Mjölk

Shapes and Desire of Nature

September 22nd, 2014

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We are very excited to announce our first solo exhibition with Renaud Sauvé from Atelier Des Cent-ans. Many of you will be familiar with Renaud’s work if you have visited our store or read the 3rd volume of the Mjölk book, which features a large profile on Renaud, his work and his studio in Irlande, Quebec.

Renaud is most recognized for his hand-thrown white porcelain work with crackling glaze, but for this particular exhibition, over the course of the past year, he has been exploring natural minerals found within his province to create new glazes and new expressions. The result of his experimentation is a collection of pottery that embodies not only the artist but also his surroundings.

Shapes and Desire of Nature

A solo exhibition Renaud Sauve of Atelier Des Cent-ans
Thursday, October 2nd 7:00pm – 10:00
Artist in attendance

 

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Renaud on Shapes and Desire of Nature:

My workday typically starts in the morning. Sitting at my potter’s wheel, I centre a ball of porcelain on the wheel and start hollowing it out to give it a shape and ultimately create a bowl, plate or vase.

However, one morning in May, instead of following my usual routine, I took a drive to a soapstone mine in the village of East Broughton, Quebec, where I dug for this mineral, which can be crushed into a powder. I had the idea to incorporate this rock dust into a concoction of different minerals to obtain a black glaze.

After testing and ensuring the mineral’s workability, I started focusing on creating new porcelain shapes because it seemed to me that this was befitting a newly discovered glaze. Although an interplay of transparency and opacity can already be achieved with a clear glaze, by adding a black glaze to my palette, I had ventured into new territory where I could highlight and amplify contrasts, but where I also had to take extra care lest the piece be too austere.

· In fact, a potter works with stones.
· Firing is the last step, and this is where the true nature of the minerals emerges.
· Through this transmutation, it seems to me that fire is the true artist at work.

These pieces, exhibited here at the Mjolk gallery, are the end result of a journey that began in a quarry and continued in my studio. It is an answer to many questions . . . or perhaps, more accurately, an outcome of my connection not only with Nature (digging) but also with the history of ceramics (shapes).
Much like 19th century poet Paul Valery, I like to compare the process of creating a porcelain vase with the geological shaping of our planet.

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Ryuji Mitani Spoon workshop

July 20th, 2014

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The morning after the evening reception we hosted for Mr. Ryuji Mitani, we arranged for a special spoon carving workshop at our home above the shop/gallery.

Mr. Mitani has hosted these workshops in Japan and he came up with the idea in order to further connect people with hand crafted things, and give them an appreciation of the work that goes into making something as simple as a wood spoon. He does the workshop also to show how enjoyable it is to use craft products in one’s life, so that is why he also invited famous chef Ai Hosokawa to come along to cook lunch for all of the participants of the workshop. The idea was to carve a spoon, then use it during dessert.

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Carving tools for the workshop.

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Chef Ai Hosokawa went to the Duffering Grove farmer’s market to pick up some fresh and in season produce.

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Chef Ai Hosokawa (left) and actress Hijiri Kojima (right).
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Wooden cups and plates waiting under tea towels before being used for lunch.

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We were lucky enough to have a beautiful day, so we decided to have the workshop outside.

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Mr. Mitani showing how it’s done.

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Cross-handed carving technique.

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Using every possible container in our kitchen to serve 14 people. Here is a Dansk loaf pan with strawberries.

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Oven roasted peppers.

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You can breathe easy, our home is littered with toys, despite our best efforts.

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Serving dishes brought in just for the workshop.

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Ai’s daughter making her own lunch with play food.

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First dish: fresh Ontario strawberries with roasted red peppers.

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Next a Rhubarb soup.

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Couscous.

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Pork ribs with peas, asparagus, cilantro, dill and parley.

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This is making me hungry.

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We had to move the table inside as the sun became too intense!

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Just before dessert, Mr. Mitani instructs the students on how to oil finish their spoons.

