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  • October 23, 2018

    The Stone House: a few more details from the weekend

    The guest bedroom is coming together nicely with the addition of the elegant opal glass and oxidised brass Copenhagen table lamp by Space Copenhagen.

     

    The door to the guest bedroom doesn't stay where you want it to. This beautiful cast iron acorn shaped doorstop by Eva Shildt and Maja Sten for Svenskt Tenn has been hanging around our house in the city, but with no doors that need stopping, it's finding a more useful life at the stone house.

     

    Another shot of the Hans Wegner Peacock chairs. This corner is still in progress.

     

    Painting by Sean Stewart.

     

    A closeup of the Swedish kakelugn tile stove. Although we have big love for the round versions, it's special to have a mantle to display some beloved objects. Some antique finds on the left, a couple of Masanobu Ando's Box of Air sculptures and a meiping shaped vase acquired at an antique shop/cafe in Japan several years ago.

  • October 19, 2018

    The Stone House: Bathroom

    Dreaming of going to the stone house. Don't you just love the deep window sill? Objects are starting to accumulate. Troll Vase by Anderssen & Voll, lavender from Coriander Girl in Picton, a Märta Måås-Fjetterström textile, some natural finds from Frank and Emily's summer stay, a special edition urushi Kin tea light holder by Claesson Koivisto Rune, a watering can bought from an antique market in Tokyo and the newest addition, a brass candle holder found during our last stay at one of the antique shops in Stirling.

     

    This old door handle really gets me. Seeing it photographed though, it deserves some better screws...add that to the to do list!

     

    John recently installed some Matureware hardware, including this neat adjustible lock, available for special order via Mjölk.

     

    There are two doors into the bathroom. I think on our next visit we need to sand what appears to be a wood door handle.

     

    Also installed in a few locations are Matureware brass light switches. So much better than the readily available standard plastic. I want to change all our switches everywhere but it only comes in single or double.

     

    Enjoying the Alma pendant.

     

    The Belgian barber cabinet has a few items in it. I like how we have closed storage in the bottom and then some glass display shelves as well. The other two urushi Kin, plus an antique wooden head and a Byredo  candle from a very kind customer. On top, an antique mask, and Socket Light from Menu (currently in stock despite what the webshop says).

     

    Overview shot of the bath area, with antique stool. On the wall is a bronze wall vase prototype in the spirit of Masanobu Ando and Tomii Takashi's wall vases. We are hoping to produce some in time for the holidays.

  • October 12, 2018

    The Stone House: an autumn weekend

    It's been awhile since we've been to the Stone House. In part because it's still a little under constuction, but also because of the usual September busyness of back to school and an increase in customers at the shop who have returned from their summer activities. 

     

    The kids had a four day weekend over Thanksgiving so we decided we needed to go for a visit. Thankfully Peter Tan from Studio Junction accommodated us, despite his (very tidy) construction zone. 

     

    It was heaven. A perfect sort of moody, foggy, drizzly but not too wet weekend. Everyone was so calm and happy, and surprisingly busy with the little things.

     

    I spent quite a bit of time enamoured with the landscape. The colours were just changing so it was mostly golds and greens, with splashes of red and purple. The property becomes so lush over summer it's interesting to see everything wither. 

     

    This front area is the only larger open field area that we have. Last year the middle patch was so natural and pretty. Our farmer friend razed it last fall and we tried to till and plant wildflowers but unfortunately something else took hold, a variety of very strong grasses/wheat? It didn't have the same appeal so we are going to cut it back again and work a smaller section. I guess it'd be good to have a larger space to play too.

     

    I imagine using this open space for archery. It's the one thing from my day camp days that I loved doing and never ever got to do it enough. If anyone has any tips on real kid friendly sets or places to buy, let us know via email. I started looking while in Belleville and am not sure the hunting shops would sell leisure/kid friendly archery equipment.

     

    Under construction, Peter and his crew have been working hard on the drive through doors - they will become a solid wood entryway and on the other side a large picture window. The concrete pads have been poured, hence the protective tent.

     

    Glad that the cornfields are still hanging around. They were working across the street on Friday...but seem to get to these fields last which I appreciate.

     

    This is the only window we didn't switch out. I am sure we will come to regret that as the wind begins to whistle through. I am enjoying this little view into the kitchen.

     

    We are just waiting on the glass panel for this massive picture window that will look out onto our tiny apple orchard. They found a perfectly good concrete pad already there so to make things easier, the window will sit atop a concrete ledge but the bonus is we will have a little bench on the inside, perfect for contemplation.

     

    More textures, colour and fog.

     

    I found John under the only producing apple tree. Unfortunately all the apples had fallen but he was salvaging what he could.

     

    No filter required, these apples are pretty much the only colour going right now.

     

    I am pretty envious of John's get up. Where can I buy this without going to the UK? Not a rhetorical question, shoot me a message via juli_at_mjolk instagram or Mjolk email. It sounds silly but I feel I need an appropriate wardrobe of tweeds and horseback riding fashion breeches (I had a great pair from Club Monaco circa 1994. What ever happened to Club Monaco? They lost me awhile back...). 

     

    We have lots of little paths around the property. Here I found the kids exploring on their own.

     

    Meanwhile, inside we drank a lot of coffee, had fires, and enjoyed the dark moody interior. The kitchen is obviously still a work in progress but the light, THE LIGHT! It's like living in a Vermeer.

