History of GrayMist
GrayMist is a boutique-style gift store and studio nestled in the heart of Huron Village. We source unique, thought-provoking and functional items from all around the world to bring you an exquisite experience as you walk through our space.
GrayMist was founded in 2006 but its history begins in 1994, when our founder and owner Etsuko Yashiro visited a small island off the coast of Massachusetts called Nantucket. She instantly fell in love with the dune-covered New England aesthetic of the island, and having been a sailor in Japan, was quickly drawn into Nantucket’s deep history of whaling. However, it was not until a return visit that she saw the Nantucket Lightship Basket, hanging delicately off the arm of an affluent and well-dressed Nantucketer.
She decided she had to have one, but was dismayed to learn that the truly beautiful lightship baskets were much more expensive than she could afford. Determined, she decided that she would learn to make them herself, and approached multiple basket weavers on the island. However, wary of outsiders learning a culturally guarded craft, no one was willing to take her on as an apprentice. After years of repeatedly returning to nag her favorite weaver, Alan S. Reed, he finally relented and took her on as his student.
Years later, Etsuko Yashiro founded GrayMist Studio & Shop in a quaint but lively neighborhood of Cambridge, Massachusetts. By then, Etsuko had become a master basket weaver, whose works are displayed annually at the Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum. She holds annual exhibitions in different cities and venues all over Japan, including events at the Daitokuji Zen Temple and the Hyatt Regency in Kyoto. She now has over 75 instructors teaching under her, with over 1000 combined basket students!
Our Cambridge location is split into two distinct sections—the front is our gift store, which displays unique, quirky, well-crafted items from all around the world. Etsuko is still the sole buyer, and hand-selects every piece that we carry. The care and thought that goes into the pieces, from the design to the construction and packaging, is apparent in every gift you’ll find here. The back section contains our studio, where we offer daily classes on Nantucket Basket weaving. We also offer workshops on other crafts, such as felting wool, modern calligraphy, and small crafts.