Saga prefecture is home to diverse traditional crafts, including ‘Arita-yaki’, the most renowned type of Japanese porcelain. But it is also the base for many innovative product designers.
Saga’s wealth of arts and crafts, as well as its geography — it is close to Deshima, Japan’s sole trading post during its 200 years of isolation — surely had a large role to play in its 400 years of export trade. The Netherlands, which was for a time the country’s only trading partner, was one of its largest export markets.
Unagi No Nedoko is a cultural trading company that connects customers to makers of products from both Saga prefecture and Kyushu’s Chikugo region. Instead of merely presenting or selling products, they try to educate people about their background, publishing information on the methods, materials, and processes used, as well as the culture behind them, to convey the beauty of this craft-rich area.
Saga want you to feel a connection with the area where the products were produced. They want you to get to know the crafts born from Saga’s unique landscape and history, as well as the products made by craftspeople who have been steadily building up their oeuvre there.
At MONO JAPAN they will introduce chairs from Hirata Chair Manufacture , a furniture maker from Morodomi, a town famed for its furniture production, as well as products from blacksmith Yoshida Hamono, which makes more than 3000 types of agricultural tools and knives, and also ceramics from 224 porcelain, who are putting their modern spin on the traditional Hizen-Yoshida-Yaki technique.
In addition, they will also be exhibiting a collaboration between the Netherlands and Saga: Dutch creators will paint a local traditional craft toy from Saga to introduce themselves, instead of a business card.
Finally, they will be exhibiting the results of their collaboration with Studio The Futures, with works from Thessa Meijer, Giles de Brock, KCCM and Victor Engbers, who participated in the artist-in-residence programme “Holland House” in Saga between March 2018 to January 2019.