| Well Made | Chopsticks

These are our new everyday chopsticks.

Hiro’s grandmother bought these for us and we promised her that we would use them everyday. Yet had we not made this pledge, ‘everyday’ is is not a word that I would place anywhere near these chopsticks.

These chopsticks are a celebration of handmade craftwork. Hand carved of wood to exacting proportions and balance. Hand varnished with delicate layers of notoriously  hard to work with lacquer. As simple as they appear, more than 50 individual processes have gone into making these. 

Lacquerware comes straight from the soul of Japanese traditional craft. There are many regional expressions of lacquer work and these are an example of baka-nuri which translates as ‘stupid lacquer’. ‘Stupid’ because many layers of lacquer are applied then sanded down before the next application. The initial thought is that it is stupid to do this. The result is a formidably tough and durable lacquer.

Furthermore, Japanese lacquer is not something that just anyone can work with. Although it is a natural substance derived from the sap of the Toxicidendron Vernicifluum tree, in its liquid form, the sap is caustic and toxic to humans. It takes years of experience to be able to build up a tolerance to the substance as well as being able to apply it skilfully  It does eventually harden to a clear, safe and waterproof protective finish. 

Using something this special everyday to eat our often humble meals is uplifting and gratifying. We think of Hiro’s grandparents each time we place them on our table and we just cannot help but marvel at the quality, the fine workmanship and the refined beauty of the chopsticks. 

I have a terrible habit of thinking that some things are ‘too good to use’ and so I often secret things away where sometimes they are forgotten and go unused. Had we not promised to use these daily, they may have suffered a similar fate and been tucked away safely for special meals that may not have happened. What a great shame it would be to hide them away unseen and unused as they were intentionally made to be. 

* Hiro’s grandmother bought these from Ginza Natsuno. Ginza Natsuno stock more than 3000 types of chopsticks all of which are handmade by craftsmen from different regions of Japan. She asked the sales assistant of the most resilient pair that they had and they recommended these chopsticks from Aomori in North Japan. 

We ❤️ well made things. See more HERE