Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ferrous Craft

Today I am admiring the beauty of Japanese cast iron wares from the Iwate Prefecture, where the traditional craft has been practiced since the 17th century. It is said that becoming a decent ironware maker takes at least 15 years, and becoming a master craftsman requires at least 40. It seems to me that the creators of these items are masterfully combining their understanding of the traditional craft with a rather modern appeal.

Nambu iron trivet and teapot by Roji Associates

Iron ornaments by Nobuho Miya for Kamasada : 1, 2 / 3

Yonabe Pot by Nobuho Miya for Kamasada

Made by the same casting methods since the 17th century, each piece can last more than a hundred years with proper care, and even if broken it can be recast. I think that 'good design' in today's world should aim for this kind of durability and functionality, while maintaining harmony with the environment in both the production and use of an object.

Bottle openers by : (clockwise from left) Nobuho Miya, Tadahiro Baba, and Tokyo-based Jurgen Lehl


In addition to being useful, these cast iron pieces also carry quite a bit of decorative value. They emit a sense of timelessness, and the feeling of being close to nature - especially when the iron is paired with other raw materials like wood, wicker, or stone.  You could think of these pieces as works of functional art, to be passed down through generations. 

Iron kettle (tetsubin) and trivet by Rikuchou Ogasawara

Images via Analogue Life and Emmo Home

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