[BC Trips] Research Journal #13 - Tottori
We made a short trip to Tottori Prefecture in Japan and visited Conoka Workshop.
The workshop was located in an area where you can feel the wonderfulness of nature and the changing colors of the mountain while working. The artist of Conoka Workshop is a "Kijishi" or woodturner, who creates wood products such as pots and trays using a potter's wheel ("Rokuro"). Her great ideas and the warmth of her products caught are eyes and it was easy to understand that you can find her products in some speciality shops throughout Japan.
The artist mentioned that it takes 3 months to make one product, because she needs the time to converse with the tree; the tree changes every day due to moisture and dehydration so it takes time to find the best possible way to find and make the best product. Years of dedication and working with the trees is the only way to identify the best possible way; we were in awe of her work and professional skills.
We asked her how she feels after 17 years have passed since opening Conoka Workshop. She said "the mountain has changed." People who cut trees protect the mountain by planting the same number of seeds to protect and keep the moutain thriving. The mountain's change comes from climate change issues which also resulted in natural destruction caused by the breeding of animals such as deer and wild boars. We were surprised that the animals are destroying the trees but of course, this does not mean it is the animals fault; the balance of the ecosystem has been lost because of us humans trying to get more than we need. The word “local production for local consumption” has been handed down in Japan for centeries but perhaps this needs to be revisted once again in order to bring the balance of the ecosystem back.