Japanese heritage

Since 2019, par cyriaque ambroise

Ongoing series of hand carved wooden trays (2019 - present).

Perpetuating and keeping alive a Japanese heritage craft skill. Taking the time to make by hand, conscientiously, with simple handtools. A meditative process to create unique pieces from natural and ethically sourced materials.

wagatabon tea tray 02 cyriaque ambroise by romual maurel
wagatabon tea tray 06 cyriaque ambroise by sean oliver myers
wagatabon tea tray 03 cyriaque ambroise by romual maurel
wagatabon tea tray 01 cyriaque ambroise by gareth hacker
wagatabon tea tray 04 cyriaque ambroise
wagatabon tea tray 05 cyriaque ambroise
wagatabon tea tray 07 cyriaque ambroise by montmeat maurel
wagatabon tea tray 08 cyriaque ambroise by montmeat maurel
Wagatabon | Japanese heritage
Ongoing series of tea trays
Different woods
Different sizes
Started in 2019

Tea trays slowly carved on an atedai 当て台 (Japanese workbench) using a chisel, a gouge and a mallet. The wooden blank being previously squared with an axe from a tree log freshly cut with an hand saw. Carved from ethically sourced logs of trees that grew up localy.

See the slow making techniques: #wagatabon


I have learnt the endangered skill of Wagatabon 我谷盆 tray carving in 2019 from a Japanese master woodworker. Perpetuating and keeping alive this skill is for me a way to celebrate heritage crafts techniques, savoir-faire and “the intelligence of the hand”.

Wagata refers to the small village of Wagatani, in Ishikawa-ken prefecture, Japan; and Bon means tray. Traditionally crafted by roof shingle makers in Wagatani village, it is said that wagatabon have been made there since the early 17th century. Craftsmen split green chestnut logs to produce shingles, and kept the good pieces to carve the trays in winter. The craftsmanship disappeared after the village was flooded and evacuated in the 1960s before being resuscitated by a few Japanese artisans. Such as Tatsuaki Kuroda 黒田辰秋, Japan’s first living national treasure recognized for its woodworking.

Wagatabon carving know-how is today perpetuated by a handful of craftsmen in Japan and around the world.