Inspired Shapes: Contemporary Designs for Japan's Ancient Crafts
Author Koyama collects representative examples of Japan's current arts and crafts movement in this stylish collection of meticulous workmanship. Organized by medium, Koyama gives a brief overview of the significance of a particular material-bamboo, metal, textiles, wood-in Japanese culture and highlights key pieces, focusing on utilitarian items (although tapestries and a whimsical pop-art sake set also work their way in) such as stacking dinner boxes, screens, trays, mats and sake servers that, though steeped in tradition, have been retooled, updated or otherwise influenced by modern needs and sensibilities. Beautiful in and of themselves, many of the works are made even more stunning by photographer Kuwata, whose use of close ups and unique angles allow the reader to get a much better feel for the craftsmanship of each piece. Koyama has also included biographies and contact information for each of the featured artists, presumably so readers can acquire a work for themselves, but some may conclude this is a dressed-up catalog.