two in oen: mushimegane books and m. saito

November 26, 2012

Speaking of thankful, have you ever been so grateful towards a shop just for existing? There are some stores that so channel my design aesthetic that it’s a joy every time I go in. I feel that way about ABC Carpet and Home, POD, and more recently Oen Shop in the UK.

Though I may not be able to personally browse their collection, Mark and Daniel write so vividly about the rare items in their online shop, that I almost feel I’m there witnessing the objects first-hand. Two of my new Oen favorites both hail from Japan: Misa Kumabuchi, who creates serene ceramics, and M. Saito, whose wood carvings are more visceral and raw.

From her studio in Nishinomiya, Japan, Misa hand forms from ceramic and porcelain all the pieces in her Mushimegane Books collection. Based on people and sounds—the rhythm and encounters of everyday life—her work has a personal quality. Like a secret whispered between friends, they are quiet, but nonetheless beg your attention. It is clear that Misa’s fluid forms are also heavily influenced by nature, their organic shapes and tactile surfaces designed to be touched.

Equally captivating, but intentionally less refined, are the wood carvings of M. Saito. In fact, Saito seems almost reluctant to alter his medium beyond what is minimally necessary to form a basic cup, bowl or spoon. Thus, baring the marks of their creation with pride, Saito’s rough-hewed pieces are enticingly tactile. Organic and elemental, they scream “I am wood!” in the quietest kind of way.

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