I have an unexplainable obsession with apple shape; Does it have to do with its three-dimensional property? I then keep on pondering… pear, lemon, strawberry or tangerine, these fruits just never impressed me the same way. Did the fascination come from the brainwashing proverb “an apple a day”? Perhaps it could be the story of the forbidden fruit that I learned in my religious primary school? Or maybe it is simply because apple is the most common fruit? Memory of apple has such an omnipresence.
ttyokzk ceramic design is a Japanese design brand that specializes in ceramic. The brand’s motto is to design playful daily necessities that seem to have an underlying statement saying, “Hey! Let’s live a playful life!”. This palm-sized sugar pot is roundly curved into a pentagonal shape which is inspired by the five petals of apple flowers, as well as the form of its seeds. Milky white in color, the design cleverly features the tip of the little wooden spoon as the stem of the apple. When lifting up the dome-shaped lid of the pot, it somehow feels like cutting open the apple. After serving, you can simply put the lid back with ease as the spoon would slide along the curve of the “dome” back to its original hole. The sugar pot does not need to be confined to being a container for sugar, it could also be a beautiful utensil for serving dessert or soup.
In the vintage shop Makee in Sheung Wan, I once came across a pair of Swedish-made wooden apples of different sizes. They were placed amidst a bunch of glamourous tablewares which make the apples look exceptionally mellow and rustic by contrast. Hand carved from birchwood and polished to a perfect smoothness, the apples possess a “magical calming power”, as coined by the shop owner. This very much resembles how in the old days where senior members of the family used to hang around the neck of an infant a little woven bag, in which contained a tiny piece of jade or an amulet. Legend says this can keep infants from bad dreams. This somehow works similarly to how we would pat our chest with our hands when being frightened. Small gestures like this have a soothing power; these two wooden apples perhaps carry the same charm.
Throughout one’s life, different events would leave new traces; Kaori Usuda’s works also attempt to remind people not to forget the important elements of life. This wood sculptor loves to use human and animals as her themes. The works are free from polish, the sculptor rather deliberately retains the uneven carve marks on her works. Before working on the sculpture, she usually begins with conjuring up the portion that needs to be carved out. If she has carved too much, she would fetch a wood piece of similar size to repair. “This makes me realize how life more or less follows the same logic”. In 2009, she recorded the production process of her work Apple（りんご）in real time. The wood chips appear redundant and useless as captured by the photos, but they were essential to the creation of the apple. As a survivor of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, she re-examined the existential meaning of art in society. Her works carry the feeling of disorientation that haunts herself, as well as her grieve over the victims. Usuda always believes in the power of art in changing people, and in giving people strength to move on; and these, are what greatest ambition.