In-store visits by appointment on Tues-Friday (1-6pm). No appointments necessary on Saturday (1-6pm) & Sunday (1-5pm). Closed Mon. Please allow 2-3 days for online orders to be processed and shipped out. Same-day pickup is available for orders made during store pick-up hours (Tue-Sun 11-4), but customers must first be notified by email when order is ready.

News

Check-In with Nobuhito Nishigawara - A Commitment to Handmade Ceramics

WRF, a ceramic line named after the English translation of founder Nobuhito Nishigawara's last name (West River Field), has lined the shelves of Tortoise General Store since 2014. Each piece has a distinctly handmade quality - the soft, simple forms are full of warmth.

When Nishigawara isn't in the studio, he's teaching as the head of the Ceramics department at California State University, Fullerton. Our staff member Ruby met with Nishigawara to check in about the history of WRF, how Nishigawara's background as a fine art sculptor affects his practice, and advice for new ceramicists. 


Feeling Optimistic - Tortoise Welcomes Spring 2021!

The days are getting longer, the sun feeling warmer, and all of our spirits are a little higher... it must mean spring is here! After such a strange year, celebrating this period of growth and rebirth feels extra meaningful. 

We want to welcome Spring 2021 with open, hopeful arms - so our Tortoise staff compiled a list of our favorite spring-themed products. We hope these items can help you enjoy this magical time of year, full of new beginnings, to its fullest. 

April showers bring may flowers...these Daiichi Rubber boots are indestructible...


TGS Classic #2: Sori Yanagi, Industrial Modernist

A stainless steel kettle. A butterfly stool. An Olympic torch. A grapefruit spoon. 

These are some of the iconic designs Sori Yanagi produced in his career of over half a century. Yanagi is known as both distinctly Japanese and the prime example of a full blown modernist - creating designs that remain functional and beautiful throughout many different times and places. These designs can be deceptively simple, so for the second installment of our #TortoiseClassic series, we are going to do a deep dive into the philosophy and attention to detail hidden within Sori Yanagi's timeless designs.


Check-In with Leonard Koren: Aesthetics Expert & Wabi-Sabi Author

For many years, we've had Leonard Koren's book, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, at the corner of our front counter, greeting customers as they walk in. This concise yet rich book explores the most ephemeral of Japanese aesthetics - wabi-sabi. We wanted to connect with Koren - a long time artist, aesthetics expert, and the author of several books - to dive deeper into his understanding of wabi-sabi and its relevance to this current moment. 

Ruby Zuckerman: For many of us, Covid-19 has been one of the most disruptive changes to daily life that...


Time With Ourselves - Lessons on Loneliness From Japanese Literature

Yet again, here we are, thinking about how to cope with the continued isolation so many of us have been suffering from this past year. Here at Tortoise, we are hoping that this winter is the final push - and thought we would spend some time focussing on the beauty and joy in spending time alone with yourself, free from the distractions of a busy social life. 

There are lots of lessons to be learned about this lonesome beauty from Japanese literature - which has been concerned with themes of isolation and solitude for over a thousand years. Keep reading for some wise writerly words, paired with our favorite cozy, thought-provoking items for making the most of this strange winter.