Our top picks this month include a set of beer glasses designed to hold the perfect pint, some notable stationery, a sweet British honey range, plus the best of organic cosmetics.
Nagoya-based atelier-cum-design shop Proof of Guild was established in 2002 as a jewellery and flower studio that proved popular with brides to be. More than a decade on, however, founders Minoru and Keiko Takeuchi have turned their intricate craftsmanship to producing other objects with their signature twist. The latest addition to their inventory is this handmade, five-piece cutlery set in brass.
Brooklyn-based tattoo artist Alex McWatt brought his interest in iconography to bear on this set of four soy candles. Each label was hand sketched before being screen-pressed and dusted with gold powder. “They possess the design aesthetic, quality of materials and symbolism that represent something significant to me,” he says. The scents are made with natural oils including lavender, patchouli and cedar.
Founded by former museum worker Alexandra Nodes, this selection of all-natural oils is the first offering from Barcelona-based cosmetics brand Alex Carro. Nodes’ cosmetics represent her passion for nature and aromatherapy. “Our focus is to do a small number of products and do them well,” she says.
i) This wide-ruled notepad (left) from Stalogy is made from soft gokanshi paper and is available in six colours.
ii) There’s more to this sturdy, saddle-stitched jotter (middle) than meets the eye. Created in Milan, the leaves are made from limestone and ecological resins leaving it durable, waterproof and rip-resistant.
iii) Octaevo’s notebook (right) provides the perfect canvas to chronicle your summer odyssey around the Mediterranean. Designer Marcel Baer was inspired by his sea-captain father’s photos, journals and tales of adventure.
In 2010 Jez Daughtry left his job in software to start something of his own: The Sheffield Honey Company. Located on the edge of the Pennines, near Sheffield in northern England, Daughtry has more than 20 million bees busy making honey. The company produces three types: soft set, blossom and heather.
From a farm in the leafy Yangmingshan national park, northern Taiwan, Yuan makes its soaps from local ingredients including dandelion, wild yellow sage and hinoki. Set up in 2005, the 200-strong firm now manufactures 30 varieties of soap. Each bar takes 60 days to make, using natural and sustainable farming methods.
Distributed by French chocolatier Valrhona, this Illanka chocolate is made from rare white cocoa beans handpicked in northern Peru. Nadège Nourian, the owner of her eponymous Toronto-based sweet shop, has crafted the blend into bars and bon-bons for the Canadian market. The packaging is adorned with Peruvian motifs. “We wanted to draw out the Illanka experience, from palette to packaging,” says Nourian.
Bavaria and beer go way back and the forests of the south German state have also long been home to a thriving glassmaking industry. Spiegelau, which is based in the Bavarian Forest national park, has specially crafted these glasses to heighten the taste and bouquet of individual brews – including wheat beers, lagers, stouts and pilsners.
Founded in 1885, this family business established itself by making cleavers and butcher’s knives. Four generations later the man at the helm, Andrea Girolami, has adapted to a changing market by offering knives for the home. For this set of three, European steel blades and olive-wood handles are fashioned in Maniago, a town 110km northeast of Venice known as a centre of the craft.
Designed for New York-based retailer Owen & Fred, these sharp-looking razors are made by hand in Massachusetts. The wooden handle of the sink-side staple is available in either American black walnut or reclaimed Cyprus – recovered from its 100-year slumber at the bottom of a Louisiana river. As well as fitting standard disposable razor blades, the reassuringly hefty handle is a tactile treat for shavers.
Vintage work-wear aficionados Kelly Dawson and Scott Ogden co-founded Dawson Denim in 2011. Its range of aprons and jeans are made from Japanese selvedge denim from a 120-year-old mill, which uses original 1920s Toyoda looms – finished with Swiss-made zips from long-running firm Riri. “We had a clearly defined ethos of making clothing ourselves that we would want to wear, constructed using traditional techniques and being built to last,” says Dawson.
Björk & Berries has set about reviving perfume manufacturing in the region of Gävle, eastern Sweden. “We still use natural perfume made from hand-picked birch leaves,” says Ebba Bucht Lugani, the company’s CEO. “The fragrance is still made by Swedish perfumer Pierre Wulff.”
Last autumn, Spanish beverage maker The Water Company launched three drinks under new brand name La Gloria. The ingredients take cues from Mediterranean flora. The Cola is created from a blend of Sri Lankan sugar cane and Veracruz vanilla, while the Clementine Orange and Sicilian Lemon varieties come via the orchards of citrus trees that grow free in the Canary Islands and Sicily. Launched in 2007, The Water Company imports drinks and focuses on bringing the best flavours from the rest of the world to Spain – its other tipples include US-based Jack Rudy tonic water and French absinthe from La Maison Fontaine.