Stages of becoming a kettle

Hugo Moline


After my restful week of quarantine, Australia House feels now like a kind of ship I have taken a long voyage in.

Since disembarking we have spent the week days getting to know the amazing people, places and art of Echigo Tsumari.

We had a great afternoon tea with locals coming from Urada, Joetsu and Niigata City. The local ladies cooked up an incredible feast of local delacacies including pickled baby fern, seaweed jelly noodles and red basil cordial. Oishi nee!

We made pikelets with jam, not quite equal to our hosts' offering, but enjoyed by the kids!

Further afield Yoko-san organised a great visit to the industrial riverside city of Sanjo. There we were taught how to forge Japanese nails and saw how a single circle of copper can slowly be beaten into a full kettle.

We also met a man who runs an agricultural tool making factory. There are more than 10,000 types of hoe in Japan, varying by locality, terrain and soil type. Old farmers bring in their old hoes for repair and replication, adding to the factory's knowledge bank of hoe typologies.

In many of the towns of the artfield the schools have been closed down due to depopulation. Christian Boltanski's haunting The Last Class and the Hachi community with Seizo Tashima's wonderful Walk-In Picture Book both had very deep impression on us.

Afternoon tea prepared by the Urada local ladies. Photo by Hugo Moline

Afternoon tea prepared by the Urada local ladies. Photo by Hugo Moline

Stages of becoming a kettle. Copper beaten & moulded  from a flat disc to a teapot. Photo by Hugo Moline

Stages of becoming a kettle. Copper beaten & moulded  from a flat disc to a teapot. Photo by Hugo Moline

Glowing hot metal being forged into a hoe. Photo by Heidi Axelsen

Glowing hot metal being forged into a hoe. Photo by Heidi Axelsen

Heidi looking at the work of Seizo Tashima in one of the abandoned schools of Echigo Tsumari Art Field. Photo by Hugo Moline. 

Heidi looking at the work of Seizo Tashima in one of the abandoned schools of Echigo Tsumari Art Field. Photo by Hugo Moline.