Saori Noda’s studio is in a corner of Nirasaki, close to Mt. Fuji and looking out on the Yatsugatake Mountains and the Southern Alps. Having studied woodworking at an art university in Tokyo, Noda made a U-turn back to Yamanashi at the age of 28 and launched her own product label Atelier Bond.
“Woodworking is a time-consuming craft, and that made it just right for me,” she says.
The number of processes it takes to turn a piece of wood into a product is beyond imagination. The tools are adjusted to the millimeter level. The wood is then passed through them again and again until it becomes the ideal size and shape. After a lengthy joining process, the piece is sanded, polished, and coated. The woodworker tackles the job alone in silence, using endless, alternating measures of physical strength and focus.
One of Noda’s signature products is a series of small spatulas featuring motifs of mountains and named “Yatsugatake,” “Mt. Koikoma,” and so on. The grandeur of the mountains and the coziness of the handicraft can be felt from the ridges carved carefully on the end of each handle.
“I fell in love with the mountains via my hobby of mountain climbing. And when I came back to Yamanashi after ten years, I recognized the stunning scenery all around me. I hope to keep making products that will help the user feel closer to nature.”