Chanoyu Stories is the pursuit of exquisite artistry in Japanese artisanal craftsmanship and the exploration of Chanoyu which is the cornerstone of all Japanese art and culture, such as Ikebana and poetry.
The literal translation of “Chanoyu” is “hot water for tea”. Through the philosophy of the Tea Ceremony, Japanese ceramics touch the ideas of transience, imperfection and one’s connection with the heights of the nature that surrounds them.
The incredible know-how of master artisans, often family run ceramic ateliers, has been passed down several generations. Often in hidden, discreet locations in Japan, the artisans studios are part of a subculture of often unreachable, elite craftsmen.
Their works are at the intersection of ancient Chanoyu craftsmanship and modernity, resulting in exquisite, otherworldly objects made with the utmost thought and consideration for every detail, and made to be used in everyday life.
Their works are naturally environmentally sustainable in that there is zero waste and the materials used are all derived from the earth in each ceramicist’s region. The focus on their workshops preservation and sustainability rather than producing in large volumes is also a reason why they maintain their stability in their craft.
As the seasons change slowly, there is also a pace and rhythm to craftsmanship that is slow and methodical. There is no mass production and the artisan often works with only a few people in the workshop, sometimes by themselves. The process of making each piece one by one is a form of beauty in and of itself where only the artist is able to create the pieces, and hence the pieces are scarce and valuable.
We aim to uncover the stories of these artisans and their universe in the frame of their craft, bridging the gap between what is often considered an enigmatic part of Japanse craftsmanship and the international audience’s fascination with Japanese culture.
Chanoyu Stories was created by Rie Yamagata and Kana Ando. Rie was born in Los Angeles and is currently founder and creative director of the clothing brand Rhié with a boutique in the West Village, Manhattan. Kana Ando was born in Kanagawa and has honed her keen eye for beautiful objects as a buyer for luxury multi brand boutiques and is currently a branding consultant.
Their longtime friendship and combined pursuit of sharing the rich wisdom of artisanal culture in Japan as they know it made way for Chanoyu Stories.
Follow our journey @chanoyustories