⟨ Object ⟩

Ghosts in the woods

Studio Arhoj

Words / Phaedrus Lam
Illustration / Furze Chan
Translation / Ian Tsang

日本神道教中素有「八百萬神」的說法,其背後的意味,除了表示其神祇之多,也反映出日本人對自然界萬物皆有所敬畏的心情,蘊含著一種古老而幽遠的泛靈論思想。

來自丹麥的Studio Arhoj,是陶藝家Anders Arhoj於2006年成立的品牌。曾在日本進修一年的他,儘管也著迷於東京大都會的五光十色,然而更震憾著他的異地體驗,卻是接觸到神道教裡萬物皆有靈的信念,使得他這個來自北歐的外國人莫名感動。在進修結束後,他回到丹麥著手經營Studio Arhoj,並且把神道教的思想,結合其母國神話中對森林精靈的描繪,成就出其品牌最著名的擺設系列——「Ghost」。

「Ghost」系列擁有統一圓椎形的輪廓,每隻小精靈均刷上繽紛淘氣的釉彩,上頭還有一雙直盯著你看的眼眸,眼神無辜讓人好生憐愛;而光是網站型錄上就有近百款,遍地盡是神祇精靈。

使用上「Ghost」除了作為擺設,也可以權充為一個戒指座,端看顧客的創意和需求。而其實在Studio Arhoj的網站上,Anders Arhoj就開宗明義道他們只著眼器物形態的美醜,實用價值倒是其次,至於最後怎麼把商品融入到生活裡頭,還得看顧客本身的心思。

Within the Shinto religion of Japan, There is a saying of “yaoyorozu no kami”, or  “eight million spirits”. Not only does it represent the sheer large number of spirits that exist, but it also reflects the Japanese’s sense of respect towards every single thing in nature. This contains a kind of Animism thinking that is old, deep and distant.

Studio Arhoj is a Danish brand set up by Anders Arhoj, a ceramist, in 2006, who has spent one year studying in Japan. While he was mesmerized by the brilliant colors of metropolitan Tokyo, the foreign experience that shook him even more profoundly was his introduction to Shinto’s belief in the existence of spirits within everything. As a foreigner from Northern Europe, he has been moved, in a strange way, by this belief. After finishing his studies, he returned to Denmark to run Studio Arhoj, in which he has blended Shinto thinking with the depiction of forest fairies in the myths of his home country. This has eventually given birth to the brand’s most famous decoration series named “Ghost”.

Products in the “Ghost” series share the same cone-shaped outline, and each features a fairy finished with a glaze that is both colorful and playful. Staring down at you at all times from the top are pairs of innocent eyes that elicit feelings of love and pity. The catalogue on its homepage alone features almost 100 different fairies, which is in keeping with the belief of spirits being everywhere.

In terms of usage, apart from being used as a decoration, it can also serve as a ring stand, depending on customers’ creativity and needs. On Studio Arhoj’s homepage, Anders Arhoj stated clearly that their primary focus is on the products’ appearance and beauty while their practical value comes only second. As for how to fit the products into daily life, it rests upon the customer’ own thoughts and preferences.