top of page

What is it like working with small-batch Makers?

Updated: May 8, 2021

Thank you for being our friend. Giving you a glimpse of our day-in and day-out.

Goenne is known for rolling up our sleeves, get down-and-dirty and work closely with Makers in rural craft towns. Unlike most brands, we'd ditch the fancy packaging and stylized product photoshoots, and would rather spend more time digging deeper to understand the craft and find interesting opportunities to bring new interests or create new demand for them.

What you see presented, are not just a catalog of products.

So, what is it like working with our Artisans?

1kg of pickled vegetable from Kai the Carpenter.

Mr. Kai injured his finger in his wood shop couple months back. His description was "my finger got a bit shorter", he was concerning about losing some tactility in making extremely refined woodwork details. Carpentry is his life-long passion. COVID prevented us from visiting him, so we sent over whatever blessings we can and asked him to take however much time he need to rest and recover. His intelligence in carpentry will always be with him, and quality slow-craft can wait. 1 month later... the happy Kai sent our team each a styrofoam box filled with pickled vegetable by surprise. He is up and running again, and obviously spending time bulk-pickling at home! Then we are all relieved to hear that he is well and in good spirit. Watch for more chopsticks and wooden goodies coming from super Kai in no time!


The Whale Quiz from Mr. Imamura

You have seen photos of Mr. Imamura's studio from his page , and the amount of work and whale motifs he has created. The catalog of his work lives in his head. So what happened when we asked Mr. Imamura what whales are available for the 4" plate collection?

We received a quiz of "Match the whale names". 😏

He is so knowledgeable about whales that he forgot laymen like us needs to wikipedia to find out what each whale looks like.


"Sticks Consultation" with Mr. Baba

"Mr. Baba, you know I live in the urban area, I doubt I can just walk into the park and break some branches...what shall I do?", one day, I was dreaming up a special hand-tool project and sent Mr. Baba my sketch. Next day, I received fresh-cut branches in the mail, sent from the mountain of Yame, all beautifully trimmed, with water vapor steaming inside the zipper bag. Mr. Baba said, "don't use just any branch, you need something durable."

So what am I making? It is a traditional hand tool. Will reveal the outcome in the near future. In the meantime, go get some Baba Incense!



One of you from the US sent us a note about bento box sizes. We heard you, so we sketched out your ideal American bread box. Why not. We took it and showed it to Ms. Shibata from ShibataToku Bentwood Shop, and her reaction was WOW, SO BIG. Yep, that's American size. Artisan Mr. Morita is now looking into material size to make it happen for Ms. Flora, who sent us her wish-list.

We love to hear ideas about craft products and your usage. Since everything is hand-made one by one, so often times, we can make adjustments or even build new products. It is a way to rethink and build resilience to these forgotten crafts. The only requirement is patience. Feel free to be part of the slow-craft culture.

Not to mention, our artisans love to hear feedback from users. For them, making functional objects is a life-time of learning. There is always opportunity for improvement.


Acorn fairies found in Koishiwara.

The long National holidays in Japan in May called "Golden Week" is the biggest domestic travel time when people have almost a week off work. This year, as we are still in State of Emergency, people are urged not to travel. This is also a very important week where all pottery towns (throughout the country) would host ceramics festivals. Japanese would travel to the countryside to see works from their favorite potters or kilns and buy ceramics with special holiday discount. Although this year's festivals are all canceled due to COVID, many still drove up the mountain of Koishiwara to show their support to the local artisans. (Not ideal, but everyone tried their best to travel safely.).

This year, we went up Koishiwara to find out our friend Yamamaru Kiln created the Forest Spirits. They look like acorn cup fairies. They won't stick around long. Drop me a note if you are interested in having one flown to you.

After lounging around having coffee with Mrs. Kajiwara, we brought down from the mountain, a small army of acorn cups

The big brother Acorn Cups (with handles) are in the making. We are expecting them to be available in mid to late June. We are also adding a few new items in this firing, so stay with us to see new works from the Kajiwara family in a month or so.


There is never a boring day out here. Hope to give you a glimpse of our efforts working with small-batch makers. (With a lot of mountain-hopping). The Beauty is the craftsmanship and the Beast is the occasional operation challenges (production schedule, communications, purchase orders, logistics, new product development... throw in an occasional typhoon and earthquakes). Drop shipping, email...? Well, most still relies on fax, phone conversations and face-to-face interaction.

Of course, there is a lot of dedication and support among each other to make things happen.

We are dedicated to bring you the most authentic and humanistic craft stories from the lesser-known rural towns of Japan. So, look beyond.

Hope you like our work.

33 views0 comments
bottom of page