I`ve had an amazing first few days of my residency. My aim for my time here is simple, too work closely with local craftspeople to come up with some new products that can be constructed using local tools and timber, that will appeal to a modern urban market. I`m a firm believer in moving production, where possible, away from giant factories and back into the hands of small businesses and individuals.
A trip to the beautiful museum near Hida station will reveal that there are many small souvenirs and products already available, but, whilst they are lovely, many haven`t been redesigned in 50 or more years. Also many of the items available; bowls, spoons etc. are also produced in abundance in other similar areas of Japan. Before coming up I took a little research tour round some craft markets in Tokyo, and one can see a lot of the same thing coming in from different areas. I want to help develop some unique Hida products that could stand out from the crowd.
I came up armed with lots of early sketches for simple products. After a few great meetings we selected a couple of concepts to move forward with. We are now in the process of developing and testing, taking advantage of Fabcafes fab facilities, 3D printing etc!
Eager to explore and understand the area as much as possible whilst here, I dove into the mountains yesterday afternoon. The hike up to the peak, via a beautiful shrine, was fairly grueling, but absolutely worth it for the spectacular view over this town, which nestles cosily between a range of tall wood covered mountains. We got hopelessly, wonderfully lost on the way down, and had plenty of opportunity to admire the abundance of stately, healthy trees that have made this area such a hot bed of carpentry since ancient times.