Musubi Hachi Vessel

Takahashi McGil

Musubi Hachi Vessel by Takahashi McGil is part of the ‘Plant Explorations’ collection, facilitated by The New Craftsmen. Earlier this year, The New Craftsmen invited a select group of craftspeople to the Economic Botany Collections at Kew Gardens to examine and creatively respond to a myriad of objects and their narratives. For this piece, Takahashi McGil were inspired by a South African water bottle made with a gourd. They found that many of the items which caught their attention were related to liquids, with water being the most essential. The Musubi Hachi vessel has a rope, which not only relates to the water bottle but is also associated with Japanese ‘shimenawa’ rope, traditionally made from rice straw or hemp. It can be found all year round, but especially for New Year and celebratory events, shrines and spiritual places. Depending on its use, it normally symbolises division, boundary and barrier. For Kaori, it reminds her of special occasions and this vessel represents a celebration of water.

Material: Spalted beech, rope, willow bark, English elm
cm: Width 34cm, Depth 34cm, Height 18cm
inches: Width 13.4in, Depth 13.4in, Height 7.1in
Care Instructions: Dust with lint free cloth. Do not leave in strong sunlight, in very dry places or near direct heat sources.
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The piece was turned on a lathe from one piece of local unseasoned (green) beech from Devon. Each very delicate mark was carefully carved by hand, one by one. The rope was handmade from willow bark. To connect the pieces from the top to the bottom, they used elm bast, with great assistance from renowned basket maker, Hilary Burns.
The Maker Takahashi McGil Woodworker - South West England

Based in their studio in South Devon, woodworkers Mark McGilvray and Kaori Takashi-McGilvray began making simple pieces purely for themselves but their craft has now happily become their livelihood. The husband and wife duo are both graduates of Fine Art at Wimbledon School of Art; with Mark originating from South Africa and Kaori from Japan. From homeware to furniture, they both work on the same pieces, layering up multiple processes and techniques to create complex pieces, all while retaining a feeling of ease and simplicity.