We are very excited to introduce beautiful bamboo wares by a bamboo craft artist Tamotsu Nishimoto through UGUiSU. It was last spring when we ordered some pieces from Tamotsu-san expecting to receive the items before the holiday season. We received some small baskets and bamboo weaving pattern decorations at the end of last year but we waited a little longer before these beauties were ready. It was so worth the wait - they are AMAZING.
Bamboo is one of the most characteristic plants of Japan and high quality Madake - a type of bamboo these bags are created with - are grown predominantly in Beppu City of Oita prefecture in Kyushu, where Tamotsu-san is based. Bamboo is very strong (unlike rattan although they look similar) and and it ages beautifully, if treated well these bamboo totes that are created using techniques of the Beppu Bamboo Ware - a governmentally designated traditional craft of Oita- can be enjoyed for a life-time.
This time we have two different types of the bamboo baskets with leather handles.
One is larger and beautiful rounder shape which you can carry on your shoulder.
The larger one fits a 13-inch Mac book pro perfectly by width and it still lets many more daily necessities inside to carry around. It would also be a great picnic basket to carry a bottle of wine, glasses and some food.
The smaller one is square shaped and it is quite a beau.
These are much more compact and perfect to carry your wallet, small camera, phone, books, etc for any outing casual or formal. As you can see both designs are available in two colours for the leather handles: dark blue (navy) and natural which will turn lovely brown as you use.
WHY ARE THEY SO EXPENSIVE?
They may not be so reasonably priced. But not only it requires skilled techniques to craft these beauties it requires so much effort and time in preparing the materials. Tamotsu-san explained to us that the material preparation is as complex and important as the actual knitting and weaving. The preparation includes cutting of bamboo, dry oil extraction, splitting and stripping, shaving and beveling to make the thin strips of bamboo ready for crafting.
The well crafted bamboo bags are very strong and durable, you can use them for decades or even a life time to pass on to the next generation if treated well. The bamboo will age beautifully and it will turn lovely brown colour in 10-20 years. So it may not be felt so expensive after all, if the bag can be enjoyed for a life time.
Leather handles can be replaced along the way, you may like to change the colour of the leather. The bags can also be repaired if needed. (Shipping to Japan and back will be paid by customer.)
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Tamotsu Nishimoto produces beautiful bamboo wares -bags and baskets for everyday use- in Beppu, Oita prefecture. Originally from Chiba a neighbor prefecture of Tokyo, after working for an electronic manufacturing company Tamotsu moved to Beppu to be trained for bamboo ware making and became a bamboo craft artist and started his own brand Tamotsu Seisakujo Bamboo Works in 2010. His signature items are the bamboo basket totes with leather handles, which are unique amongst many other bamboo baskets created all over Japan. People order his bags at his exhibitions and events all over Japan even though the wait can be 6 months or sometimes more.
Oita is the number one producer of madakeJapanese timber bamboo and Beppu bamboo ware is a governmentally designated traditional craft of Oita.