want to place your work in our gallery. There seems to be a great importance on location in terms of the work. The actual pieces sit 10mm from the wall, the distance between each plate and also the names themselves “So Close” “Faraway” seem to play with the emotional tether (chain, binding, tying together) between the viewer and artwork. (+ landscape)
CECILIA: Thank you, John, for your good observations of my wall-based sculptures. I really appreciate it when the viewer takes time to comprehend my minimal work. The best way to understand it is to ‘live’ with it for a while. The placement and installation of my spatial work is very important, I often say that space and object together form the final work of art. The space between the individual parts is important and forms the negative space. By looking very carefully at the lines and the forms of the negative space you can see the proportions and forms of the subject much better. To me a work of art does not exist without surrounding space. I feel there’s a continuous dialogue between object and architecture. In this context I like to use the word ‘synergy’ as I believe that all things work together to produce something greater than the sum of their individual effects.
JOHN: I’ve been admiring your photography of the Irish coast and cliffs, a landscape that is both beautiful but also harsh. I’ve learned speaking to you about how this environment inspires your work, and I could sense the connection even before seeing this imagery. How would you describe your experience exploring and documenting this landscape?
Achill Island, 15,5x24cm, silver gelatin print, 2014 (photo Cecilia Vissers)
CECILIA: My many trips to Scotland and especially to the West coast of Ireland are the basis of my work. I have to be there in that landscape, I want to stand on the cliffs and look out over the Atlantic. The wind, the waves, the rain. It has everything to do with emotion and memories. In 2009, I came to Achill Island for the first time. I felt very strongly that I had been there before, a kind of recognition. We made a long walk in the driving rain and strong wind. It was fascinating to see how the rain formed tiny streams running from the mountain slopes. In 2014, I was selected for a second residency on Achill Island. One night there was an exceptional strong wind on the island. The next morning, I went for a walk, the sky had a deep dark grey colour, roads and sidewalks were lit up, bridges were split and piers damaged. Due to the flooding there was an incredible amount of plastic on the beaches. I noticed a beautiful coloured sea fish thrown on one of the coastal roads. Stretches of the coast were completely washed away. The many pictures made on this walk serve as starting point for my work in steel, a source of inspiration. Only a few times I’ve shown my photos of landscapes in an exhibition. Yet I consider these images as an important part of my artistic practice. For me, landscape and image form a unified whole, just as space and image can't exist without each other.
Achill Island, 15,5x24cm, silver gelatin print, 2014 (photo Cecilia Vissers)
JOHN: What role does distance play in your work?
CECILIA: Many of my works consist of several parts. When hanging my work, I keep fixed and very precise distances between the different parts of my work. These distances have been calculated and recorded in the manual that comes with each piece of art. The intermediate space is very important, you could even say that the ‘space in between’ is a work of art in itself. Also, the distance between the viewer and the actual work plays an important role; when the viewer changes position the influence of the light on the anodized surfaces of my work also changes. In 2015, I had a solo exposition at Inde/Jacobs gallery in Marfa, Texas. I was lucky to visit this special place, partly thanks to grants provided by the Dutch Embassy in New York and the Brabant Art Foundation in the Netherlands. My installations sometimes consist of eighteen parts. In the centre of the beautiful gallery space (designed by the architects Claesson, Koivisto, Rune from Stockholm) the visitor will see the so called 'Hanging Cube’ .
Installation of Ridges at Inde/Jacobs gallery in Marfa Texas, 2015 (photo Cecilia Vissers)
For me this was the perfect place to show my installation ' Ridges ' (image above) consisting of a total of eighteen pieces in anodized aluminium. Inside the gallery, a skylight brings the bright Texas light into the beautiful white-walled space. The light in the high desert is very strong. It’s not a big surprise that Marfa is known as the ‘Mecca of Minimalism’. The late artist Donald Judd – considered a pioneer of Minimalism in the US- moved to Marfa in 1972. With the help of the Dia Art Foundation he purchased a U.S. Army base. Over the next 15 years, he renovated and restructured the buildings to show his permanent installations. The Chinati Foundation now draws visitors from all over the world who have heard about the spirit of the place and are curious to discover it for themselves.
