Japan has a rich tradition of food carving called mukimono. If you’ve ever eaten at a fancy restaurant in Japan you might have found a carrot carved into a bunny, garnishing your plate. But in the hands of Japanese artist Gaku, the art of fruit and vegetable carving is elevated to a new realm of edible creations.
One constraint to carving fruits and vegetables is that sometimes you must work fast. The moment a peel is removed, oxidization will start to discolor your artwork. So, depending on the variety, Gaku’s carvings are probably created within several minutes. Armed with a tool similar to an x-acto knife and a fruit or vegetable from the grocery store, Gaku carves intricate patterns that are often inspired by traditional Japanese motifs.
Gaku points out that the banana is great fruit to practice with because it’s cheap and easy to carve. When asked what he does with all his creations after he’s done, his reply is simple: he eats them. “Except for the banana peel.”
Design by Maki Okamoto. All images via Steinbeisser.
Merging design and haute cuisine, Amsterdam-based company Steinbeisser collaborates with designers and artists to produce surreal cutlery that operate beyond traditional ideas of usability for their online store Jouw… (Dutch for “your”). The tableware doesn’t necessarily make the experience of eating easier, but rather encourages the user to reconsider their relationship to utensils and how they are used.
“Yet it is not only about beauty, we also believe in sustainability,” explain co-creators Jouw Wijnsma and Martin Kullik on Jouw…’s website. “That’s why all the pieces are crafted only from natural materials, such as wood, calabash, stone, clay and glass. Often sourced locally and using materials that are found, recycled and/or reused. Even the smaller parts of the pieces such as glue, paint and glazing, are organic and biodegradable.”
One artist that incorporates reused materials is Swedish artist Maki Okamoto who works which antique silver nickel cutlery which she inherited from her husband’s grandmother. You can see more examples of experimental cutlery by more than 20 artists on Jouw…'s website and Instagram.
Combining two of my favorite winter (or rather any season) activities is the project Librottiglia, a newly designed set of wines which feature short stories built into their labels. The texts are printed on textured paper stock, minimally designed, and secured to the bottle with a single piece of twine, providing an alternative to both digital methods of reading and traditional books. Not only are the selected works aesthetically matched to the bottle, but the content is also curated to align with the taste profiles, the characteristics of the work conceptually paired to each blend.
Three writers were selected to contribute to the project, each bringing their unique style to their matched wine. Journalist and satirist Danilo Zanelli contributes the mystery “Murder” to a Roero Arneis, “The Frog in the Belly,” a fable by Patrizia Laquidara is paired with an Anthos, and Regina Marques Nadaes’s love story “I Love You, Forget Me” compliments the winery’s Nebbiolo Roero.
In 2014, a dessert shop in Hokoto, Japan called the Kinseiken Seika Company exploded in popularity when the internet discovered their crystalline mizu Shingen mochi, a completely translucent edible cake that looks like a huge water droplet. The sweet gelatinous rice cake comprised mostly of mineral water and agar is so delicate it can only stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before disappearing into a lumpy puddle.
At the age of only 27, self-taught candy sculptor Shinri Tezuka (previously) may be one of the youngest practitioners of amezaiku, the dwindling art of candy crafting. Even though the craft dates back hundreds of years, there are only two known candy makers in all of Tokyo who roll, sculpt, and paint lollipops in this manner. Great Big Story recently stopped by Tezuka’s workshop for a quick video interview you can see below.
Instead of juggling a ring of measuring spoons while cooking in the kitchen, what if standard measurements were combined into a single flat tool that adjusted at the pinch of your fingers. Is this a problem that needs a solution? Perhaps. Currently funding on Kickstarter, Polygons is a rather ingenious looking measuring spoon tool that combines four fractional measurements (in teaspoon and tablespoon models) into a flat tool that folds like a piece of origami paper. The gadget is made from recyclable plastic and the designers claim it can “flex for 100,000 cycles without failure.” Learn more here. (via Twisted Sifter)