TeDe Hand Design

TeDe Hand Design

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Desks, nara wood.

If the world were in search of a true craft capital, Japan might well fill the bill. Whether the medium is basketry or ceramics or textiles, the Pacific Rim country has a history steeped in work guided by the hand. And though tradition-rich, Japan has also embraced technological advances as few other nations have, and the blending of the two strands has led to impressive endeavors on all fronts.

In 2006, Japan's unique pairing of hand and machine inspired a singularly creative partnership. After makers Tetsushi Inoue, 33, and Kristina Detwiller, 27 left San Francisco-where Inoue had attended the California College of the Arts and Detwiller, a graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, had joined him in 2004-for Japan, they decided to open up their own design studio. Drawing on Japan's craft traditions (as well as their names-(Te)tsushi and (De)twiller), they called their new shop TeDe (in Japanese, te means hand), simply meaning hand design, and launched into the making of furniture and textiles in the Kuju Mountain town of Handa Kogen in Oita.

TeDe's furniture-like the desks of nara wood, below-is beautifully simple and thoughtfully functional. One line is completely made by Inoue at the couple's TeDe shop while another line is produced in Hida Takayama, a region renowned for it's woodworking craftsmanship. Each piece is a confluence of geometric patterns whose convergence highlights its deft construction. Fabricated of nara and buna, native woods, each work speaks of the Japanese countryside where it was made.

The textile work is all completely done by Detwiller at the TeDe studios. Scarves, bags and shirts are woven from yarn that is built strand by strand. Wool and cotton are often combined in order to create a unique textured cloth that invites
further investigation.

Though handweaving and furniture making are obviously extremely labor-intensive and time-consuming, the enterprising Inoue and Detwiller managed to design and build a gallery and café that opened in May 2007. Now a visit to TeDe will not only stoke your imagination as to the possibilities of the handmade, but also satisfy your appetite.