Thursday…with Niwaki and a Japanese aesthetic ( and giveaway! )

September 17, 2015

Filed Under : Autumn - collaborations - ikebana - short poem films - Summer

Photo 10-08-2015 18 17 41When I was asked by topiary expert Jake Hobson who is the owner of Niwaki; ( a company who imports amazing Japanese products into the UK ) , if I would take some shots of some of their beautiful products, I knew I’d love them before I’d seen any of them as the Japanese aesthetic is very close to my artistic heart, but I wasn’t quite expecting to fall in love with everything he sent me…including a hand forged axe and a golden spade!

Japanese gardens are landscapes; microcosms of nature, and the trees are all shaped to fit into those landscapes. The name Niwaki (ni-whacky) means ‘garden tree’, but as ever within Japanese culture, it implies far more than just that, which is the very reason behind the company’s name…it implies more than one thing…

Jake spent time working in Japan and is married to Keiko who is Japanese, so unsurprisingly virtually everything on their site has been put to practical purpose by both of them at some point, and that’s basically how their range has organically grown. Jake was given a pair of Okatsune garden scissors on his first day of pruning in Japan, and is still using them today, ( and apparently everyone in Japan who gardens has a pair of Okatsune secateurs too! ).

So you can probably gauge by now how exciting it was to discover and investigate everything I was going to shoot…
Photo 10-08-2015 18 24 43I’m a very practical person, and live in a sort of indoor/outdoor way at home…inside the house I always have to feel connected to the outside, so ( much to the chagrin of my partner when he comes round ), I have to have the back door open from the moment I get up to the moment I go to bed….whatever the season ( which doesn’t impress the cat in Winter! ).

I love popping out to the garden whenever I feel like it which often leads to impromptu pruning, digging, snipping ( often in my pyjamas ), and as I have a lifelong love of design the combination of very practical and very beautiful is my ideal…it makes the whole process of existing so much more pleasant…

My father was employed by a Japanese company most of his working life, and I was always fascinated by the gifts he was given when he came back from a trip, and the things he brought back for us…

It all seemed so different from anything you’d pick up in a cynical tourist spot over here…such care and precision had been put into every part of the product, the packaging, even the wrapping. I remember beautiful boxes containing delicate sweets and exquisite scarves for my mum, but with an aesthetic which I couldn’t quite get my head round…the designs were so alien to me ( I was heavily into Laura Ashley at the time! ), but I couldn’t ignore the quality, even aged 13…the quality of all the Japanese gifts my Dad brought back was exquisite…
Photo 10-08-2015 18 05 19So, for this shoot I wanted to echo the beauty of the hand made, the practical, the homely, and then combine it with my own style and a sense of the Japanese aesthetic… ( you can have a look at my Wabi Sabi board on Pinterest here )

Niwaki started off with just gardening tools but then extended their range to incorporate beautiful products for around the home…so below you can see what I came up with bearing all this in mind…Photo 10-08-2015 18 22 25Above: Okatsune-ikenobo scissors 

Below: Hontane scissors…Photo 10-08-2015 18 23 30Photo 10-08-2015 18 21 05Above: Okatsune-ikenobo scissors 

Below: Hontane scissors…Photo 10-08-2015 18 31 57Photo 31-08-2015 18 39 32Above: Okatsune Koryu Scissors 

Below: Japanese Wakasaya-bonsai Scissors
Photo 31-08-2015 18 40 56Photo 31-08-2015 18 41 07below: Japanese Saitaro Tailor’s shears
Photo 31-08-2015 19 08 55Photo 05-08-2015 17 19 22above: Japanese Fabric Snips
below: Japanese Hand Forged Tweezers
Photo 13-08-2015 11 31 45
Photo 13-08-2015 11 40 47Photo 06-08-2015 16 41 28Above and below: Japanese Yoshihide pencil sharpener
Photo 06-08-2015 16 42 18Photo 06-08-2015 16 45 26Above and below: Japanese Ikeuchi Craft Knife
Photo 06-08-2015 16 48 56Photo 13-08-2015 11 20 51Above: Kanekoma Higonokami folding knife

