Wood artist Maeda Mitsuru strongly believes that the special beauty of wood is only achieved after repeated use. He strives to make his designs as simple and utilitarian as possible to encourage continued use by the owner. “I create things that are used everyday so I hope that people grow to love them more as they use them.” He says.
As a young boy, Maeda-san spent many hours carving wood at the workshop of his uncle who was a carpenter. His mother also enjoyed making things by hand, so he grew up in this practical and creative environment and it was only natural for him to eventually become a wood artist. Maeda-san has now been working with wood for more than 15 years from his studio in Tokyo.
Maeda-san’s care for his work is evident in the beautiful lines and slight but elegant curves that he adds to each item with a carving knife. He carves the spoons so they are easy to scoop and extremely comfortable to hold, while the spouts on his bowls never dribble. “Each piece of wood is unique, so I look at their grain and consider their quality before deciding what I make out of them” Maeda-san says.
I have been using one of Maeda-san’s wooden spoons for a while now to taste as I cook. The spoon never leaves my coat pocket as I move around the kitchen and is ideal because the wood does not slip even when my hands are wet, nor does it get hot when I pour boiling sauce on it to taste.
Apart from tableware, Maeda-san also makes custom-made furniture at his studio in Tokyo called “ki-to-te”, which means “wood and hand”. I think it is such an apt name for his handmade work and his wish that his wooden creations never leave the hands of their owners.