To those in the know, the very sight of a piece of Japanese lacquerware will send a little chill down the spine.
To those with an obsession for detail, this combination of Japanese aluminium and urushi lacquered wood is a thing of curiosity and beauty.
So much effort, care and attention has gone into creating these 16cm.
The process of creating the lacquered wood inlaid in the impeccably brushed Japanese aluminium started over 15 years ago!
The wood itself has been matured for over 15 years and comes from the "hiba" tree from Aomori which is considered as one of the three most beautiful trees in Japan. Aomori hiba is a light wood that possesses a handsome wood grain and unique aroma as well as anti-bacterial qualities and a resistance to mould and moisture.
As for the lacquer, the urushi, well that goes straight into the soul of Japanese traditional craft.
Urushi is a natural substance that is derived from the sap of the poisonous Toxicidendron Vernicifluum tree. The sap is harvested from the trunks of trees no less than 10 years old and is in fact caustic and toxic to humans. In its liquid form, the sap can cause extreme rashes. Eventually it does harden to a clear, waterproof protective finish. It can also be coloured to traditional shades of black, yellow, brown, green or red. This ruler was lacquered with a bengara (rusty red) pigment.
Furthermore lacquer from Wajima is widely regarded to be the most excellent in Japan. The Wajima-Nuri lacquering method is designated as a cultural property of great importance and is held in high esteem in Japan. My family own Wajima-nuri chopsticks that have seen decades of use and are showing no signs of deteriorating yet.
It is a very rare thing for my husband to find himself coveting something of mine (he never takes a second look at my nail polishes). Yet he has had his eye on this ruler since it arrived. He is a detail conscious fellow with a deep respect and pride of the traditional crafts of his homeland. He is also quite taken with how the ruler starts has an exact considered 5mm gap at the start and the end of the gauge and the little groove that runs underneath the ruler as this allows the user to pick the ruler up without sliding it across (and marking) the table.
I think JAPAN WORKS resonated their ethics of quality, heritage and time honoured traditions in this piece.
I hope that you can now imagine my utter delight and excitement when the lovely people from the Journal Shop sent me one to review. I cannot thank the staff enough for this wonderful gift. I am proud to have it and often look at it and think of all the processes and history that made it so beautiful. It inspires me in my work, and it appeases my soul yet it is just a ruler. At the same time it is a little ode to old Japan and modern Japan. To the soul of Japan and the pragmatic minimalism of Japan. It is unassuming, quiet, it doesn't scream for attention among the clutter of my desk but instead beckons to me like an old friend. It is a very classy thing to have.
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