So Close, ed.25, each part 8x20x1,2cm, anodized mill aluminium, 2015 (photo Peter Cox)
JOHN: I love the vividness of the anodized aluminium, there is an incredible depth in the colour and finish. Can you explain a little more about this process, and why it was your preference instead of simply having the works painted?
CECILIA: My edition ‘So Close’(image above), presented in your showroom, has been executed in anodized mill aluminium. This is a good example of high tech industrially made work. The two-part was made in a factory that makes airplane parts, very precise. The work is milled by a robot in a closed cab. Then, the work goes to a specialized factory where the works are immersed in different colour baths. For me, this process is especially interesting because the anodizing respects the natural appearance of the metal. In the morning, the colour of my pieces is bright orange, in the evening the colour turns into a deep almost red hue. The colour anodizing respects the underlying material, this is a totally different approach than covering a surface with a coat of paint. Besides my work in aluminium, I also like to work in hot rolled steel. This is a different approach, it has more to do with the purity and natural appearance of the metal. When I need a plate of hot rolled metal, I visit the metal supply where I compare a few plates of steel. Each plate weighs up to 250kg. Here I pay attention to the colour and texture of the steel. Each plate is unique and has its own colour and pattern of darker and lighter spots.
Blacksod Bay, each part 93x95x0,8cm, hot rolled steel, 2010 (photo Peter Cox)
In 2010 I made my two-part ‘Blacksod Bay’ (image above). At that time, I stayed at the Heinrich Boell Cottage on Achill Island. The Achill Heinrich Boll Foundation operates the residency and it is a great opportunity to explore this particularly isolated peninsula. Achill represents the most western point of Ireland. It signifies the extreme edge of the land. You cannot physically go further. I would walk over the high cliffs and see the ocean there below and could do so without distractions: there were only the sea and the waves, the wind and the lines. The cottage is very secluded, it has a view over the surrounding mountains and a terrific sight over Blacksod Bay, a bay of the wild Atlantic Ocean.
Sometimes the deep blue greyish colours are the result of the rolling process of the steel at the blast furnace. To intensify the colour and protect the metal, I use special patinas like ‘Magic Black’. The deep blue and grey tones have my preference, they remind me of the colour of the sky and the ocean on Achill Island, Ireland. The landscape is my all-time guide, my travel experiences and the underlying emotions form the basis of all work. The many photos of wild landscapes form an important part of my artistic practice. They serve as a reference to go back to that one special place. The ultimate viewing experience is the feeling of being drawn into an experience. Mark Rothko has expressed this very well in the following quote: “The fact that people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions. The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when painting them. And if you say you are moved only by their colour relationships then you miss the point.” Mark Rothko
JOHN: What a wonderful sentiment. I read that one of your first attempts to shape a plate of metal involved using a hand-held jigsaw in your original studio which was a shared space with metal workers. Tell us about this first experience and its result.
CECILIA: About a year ago my monography ‘Flatness in Space’ was published by artbook publisher Lecturis in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Art historian Dr. Alistair Rider from Scotland wrote a beautiful essay titled ‘The Cut and The Profile’.
I’d like to share a few sentences:
“One of Cecilia Vissers’ earliest attempts to shape a plate of metal involved using a powerful hand-held jigsaw. She had recently graduated from art school in the Netherlands and established a studio for herself in a building that used to be an old forge. A blacksmith, who was still working in another part of the workshop, had instilled in her a fascination with the ancient art of working with metal, and she was keen to experiment. One day she acquired a long, rectangular plate of steel and made a curved incision, arching away from its straight edge towards the centre of the plate. Then she made another complementary cut a few centimetres to one side, looping inwards to join the first. That was all. The modesty of her intervention attests to the hardness of the steel: it is a material that demands an immense expenditure of energy in order to work it. But she had extracted a notch from the rectangular form, and in so doing had altered its overall shape and proportions.” (Flatness in Space, A.Rider, 2017, p12).
JOHN: We're circled right back to the beginning with this note. Thank you so much for taking us deeper into your work. We are so happy to be able to display these pieces in our gallery.
Curve No. 1, 5,9x61,4x0,5cm, hot rolled steel, 1998 (photo Peter Cox)
This steel sculpture Curve No.1, has become my template, it still lies on my workbench alongside my compass, right angle square and ruler. It serves as a model, and many subsequent works have been inspired by its proportions. In 2017 I decided to make Curve No.2, this work is the long-awaited successor of Curve No.1. I think it perfectly shows my working process. ‘Work comes out of work’.
