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Dried wild mushrooms ...

Gathered in the Lake District, they smell amazing. Great for vegetarian stocks, dishes etc etc.

Tea Bowls

These wood ash-glazed mingei tea bowls have currently all gone from the table ... we are trying to persuade the anonymous maker to send us some more!

Price? Pay what you think is right ...

Pay what you think you are worth ...

In Japan in the early 20th century a movement developed called Mingei the essence of the movement was an interest in drawing the unique art work from a mass produced craft objects. There were a number of rules
The maker must be anonymous
The object must be in everyday use
The object must be low cost hand produced
The collector/connoisseur selects the special/perfect work

Works selected and classified as Meingei are extremely valuable, there is a beautiful meingei museum in Tokyo (www.meingei-khan.jp) The movement has corrupted and now it is the maker that is important in the valuing of the object. In Japan the most senior makers are designated ‘Living National Treasures’ and all the objects they make are highly priced for example a bowl like these ones would cost in the region of £5,000

The art of selecting ‘the one’ is easy, it’s the perfect bowl - the weight, the feel, the balance, colour, proportions and the vital ingredient - signs of the hand of the maker. These subjective qualities may differ from person to person – a potter will be able to select almost instantly for the rest of us it may take a little longer

A contemporary equivalent of this idea can be found in the car industry where the production line produces the ‘perfect’ car approx every 10,000th one. This freak apparently occurs on all production lines whether mechanised or not.

Hence the value of an object is determined by who values it and how you and others value yourself, so if you are worth nothing then neither is your selection, so steal it.

A classic Japanese story from the Samurai period concerns a tea bowl, a simple humble but ‘perfect’ bowl that so obsessed two Samurai warlords that it was eventually exchanged for a castle.

Bowls once identified lead rarefied lives, used daily, kept in their own boxes and if broken rejoined with molten gold, consequently they increase in value, both monetary and arguably aesthetic.

These bowl are relatively valueless, they take minutes to make and use free materials, clay from the ground and ash from the fire, wood from the waste wood of the forest to fire them. The only arguably valuable ingredient is time

So it’s all a bit like art then, intrinsically valueless unless endorsed. Equally you could apply these ideas to everything you purchase, in Japan fruit is also the subject of this notion of the selection of the ‘perfect’ and valued accordingly, a single apple can cost £10. Realistically we all do this when purchasing food, hence the drive to produce unblemished and perfect examples – the Japanese concept allows for the ‘perfect’ blemish in much the same way that we might consider a beauty spot.

Toge Rice

Probably the best rice in the world and the original inspiration for the whole Honesty Table.

When we were living in Toge we helped to re-design the packaging for the village single-estate rice so it could be sold directly to people (rather than mixed in with rice from other areas). We also became addicted to it!

Available now in Leeds for the duration of the show at £6.00 a bag.

Try it - you will never look back!

Zouri

... or Japanese sandals made by the ladies of Toge ... and last summer rather ineptly by us.

A snip at a tenner a pair I believe.

Honey in Comb

Nice portions made by Karen's bees at Lawson Park despite a bad summer season for them.

Herbs from Leeds

50p a bunch while they last ...

Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes can be an acquired taste (and let's be honest you wouldn't want to eat them on a date) but windy though they may be they taste great. These are organic ones from Tim's Dad's allotment - catch them while you can!

Umeboshi

Umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums) are used for all sorts of gastronomic and medicinal purposes in Japan. These ones are strictly speaking Cumbrian pickled damsons, made by the fair hand of Ms. Guthrie. They've been kept for months under a heavy weight, in alcohol, salt and red shiso they're now partially-dried off and on the table.

A bargain at £1.00 a jar I believe.

Allotment Veg

On the stall for a short time only lovely veg from the local Leeds & District Gardeners Federation (thanks to Dan Robinson for bringing this in)

We're open for business

The beautiful honesty tables (made for us by Unto This Last) were groaning with produce at the opening of the show last night and they went down a storm!