Mosir Life is the project of Japanese-born Ai Kitaya and her partner Mark Hedley, who opened their tiny homewares store by converting the garage beneath their home in Glebe.
Mosir (meaning “world, island or country” in the language of the northern Japan’s indigenous Ainu people) Life offers a tight edit of handmade wares sourced from various shokunin (artisan masters) in Japan. Products are made by specialty craftspeople in high-quality materials, including a selection of organic teas from one of the largest tea farming prefectures in Japan, Shizuoka; handcrafted brassware from Okayama; and delicate ceramics from a potter in Kanagawa.
Mosir Life is a culmination of the couple’s respective backgrounds. “My mother used to teach tea ceremony to high school children which I would attend and watch; my grandfather grew natural indigo and my grandmother used it to dye fabrics for herself and for us,” Kitaya says. “I was very fortunate to have a unique family life that included some of the best traditions of Japan and I wanted to create a space to share this in Sydney.”
Hedley grew up in New Zealand, watching his cabinetmaker and builder father craft beautiful objects from timber out of their family’s garage. “For me, the garage was always a place where most practical ideas could be turned into useful objects, there was no need to visit a furniture store, everything could be made there.”
The pair worked together to get as much function and beauty from the small garage space in order to create “a retreat from everyday Sydney and a connection back to the Japan that we admired,” Kitaya says. The storefront is striking with a lattice timber (koushi) facade and door made by Hedley, partly covered by sprawling bamboo. Inside, timber shelves line the walls and handmade displays showcase the products. The pair referenced Japanese design models for the ability to quickly move furniture around or to clear the floor to make way for exhibitions and demonstrations they will hold in the space.