Thick wooden doors have an ability to whisper. A slight, fading whisper - “Open me!”, and you find yourself standing near and reading the sign - five letters forming a word I don’t understand - “Arbre”. “It means “tree” in French”, explains the owner, Miyuki Wakisaka. “My name has a “tree” character in it”, she adds with a hint of a smile.
A funny dog sculpture meets me at the entrance. “I have cats at home, but I’ve always wanted a dog, too. Unfortunately, I can’t find my ideal dog, except for this one.”
The ideal dog looks like she can answer any question about this shop. But she remains silent, so the owner has to tell me about her gallery herself.
It all started with ceramics. Wakisaka has been selling Kasama-yaki ceramics from Ibaraki prefecture and Mashiko-yaki ceramics from Tochigi for seven years through the Internet shop, until on 16th May 2014 she opened the gallery. You can still find Kasama-yaki and Mashiko-yaki in “Arbre”, but today the gallery offers much more.
Wooden lunch boxes, plates and spoons catch my eye. “This is 100% local, from Miyagi prefecture”, says the owner.
The majority of objects that can be purchased in “Arbre” are from Tohoku, made by local producers and from local materials. An ideal souvenir if you want to explain the beauty of the place we are living in.
“The jam?..”, “From Sendai.” “Hey, and that’s coffee, it can’t be...” “Yes, it is roasted in Sendai.” That shall be the next thing I am going to buy in here.
Every item in “Arbre” is made by people who love what they are doing. Out of curiousity, I ask Wakisaka if she makes something herself. “I don’t make things, but I repair them. Like this cup”, she puts a ceramic cup on the counter. One edge has a small, almost invisible line where a crack has been. Such repairing is indeed a form of art, too.
The owner of Arbre is always happy to see new faces!