Every piece of Japanese folk craft that comes into Montgomery’s possession seems destined for a new lease on life. Here on the shore of Lake Lugano items that are no longer used in everyday life in Japan, or that might even be at risk of being thrown away, find new purpose and bring new charm.
The lamps in the photograph on the right, for example, are made from 19th-century tea kettles decorated with lacquer designs of animals and fish. Such kettles are now rarely used in Japan outside the tea ceremony, but Montgomery has found a place for them at either end of his sofa.
In the photographs below, clear frames enclose katagami paper stencils long used in dyeing kimono. Montgomery has approximately 400 of these in his collection. He displays them and other Japanese articles alongside antique furniture from southern Switzerland and northern Italy, and decorative pieces from England.
Everyday Japanese utensils made from natural materials blend in beautifully with the rest of Montgomery’s Swiss home. This proves how versatile folk crafts can be and how they benefit from loving use.
This is the third installment in a four-part series on Jeffrey Montgomery’s mingei folk crafts collection.