Curve No. 2, 12,2x61x1cm, hot rolled steel, black patina, 2017 (photo Peter Cox)
I’m really excited that you’ll show my works in your showroom. Art & architecture belong together, I think they are reinforcing and influencing each other in a very positive way. Thank you, John, for doing this interview!
Faraway I (right) & II (left), ed.12, each part 12,5x17x1,2cm, hot rolled steel, 2014 (photo Peter Cox)
Funny story about Tetsuya Ozawa's first shipment to us. It sold out within days of receiving it. We never even had a chance to post it to the website, or share our interview with him here on the journal. This week we received a new shipment of Ozawa-san's beautiful work, so it's the perfect time to share John's interview with him.
6 Questions for TETSUYA OZAWA
( J = JOHN’s Questions / T = TETSUYA’s Answers, translated by Reiko )
J : Please give us some insight about who you are, you are based in Tajimi city?
T : My name is Tetsuya Ozawa.
I was born in Tajimi City, Gifu Prefecture in 1984.
Graduated from Nagoya University of the Arts in 2008.
Then I have studied and was being an apprentice under the ceramicist Mr. Masamichi Yoshikawa at
Tokoname-shi, Aichi prefecture. I started up my own practice in 2016.
Currently I’m based in Tokoname (*1) , Aichi prefecture.
For years people have admired Norihiko Terayama's large scale flower artwork in our showroom. It was time for another visit from Norihiko and this time he brought with him some versions of this artwork to sell in his second solo exhibition at Mjölk. Unfortunately we are nervous to ship these pieces outside of Toronto, due to their fragility but there are some smaller pieces available here.
Along with the framed works, there were flower interventions on found objects and antiques.
We then visited the Frama showroom for the first time in Copenhagen, and were further amazed with their poetic blend of rational industrial design and craft. Their work conjures for us images of black and white photographs of old French ateliers, studios furnished with functional and strong furniture yet visually delicate and slender. Industrial yet at the same time softened with natural materials like oak and leather.
We hope you will enjoy these pieces as much as we do.
Design by Architect Per Holland Bastrup, 1989. Signature Collection.
Even though the Triangolo chair was created several decades ago it goes hand in hand with the Frama principles of strong geometric forms and simple lines.
Circle Mirror and Adam stool in oak.
Occasionally we see a form that speaks on its own. The round mirrors are an example of just this. A classic round mirror with beveled edges mounted to a solid oak back. Visible screws celebrate the analogue approach to this 50's inspired piece. The visual purity of the round shape is honoured by its material composition.
Aluminium can be difficult to weld and screw. With that in mind a riveting/tenon technique was developed for the Rivet project. This was also a way to experiment with different variations of visual assembling. The straightforward design is laser cut and hammered by hand, which puts it in a category between craftsmanship and industrial production.
Frama St. Pauls Collection of Apothecary
includes handwash, hand lotion and scents.
Apothecary is made locally in Denmark. Notes of Sandalwood, Cedar Wood, and Ylang Ylang.
The Apothecary collection is produced with 100% natural ingredients and in Italian glass bottles.
The Adam Stool collection is inspired by industrial design, an artist's studio, and a workshop. The functionality and simplicity of the design, combined with strong materials, gives these stools a structural and utilitarian approach.
Sutoa drawer fulfills the aesthetic look of a storage chest.
It is based on a discreet steel frame combined with wooden stack-able drawers in massive oak. Boxes of different sizes serves various purposes to contain. The gap between the boxes becomes the handle and small wheels at the back is very useful to change the placement of Sutoa.
Suitable as a coffee table or side table where the contrast between the soft warm cork, meets the cold smooth marble. The distinction between the two shapes gives the impression of two worlds meeting one another.
We just received some stunning new pieces from De La Espada. They are so new they aren't yet on our website, so we thought we'd give you a quick preview here. Click here to see more available items from this collections.
Belle Reeve Sofa by Nichetto Studio, starting from $17,795
Check out the lattice woodwork and elegant brass legs.
Also pitcured: the Neri & Hu Commune bench which is being used as a coffee table.