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While the spoons are drying, Ai gets her refreshing panna cotta ready.

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The finished dessert with a freshly carved spoon to enjoy it with! Best panna cotta ever.

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The whole group holding up their new spoons!

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Ryuji Mitani solo exhibition at Mjolk

July 13th, 2014

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Last Thursday we had the pleasure to host the first North American exhibition of famous wood artist Ryuji Mitani. Thank you very much for everyone who came to visit the exhibition during the opening night, we were so happy to have the place packed, especially with summer holidays when many people flee the city to travel or head up north.

We even had a customer from New York come for a 1 day trip just to see our exhibition. What incredible feedback for one of our highest profile exhibitors yet!

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Hand carved cups with black urushi lacquer-ware on the exterior, and white on the inside.

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A stack of chestnut bread plates with clear urushi coating.

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A unique white serving bowl with white urushi Japanese lacquer-ware.

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A set of 4 turned cherry wood nesting bowls.

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Hand carved lidded boxes made from chestnut.

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Delicate hand carved bowls.

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Chestnut Butter dishes witha cherry wood knife.

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A HUGE hand carved chestnut platter.

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Another incredible and larger piece, a hand-gouged walnut tray made from a single piece of wood.

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A beautiful hand-turned chestnut salad bowl with lovely grain.

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Special cross motif plates.

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Dessert dishes inspired by plum blossoms.

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Specially made cherry wood sleeves that fit the 3-cup Chemex coffee beakers.

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Cross pot trivets.

 

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Ryuji Mitani wood work sitting on our Tea Trolleys in the front window.

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A hand carved cherry wood plate.

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A Chemex coffee maker with the specially made cherry wood sleeve.

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Ryuji Mitani talking to a guest.

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Signing a copy of Mjolk Volume III which profiles Mr. Mitani.

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Just getting a little busy in the early evening, by midway through the exhibition the store was packed and we had to put the camera away. The event lasted until 1:00am even through the official end of the night was 10:00pm.

 

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Aureola Tea set by Luca Nichetto and Lera Moiseeva

July 8th, 2014

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We are very pleased to announce the newest product design from Mjolk by incredible designers Luca Nichetto and Lera Moiseeva. Continuing their exploration of rituals through a tea set called Aureola.

We got to work with the same incredible team of artisans realizing Luca and Lera’s concept, utilizing the skills of ceramicist Alissa Coe, artist Scott Eunson and wood artisan Adrian Kuzyk. From the initial concept of the design two very traditional aspects were added to the set: the use of black and red iron oxide powders to colour the white porcelain, and the absence of glaze on the set.  Iron oxides have been used as pigment since prehistoric times and the depth of colour that they produce gives the tea set a rich, timeless element. The idea to leave the set bare was inspired by traditional Chinese tea pots, where the more rough interior allows a fine patina to build up over time enhancing this way the flavor of the tea.

Here is the inspiration from Luca Nichetto and Lera Moiseeva:

“The idea of designing a tea set comes from a personal research, started long ago from the Venetian designer Luca Nichetto and developed together with the Russian designer Lera Moiseeva, on the ancient and modern sharing rituals that, even nowadays, play an important role in the social relationships in several countries. The tea ceremony, more than others, represents an important tradition in many areas of the world, and particularly in Asia, where it became almost sacred, influencing this way numerous cultures. By observing how tea is consumed in Russia, Luca Nichetto has noticed that the infuse is served not in cups but in small bowls without the handle and realized how this small detail gives more solemnity to the whole ritual.

The Aureola tea set is composed of a main body, a filter, and two cups, made in fine porcelain colored in mass and the pigments, obtained from metal powders, are commonly used to create the finest Asian lacquers. As the heat propagates from the center of the bowl towards the outside, so the energy aura of the people involved in the sharing rite seems to expand in wider circles towards the others. From this image takes its name the tea set Aureola, which has on its surface the signs that graphically represent this concept.”

