Carry the power to create within yourself. Visit the atelier of the wood carving artist “Umano Hanamuke” (Part 2)

STORY | 2024/02/16

Finally, we get to see Yuri carving wood. Depending on the work, he may use newly purchased trees, but for many of his works, he uses trees grown on his property, or trees that have been pruned and cared for by neighbors. I hold my breath and stare at the carving on its back.

There was a tree growing outside the window, and I don't think I was the only one who felt a dizzying shock at the power of being able to create everyday tools and forms of living things from a single piece of wood. . I usually look at trees, too. Still, when I looked at this tree, I felt a deep tremor in my heart as I realized that I had never thought that I could create something with my hands.

"I'm sure Yuri-san can see it. She's someone who can create anything. She's like a magician."

Toyuki says.

I think so, too. And that magic is not created by oneself, but by quietly observing the patterns and designs that have been passed down from all over the world, the changes in nature, the soft fur of animals, and thinking about what you will create from now on. It seemed like he was trying to create something by thinking seriously and asking questions to the world. The responsibility and joy of creating. Only this person, in this time, and in this place, can create this work, which has the phantom-like fluctuation of its hands.

Buttons and wooden patterns made for YUKI FUJISAWA's Aran sweaters are lined up in rows. Fish, sheep, horses, birds, bees, flowers... After visiting this place, I realized that these patterns are not just superficial, but buttons that are like time capsules that remember this space and time. It's arrived.

“I was surprised by the idea of ​​using wooden molds for ceramic buttons.”

said Yuri, sounding impressed and talking to me with amusement. Although wooden molds have been used to stamp sweets, this is the first time they have been used as buttons. The two had repeatedly discussed adjusting the depth of the engraving for when the buttons would be sold separately in the fall. If Yuki and Yuri's lives had not intersected here, the Tsuyame love on this button would not have been born. I gently caress the smooth texture that transports time into the future.

"When I'm carving a horse, I'm thinking about the horse, and when I'm carving an angel, I'm thinking about the angel."

Yuri-san said with soft, yet core-like eyes. In a world where everything is often distributed without knowing exactly where it came from, we appreciate the preciousness of knowing that the buttons that decorate your chest came from this atelier and were made with care and love. think. What words can I use to describe the reassuring feeling of being able to decorate my heart with a button that was carved by someone who carved it while thinking about horses and angels?

Once again, we moved to the kitchen/dining table for the last cup of tea before heading home. Yuki-san put out on a plate a cookie prototype made from the same wooden mold as the "Uma no Hanamuke" button that she was planning to serve at the Aran Sweater's unveiling party. Wooden molds, buttons, and cookies. Different items with the same pattern line up nicely and look cute.

"Can I have coffee?"

We all said in unison that we wanted to drink some coffee, and the coffee that Yuri brewed for us had a mellow, silky texture. It was very drinkable. I heard that they roast their own roasts. He also apparently built a roasting machine.

In Kibi, around the time of the coronavirus outbreak, there was a bit of a boom among the neighbors to make their own roasting machines and roast their own roasts. Apparently I searched on YouTube for instructions on how to make it. Around this time, I tried to calm myself down by telling myself that Yuri-san and the others would at least roast the food.

This is because I felt that there was something wrong with being continually surprised by someone's daily life, just because it was different from your own. However, when I heard that they had created a roasting machine, my cells started to crackle, and I felt a deep sense of wonder that roasting machines could be made, and just hearing the story gave me the strength to live. It seemed like that.

The time to say farewell approaches as the dining table is covered with a gingham check cloth. One of the tulips that had been planted was tightly tucked away, and the other was very open. Both were incredibly beautiful. Tulips, buttons made by Yuki and Yuri, wooden molds, cookies, Donegal Yarns wool, coffee, objects, shiitake mushrooms, kiwis, the knife used to cut kiwis, Kulfi, and humans. , I can't compare their value, and I don't even think about comparing them. In this place, it was easy to believe that everything was equally powerful. This feeling is difficult to feel in everyday life in the urban area of ​​Tokyo, where I currently live, although it depends on the person.