Handle Side Table by Neri & Hu, brass and white oiled oak, $1600
Also pictured: Cyclades vase by Nick Ross, $140
Solo Desk (starting from $5995) and Chair in Danish oiled walnut, both by Neri & Hu.
Antique Korean moon jar in the background, $3975
Elliot Dining Chair (starting from $1595) by Jason Miller and Solo Dining Table by Neri & Hu.
Woodworking through-tenon detail with wedge
Raf Simons Ria woven fabric
Composition of Elliot chair and Solo dining table.
I cannot believe that our first A-frame sign was made seven years ago! Read about our attempt at shou sugi ban (charred cedar) and collaboration with local artist Melinda Josie over on Kitka. With all the wild weather, our sign was looking pretty rough so we commissioned Renaud Sauvé and Gilbert Garcia to create a fresh presence.
Gilbert dropped it off near the end of last week and our minds were blown.
Renaud created handpainted porcelain tiles...
...with beautiful imagery of some of the products we are known to carry.
Contrasted with the more minimalist Open side, is this gorgeous painting that includes antiques, a vase by Renaud and a favourite Luca Nichetto design, Sucabaruca!
A detail close up. Insert emoji with the eyes popping out of the face here.
Gilbert Garcia did the weighted frame, with some additional beautiful brass and rope details.
John also invested in some new trees. It's nice to have our storefront looking as nice as the interior again!
It's taken awhile but we are excited to get some new pieces from Japanese wood artisan Tomii Takashi.
We visited Tomii Takashi at his home in Japan years ago, and featured him in an interview in Mjolk Book Volume II. I thought it may be fun to share a few outtakes from that visit. Tomii and his family have since moved to a new home further north, so we hope to visit again one day.
First stop was Gallery Yamahon. Set in the countryside, the gallery carries works by contemporary Japanese artisans. True to Japanese style, they also have a nice cafe for refreshments.
The view across the street from the gallery.
Off to lunch!
Missing Japanese food right now. There sure is a dearth of quality in our area. The closest we have are Imanishi and Shunoko, but boy could we use something closer!
We arrive at Tomii's home, located in a pastoral setting, in an old farmhouse. As mentioned he has since moved from here, but it was so great to be able to see this type of home personally.
Time for sweets and tea.
Some beautiful objects along the windowsill.
Checking out our first ever order with Tomii.
Heading out to the wood studio, about a 10-15 minute drive away in an old school.
On Thursday, May 17 we hosted Brian Richer of Castor with his first solo stone carving exhibition at Mjolk. The show runs until the end of the month so pop by in person if you can! Otherwise, here's a little pictoral overview of the show.
Non-Finito Vase, limestone - $700 (edition of 3 - for brevity we are using the term edition to mean there will be a maximum quantity made, though they aren't technically an edition because they are made by hand)
On the left is a wood stand holding Brian's tools, which Brian made himself.
Non-Finito Bowl - $700 (limestone, edition of 3)
Close up of tools.
Brian's handmade tools on the left.
We also left some of our antiques in the mix, as they complimented the stone work beautifully.
Non-Finito Alabaster Cube - $975 (edition of 1) and the only piece made of alabaster.
Non-Finito Copper Bowl - $1200 (edition of 1)
Close up: Brian grew the copper onto the marble bowl.
Non-Finito Tall Flower Vase - $2400 (limestone, edition of 3)
Non-Finito Stool - $2400 (limestone, edition of 3)
Non-Finito Shaker Table - $5400 (limestone, edition of 3)
"There's a Judd in that stone!" - $5400 (limestone, edition of 3)
The stone carver: Brian Richer
The night of the opening was so much fun. New and familiar faces turned up to see the work, enjoy a cold Ace Hill beer and some truly lovely Japanese inspired stew made by Matty Matheson. Thank you Matty for the food and your time serving and chatting with all the guests. Unfortunately I neglected to get a photo...too busy enjoying the evening. Check out the highlight reel on the @mjolkshop instagram.
Finally, a shout out to Ace Hill brewery for supplying our beverages for the evening.
The Captive (or ‘unfinished’) figures of Michelangelo are the primary inspiration for the series by Brian Richer. The Creative Director at Castor Design is also a trained stone carver. He has worked on many architecturally significant buildings in North America, and has explored captives for years.
