CLIMB HERITAGE REVEALED THROUGH JAPANESE CRAFT
For the latest chapter in the ongoing partnership between Arc’teryx and Beams, climbers Ashima Shiraishi and Isamu Kawabata journeyed to Japan to spend a day with craftsmen Shota Yoshida, Kazuya Watanabe, and Kazuhiro Utsugi to learn the process of creating wooden climbing holds, and to unveil the FW23 collection.
Based in Nagoya, Japan, the workshop is coated in a shimmering layer of sawdust. Yoshida, Watanabe, and Utsugi specialize in the highly precise craft of shaping and creating climbing holds: by examining structures and natural forms of reclaimed wood, they uncover the shape, ultimately allowing nature to reveal the final outcome. This creation process establishes a connection between the innate features of raw, earthly material, and the heritage of climbing. The art form not only reveals an intimate relationship with the raw material but also a connection between the human hand and the earth, which is shown in the distinctive look and feel of the objects.
After learning from the experts in the workshop, Ashima Shiraishi noted, “I was moved by the attention to detail and intuitive flow that emerged through the hands and minds of the hold-shaping process. From the salvaging of disposed wood to the tedious yet rewarding chiseling of the bark, their work shows a deep sense of appreciation for craftsmanship.” She continued, “I love the ethos behind Yoshida-san’s inspiration for climbing on wooden holds. Each particular piece of material reveals the unique shape within.”
The latest Arc’teryx x Beams capsule takes inspiration from Japanese craftspeople and the philosophy of wabi-sabi. Wooden holds are but one interpretation of wabi-sabi, a broad concept that touches disparate fields including art, nature, creativity, and beauty.
The collection itself balances Beams’ Japanese heritage with mountain expertise from Arc’teryx, culminating in a range that includes this exclusive Beta Jacket and Atom LT Hoody — both offered in men’s and women’s sizes — accompanied by the Mantis 26 Backpack and Mantis 2 Waistpack.”