Table Art – Coasters and Lanterns

11 March 2015 Posted by Marion

“People hang their pictures high up on the walls, but they place their objects for everyday use close to them and take them in their hands.” – Soetsu Yanagi

The great Japanese philospher and founder of the Mingei (folk craft movement), Yanagi was a profound voice in appreciating beauty in the ordinary. His words and philosophy have also inspired the ’embracing of imperfection’ as a zeitgeist of many contemporary creators of handmade metalware, glass-blowing, leatherwork, ceramics and other natural materials. 

When creating the new line of coasters, Alex was reminded of the Yanagi quote above and approached the design as an opportunity to make something beautiful to admire, hold in one’s hands and to use in everyday life. Approaching the coasters flat surface as a mini canvas that needed to withstand frequent use and constant contact with liquids, he turned to lacquer, parchment and rock crystal for their natural durability.  By adding the refined technique of eggshell inlay to the lacquer, staining the parchment with an organic pattern before applying a strong lacquer and allowing the natural imperfections of rock crystal shine, the materials are elevated to refined crafted objects that will be enjoyed in the hand and by the eye.   

The Ovid coaster’s exquisitely detailed and hand-made mosaic of eggshell is inlayed with black lacquer and rimmed in polished pewter that will dull over time. The shape of the coaster is oval and the eggshell disc is round – the yoke within the egg.  The underside is teakwood and the top surface is finished with a natural stain resistant coat.  A set includes 4 coasters and comes in a box of burnt wood that is elegantly made to contain the coasters in a single position so they stack nicely. 

The hexagonal shaped Manata coasters are crafted from parchment.  The parchment is rubbed with dye to create a varied monochrome effect that also highlights the grain that is unique to the material.  A gentle lift along two edges makes the coasters easy to handle and is reminiscent of an ancient scroll.  The undersurface is teakwood and finished with a natural stain resistant coat.  Set includes four uniquely patterned coasters that come in a diamond-shaped box of burnt wood.

Our hand-cut rock crystal Glace Coasters.

This new line of coasters is not the first time Alex has drawn inspiration from the idea of making something beautiful to admire, hold in one’s hand and use in everyday life.  The Scholar’s gift collection has several pieces such as the Nocturne Lantern and the Essay Lantern that exemplify this concept.  You can read more about them here.  

Nocturne Lantern made of rock crystal and bronze base.
Essay Lantern crafted from rock crystal, gold leaf and a bronze base.
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