Better Together - When Good Things Come in Pairs - tortoise general store

Better Together - When Good Things Come in Pairs

Posted by Ruby Zuckerman on

We know first hand from our friends and family that relationships are what make life meaningful. So often, we discover new things about ourselves through interaction with others. Maybe you never considered yourself a funny or adventurous person until you met that particular loved one. Or maybe you never knew how you really felt about a certain topic until your friend challenged you to discuss it. These are just a few of the ways relationships shape us into the complex people we are. 

Gift guide image of objects of likeness grouped in pairs

Here are nine pairings of objects from our store, brought together to highlight special functions and unexpected contrasts - a true embodiment of the phrase "better together!"

1. Brass ball-shaped incense holder & Shigarakiyaki small dish

Any incense lover knows that an incense holder on it's own only does one part of the job - keeping the incense stick elevated enough for a steady burn. Without a complementary dish, a lengthy clean-up is going to be required after any incense burning session. Not only does this Shigarakiyaki dish (made in one of the oldest kilns in Japan and modeled after antique molds) protect your table from incense ash - it also works as a lovely textural complement to the black brass incense holder. Enjoy the beautiful reflections and color cohesion surrounding this pair!

2. Hasami Porcelain & Hard Strong Glassware 

Both Hasami Porcelain (a stackable ceramics line) and Hard Strong (a stackable glassware line) are beloved in Japan and beyond for their clever, compact, modular sensibility. Bars and restaurants have favored both lines for their ability to fit many pieces in small spaces - while looking sleek and modern at the same time. It's a little known secret that these two lines can actually work together - the Hard Strong glasses nest perfectly with Hasami cups, lids, coasters, and trays. Add a surprise of transparency in your Hard Strong collection, and enjoy the way these two Japanese staples compliment each other!

3. Stone sake pitcher & stone tea cup

These distinctive porcelain pieces were produced in Arita, Japan. Rich in porcelain stone, Arita has been manufacturing and trading porcelainware since 1616. Inventive and unexpected, this pitcher and cup are the perfect example of the innovation and growth of porcelain design. Use this set for an elegant sake experience, or as a creamer for your morning coffee. The organic, stone texture can even be used as a display piece in its own right.

4. Charcoal face soap & red pine soap dish 

This red pine soap dish is designed to peacefully exist in a wet environment. Composed of two pieces of wood that slope downwards to an open slat in the middle, this dish helps to drain away excess water from a soap bar. Not only does this keep the wood healthy and clean - it also results in a longer life for your soap. And with the purifying, moisturizing, and detoxifying properties of Binchotan's charcoal soap, you'll want to make sure the bar lasts as long as possible. 

5. The Art of Japanese Joinery and Kumiki wooden puzzles

A must-have book for any artist or designer, The Art of Japanese Joinery celebrates the Japanese craft of creating complex, interlocking wooden joints stronger than any steel bolt. Kumiki puzzles are made up of a series of these same joints, and were designed to teach architecture students how to think beyond screws and nails. Pair a Kumiki puzzle with this informative book to give the designer in your life a chance to put their new knowledge to practice!


6. Toban skillet & fish trivet

Not only do these Tortoise favorites rhyme delightfully - their deep earth tones and natural color palette are the perfect compliment!

Bake up a cheesy soufflé in this versatile ceramic piece, and then playfully serve your dish on top of a fish

7.  Enamel butter dish and enamel butter knife

There's something irresistible about yellow butter on a smooth enamel surface. This enamel butter dish safely stores butter both in and out of the fridge, and the lid doubles as a serving board just by flipped the dish upside-down.

Keep the milky, enamel white in play by resting our enamel butter knife on the wooden serving board - it's the perfect ergonomic shape to gently slice butter and spread without any risk of cutting your bread. 

8. Azumaya juicer and small white grater

It's time for ginger lemonade! Pair these kitchen tools for a deliciously refreshing summer drink. Our small white grater pulverizes ginger into a smooth paste, which will mix seamlessly with freshly squeezes lemon juice and your favorite tonic water. We love the way the white color of each piece ties together these retro and traditional designs. 

9. Crinkle tumbler & paper leather coaster

Finally, a combination of two designers obsessed with unexpected textures - M. Komatsu and Irose. Komatsu designed the Crinkle/Crumple series in the mid '80s, after seeing unexpected paper imprints on molds he was using for his ceramic sculptures. These cups look like crumpled up paper, when they're actually made of porcelain! Irose, a leather design duo in Tokyo, had a similar idea with their paper-leather products - leather that has been treated to resemble crumpled up paper. Together, this duo is unstoppable! 

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