Below: Kotoh Folding Knife with Quince handle
Photo 20-07-2015 19 00 39Photo 21-07-2015 12 36 00above and below: Japanese Fruit Knife
Photo 21-07-2015 12 31 34Photo 05-08-2015 13 19 07Above and below: Japanese Kotodo Cans
…all these canisters are contained in the largest one; such a great example of economic and useful designPhoto 05-08-2015 13 08 43Photo 05-08-2015 13 03 50Below: Cray-Pas Colouring Crayons
Photo 05-08-2015 19 30 11One of my absolute favourite things of the whole shoot was this extraordinary Colour Encyclopaedia below, which consists of 9 different volumes of colour…( 90 artist’s pencils in total ), and which have the most poetical names and unbelievably beautiful colours like ’Sea Fog’ and ‘Pigeon Grey’ …they are undoubtably the most beautiful set of coloured pencils I have ever seen, and I keep opening them like I would a precious jewellery box. I could look at them for hours and just feel happy…to be honest I’m not sure if I could actually bring myself to use them; they’re such an exquisite piece of art themselves! 
51314181927Photo 05-08-2015 16 51 04Above: Tangerine HankcachiPhoto 05-08-2015 17 24 27Above and below: Tengui Face Towels ( cherry blossom ) ( rain )  Photo 05-08-2015 17 30 55Below: Japanese Tobisho secateurs
Photo 13-08-2015 09 46 00Photo 13-08-2015 09 54 05Above: Genzo Snips

Below:  Okatsune fruit snips
Photo 13-08-2015 10 24 51Photo 13-08-2015 09 44 10Above: Japanese Tobisho secateursPhoto 13-08-2015 12 15 02Above: Japanese Sugi Tape ( bottom left )Garden Coir Twine ( centre ) and

Below: Black Japanese Shuronawa garden twine  with Red Choki scissors with Red Choki scissors ( by the way ‘choki’ in Japanese means the sound scissors make when cutting! )Photo 13-08-2015 12 08 07Photo 13-08-2015 12 01 05Photo 21-08-2015 12 54 39Photo 20-07-2015 18 25 31Above and below: Japanese Splitting Hatchet
Photo 20-07-2015 18 28 22Below: Mamiya Hand Forged Large Trowel 21-08-2015 13 00 24Photo 21-08-2015 13 20 38Photo 21-08-2015 13 02 10Below: Japanese Weeding Hoe
Photo 21-08-2015 13 28 23Photo 31-08-2015 17 17 10And last but not least one of the best spades ever…this Japanese ‘golden’ spade
Photo 31-08-2015 17 16 27
…but now briefly back to the snips, because here’s a chance to win this beautiful pair of Wakasaya garden scissors…

All you have to do is follow @niwakijake on Instagram, repost this image below from either the Niwaki account or my account over the next week ( last day for entering is next Thursday 24th September ), tagging it with @niwakijake and @5ftinf and use the hashtag #niwakiscissorsgiveaway

( You can also leave a comment here on my blog saying that you’d like to enter )Photo 16-09-2015 15 18 45

…and here they are in action!

I was so, so impressed by the quality of everything I photographed for Niwaki, and I strongly urge you to have a look at all the stuff over on Jake’s website here as a lot of the things would make the most perfect Christmas presents ( that axe for example…who wouldn’t want that in their stocking!! ), There is also a Pinterest board here with more of my images, as well as a Steller story here.

AND… Niwaki are also offereing a 10% discount on orders this month if you use the code: 5ftinfniwaki


8 thoughts on “Thursday…with Niwaki and a Japanese aesthetic ( and giveaway! )

  1. bekki

    Those scissors and snips look so good. I love the pencil sharpener. I’d like to enter the giveaway but I don’t have instagram. I’m to go and check niwaki site out.

  2. Kelly Kardos

    Yes!!!! I would LOVE to enter. I’m still going to follow and repost. I lived in Japan for 6 years. I’ve ALWAYS been fascinated how products are packaged. They are so pretty. Thank you for the opportunity to win!

  3. Carolina

    Thank for this giveaway! I have just reposted the pic in mi Instagram carolina_ferrer_ I have been looking for a pair of scissors like those for months but I didn’t find them in Barcelona!

  4. Elizabeth

    Always love your photos – so bright and colourful!
    And YES PLEASE to the scissors!
    I’ve already reposted the beautiful image on Instagram!

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