Sakura Bark Tea Caddy - Sokawa Large

An air-tight tea caddy expertly crafted using sakura tree bark in Akita Prefecture.

£125.00 per item

This tea caddy was made using kabazaiku, a craft which originated from the samurai class in Kakunodate Town, Akita Prefecture over 200 years ago. Kabazaiku involves creating containers and accessories using the bark of cherry trees which are carefully selected from neighbouring regions. The bark is harvested during the rainier months of the year, mainly during August and September, and has to come from cherry trees which are at least 70 years old, as younger ones are not durable enough to be used for kabazaiku. The high moisture content of the trees during this period allows the craftspeople to easily peel away the bark, which is then dried for at least two years before being used. In order for the craft to remain sustainable, only one third of the trees’ bark is peeled off (allowing it to grow back over time).

To create the caddies, the dried bark is scraped and shaved to produce thin, smooth layers which are warped and attached to a cylindrical wooden mould using adhesives made from gelatin. Once attached, an iron trowel heated to a high temperature is used to steam away any wrinkles and curling, tightly fitting the bark to the mould. This step of the process requires a high-level of expertise and many years of experience to master in order to get the trowel to a temperature which will not burn the wood. The same step is repeated for the top and bottom part of the caddy as well as the rims which have been smoothed off using a hand plane. As a final step, the surface of the caddy is polished once again to increase its sheen and accentuate the colour of the cherry bark. The colour of the bark changes with the level of polishing. The dark amber coloured caddies have the thinnest most polished bark. Grey coloured barks can only be used when they possess a naturally fine quality that allows them to be used for caddies without much polishing required. Each step of the process is carefully performed by hand with high precision in order to provide the best possible airtightness for keeping the caddies’ contents fresh.

Avoid direct sunlight.
Avoid storing in damp conditions for prolonged periods.
Do not wipe with a wet cloth.
Wipe in the direction of the grain with a dry cloth to maintain lustre.
Not microwave, oven or dishwasher safe.

Size: ø8 cm x H12 cm

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