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The Beauty Created by Inattentiveness

The Book Sleeve by Tsuchiya Orimonoshyo

Text and Photography / Ron Lam
Translation / Iris Heung

「東西啊,很奇妙的,你只要放任它,它就自自然然變得美麗了。」忘了是在甚麼情況下,つちや織物所(Tsuchiya Orimonoshyo)的土屋美恵子這樣跟我說。大概是在她的家中喝茶時,我細意端詳她所織的杯墊的時候,也可能是在我的目光離不開她奉來的茶碗時。杯墊用久了變得很軟柔,茶碗釉藥的細紋裡滲透著歲月的褪跡,都很美。

「只要放任它,它就自自然然變得美麗。」只要使用它,不過度愛惜與不捨,任憑它老去,長毛球了、染上茶漬了,都格外動人。土屋小姐話中所指的,是這個意思。

“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.

關於日常用品、關於素材及美感,土屋小姐是有點固執的。譬如說,她現居的房子內裝是她親自設計的,住了好幾年了,天花板卻久久未完成——對於素材,她猶豫不決,是該舖上泥土呢,還是用木材就好。另外,她多年來用以代步的,是日產與二十多年前生產的Rasheen,已跑了近二十萬公里。因為是打算一直住下去的地方、用下去的東西,所以花盡心思挑選,也特別在意造工,對生活裡的身外物如是,對自己創造的也如是。

大半年前,我們決定請土屋小姐給我們製作書套。這是一個充滿私慾的計劃。因為上街時總在背包裡塞一本書,稍一粗心,書頁就被弄皺弄髒了。想給書添個漂亮的書套,B5大小的,能容得進大部份的硬皮書,還能放筆記本及鋼筆。市面上找不到合意的,就生起請喜歡的工藝家製作的念頭。

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.

經過了數次洽談,設計一再更動,反覆製作樣版,在多次的去蕪存菁後,つちや織物所與OBSCURA的聯乘單品終於完成了。設計看來極簡,然而卻滿載了土屋小姐在細微處的心思,以及她獨一無二的美學。例如最初我們打算將布料如同波浪起伏的邊緣放諸設計上,在製作樣版後,土屋小姐卻有感那太刻意與匠氣,選擇將之去掉。又例如,在試行為書套釘上外袋時,她發現添加外袋後接縫處的布料太厚,布紋無法縫得筆直,最終決定放棄這小小的啅頭。在她而言,利落、簡潔的設計,沒有多餘的裝飾,更能展示素材的美好,也更能長久的攝人心弦。

つちや織物所與OBSCURA聯乘製的書袋已於OBSCURA的網上商店發售,期待你放任它,讓它自自然然地變得更加美麗。

(點這裡,閱讀其他關於つちや織物所的文章)

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?

(Click to read more articles on Tsuchiya Orimonoshyo)