Paulownia Box Maker : Souichirou Kobayashi
“There is a good reason for it to be loved”
The box gently holds the objects the artisans have created.
Paulownia boxes were commonly used to store important and things like kimonos or the umbilical cord of the children. Unfortunately, the use of paulownia has decreased and plastic has become more and more common. Souichirou says “there was a good reason for it to be loved” he adds, “paulownia resist to heat and moisture”. We propose to reintegrate the use of this wonderful wood in our lives.
Souichirou Kobayashi has made boxes for the emperor family, and still continues to make boxes out of this precious material to store important things.
When making a box one has to take many different parameters in consideration, for example the fact that the wood easily bends when it is dried. This has to be counterbalanced while cutting the wood before actually drying it. All these parameters can only be controlled by a master.
To master all the box making techniques it takes about 10 years of strict training starting with the sharpening of the plane.
Even in the smaller, hand sized boxes, all the skills of the master are needed. It may not be obvious at first but once you take time and hold the box in your hand you will feel the special smoothness and warmth of the wood which is the mark of a master made box.
TSURU would like to give new ways to use the boxes to make it match our modern lifestyles and give another chance to paulownia boxes.