When I arrive at the flagship store of Mustakivi in Dogo, Ehime Prefecture, I’m greeted silently by 82-year-old Ehime-born designer Fujiwo Ishimoto. He unlocks the back door to his adjoining atelier and motions for me to come in. We pass through the kiln room and enter a studio filled with ceramic pieces in various stages of completion.
Fans of Finnish brand Marimekko are likely familiar with the colorful, nature-inspired designs of Ishimoto. He created some 400 patterns and designs over his 32-year career with the company founded by Armi Ratia (1912-79), one of Finland’s most famous designers and entrepreneurs. But it was the work of another Marimekko artist that first caught Ishimoto’s attention years before he arrived in the country.