Book | Katachi: Japanese Pattern and Design

Katachi - Japanese Pattern 5

This book was published in 1963, and it is one of my favorite on Japanese design. Katachi means form: this book is a perfect collection of Japan in form. It shows a broad spectrum of traditional designs and patterns, which are as much a part of the landscape and language, as they are art. The incredibly charming photos by Takeji Iwamiya are as simple and deep as their subject. A lot of these photos remind me of my first trip to Japan and the photos I took those many years ago.

It is fascinating to flip through images and see shapes interact with materials, and  how the combination of those define Japan’s arts and crafts. This book is required reading if you are at all interested in seeing how the cultural and daily patterns of Japanese life surface in the crafts and everyday items.

Katachi - Japanese Pattern 2 Katachi - Japanese Pattern 1 Katachi - Japanese Pattern 3 Katachi - Japanese Pattern 4

Kapital | Kojima Soho Store – Everything but the clothes

Soho Store 5

Within the past few months a new Kapital store opened up in their hometown of Kojima, Okayama. The store was the local library and takes its name from the buildings original soho “赭” ocher color exterior. Welcome to Kojima SOHO.

Soho Store 6

The interior is inspired by sacred Native American forests. The use of conifer wood and broadleaf wood was mixed together to create a harmonious forest-like space. The space stays to this wood theme, so even the metal bits used in the store are shaped to look like wood. Soho Store 7

The use of pages of this flower arrangement book became the shade for a lamp in the book store. The bookstore is a simple wooden space focusing and featuring many interesting books.Soho Store 11

The three kamidana that are in the main room have 3 different themes for their separate spirits. One for “blue sky” another for “star” and one for “clouds”. Soho Store 10

The clothes pins are also made out of wood and keep the theme and also create a sort of cloud space for the spirit in this space.Soho Store 9

It is a fabulous space, and Kiro took the time to show me around and point out the really special spots in the store. If you are in town please check out this wonderful space. Soho Store 14

Will James | Personal Inspiration and Icon

Will James is sometimes known as the “Lone Cowboy”. He was a writer and illustrator who lived through the last days of the American “wild west”. The man wrote words and drew images that retain a sprit that is as gritty as a dusty cowboy boot.

He was a drifter in southwestern America, working ranches and even did work as a stuntman. A man as rugged as the landscape in which he worked. He lived the majority of his life on ranches and among horses, and cattle.  He spent a year in jail for cattle rustling, and during that time he found his peace in sketching.

Reading his words, and viewing his images I get a sense of this rugged life. The detail of the horses and the deserts, in his sketches reveal his keen eye for detail. An eye that really knew his subject. His words reveal a vocabulary and style that can be savoured. There is so many ideas stored in these books, and a persona of a man who lived life hard and tough.

These are the books that grandfathers would have been inspired by. Take the time this winter to sit down and enjoy one of his books and drift back to a time of broncos, mustangs and sleeping in soogans under a star-filled sky. You may find a charm with the peculiar grammar and structure as I did. When people spoke a more simple and gentler kind of way.

His collection can be seen at the Yellowstone Art Museum. You can also learn more about him at the Will James Society.

Winter Reading for 2012

I have neither fireplace nor fire to read by, so I make due with fluorescent lighting and a room heater. Needless to say it is cold and time for my non-fiction reading in the new year. 


I adore books made in the 1930’s when industry was at it maxim, coal fired plants turned out tome after tome. The writing is quintessential of that era, clear, detailed, and concise. But it gets to the heart and soul of the subject matter.

During the Great Depression in America there was a Federally funded writers (and other professions) traveling the states and writing really amazing pieces. The WPA created this state guide series gathering the history, culture, and scenery of each state. Several great writers started their careers writing for this government program. 


Not only invaluable words and information, but incredible era imagery can be found in the original 1938 editions.


This one on California was printed after the war and is immense. The photography is really superb stuff, and incredibly valuable for people wanting inspiration.


Small text and wonderful photos.


This book was unforgettable. Wade Davis gives an incredible narrative about his work and others of ancient people. It’s about how people learned from their environments, and not only how they respected nature and its rules, but how to live and flourish in it. The Wayfinders, or how to people found a way to exist and persist in their environment. We all can learn from these basic yet incredibly deep principles. Thanks to Ragged Glory for the recommendation.



My favorite Seth Godin book, and a collection of ideas of how great it is that we are all different. I greatly recommend this book to anyone who wants to embrace their own brand of weirdness and be successful with it. We Are All Weird




One of the books that I use to study textiles from time to time. An indispensable reference book and photo collection on rural Japan. Well researched and written. So many great ideas in one book!