Momoko and Tetsuya Otani came and left the city in what feels like a blink of an eye, leaving an impression on New York not to be forgotten. Our OTANI’S exhibition was a big success and our time with the potter couple and their daughters was one of the best.
Thank you to all who came to the week’s events. Below is a collection of images that were taken during our one-week period with the Otani family. They include photos of everything from the exhibition opening to Tetsuya’s coffee demonstration.
The day before our exhibition openings usually entail late nights and lots of action – packing, unpacking, transporting and help from many hands. It’s all hustle and bustle but well worth it when everything is ready to go the next morning. Calm in contrast and beautiful in a way where the collections speak for themselves.
The only thing left to do is to look over some last minute details. Momoko and Tetsuya and their daughters Hana, Fu and Midori dropped by in the morning to explain the different types of sake that we would be serving during the opening reception. They brought the sake all the way from their home in Shiga.
This metal pencil case Tetsuya pulled out is amazing! He’s had it since he was a child. It has scratches and dents, all signs of a well-used, well-loved item, the same type of wear that exists on his Peugeot coffee grinder that you’ll see later in this post.
We prepared recipe cards for our Nalata Nalata ‘Recipe Files’ – an Apple Crumble dessert Momoko and Tetsuya wanted to share. If you didn’t get a chance to get a hard copy, we’ll be posting it on the Journal soon.
Guests had a chance to drink from Momoko and Tetsuya’s sake cups. Their styles of pottery are so different, it’s interesting to see who gravitates towards whose works. Momoko’s sake cups are stoneware and have a rougher texture whereas Tetsuya’s are smooth and feel sheer to the touch like paper.
Another series we were fond of were the dinner plates Momoko and Tetsuya collaborated on as an exclusive series for the exhibition. We displayed them with Fish Cutlery by Yuichi Takemata who is a really close friend of Tetsuya’s.
The night was fun as always! When it was lights out at the end of the event we caught this heartwarming moment when the Otani family gathered as one unit, supporting each other as they overcame not just a busy day but also the effects of jet lag.
The following Sunday morning we rolled out of bed and headed to the store for a casual pour-over drip coffee demonstration by Tetsuya.
Tetsuya set up a roasting station outside the store on Extra Place and stirred the white beans with a custom made wooden spatula by Takashi Tomii (who is another close friend of the Otanis).
It was fascinating to see the beans slowly go from light to dark as Tetsuya stirred them in one of his baking pans. When the beans were finally fully roasted, the husks were fanned off leaving the most perfectly plump and fragrant coffee beans. Tetsuya then ground the beans in a Peugeot grinder he has had for years. Apparently it’s a model that the French car company released for a limited time awhile back. It’s a rare item that Tetsuya managed to get his hands on. We didn’t even know Peugeot made coffee-grinders, but now we want to track one down.
We will definitely miss the Otani family as they head back to Japan to prep their daughters for the new school year. It was such a great exhibition we hope to have another with the family again soon, but until that time comes we continue to lust over the small amount of pieces we have left, enjoying them for all their handmade qualities.