     

    On Saturday we went into Belleville, to L'Auberge du France for some promised french fries. Next door is Scalliwag Toys which we popped in to grab a new board game (based on my Instagram Stories and availability, we bought Ticket to Ride). We were feeling a wee bit high on family life and ended up buying the deluxe Brio train set...and a Playmobile bakery too. The owners of the shop were very sweet -- the very reason it's important to SHOP LOCAL. I don't know how this little shop survives with all the big box shopping mall competition but I hope that locals begin to appreciate their very cute and walkable downtown main street. It's high time we reclaim our retail landscape.

     

    A mini tour of Belleville, to inspire you to shop local. 

     

    Left: Scalliwag Toys and L'Auberge du France cafe.

     

    Middle: Stephen License Bicycles & Hobbies - this place is so classic.  We almost went in but I was feeling reckless and knew I'd end up buying an electric John Deer riding car or something. Also the reason we didn't go into the neighbouring pet shop...that bunny in the window was so cute and living life in a cage that was past due for a clean up. It's important to know when you have no boundaries.

     

    Right: We haven't been to The Lark yet, but know many people who have or who know the owners so we look forward to visiting the next time we are up and without kids.

     

    Funk & Gruven A-Z antique shop and Howell talking to 1974.

     

    Back at the stone house, the kids were playing hide and seek, which always tickles me considering there are nearly no places to hide. Howell usually ends up running shoeless outside in search of cover so Elodie ended up out there too. They returned about 5 minutes later with a bucket of leaves and proceeded to work quietly on the perfectly positioned large scale Fly coffee table. Using the leaves they acquired they did leaf studies. Be still my heart!

     

    So quiet, so focused.

     

    The Hans Wegner Peacock chairs are together again. We just couldn't separate them, despite our best intentions to buy two and sell one to pay for the other.  That corner needs work but it's a great start! It's my newspaper reading corner.

     

    Next post will be about some new hardware and small design objects.

     

  • September 7, 2018

    Introducing Tetsuya Ozawa

    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.

     

    (*1 = Tokoname City = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokoname

    Tokoname Ware = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokoname_ware )

     

     

    J : What motivates you to make pottery? Did you try to do anything else on your way to becoming a potter? 

     

    T : In my hometown Tajimi City, Ceramics are part of our life and there were so many
    opportunities to touch clays since I was very young.

    Since I realized I would like to be a creator, I think it was natural to start thinking and aiming to be

    “Ceramist” as a choice. I decided to be a Ceramist when I was in junior high school, and since then I continue

    to pursue studying ceramics in high school, university, and apprenticeship under the ceramicist Mr. Yoshikawa.

     

    J : Are there specific forms, history our cultures that inspire your work? 

     

    T : I am heavily influenced by tea culture, folk arts, modern craftwork. 

     

    I mainly used to make objects and sculpture before, but I started to become attracted by the way ceramics has

    been used for people’s daily life. I decided to start to make Ceramics for people and people’s life.

     

    Currently I am interested in how to use the technique of material layering of abstract paintings such as

    the way Mark Rothko did (*2).

     

    (*2 = Mark Rothko = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Rothko )

     

    I try to produce my ceramics with awareness of what is at my feet and what is surrounding myself.

    Like making a little tea pot to the ancient big pottery style from my local Tokoname village.

     

    J : The surface of your ceramics is very unique. I believe it is white slip over clay? The texture is very beautiful, how did you come to use this to finish your pieces?

     

    T : I use old technique called “KOFUKI ( = dusting )”.

    I put white soil on the clay which contains a lot of iron, like putting on "make-up”.

    It is a distinctive technique that creates a soft texture on the surface.

    It does make a totally different texture compared with the regular white porcelains.

     

    When I started to do experiments, I only put one layer on the surface. I was still wondering if

    I could create more complicated textures, like something with dirtiness and some roughness.

    Then the paper container that I bought from an antique store caught my eyes.

     

    I noticed I could see various colors and expressions on one bowl...such as paper wrinkles,

    dirts stuck by being used, deterioration of paints, some brushstrokes to give strength for the substrate of surface etc.

    Then I started to create my current style which is putting soil overlap and scraping off repeatedly.

    This is the catalyst for when I started to apply it to my own work.

     


    J : Is there something special about your process? Or the clay / glazing you use?  

     

    T : I originally like mat finish with complex expressions without glaze.

    However, experimentally I was looking for something where I could put a delicate gloss like lacquer finish,

    I found “Chara" lacquer which is used for Tokoname teapot.

     

    “Chara" lacquer was developed for the mass production of Tokoname teapots.

    It is a very unique glaze, It gives a subtle gloss on vessels.

     

    I think the unique and traditional technique of Tokoname-yaki helps me to create my own style. 

    All different kind of techniques that has been cultivated since ancient times, such as how to make big objects, 

    how to make teapots, and how to bake them.

     

     

    J : Besides pottery, what do you enjoy? reading? film? music?

     

    T : I like playing the guitar.

    Let’s say… I like African American music as the genre of music, especially Pop songs derived from them.

    And like… Jazz, Hip Hop, R&B and especially I like artists in my generation. They inspire and stimulate

    me a lot. I’m listening to them when I'm working in studio.

     

     

    J : Thank you very much!

     

     

    Shop Tetsuya Ozawa at Mjölk