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Bold & Sensitive; Tableware by [nife arabesque] are Perfect for Daily Use
post : 2019.11.16 16:00
The pottery pieces shown below are from the [nife arabesque] series painted by Kimie Asato of Shinsei Tobo pottery studio. These pieces bring a sense of nostalgia even at first glance. The series began in 2011 as an original brand of Yuimaru Okinawa, with aspirations to continue the production of crafts that transcend generations.
The name combines the arabesque patterns with the word, Nife, which, in the Okinawan language means “thanks”. The name was carefully chosen, weaving in feelings of gratitude for nature, people, and things.
In the pottery pieces, the white color of the base is almost translucent, and the arabesque patterns are splashed on with a brilliant blue color that takes your breath away. The pieces harmoniously combine boldness and delicate sensitivity. The arabesque patterns are splashed on the pieces with vigor and are expressed energetically, and when you hold it in your hands, you can almost feel its force of life flowing at your fingertips.
Asato-san says, “I wanted to use blue to portray Okinawa’s air and atmosphere. The flowers with intertwining vines, I drew large and strong, and for the lines, I drew them thin, long, and delicately. My aim was to create something that didn’t just look handsome, but with a powerful width. I aimed for the borderline of refinement and uncouth.”
“Products that are perfected are for the large factories that mass produce items. I wanted to add a touch of “playfulness” that only handmade items can express. I think that’s what leads to ‘living’ lines in the pieces,” explains Asato-san. She’s managed to take down the perfection to a nice balance, giving the pieces warmth and affinity. All of her pieces are drawn by hand and without sketching and so each one is unique with their own expressions.
Another thing Asato-san is careful about is to meet the expectations of the future owners and users of the pottery pieces. “People use tableware every day, right? So it’s better that they’re light and not too thick so you can stack them,” she says. She never leaves behind the traditions of Yachimun, the art of pottery in Okinawa with a proud 400-year history, as she combines the needs of the modern lifestyles. “That’s ‘the way for crafts to remain cherished by the people’. The value of pottery pieces are in whether they’re being used or not, don't you think?”
As a child, Asato-san was always artistic, drawing and scribbling on the walls and on the blackboard in her kindergarten class all day. Since she can remember, she knew what she wanted to do with her life. “Designing, creating, drawing…that’s what I enjoyed. Something that wasn’t unrelated to art, and I kept thinking about what I wanted to use, and I used them, and shaped them. I felt that that was what I was good at.”
Asato-san also says, “I enjoy the time that I’m drawing. Even during times when I feel a little burdened, I draw anyway. As I draw, my brush and my heart seem to come together nicely and in comfortable order, and before I know it, my brush is flowing. We all have times in our lives when we face troubles and hard times, but when I start working, I can forget all about them. Somehow, as I work, all the negative feelings vanish and I can finish what I’m working on with happy thoughts.”
When she has to meet deadlines for delivery dates, she often works for over 12 hours a day, doing the same process. “I enjoy working, but still, those times can be tough. But the sense of accomplishment I feel when I’m done, I like that. It’s like running a marathon, I think. On days like that, I say to myself, ‘You did a great job today,’ and I enjoy some beer,” she says with a bright smile that I’ll never forget.
Tableware by [nife arabesque] are great for all kinds of dishes, as they bring out the visual beauty of Japanese, Western, Chinese and other cuisines. These pieces have charm for people who appreciate things made with care and also for people who are novice chefs; these dishes will surely make you want to hone your cooking skills. What kind of food would you like to serve with these beautiful dishes?
Address: 260-6 Maji, Naha City, Okinawa
Hours: 9:00 to 18:00 (Mon-Fri), 9:00-16:00 (Sun & Holidays)
Pottery Available at:
Address: 2F Connecting Terminal at Naha Airport, 150 Kagamizu, Naha City, Okinawa
Hours: 7:00 to 20:30
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Sachiko Tachi