On this glorious fall day, after a morning of various personal and work errands, I decided to eat my lunch on the deck, looking out at the trees in my wooded backyard. Said lunch was a sliced Bosc pear and an almond butter/blackberry jam sandwich on toasted sprouted wheat bread from my favorite La Calavera Bakery, blessedly located between my house and Mingei’s current home on New Street. A great treat. To collect my crumbs and wipe the inevitable smears away, I grabbed one of the towels hanging from cabinet handles in my kitchen. Thus began a reverie on the small, delightful items we interact with everyday, the seemingly insignificant, functional things that can bring us pleasure and delight. None of these kitchen towels came through our business Mingei World Arts, as so many of the things in my home do, but each is handmade and carries memories of when I bought it. One is a small, coarsely woven brown flax towel from Finland, vintage but still unused, starched and creased when I found it at a charity sale in Minneapolis. One is a naturally-dyed citron and drab cotton towel acquired on a trip to Pleasant Hill, an old Shaker village in my home state of Kentucky. On the far right is a golden hand-spun linen towel with stripes from India, where Mingei has shopped many times. This piece, however, was picked up on impulse in Blue Ridge, GA as I browsed the little shops there with friends. Such is “mingei”, the word coined by the Japanese philosopher Soetsu, to describe a simple, useful item that can bring joy. As I drove home from my errands before my deck lunch, I listened to radio news about the Ebola outbreak, about economic uncertainty in Europe, about political vitriol here at home. Then, I plucked a dishtowel from its handle, and went outside to watch the leaves flutter in the sunlight.– Ann
Posts Tagged ‘textiles
You may know Gail. She has been working with Mingei for a very long time, is a docent at the Carlos Museum, a writer, retired teacher at Westminster, extremely active member of the Atlanta International Club– and a number of other organizations! She also manages to travel extensively and always finds time to scour local markets for hand-made textiles.
Here are a few photos from her home and a few words about why she loves Mingei!
Tired of the Container Store look? Tired of mall styles dictating your decor? If you yearn to escape the commercial and reveal your true soul in your home, walk into the spirit-filled space of Mingei World Arts in Decatur. At Mingei, you will tap into cultural creativity from ethnic groups around the globe.
New products emerge from recycled materials and vintage artifacts adapt to new uses. Rare handmade objects are art for display. What you can do with Mingei “stuff” is limited only by your imagination.
A yak butter container holds dry flowers. A Hmong spirit lock fills a small wall space. A chapati rolling pin or a weaving shuttle becomes a towel rod. A dowry chest is a colorful coffee table. A hand-worked shawl dresses a window or accents a sofa. A framed page of Tibetan script or Miao baby head cover enriches the look of a living room. And whether or not you use your Tjap as a stamp, it makes a unique doorstop.
Come to Mingei to birth your creative soul and transform your home!