After all these years of exhibition planning, one of the best parts is looking back at the event and reflecting with our exhibition recaps. There is so much momentum and energy leading up to a show that thinking back recaptures many memories that often go undetected if not for the summation.
The Relife exhibition with Factory Zoomer was significant because we had to postpone it multiple times! It was originally slated for the Fall of the pandemic breakout. Because of this, it was the first time founder Kazumi Tsuji was able to travel to North America since, making it a whopping 6 years since our last exhibition with her. To take a positive spin on things, I guess the long lead up actually brought forth the ability to collect more recycled glass for the highlighted Reclaimed Blue series and to plan a wider range of collaborative works like the decanter, carafe, bowl, shale, and whiskey glass that we are so proud of! These collaboration pieces feature our specialty cut glass slash pattern that abstractly represents our brand names.
Many exceptional pieces were on display that we feel so lucky to have acquired including the Compositions, Glass Pendant, Reclaimed Blue Homage Lee Dynasty Container and Nature’s Diary Set. The set highlights the studio’s breadth of skills as it features a variety of cut glass patterns that draws from Mother Nature.
Apart from a ceiling leak at the gallery on opening morning (!), show set-up went smoothly. We saw all the works come together revealing a clear scope of the range of blues. In the making process, Kazumi and her team don’t know what tone of blue the recycled glass shards will produce when it comes out of the kiln. It varies from a very light hue, like a washed-out sky blue, or something darker like, deep indigo.
On opening night, Kazumi Tsuji made a lovely speech and explained her process behind the Compositions. They are part of Factory Zoomer’s exploration into the life cycle of their products as part of the Relife series. This program allows her clients to return broken works so the Factory Zoomer team can combine them with the studio’s failed works or other broken pieces. We love how the project considers the lifespan of raw materials in a way that brings added value to each new rendition. It’s also fun to note in the Composition series that the weight of the items stacked on one side equals the weight of the Reclaimed Blue piece on the other.
It was interesting to see which hue of blue visitors gravitated towards as it varied for the intended purpose of the piece. Some people liked lighter blue pieces to serve colourful ingredients, while others liked a strong statement blue for specialty purposes like for mixing a unique cocktail. For the amazing, as always, bites that were provided by Ayako Kurokawa of Burrow, we opted to serve them on Factory Zoomer’s brushstroke Oval Plates to let the fresh Spring ingredients shine. Ayako spent all morning selecting fava beans at the farmer’s market and hand peeling each one to provide an exceptional dish. This and the other seasonal bites she made paired so well with the sake provided by the generous folks at Sōtō sake.
It was lovely to see so many new faces (and puppets) and to welcome back many familiar faces who attended our first Factory Zoomer exhibition. It was nice to hear from some that they’ve loved using their works over the years and were there to add to their collection or round out their whiskey glass series with the latest blue edition.
On a personal note, the event was special for us because it was the first time our baby son could experience a large-scale exhibition and meet the artisan. Since we have such a long friendship with Kazumi Tsuji, it meant a lot to introduce him to one of our dear friends. We’ve aptly named the stuffed dog she gifted him “Zoomer.”
To cap off the exhibition after an eventful week, the day before Kazumi flew back to Kanazawa, we took an obligatory team photo in our Extra Place alleyway, one that looks a little different this time around!
We wanted to sincerely thank all the people who came out to the show (and for wearing blue, of course!) and all the people who helped us by putting in immense effort behind the scenes for this exhibition to take place. Special thanks to Kazumi Tsuji and her staff, including Masumi whom accompanied Kazumi to New York from Kanazawa. Big thank yous to our assistant manager Dani Sujin Lee, writers Vicky Wong and Aya Nihei, graphic designers Studio Newwork, Ayako Kurokawa and Wataru Iwata, the Sōtō sake team and photographer Hugo Arturi.