Gourd and Horse


All about Gourd and Horse

Studio Gourd (“Hyoutan Koubou” ひょうたん工房) is based in the Cotswold town of Stroud.  Gourd and Horse was originally started by ceramicist and sculptor Akiyama Naoko.  After some years of development, a unique team of - handcrafted orchid pots made by Aki and growing Japanese orchids by Ben - has been formed.  Now, Gourd and Horse specialises in Japanese orchids, grown and presented using traditional Japanese horticultural methods.  The two main species we specialise in are Neofinetia falcata and Dendrobium moniliforme which are presented on a raised mound of sphagnum moss in handcrafted three legged pots. 

Neofinetia falcata (Vanda falcata) is a wild orchid found in East Asia.  In Japan, this orchid has been popular with plant lovers since the 17th century.  Today, Fuukiran [富貴蘭], (Neofinetia falcata), are being officially registered and their unique traditional displays are attracting many orchid enthusiasts in the world - through their individual characteristic features, such as the combination of variegated or mutated leaves, root colour and forms of flowers.  Interestingly, Fuukiran is appreciated enough without flowers which produce incredible aroma nevertheless.  Chouseiran [長生蘭] (Dendrobium moniliforme) is another popular species of fragrant orchid to be enjoyed with its unique leaves and stems.  These registered orchids in a manner exist as “artifacts” with human intervention and cultivation activities containing deep meanings.  Finally, each Fuukiran and Chouseiran has an individual name in Japanese/Chinese characters which is also a fascinating subject to learn the meaning of in relation to its appearance, geographical origin or historical stories.

Aki and Ben are willingly introducing and sharing such joy that these little orchids can offer you!  You will meet us and can purchase our orchids and pots at the orchid events or via Aki's online shop for pots or e-mail us for your enquiry on orchids - Ben will tell you very healthy orchids available in his collection for you.  

The essence of sharing is what runs through the practice and work of Gourd and Horse.


Stroud is a market town, situated at the meeting point of Five Valleys (Chalford, Nailsworth, Ruscombe, Slad and Painswick), well-known for its historic cloth industry where wool mills line the small rivers and canals along these beautiful valleys. Throughout the seasons, the hills overseeing the small streams and old canals are an ever changing charm, and constantly attract both locals and visitors.  If you happen to be in this area, Stroud Saturday Market with its rich local produce cannot be missed.

Tale of Gourd and Horse

Brand name, Gourd and Horse, is inspired in an old Japanese saying; “Hyoutan kara Koma (瓢箪から駒)”, which literally means “A horse pops out of a gourd.” - [i.e. an unexpected surprise is happening to you.]  Finding unique forms and functions is one of the characteristic practices of Gourd and Horse.  The collection includes exclusively pots for orchids and indoor small plants with new designs and colours from time to time. 

The meaning of Gourd and Horse





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