I think this is probably because in Yuri's life, there is no sense of humans controlling or unilaterally consuming trees, animals, or trees. For example, just like turning a piece of wood into anything, we live together by drawing out the best of each other, without underestimating the power that resides in things, without overlooking them, and by cooperating with each other. There is a skill, perspective, and courage needed to maintain that kind of mutual relationship between humans and other things.

``Living in the countryside gives you the strength to live,'' Horotto Yuri said, adding, ``Living in the city gives you the feeling of being alive...of course you do, but sometimes you feel like you don't. ” Yuki said. For the past few years, I've been thinking about the balance between the appeal of living in a convenient place and sharing in the riches that others create, and the balance between not sacrificing one's ability to create.

What I felt most when looking at Yuri's life was the thought, ``I wish I could live like this.'' For now, I am still living in Tokyo, thinking that if I could store more wealth within myself rather than just outsourcing my wealth, I might be able to live in a place other than the city. I'm on hold, but how do I want to live from now on?

``I'm moving because I want to build more things. Also, I want to live with more animals.If I rent, I can't really build the house the way I want.''

Saying that, on the way home, Yuri showed me a handmade basket she had woven from fluffy pussy willow branches that she had pruned at her parents' house.

He originally studied painting and was on the path to becoming an art teacher in his hometown. However, from there, he wanted to create more freely, so he discovered wood carving and began working as an artist. When it comes to wood carving, she said, ``It's just carving,'' but the act of carving gives the feeling of sincerely accepting with open arms the transition and accumulation of the world. The weight of Kulfi's body as he flies and throws himself into the air while trusting the world, is sculpted as if he is holding on to his life each time.

Rather than just thinking abstractly about things far away, we focus our five senses and intellects on the close-up life here and now. While working diligently with his hands, he also loves books and music created by others, and while thinking, he creates a form of life that is uniquely his own.

In a seemingly quiet life in the mountains, the world created by people who never give up and create what they truly love is like an imaginary kingdom depicted in ``Uma no Hanamuke.'' I accepted it as a normal world.

It is very important to create a world where people can share their experiences without denying that they can't do it. A society predicated on ``can do'' risks exploiting the lives of individuals in an efficiency-oriented society, and alienates those who have been excluded from a system that assumes normative ``ordinary'' people. Because it continues. I hope that each of us will learn about our own inabilities and value loose relationships in which we support and help each other.

Knowing this, I also want to gradually increase the things I can do in my life. That would seem to contradict what I just said, but I won't do it. This is because I believe that in order to keep society running smoothly, we are often made to feel that we cannot do it. For example, in a world where various types of manufacturing are divided for mass production, it becomes difficult to see the ``creation process.'' Because we don't know about it, we feel that it's far away from us, that we can't do it, or that it's irrelevant.

However, when I saw Yuri's life with wood carving, I wanted to not only reach out to the desires that were given to me, but also think about the shape of what I wanted and carve wood. I wanted to build a hut someday. Of course, I can't make it the same way as Yuri. That's fine. I don't want to be able to compare myself to others or be intimidated by what I can do, but rather to be able to do the smaller things in life that I thought I didn't have to do. It's okay if you can't do it "well". That thrilling feeling you get when you come up with a plan that you think you might want to build or that you might be able to do.

It's certainly not limited to handicrafts. Where do you live? Who do you live with? What do you like? What do you want to spend your time valuing? The object that you wish to create will also lead you to think about the way you want to live your life. I think the kind of world I would like to live in is one where people are not made to believe that they are what they are, and where they can create the happiness they desire and never have to give up on the question of how to achieve that.

You can either make it or listen to the process of making it. Paying close attention to the places where things are created leads to respect for the people who make them, to being able to value the things that are made more, and more to the point, it leads to a resolution to the world. There are clues to regaining a sense of living in familiar places that you can touch with your hands. This is a treasure that I discovered through my journey in diary production, meeting people who make things with their own hands.

The day I went to see Yuri-san, how would I live my life from now on? It was such a long slant that gave me the seeds of this question and blessed me with my journey towards a better life.

Ah, that's right, I suddenly felt a realization come to me and I took a deep breath. This button that decorates the sweater itself is the ``Uma no Hanamuke.'' <To celebrate the future of a departing person, send them off by giving gifts and having a feast.> This button prays and watches over the journey of each person's life as they begin their daily journey.


Words: Yume Nomura

Photo: Masumi Ishida