Interview with Ecological Memes


This week Ecological Memes, a group interesting in the restoration of the relationship between human & non-human life, recently came to Keihoku to interview co-founder of Perspective, Sachiko Takamuro.

You can read the full article here in Japanese

Below is an English summary of the article:

Background to Forest of Craft project

Sachiko got into kougei (Japanese craft) while she was living in Montreal where she came across a book about Japanese craft that described it as a way of acknowledging the gods in all natural things. After she got home from Montreal, she set up a brand called Monomo which sold craft items and shared the stories behind them with a global audience. She defines the essence of kougei by the following three factors: an occupation that goes beyond time; a creation that goes beyond the individual and a process that blurs the line between humans and nature. For this reason she believes that the English word 'artisan' does successfully express the same nuance as the Japanese word 'shokunin'.

Connecting Kougei to the environment

Through she involvement with the domestic craft industry Sachiko became more and more interested in the contexts and environments from which these crafts arise. In the modern world where humans are increasingly isolated from nature and the natural materials that support their lifestyles. Sachiko felt there was a need to reconnect these two worlds again by creating a community of makers, not only craft but also the tools that people rely on to make those crafts that was close to nature. This was the concept behind Forest of Craft: to close the loop from planting the materials for craft, maintaining them before harvest and making objects that are then also maintained and repaired over the long span of their life.

Commitment to place

Sachiko talks about how she has gradually become more rooted to Keihoku and how that changed how she thinks about things. She talks about how she first strongly felt rooted when she planted Forest of Craft's first round of urushi trees and the sense of responsibility that brought. She also discusses how she started to really get a sense of vernacular design - defined as something born out of a harmonizing between the land and person. This is what lead to the creation of Fab Village Keihoku (FVK) which she imagined as a place to make things one needs in daily like, while situated close to nature. Fab Labs are often associated with digital fabrication but FVK also provides a space more more traditional types of making which are more compatible with the concept of vernacular design.

Learning tool for designers

Sachiko believes that learning about Kougei, techniques, the connection to the land, the connections between people that are necessary to produce things is valuable for designers. She is collaborating on a material flow survey with Atsuro Morita from Osaka University Ethnography Lab.

Based local - facing global

Having a maker space in countryside close to nature was not in order to engage the local community more, but rather to look for solutions to global problems at the local level. One of the projects being lead by the other founder of Perspective, Takuya Tsutsumi is a wooden surfboard making workshop in an old barn. Many people came to help renovate the barn which drew in even more visitors some of which offer up materials for use. This is a good example for how Sachiko envisions FVK to blend into and become a part of the local region