Torii, Torii, Torii

Over the years our Torii side tables have been a very popular item. It has been 12 years since I designed and made my first set for an enthusiastic client who posed a very open brief, “just have some fun” she said. That first set was in lacewood with walnut details, since then we have sold them to clients in Britain and Europe.

This black walnut set was the second set made. Each one has been slightly different in terms of the timber combinations. Below is a more recent incarnation in bleached sycamore with stainless steel details.

Syc Torii Detail 3Torii AMBW De

The numbers around Torii tables seem to make sense, over 12 years we will have made an edition of 12 pairs. (I say ‘pairs’, but there is an exception to that rule, one client did commission a set of 3 – the only set of of 3!) Last year we made another 3 pairs: in pippy elm, elm and cherry. I’m planning to stop at 12 sets in 2012 so just one more set and that will be that. I do feel a bit sad about it, but at the same time it feels right to limit the numbers, otherwise they won’t be special to me anymore.

I’ve been thinking hard about what to make that 12th set out of, it needs to be something special, something fitting. I’m not going to say what that is, but it will be here on display during Dorset Art Weeks 2012 , (DAW) at the Courtyard Gallery and Workshops, from the 26th June to 10th June.

The ‘Torii’ design has a strong emotional connection for me, a reminder of a very special trip to Japan in 1994 with a terminally¬†ill brother. Japan and those memories have been a lasting influence ever since, and these tables are the most physical manifestation of that.

Torii red

This view stuck with me, the famous Miyajima gate. We stayed at a traditional Japanese Inn on the island, then in a monastry at the top of the mountain. Japan is a complex mix of the traditional and formal, combined with the modern and uncompromising. I loved that tension – the old wooden house next door to a concrete 3 storey building, a kimono wearing woman on a bullet train and a temple precinct among the multi coloured neon signs of Tokyo.

All Torii tables in the limited edition of 12 pairs are now sold.