Crafts And Artisans: Setting The Scene

The man is bent over his workbench, his movements are precise, slow but wide. 

He carries the stories of his ancestors, generation after generation mastering this art, both unalterable and timeless, but also terribly modern in our fast-paced societies.

In front of him, a heterogeneous mix of self-made tools.

And an object in the making.

He has repeated his movements thousands of times, until they were near perfect(he says he is still learning!).

We are looking, hypnotised. 

We do not speak the same language, but this encounter does not need words. 

We hold the finished object in our hands.

We feel the full strength of the gestures and of the love that was placed into its making. 

In turn, we become the memory transmitter.

This object, its story, this man, these tools, this suspended time somewhere far from home, will come back with us. 

We will learn to know it, to tame it. 

And every day, walking past the chimney on top of which the object will stand proud, we will remember this miraculous moment during which the travel became more than a travel, discovering somebody else, another soul, another life, who offered a small piece of himself through his work. 

It is not only a souvenir we have brought back, but also a piece of eternity. 

And this scene can repeat itself. 

In other locations: Kyoto, Bagan, Jaipur, Thimphu, Hanoi, Icheon, Bali, Chiang Mai…

With other materials: clay, lacquer, wood, metal, silk organza, wool…

Through other tools: fire, brush, mallet, loom, needle…

With other artisans/artists/master craftsmen and women, carrying this passion and their hands, the most beautiful and intelligent tool ever, to create these objects.

A guide in French to Kyoto's crafts and design addresses