Aureola as well as Sucabaruca are currently on exhibit at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura from June 26th through September 16th.

Istituto Italiano di Cultura
496 Huron St.
Free admission

416-921-3802 ext. 221
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ANDO: LIVE

June 4th, 2014

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Here are some photographs from our solo exhibition of Japanese potter Masanobu Ando’s work called “The way of tea”.
All of the photographs were taken by Toyomi Nakamura of Toki no Kumo, who came along with Mr. Ando.

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One of Mr. Ando’s travelling Tea boxes called a “Chabako” This one is an old Japanese lunch box from the Showa period.

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We thought serving some deliciously made maple candies from Toronto based Ninutik would be the perfect sweet to serve with Green tea, and it also brought a little bit of locality to the festivities.

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A special medicine spoon made from whale bone re-purposed as a tea scoop. The art of repurposing in the Tea Ceremony is called mitate, and Mr. Ando is very well known for doing this.

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It was a busy event. Thank you to everyone who attended the exhibition!

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Tea Ceremony tools commissioned by Masanobu Ando.

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A new bowl shaped ceramic colander with a hole for hanging when not in use.

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A very lovely arrangement from out newest employee Reiko.

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Finally a full collection of mugs available to purchase!

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Signing autographs.

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The main event of the night was the Tea Ceremony performance held in our front window using all works made or found by Masanobu Ando.

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A very special Tea canister made by a monk from a famous Buddhist sect over 300 years ago. This particular Buddhist sect made everything including their own plates, clothing, furniture. Essentially anything needed, they relied only on themselves, a commitment very similar to the American Shaker movement. This style of tea canister has been replicated by a famous lacquer-ware artist around 100 years ago, but the one Mr. Ando brought with him is an original.

He went on to say this canister is the inspiration for his silver glazed objects. What an honour!

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Adding hot water to the bowl.

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The bowl is incredibly raw and powerful.

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Gaining an audience out front.

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Maple sweets.

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Little Anzu got to sit with his mother Amy to share the moment.

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Taking his sip.

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A fantastic evening, thank you again for everyone who came out for the exhibition!

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I had a chance to add a lot of items from the exhibition to our website this morning, although most of them we only have 1 item each so if you have your eye on something please let me know as it will only be available for a short time.

Here is the link to our webstore.

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Chanoyu: A solo exhibition for Masanobu Ando

May 31st, 2014

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Thursday night we hosted our second solo exhibition with Japanese potter Masanobu Ando. We were very happy to see so many familiar faces coming to greet Mr. Ando again during his second visit. Thank you very much for making him feel at home.

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One of the only sculptures in the exhibition, a “box of air”.

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During the exhibition we had a focus on Tea Ceremony tools, and the center of the Tea Ceremony is the Chawan or Tea Bowl.

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A tea whisk stand, and cloth holder.

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I really love these silver glazed ceramic trays, and wanted one for myself but alas they sold right away.

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A torch shaped wall vase, such a symbol for humanity it’s something every ancient society has in common.

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Maybe some of our favourite pieces in the show are these large scale wall-mounted flower vases.

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Flower plates.

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A “Coffee Ceremony” Chabako. All of the beautiful implements fit in the gorgeous bamboo basket below.

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A specially made Tea box with objects made or commissioned by Mr. Ando. Sorry this also sold right away.

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For a limited time, full sets of coffee cups!

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A unique Mizusashi with a geometric handle (a water jar used in the Tea Ceremony).

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Amazing ceramic pedestals for serving food or display.

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A special edition of the coffee funnel in a silver glaze.

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Mr. Ando performed a special Tea Ceremony in our front window. People crowded around him from the inside and wrapped all around the front window. It was quite the spectacle, I wish I took some pictures! If you have any, please send some to me.

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A close up of some of the special Tea Utensils, I’m sorry none of these are for sale.

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Please let us know if you see anything you might be interested in.

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