March 01, 2022 2 min read

Cohana Brand

The Cohana brand is a Collection of exquisite, high quality tools and accessories for knitters and makers. Handmade by artisans in Japan using traditional techniques and processes.

Visiting Artisans - OISEI Foundry in Iwate, Japan

Nambu Iron Paperweights

In 1975, Nambu Ironware was designated as the first traditional craft by the Japanese government. From a early stage Cohana had a strong desire to create a paperweight using Nambu Ironware.

The OISEI Foundry created a stackable paperweight, adjusting the hole diameter so that it could be used as a pen stand, and using tasteful colours. 

The OISEI Founfry is located in Haneda-cho, Mizusawa-ku, a “foundry town” with many other foundry-related companies in the area. Casting has been actively carried out in this area since ancient times. The company was started in 196 and the current Chairman is the sixth family member to be the boss!

History of Nambu Ironware

Originally, the casting industry in Mizusawa began in the late Heian period (794-1185) when the Fujiwara clan invited casting craftsmen from Omi Province to polish the skills of the local people.

Production began with special-purpose items such as bells and statues of Buddha for temples, and gradually expanded to household items such as baths, pots, and iron kettles. In the old days, it took more time and effort to make things than it does now, and things were used with great care by people. Iron is recyclable, so when it breaks, it can be melted down and reused to create something new, and it was valued as a wonderful material.

However, there was a time when Nambu ironware was not so favoured.

War Time

It was 1938, the military demand for Nambu ironware became so strong that iron kettles, pots, and other daily necessities had to be discontinued. Since the material was recyclable, even temple bells were collected, melted down, and turned into guns and airplane parts. Production of non military ironware began in 1947.

The Foundry Today

The foundry today is maintaining the traditional manufacturing methods that have been handed down by the craftsmen and their predecessors, and making the most of the unique texture of Nambu ironware.

 

OISEI Foundry OISEI Foundry Inside

 

Nambu Iron Paperweights and other Cohana Products Nambu Paperweight in presentation box

 

Cohana - Nambu Iron Paperweights Pink Cohana - Nambu Style Paperweights - Desktop

 

About FelinFach

Our company, FelinFach Natural Textiles is located in the heart of the Preseli area of Pembrokeshire near to Boncath. We design Welsh blankets and the iconic Welsh Tapestry blankets which are traditionally woven at Welsh mills. We also design and make natural hand dyed yarn, cotton, silk and wool scarves and other handmade products, all available in our yarn store and shop. We also offer Welsh tartans, Sheepskin Rugs, Gift Cards and tools and books for crafters and knitters in our yarn store - Cohana, Laine, Amirisu and Making to name a few! Lastly, craft courses on hand dyeing with 100% natural dyes in the purpose designed FelinFach Dye Studio. We are a proud supporter of the Campaign for Wool, All Things Wales and Global Welsh.

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Last update 17th March 2022