The corners of my Newspaper of Kogei Tathata have got a little worn. Every time when looking for books from the shelf, I would unconsciously pick this magazine up to flip through the pages or to simply rub its cover — no wonder it gets a deckle edge.
Newspaper of Kogei Tathata is an annual magazine co-published by the potter Naoto Ishii and his wife Sumiko. After deciding on a theme of the issue, the couple would either write articles themselves or invite other artisans and scholars as contributors. The issue I have is themed around “fabric and garments”. “The Two Sides of the Cloth” is an article written by the scholar Maki Tsuchida on the relationship between the textile industry and female around the world. Whereas the founder of Tsuchiya Orimono-Sho shared with the readers her experience with producing cotton fabric. Sumiko interviewed the Korean chef Ji Eun Choi and had a chance to admire her handmade aprons.
Newspaper of Kogei Tathata focuses on craft, the magazine itself is, in fact, also a work of craft. The paper used for making the cover is called Wakasa Washi, it is interestingly thinner than the pages inside. This type of mulberry paper has very coarse fiber; after being touched for a few times, it can easily get feathery. The cover print is a panel painting by Yoshitaka Wakasa, featuring a carefully executed gradient. The inside pages adopt the low tech stencil printing skills, therefore, the photos look rather blurry with highly visible screentone patterns.
While Naoto Ishii is famous for his clay pot and ceramic tableware, his wife Sumiko has a genuine interest towards Korean culture. She also has her unique interpretation of paper, fabric and other materials. The influence of the couple is not limited to the works they created, the generosity of the two has an equal importance. The two would happily share their collection their sense of aesthetics with the young artists and secondhand shop owners who come visiting. Jun Tominaga, the cover story of the current OBSCURA issue is one of those who got to understand the charisma of utensils and secondhand items through Ishii.
Newspaper of Kogei Tathata is a small magazine the couple published to share their passion. From its content to the actual printout, readers can feel the beauty of craft from every single angle.