An exhibition of traditional Japanese arts and crafts held in Osaka Umeda, May 2013.
Yusui Nakanishi~san is a blacksmith knifemaker from Okayama who works under Takeda~san of Takeda Hamono, founded in 1920. He makes beautiful kitchen knives as well as hard working outdoor knives and tools. He forges san mai blades using Hitachi blue paper super steel (high carbon alloy with vanadium). Their work is available online from their homepage, from Arizona Custom Knives, or in Canada at Knifewear and he may sometimes be found at larger knife shows in North America. He was demonstrating a simple system for home water stone sharpening of Japanese kitchen blades.
The Takeda Hamono website: http://shop.niimi.okayama.jp/kajiya/en/index.html
This particular silk production tradition began with the practice of selling the “best” cocoons and keeping the seconds for local use. Techniques and styles were developed using the silk from twinned pods, normally considered second quality and over time it has become in highest demand. The twinned cocoons have two threads instead of one and it imparts a slight irregularity to the spun and woven silk that gives a beautiful visual and tactile variation.
The material produced by these spinners and weavers is softer, lighter, and warmer than most kimono silk. More information may be found on their website: http://ushikubi.co.jp/ (in english: http://ushikubi.co.jp/english/)
Iron Clay Pottery
Hosono~san is a potter from Sado Island, known for their iron oxide rich mumyoi clay and the traditional methods of refining and working it. One of the unique features of the material are that it shrinks more than twice as much as regular clay, about 30% smaller finished size than when it is first formed. Along with a beautiful red colour and smooth surface, the finished material is very hard and rings like a bell when struck. The teapots have a leaf filter made of the same clay, perfect balance, and a completely drip-free spout.
In this video, you can see demonstrations of the hardness (1:30), shrinkage (1:45), filter (4:30), and balance (4:50) as well as some footage of throwing on the wheel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOJmhMBkRuU
An older video of another potter with a good demonstration on the qualities of a fine teapot (from around 00:20-1:00): https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FTKisk_hqlY#!
Also on the list of favorites were a cast iron tea kettle maker, a copper pot maker, a broom and a brush maker, carvers, furniture makers, and a wood turner working with rare black persimmon wood (kuro kaki).