If I was a Butterball Turkey, my button would have just popped; just grab the carving utensils and stick a fork in me.... I have seen previous descriptions, from days of yore, wherein a writer observed “Very surprisingly, the bent Tomato is one shape we've not seen terribly represented from Tsuge's Ikebana line over the years.” I must differ with my colleagues on this one point, it isn’t too surprising, because the bent Tomato has never been anything close to a mainstay in top-tier Japanese carving. Sure, Tokutomi does a unique (fairly) straight interpretation, from time to time, but he has been the exception rather than the rule. With Asami Kikuchi’s uncanny affinity for uncovering both the visual and tactile possibilities within small wooden objects, now at the helm of Tsuge Ikebana, times are a changin’, and the fact that we ran just across the most amiable and wonderfully grained bent Tomato we have ever received from Japan (in my opinion) now
Low slung and broader of bowl, this Ikebana E Grade bent Tomato carries its fair share of the best of the modern elements, especially those aspects we equate with a sense of ‘couldn’t improve upon’ shape and charm. Where this Kikuchi differs is that she has managed to push that sense to the max, without employing an uber-chubby shank with a dramatic taper. Chris Johnson’s pictures, imo, are the best in the business. Still pictures tend to fare a bit better in matters of emphasizing dramatic gestures, keen edges, and flares. While it would be impossible to not discern (at least hints) of the charm that I am going on about in these pics, they don’t convey the sheer “OhmygodIhavetoholdit!!” effect that this adorable briar has had on anyone who has come close to it... seriously. As far as the grain goes, please rely on Chris’ photography, for it is nothing short of jaw-dropping. Highly recommended.
--R. ‘Bear’ Graves