The Captive sculptures are simple forms, carved using only hand tools, mallet, and chisel. Unlike most sculptors—who built a model and then marked up their block of marble to know where to carve—Michelangelo always worked freehand. He saw the sculptor’s job was to reveal the work that already existed within the stone. In these figures one can still see the grooves from the chisel, the process of the work, revealing the hand of the sculptor.
The Captive collection is one that presents classic forms (such as a stone bowl, a Shaker table, a Donald Judd chair, etc.) emerging from rough blocks of Indiana Limestone. Each object is partially consumed by the natural material in either a roughed or rectilinear shape. The series ascribes the same value to these pieces of furniture that is given to Michelangelo’s figures. The result is both recognizable and venerable at once.
Non-Finito: a solo exhibition of captive stone carving by Brian Richer. Ace Hill drinks and stew will be served at the opening reception by Brian Richer and chef Matty Matheson.
In discussing our upcoming show with Castor Design's Brian Richer, we had the opportunity to pop by and check out his studio space.
Brian demonstrating a lighting prototype, and on the right, a stone carving exploration for The Captive exhibition.
There are some really interesting experiments and studies on display.
An example above using cellophane tape and light.
The office space contains a portion of the table from their long gone Oddfellows restaurant. Fun fact, we had our joint bachelor/bachelorette party in the Castor/Oddfellows camper van, of which you can see a model of on the top shelf.
Out front of the office/packing/workshop in a small shipping container is Brian's stone carving studio.
A plaster bust of Elvis.
Tools of the trade.
Antique mallets and chisels handmade by Brian.
Brian carving a slab of limestone.
Non-Finito: a solo exhibition of captive stone carving by Brian Richer. Ace Hill drinks and stew will be served at the opening reception by Brian Richer and chef Matty Matheson.
Detour Coffee is now accompanied by Dear Grain heirloom breads, and they have started to serve open faced sandwiches which I cannot wait to try.
Probably the most significant changes occured with the investment in new Oak flooring from Relative Space as well as using Pure & Original Lime fresco paint in Bone. What an incredible difference this subtle textured natural paint gives to plain old boring drywall. Mjölk is now a representative in Toronto and the surrounding area for Pure & Original Paint.
We were able to reappropriate the banquettes they already had, but changed the proportions and painted them out with the really soft and pretty Farrow & Ball Vert de Terre. The Josef Hoffman chairs were a lucky find at Williams in our Junction neighbourhood and have the very cool history of having been previously used at the Toronto Public Reference Library.
Hanging above the tables are Mass Pendants in copper by Norm Architects.
On the other side of the cafe the first major thing we proposed was turning the squared off insert into one with an arch, and the effect is astounding.
We found the antique mirror at local Junction antique shop City Furniture, the last stop on our search and it was exactly what we were hoping to find. The long brass candle snuffer is by Stian Korntved Ruud.
Dedicated Detour customers may recognize the repurposed counter with its new bright top. The Oak flooring was extended up the back wall. A pass through window allows for customers to see the bread oven for Dear Grain breads. The cream coloured swing doors have always been there but they've been freshened up with a bright coat of paint and the brass fixtures have been polised, making the doors look brand new.
It being our ninth year at Mjölk as well, we decided it was finally time to refresh our showroom. Luckily we had recently happened upon a product that would really inform the more major change in the back of our showroom. Pure & Original paint from Belgium came on our radar during several other recent projects and the timing was right to incorporate it in our showroom.
In the front space we used "Milk", wooed by the name. It retains its gallery like open feeling, though there is a subtle texture added to the walls as shown in the above photo.
Over the years, the back of the showroom has been a struggle. The addition of a shoji lightbox over a window and new permanent white oak shelving fixtures definitely helped but the white drywall was reading as bland. The limited light did nothing to make the space pop so we decided to move in a different direction, opting for the dark green Belgian Wilderness from Pure & Original paint. We used the up/down effect and it has added so much depth and texture. This colour also works really well with the various woods, brass and plant life.
The desk area is slowly getting more layers. After a refresh it's just like moving into a new home. One is reluctant to poke holes in the new paint job, or overcrowd the space. New to the showroom is the simple FRAMA shelving as seen above.