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Product
​Concept 

The design concept for this set of utensils was based on the wish for reusable portable cutlery that could be used for years, eliminating the need for disposable cutlery and plastic straws either when ordering take-out food or to use when eating out. 

 1. Keep them handy in your purse or briefcase

 2. Personal value grows with each use

 3. Warm, natural finish

 4. Rustic, “wabi sabi” beauty increases over time

 5. Can be repaired to extend the lifespan 

 6. Passes on the local culture and traditional arts and crafts

 7. Supports local freelance creators and working mothers

These products are designed to shift consumer behavior from a mindset of mass consumption and mass waste that prioritizes low value and convenience, where similar products are overflowing all over the world that are made at the expense of people in developing countries as well as the earth's resources to one where products we use have personal value, and inspire our commitment to long-term use of them.

They are also designed with the purpose to transmit the techniques and spirit that have been passed down through the ages while changing form, based on local culture and history.

Kamakura-bori
kamakura-bori, or Kamakura-style woodwork, is the name given to the technique of carving wood and applying lacquer that was developed in Kamakura in the 1800s.

Lacquer is the made from the sap of the Japanese lacquer tree. When it dries and hardens, it creates a strong, protective coating and since ancient times, it has been used as a natural waterproofing and adhesive agent.

Although lacquerware products are found throughout Asia, Kamakura-bori is unique in its technique involving the entire process from carving the object to the multiple application of lacquer to its surface.
This technique is said to have its roots in the Buddhist sculptures and tools introduced by the warriors of Kamakura along with Zen Buddhism as it was imported from China in the Sung dynasty (960-1279), and was originally created by sculptors of Buddhist statuary.
This technique has been handed down to the present day in the form of Kamakura-bori.
 

When the top surface becomes worn from use, instead of taking on a damaged appearance, since the lacquer is applied in several layers, the layers beneath the surface will emerge. And since the color of the lacquer varies depending on the layer, this gives the items a new character.

Also, if any of the items breaks, they can be repaired to working condition. 

 

This cutlery set is crafted by members of the Kamakura-bori Wood Carving Coorporative Association, who slice the pieces of wood from a plank, carve the patterns, and apply the lacquer in several layers. The entire process takes a couple of months and several craftsmen to complete the "made in Kamakura" products.

Design

1) "Ya-bane" ("Feathered Arrow")  (Standard design)

Samurai warriors used the bow and arrow not only as weapons but also as sacred objects to deliver prayers to the gods. Equestrian archery, or "Yabusame," is a type of ancient art in which arrows are shot while riding horseback, which has been passed down to the present as a Shinto ritual.

 

The pattern of ya-bane, or "feathered arrow," carved into the cutlery is a symbol of the courage to face new challenges, protection against evil, and the samurai spirit of Kamakura. 

2) "Nami" ("Wave")  (Limited quantity)

"Nami" has a pale blue pattern expressing the sea.

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Serial number

The year of production and serial numbers are handwritten by the craftsman on the chopsticks.  

By encoding each set with its own unique number, we hope that even as time goes by, the memory of when you acquired these chopsticks will remain. Perhaps you may pass them down to your grandchildren, who will see the date and be surprised how long they have remained in such good condition under your care. 

Included in the set is a drinking straw. These are not produced by the methods of Kamakura-bori, since the process of hollowing out wood would have been difficult. Thus, the straws are made from bamboo from Miyagi Prefecture in the Tohoku region.

The straws are custom made by a lacquerware artist who coats the bamboo straws with lacquer.

 

Since the bamboo is cut and lacquered by hand, each piece is unique in shape, thickness, and positioning of the bamboo joint, giving each its own unique character.

A special brush is also provided to clean the inside of the straw after each use.

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Canvas fabric

The canvas is manufactured at a cloth factory in Hiroshima, Japan, in which the fabric is made from raw cotton into thread, which is then woven to make the cloth

In today’s world, each process is done at the different factories or workers but this factory in Hiroshima does all by themselves.

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"Hon-aizome" Authentic Indigo Dye

Hand-dyed fabric at a nearby kusaki-zome (plant dyeing) studio by our CEO. 

The authentic indigo dyeing process is both time-consuming and labor-intensive, requiring the fermentation of indigo leaves and proper temperature control in vats.

Because of the time it takes to dye naturally, many so-called "indigo dyed" products today use chemical substances.

 

The dye for this pouch expresses the beauty and essence of the indigo plant fermented by the vitality of microorganisms. In ancient times, indigo was thought to have antiseptic and hemostatic effects, and is thus it was favored by samurai warriors in ancient Japan, who wore clothing items dyed with indigo. 

"Sanada-himo" woven silk cord

The cord that wraps the pouch to bind it when it is rolled up is a pure silk Sanada-himo made by a craftsman of long standing in KyotoSanada-himo is a flat cord made by weaving silk or cotton warp and weft yarns, and it is known as a strong and durable cord that does not easily stretch.

 

Samurai warriors used them to wrap sword hilts and fasten armor and harnesses.

It is also used to wrap paulownia boxes and as obi clasps for kimonos.

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Sewing production

Women who are freelance pattern-makers and tailors in the community who are raising children are given priority for the work to help them balance childcare with their careers, commissioning the sewing work on a contractual basis.

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Kamakura-bori
 (Kamakura-style wooden hand-carved lacquerware)
Cutlery Set

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