“Inanimate objects can be so magical. If you leave them as they are, they would naturally get more and more beautiful.” I forgot what occasion was it when Mieko Tsuchiya from Tsuchiya Orimonoshyo said this to me. Perhaps it was when I was having tea at her place and appreciating her hand-knitted coaster, or maybe it was when I just could not take my eyes off the teacup she brought to me. The coaster gets so soft after being used for a while, the age of the cup can be seen from the crack of the glaze; these changes are all so alluring.
“If you leave them as they are, they would naturally get more and more beautiful.” Instead of tending them with extra care or avoiding to use them, just let them turn old, the objects will be adorned by fuzzballs and tea stain. This is the essence of Tsuchiya’s words.
Tsuchiya is a little particular about her homeware, materials used and the aesthetics of the items. Her current home is a good example. She worked on the interior design herself. However, after moving in for a few years, the ceiling is still left unfinished, since she cannot make up her mind to decide whether to cover it with cement or just wood. The car she uses is a Rasheen that Nissan launched to the market more than 20 years ago. She kept on using the same car although it has run almost 200 thousand kilometers. Precisely because she wants to continue staying in the same place and use the same things, she would spend all her efforts to choose the right items made with the finest workmanship. This can be seen by how she selects the objects she uses in daily life, as well as the way she makes things.
Around half a year ago, we invited Tsuchiya to make a book sleeve for us, a project which was initiated mainly out of my personal interest. When going out, I usually carry a book with me. This habit, however, creases either the book cover or its pages. To prevent this from happening again, I was hoping to have a beautiful B5 size book sleeve that can fit most of the hardcover books, alongside a notebook and a pen. Failing to find one that I like, I had the idea of asking one of my favorite craftsmen to make one.
After several meetings, a few rounds of refining the design, and making some prototypes, the Tsuchiya Orimonoshyo X OBSCURA collaboration finally achieved perfection and is ready to be launched. The design may appear minimalistic, but one can still see how Tsuchiya demonstrates her attentiveness and unique aesthetics. In the beginning, we wanted to include the wavy edge of the fabric into the design, but Tsuchiya decided to take it away as she found it too pretentious and overly-crafted. We also tried to attach an outer layer to the book sleeves, but the seam got too thick to allow a straight stitch. As a result, we decided to give up on this little gimmick. Tsuchiya sees the quality of the material as what makes the charm of an object everlasting. A sleek and minimalistic design without unnecessary adornment is crucial to manifesting the beauty of the material.
The Tsuchiya Orimonoshyo X OBSCURA book sleeve can now be purchased on the OBSCURA online shop. Are you looking forward to using it inattentively and letting it get worn out gracefully?
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