Down to the Brass Tacks

Down to the Brass Tacks

Just last week at the store I was musing about how working for East Fork has jump-started my maybe-premature preoccupation with making my house a dreamy home.  In many ways, I’d still identify myself as a post-grad; I just finished school two years ago, I’ve barely begun my mid-twenties, and I’m still sleeping under my duvet from college in a haphazardly decorated rental.  Most of my friends’ places are also in a funny sort of limbo, furnished by a mishmash of passed-down family furniture and futons from the Target dorm section with a dose of self expression through sprinklings of thrift store treasures.  

On one hand I find solidarity in the necessary postponement (and financial impossibility) of settling into one place and investing in nice things after first being thrust into the monolithic question of early adulthood, but on the other hand, I’m ready for the good stuff.   Even if my level of confidence in my life decisions varies drastically day to day, I find a real sense of rootedness in my humble yet growing collection of well-made useful objects; elevating mundane tasks, they reveal a ritual and beauty in daily life that anchors me.  

Lue Brass's handmade tableware, serving ware, and useful instruments are store staples that are made for the very purpose of bringing objects of beauty into the everyday.  Substantial yet minimal, each handmade piece pairs effortlessly with our pots but is designed and produced with an intention that makes them shine on their own.

Serving pieces from Lue's handmade line.  From left to right: sugar spoon, dessert spoon, pickle fork, coffee scoop, serving spoon, curved ladle, and Connie's personal favorite, the "lotus spoon".  [/caption]

Lue Brass is the Setouchi, Japan brass workshop started by Ruka “Lue” Kikuchi in 2006, six years after he began learning metalwork from his father, Masaaki Kikuchi.  With the hope that people will use his utensils with delight and hold onto them for years into the future, Ruka and his team use molds, tools, fire, and simple machinery to craft beautiful useful objects from blank pieces of brass.

A metallic alloy of copper and zinc, brass has countless uses ranging from plumbing and electrical applications to decoration and ornamentation to  musical instrument production.  Much of brass’s beauty lies in the character of the material; with use over time, the copper present in brass reacts with the atmosphere and develops a natural patina, deepening and calming its surface texture and appearance.  There are plenty of ways to polish your Lue to restore it back to its bright and shiny beginnings, but we don’t mind the worn-in feel of patina-ed cutlery - it adds depth and character to an otherwise fancy table setting.

Merchandising our store gives us a chance to experiment with object relationships using gorgeous forms and luxe natural textures.  It’s this inspiring interplay of ceramic with brass with wood with glass with iron with linen, paired with the grounding practice of using “special” objects every day, that keeps us setting our tables at home.

 Lue's  stacking flatware  with a patina (left) and without (right).  Polishing is a cinch, but we find the patina just lovely all the same. Lue's stacking flatware with a patina (left) and without (right).  Polishing is a cinch, but we find the patina just lovely all the same.
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