My first thoughts of a design begin as fleeting moments of creativity when I feel something that I cannot yet describe. It is like an invisible force that tugs at my heart. Sometimes a fabric, shape, or object captures my attention for a moment, then is lost back to reality, although its feeling remains. These ideas seem to float in and out of my thoughts for many months until they finally manifest themselves in a form that I can visualize and work in a design capacity. This was the case with my handbag collection as its inspiration evolved over many years.
The inspiration for my handbags began as a young girl in Japan witnessing my grandmother teach the Tea Ceremony. As a teacher of the Tea Ceremony, my grandmother spent her days teaching and diligently practicing the ceremony. The heart of this ceremony rests in the idea that the present moment will never occur again and there is only one chance to perform, and serve to the best of one’s ability. It is a concept that is steeped in the idea of endless practice in an effort to reach a state of perfection. The ceremony is an exercise in aesthetics and tradition. It takes the form of a silent and delicate process that is intrinsic to the nature of Japanese culture. These thoughts would stay with me through my studies in design, and throughout my work with other designers.
Overtime, with great effort and practice, the design of my handbags would take form. Once the inspirations of the Tea Ceremony coalesced with ideas of style and function, the bag would take several different forms based on the ceremony. The line would also embody the traditional kimono, and Japanese folding screen which are always present at the Tea Ceremony. Using Japanese fabrics and Italian leather and hardware, my inspiration would assume the form of a modern handbag that is rooted in an ancient tradition.
I continue to work at these designs. Much like the practice of serving tea, my work continues as I strive to reach the elusive perfection of these products. To this end, I resolve to do my best to create products that are both aesthetically pleasing and meaningful.
OTSU - SUMIE, A SATIN BAG
SHIFUKU - OHANA, A SATIN POCHETTE
Photographer: Ching-Yi Huang
Read an Interview with Natsu Yamamoto by Sophie Liu in The Polysh.