KoLe Shikoku, Japan

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How the New Things were Born : one afternoon of our curator

I am a product curator of KoLe SHIKOKU Japan. When you read the sentence, what type of work did you imagine that I do? Here is one of my typical afternoons. I believe one unique thing of being KoLe Curator is the relationship with our artisans and creators. Some say it is unnecessary, but I find it is important and very efficient. Why not find out if what you imagined and what I do is the same?  

KoLe Curator: SATOKO


Mentioned On this article : KUDE-SHOUJI & Artisan Takashi Morimoto

If you are not familiar with what is KUDE-SHOUJI or who is Takashi Morimoto check these articles.


Precious & Productive Time Being with Them

“Do you wanna film our new project?”

This day, I got a message from the wife of Mr.Morimoto the our listed artisan. She told me that Mr.Morimoto had started working on a new project of KUDE-SHOUJI. And she asked me if I am interested in taking video of its production. So, I jumped on the offer.

When I got there, I found Mr.Morimoto cutting wood pieces for the KUDE-SHOUJI at his factory. He told me that his wife is assembling the pieces at home.

When you create pattern on SHOUJI with KUDE, triangles base is used which is called MITSU-KUDE. The most common MITSU-KUDE is made of “Hinoki – Japanese cypress”. The natural color of Hinoki is ivory. However, this time, Mr.Morimoto decided to use walnut tree for MITSU-KUDE. The natural color of walnut is dark brown. So, I knew it would look quite interesting. As soon as I heard his wife is assembling it, I knew I must film it!

My first intention was to drop by their factory and home to film video for 30 minutes at the most. But looking at the assembly of KUDE is quite addictive. I ended up helping the assembly, as usual.

Just Filming to Helping to Brainstorming

During filming or helping, we always chat about pretty much anything. It usually starts from exchanging what we have been doing and what we are going to do next each other, then we talk about future we want, interesting people we met, the unique ideas we have come up with, sometimes unharmful gossip, the problem we have and so on. It is really a regular conversation of working females. But funny thing is among these conversations, we always deciding on what to do next or idea for the new products in the end.

Giving Hands to Their Production

These conversations usually start unintentionally but we sometimes intentionally do meetings while I am helping on their production. Moving our hands at the same time as thinking and talking must do something good to our brain. The most doable unique ideas were born during these situations.  

KoLe has own vision of our service, but our listed artisans and creators also have their own visions. KoLe and producers are working on the vision which we can relate to each other. That is why I find it is important to spend time with artisans and artists to have chat to see any changes in their visions. Helping with their work is the best opportunity for me do so without disturbing their productions.

What I can help with them are only the things anyone can do, like counting, packing, or listing. Also, the things you need a bit of practice like this time, assembling KUDE.

By the way, creating the parts precisely can only be done by trained and skilled artisans. It takes 5 to 10 years. While Mr.Morimoto was creating pieces, Mrs.Morimoto and I were assembling the KUDE.   

Understanding Their Work Better and Deeper

I do not charge them for doing this kind of chores for their production. Because I think it is curator’s job to know better and deeper on their craft and themselves. Doing these tasks help me to understand their work better and deeper. As I mentioned what I do is only the things anyone can do. Even though what I do is a simple task, you learn so much more compare to just looking at completed products or its production.

This time, I helped filling MITSU-KUDE by assembling each parts, I learnt that creating MITSU-KUDE by Hinoki and walnuts are slightly different, there are a few ways to create “ASANOHA; one type of pattern” parts and other things. While I am handling the pieces, I notice things which I have never wondered before. Even just packing their products, I have chance to ask questions to the artisan or his wife. The things I would never have wondered if I had no chance helping them.

I Owe It to You to Fully Inform the Stories

The products I curate have a lot of stories on the products themselves or the producers. I curate items or/and artisans & creators because I was moved by those stories. They made me see things differently or realize things I thought ordinary are beautiful things. I could just take photos and videos of the products, measure the size and list what these are made of. But each product has so much more to know. I think I owe it to you to inform these stories so that you can have more information to judge the product from.  


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