A customer from the UK, a quilting teacher, came into the shop yesterday and told how amazed her husband was that she had found the shop. How did she know about it he asked? She replied smugly that she just knew. Blue & White has a cult following, she explained. I was taken aback by her remark at first, but the more I thought about it, the more pleased I was. Why should we have a cult following? I wondered, but then I looked around the shop, having only recently been investigating other out of the ordinary, quirky shops, and realized that yes, we were a bit odd, out of the ordinary, HEN as they say in Japanese. So I took out my iphone to photograph the possible candidates that may have earned us a “cult following”.
Some of the best oddities come from friends
Mittens by my SCRUNCH potter friend jill Hall, made out of her old bathrobe and sweater. Nothing wasted! Warm all over!
Below: SCRUNCH ITSELF! My favorite SCRUNCH sake cup, though the sake doesn’t always arrive at its intended destination.
Other friends add curiosities as well.
A letter from clever Nancy Ukai Russell amazed me even more when I realized that the attention grabbing envelope was from an old Blue & White calendar page!
It all only serves to show that in these times of mass-produced sameness, a little odd, a little jolt of surprise, adds spice and amusement to an otherwise bland and unexciting horizon.
Have a look at some of the curious inhabitants of Blue & White
Selvedge edges of indigo fabric become magical balls of ribbon just waiting to be put to use by some imaginative sewer. Here they support Washi necklaces of random indigo patterns. Part of the curiosity comes from not knowing what it is you are looking at!
Small pins of indigo wih innocent little spectacles embroidered on by of As It Is Museum.
When I first met her at As It Is, and complimented her on the one she had on, she gave it to me – a true Japanese trait of generosity. Now she makes them for Blue & White. Lucky!
In a cardboard whirl. Splendiid sculpted cardboard pin by Colleen Sakurai, The Cardboard Whisperer!
Amazing find at the Flea Market at Tomioka Hachiman Shrine,(1st, 2ndnd and 4th Sundays in Monzen Nakacho on the Oedo subway line). A contemporary BORO quilt of raggedy squares pieced together in a giant and enchanting and heavy whole! The maker kindly lent it to me so I could show all who come to Blue & White the marvels and resourcefulness of Japanese artisans. She didn’t know me. She didn’t know the shop. But still she let me bring it to the shop for 2 weeks! Curious and beautiful! And uncommonly trusting.
Now in the window and for sale at the shop.
Colorful, fanciful bag by Special Ability artisans of Aomori prefecture introduced by Consummate weaver from Aomori, Osonae Nori san.
Close up of the BORO QUILT in the window for all the International Quilt Show visitors to enjoy.
Charming Otafuku creation from cut ends of tenugui, becomes a star player at Blue & White. With ingenuity, Susanna Wellenberg of Munich, puts to use whatever she finds and makes it into something charming and unexpected. Susanna is a long time faithful follower of the Blue & White cult. Her inventive Sashiko transcends everything that is normal. She takes it to a higher place.
Small Boro note books with pages of inverted copy paper mistakes. Mottainai: Nothing wasted! Everything has a use.
Voluptuous bag by NONOICHI SAN. She takes stips of Tenugui and Yukata and knits them into a charming all purpose hand or shoulder bag.
Baby socks by NONOICHI san/ Every time she comes she brings a new surprise! Something made with whimsy and love.
A perfect fit for BLUE & WHITE
Flower surprise! Our irrepressible Hayasawa san works hard arranging and displaying the shop, entertaining customers. but on her days off, she takes long walks in cemeteries and abadoned lots and picks the unwanted weeds and flowers growing by the wayside. Her arrangements are spontaneous collages of what she has found. Finds that no flower shop could ever match. For sale at the shop as a from the heart gift to a friend, or to bring home to brighten up your life.
Indigo swirls of the cut selvedge edges of material woven by Tsujimura Japan Blue Indigo workshop.
The end of our story of Blue & White Curiosities. Otafuku from the rear? Mrs. Santa Claus? Or simply a reminder to keep us from going into the fridge again!
That’s BLUE & WHITE. CURIOUS INDEED! Look for the BLUE & WHITE sandwich board at the top of the escalator in Azabu Juban.