Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tatsuzo Shimaoka

Tatsuzo Shimaoka (1919-2007) was a great ceramic artist who's work was at the same time innovative and grounded in tradition. His most noticeable technique is the combined use of rope impressions (similar to Jomon period pottery) with slip inlaid into the recessed surface (similar to mishima or zogan, the Korean technique) to decorate his wares. Shimaoka was inspired to use the rope because his father had been a silk cord artisan. His work was certainly not limited to one style, however.

Shimaoka apprenticed under Shoji Hamada from 1946 to 1949, and he was designated a Japanese living national treasure in 1996.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Takashi Nakasato

Takashi Nakasato is a contemporary Japanese potter, the 13th generation to carry on his family tradition. A native of Karatsu, a region famous for its distinct style of pottery known as Karatsu Ware.

In the video above, Takashi makes use of the gyubera, the "cow's tongue" rib.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tomimoto Kenkichi

Tomimoto Kenkichi (1886-1963) is celebrated as the greatest Japanese ceramic artist of the 20th century. In contrast to the popular Japanese "folk style" pottery, which is defined by it's sturdy appearance and simple decoration, Tomimoto's pottery appears delicate with ornate designs. He preferred porcelain and made use of overglaze enamels, as well as gold and silver lustre.

Tomimoto's philosophy was, "Produce large quantities of inexpensive vessels that have been designed by a true artist and manufactured in a coordinated, well-organized pottery, in order that every kind of person, in every kind of house can use it; inexpensive pottery that anybody can buy and that nobody can afford to be without." This philosophy is carried on by the great American potter, Warren MacKenzie.

Tomimoto founded the ceramics department at the Kyoto Municipal College of Fine Arts, and his legacy continues in the work of the countless potters who studied under him.