Japanese tools for the kitchen are admired as objects of beauty. They are also practical, functioning utensils for the preparation of food. In Japan, food is a multi-sensory experience: me de taberu or ‘eat with your eyes,’ as the saying goes. Aesthetic pleasure, too, applies to the tools that produce it. This ‘beauty in use’ — yō no bi — inspires the Fuller Craft Museum’s latest exhibition opening on the 2nd of June, Objects of Use and Beauty: Design and Craft in Japanese Culinary Tools.
This show celebrates the artistry in both the design and function of objects often found in professional and domestic kitchens. The exhibition also aims to provide points of connection with these versatile wares. For what chef, Japanese or otherwise, could not enjoy the feel of a perfectly weighted knife, the warmth of a wood rice paddle, the glint of light off a hammered pot, and the textures and tastes of foods cut, sieved, grated, or simmered with such utensils?
Objects of Use and Beauty: Design and Craft in Japanese Culinary Tools will demonstrate the beauty of design and use in Japanese cooking and reveal the artistry of craftsmanship in such tools as knives, whisks, ceramic, and other important items. Videos of craftspeople at work will be included, as well as the tools themselves and narratives of their use. In addition, there will be there will be a look into a contemporary home kitchen and culinary demonstration videos.
Photography by Joanne Rathe Strohmeyer
Objects of Use and Beauty: Design and Craft in Japanese Culinary Tools, 2 June - 28 October 2018
Fuller Craft Museum, 455 Oak Street, Brockton, MA 02301
To learn more about the role of textiles in Japanese culture, you can order your copy of Selvedge issue 81; The Japan Issue here.