How many people in Sendai know about Baltic states? Almost everyone knows Scandinavian countries. I can’t imagine a person who has never heard about Russia. But what about that three countries in the middle, near Baltic sea, three little northern countries, which share their complicated histories and vivid cultures?
At least we found one shop that offers an insight to Baltic states. Incredible Tsumugi つむぎ雑貨店, a small place where Latvian, Estonian or Lithuanian will feel at home.
Tsumugi means “spinning a yarn”. “When I first saw Baltic craft, I thought that it looks so much like crafts from Tohoku. I felt that I need to spin it together. I mean, Baltic states and Tohoku. Our people have a lot in common”, says Ms. Kamakura, the owner of Tsumugi.
Tsumugi was opened in 2014. Before opening a shop, Ms. Kamakura was selling crafts and vintage items from Northern Europe through web-shop, participated in different craft events. “I didn’t have much chance to engage in a chat with a customer. Lack of this personal contact was one of the main reasons why I decided to open Tsumugi”. Ms. Kamakura likes to travel. And she likes crafts. “Talking about crafts, I mostly like to see and touch amazing things made by other people, rather than creating something myself. Since when I was a child, I liked to visit kokeshi workshops, potteries, and this is what I am doing now”.
Things that are being sold in Tsumugi are very different. Besides Baltic states, there are items from Scandinavia, Germany, Eastern Europe. New things, old things, some were probably made in the beginning of 20th century, some remind of the Soviet past, some are completely fresh and unused. All kinds of objects - statuettes, treasured china, pieces of crochet lace, greeting cards that some unknown persons sent to some other unknown persons many years ago.
These objects are dearly kept in every house in Latvia, Estonia or Lithuania. Purchasing a small item at Tsumugi, you purchase a part of this cosiness of a family home in a small European country.
Ms. Kamakura says, that she doesn’t have any system of choosing items for her shop. “I just walk around the city, visit antique shops, open-air markets, small craft shops and buy the things I like”. She visits Europe around two times a year, and every time gets back with a luggage full of small treasures. “I hope people can learn something about Baltic states from me. I am always glad to see new faces”.
Tsumugi also holds exhibitions that allow people to get to know the craft of Europe better. Latvian mittens, Polish textiles - Tsumugi always offers you a chance to get to know Europe better!