Efemeer introduces people outside of Japan to the qualities of Japanese ceramics, by giving you the opportunity to use them at home/in a restaurant/gallery/ food shop or museum through either borrowing or renting.
Japanese ceramics have the inviting quality to draw our attention to the beauty of everyday life. This quality comes about through the way in which Japanese ceramists work closely with the earth and the elements, and the degree to which they are able to be led by these instead of by their own ways. This gives their work a sense of humbleness. It clears a certain space for beauty to come through, which could be sensed when using Japanese ceramics, and as such may move us in our choice of food and our experience of eating.
A wide variety of Japanese ceramics, handmade or other, is a rare sight outside of Japan, overseas Japanese antique shops, quality Japanese restaurants and the homes of collectors. The Efemeer project hopes to change this by making the use of these ceramics accessible to everyone regardless of their background, financial situation or experience with Japan. It does so by creating a ‘shared collection’ from which you can choose pieces you would like to use, and which you can return and exchange again and again. In this way you are able to experience different kinds of styles, shapes, colours, materials, qualities, techniques and skills. It also allows you to use ceramics that are suitable for the moment: the season, or time in you life, without clogging up your cupboards with seasons past. Efemeer also facilitates the use of ceramics at shared moments such as gallery openings, dinner parties, art installations, restaurants or for food photography. Feel free to look at Efemeer’s facebook page for the latest events.
Efemeer has next to its Dutch meaning of ‘being fleeting and transient’ also the meaning of ‘more for a short moment’ when it is pronounced with an Amsterdam accent: ‘efe meer’. And that, actually sums up exactly what Efemeer is trying to achieve: a temporary enrichment of a moment.
Efemeer, ‘ephemeral’ in English, is translated as ‘hakanai’ 儚い in Japanese. The Chinese character used for this Japanese word depicts a person standing in front of a dream and is also the mark of the Efemeer project. The stamp in orange with the character for dream was hand carved by the father of the priest of the Koseiji temple in Kyoto who has kindly given it to me as a present for which I am very grateful.
My name is Suzanne Oudshoorn, I lived in Japan when I was 17 and have gone back many times as I feel a great affiliation with Japanese gardens, crafts and the food culture. But most of all I am drawn to and moved by the way people dedicate themselves to any of these fields. My search to understand this dedication brought me in contact with one of the underlying spiritual currents of it: Zen Buddhism. As it seemed like such a natural way of living to me already I decided to join the Amsterdam Zen Centre four years ago.
When I lived in Japan I was cared for by kind Japanese host families in the city of Sasebo in the Nagasaki prefecture close to Dejima where almost four centuries ago the Dutch formed the only foreign gateway between Japan and to the rest of the world. I don’t know if that spirit got to me when I was 17. At the time I was definitely unaware of it, but today I cannot help but feel related to-, and moved by people like Philipp Franz von Siebold who stayed at Dejima at that time and collected objects to show the people back ‘home’ a Japanese sense of life.
People who have inspired me in this project are Souetsu Yanagi, founder of the Mingei movement and writer of the book ‘The unknown craftsman, a Japanese insight into beauty’ wonderfully translated in English by Bernard Leach, and Katsumi Mitsuo who is an antique collector and writer of the book ‘Kottoya no sakazuki te chou’ (Personal notes on drinking sake from a wide variety of cups) . I have also been greatly inspired by the phenomenon of sharing by my experiences with ‘Couchsurfing’, as a way of sharing your house and life, ‘Lena’ the fashion library of Amsterdam, and Anne Kessels en Hetty Bloemendal of ‘Vintage serviezen verhuur’ who rent out vintage European tableware.