Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Arrivals from Eiko Tanaka : Lacquer Pitchers

Penguin & Hiyoko Pitchers by Eiko Tanaka
Eiko Tanaka's spouted containers are beautifully made, pouring a clean stream from the hand-crafted spout.

It is easy to find a spouted wooden bowl, such as the Goroku wooden bowl that has an attached spout.
However, skilled at the wood turning lathe, Eiko Tanaka's sensitivities took her in another direction.

Well-suited to spin a piece of wood at high speed and carve out a perfectly round figure, the lathe technique cannot be used to form a spout at only one place on the form.

Eiko's spouted container design looks as if she took the circular rim formed from the lathe and pinched it with her fingers to create a gentle curved spout.
Natural in its shape, you remain unaware of the great challenge of it.
Because it is impossible to complete this piece only with the lathe, it seems she carved out the shape using the lathe and continued to hand-carve the rest of the form to make the spout.

As you experience this breathtaking piece, the beauty of a form that obscures the great efforts of its hand-carving is an artisan's obsession.





Hiyoko Pitcher S φ3"1/4 x H2"3/4 $330 (left)
Hiyoko Pitcher M φ3"3/4 x H3"   $430 (right)
made of Hornbeam

Penguin Pitcher L φ3"1/4 x H5"1/2 $680 (left)
Penguin Pitcher M φ3"1/2 x H5"   $630 (right)
Penguin Pitcher S φ3"1/4 x H 4"   $530 (front)
made of Japanese Horse Chestnuts

" Tradition on My Side "

The first time Eiko came to New York was in October of 2011. At this time, it was her second year as a participant in Gallery Hagi owner, Toyoko Shimoguchi's showcase of the crafts of Kaga from Ishikawa prefecture. The show was titled, "The Way of the Tea Ceremony of Kaga." Eight unique craftsmen members showed their works and there was a tea ceremony demonstration.

Making lacquerware in Yamanaka and master at the lathe, Eiko Tanaka, with her cheerful personality, was in her twenties. What I remember most about her first show in New York was her beaming energy and confidence. So I asked, "You aren't nervous at all, are you?" to which she responded with laughter and delight, "I'm very VERY nervous."  It was her overwhelming nerves that revealed itself as buoyant self-assurance.

Born in Aichi prefecture, she apprenticed under the wood grain master Torao Nakajima. After establishing her own atelier, she applied the lacquer techniques she learned as a student to finish every piece with her own hands.

The world of traditional crafts has specializations. Typically, a master wood turner does not also handle lacquer; that is the work of a lacquerware craftsman.

She is an outsider who has not been confined to the traditional roles in craft making in order to make her art. However, she has also spoken of the difficulty in placing herself within the history of traditional craftsmanship. She has taught me that her work, though it is made by traditional techniques and inherits that traditional spirit, is not traditional, but a new form of craft-making still in the trial-and-error phase. The younger generation of artists can embrace this form of traditional craft while working with the knowledge and experience of their predecessors.

At Sara Japanese Pottery, it has become an annual event, where every October we invite these two artists from Kaga, the master wood-turner, Eiko Tanaka, and the Kutani-ware artist, Ruri Takeuchi, to have an exhibition. Interest in the show continues to grow; admirers are entranced by their artwork. Tradition is not an adversary, but in fact, a strong ally.

石川県 加賀の、ギャラリー萩のオーナー下口豊子氏による、加賀のクラフトを世界に紹介する会の2年目のメンバーの一人としてやって来た。
The way of the tea ceremony of Kagaと題して、総勢8人のそれぞれ違ったカテゴリーの作家達の作品を展示、茶の湯のデモンストレーションも行った。

愛知県出身、木地師 中嶋虎男に師事、独立後は学生時代から学んできた漆の技術を使い、自らの手で作品を仕上げている。
出来るということも有りますね、と答えながら、歴史のある伝統工芸の世界に身を置く難しさもあると話していた。伝統の技を学び精神を受け継ぎながらも新し い物造りに試行錯誤している姿は、若い世代の作家たちが伝統を受け入れることを拒む事なく、先人の知恵と工夫を味方につけて新たな作品作りに挑んでいるの だと私に教えてくれた。

我がSara Japanese Potteryでは、毎年10月が加賀の2人、轆轤師の田中瑛子と九谷焼の竹内瑠璃の展覧会というのが定着し始めて、ファンも年々増えている。皆彼らの作品に夢中だ。伝統は敵じゃない、強い味方なのだ。

Penguin Pitcher S φ3"1/2 x H4"1/4 $530 (left)
Penguin Pitcher S φ3"1/4 x H4"   $530 (center)
Penguin Pitcher S φ3"1/4 x H 4"1/4   $580 (right)
made of Japanese Horse Chestnuts

Penguin Pitcher S φ3"1/2 x H3"3/4 $430 (left)
Penguin Pitcher SS φ3" x H2"3/4   $330 (right)
made of Japanese Horse Chestnuts


Monday, February 16, 2015

Kazu Oba "Mizusashi"-Fresh Water Jar

By Kazu Oba

Two water jars have arrived from Kazu Oba, a Faceted MIZUSASHI and a TATAKI MIZUSASHI, each with their own lacquer lid made to perfection by Gen Saratani.

The Faceted MIZUSASHI was first fired in 2012, at the Höhr-Grenzhausen wood-fired kiln in Germany, where black terra sigillata is covered with natural ash glaze. It was then fired again in a salt-firing in Colorado. Just below the rim, a piece about an inch wide is carved out around the entire circumference, creating a slender lip for the lid. The dark brown terra sigillata slip embeds itself in the texture of the beveled surface. The lid fits to the rim so that it sinks perfectly into the curvature. Gen crafted the lid this way at the request of Kazu.
Here, you begin to get a glimpse of the particularities of the ceramicist. The amusement in the piece is expected in the rich color of the clay where the flames didn't reach and the scattered portions where the natural ash glaze looks as if it were sprinkled with sesame seeds. Exploring the surface, embedded in the clay are infinite remnants of small grains of sand resembling rainfall in the middle of the night. From afar, one begins to see a hill or seascape. 

The oblique rim of the TATAKI MIZUSASHI is fitted perfectly with a thicker lacquered lid that appears as if you are looking at the water surface below it. The paddle technique used for this water jar is from the Karatsu tradition. It curves out just below the rim than becomes narrower, only to slightly curve out again at the bottom as if it were a water balloon placed on a flat surface. The piece was dipped in green glaze from rim to mid-body. While natural ash covered the front, the portion over the green glaze became brown to create a landscape. At the bottom, the remaining unglazed portion, the technique using the paddled texture is visible. It is magical that only then does one notice the same paddled texture showing through the glazed portion. One can truly admire all the care and work that goes into making a piece such as this. Intentionally unglazed, at the bottom there are traces that appear as if the firing were done with several abalone shells. If you fill it with water, it is as if one were looking at the ocean floor and discovering some ancient treasure. This is indeed Kazu's style of playfulness.
From a firing in Aztec, New Mexico at the Casa Verde Studio, with a special ordered lid from Gen Saratani, we now have this rare item of beauty.

大庭一仁  緑釉叩き水指・面取テラシッジ水指



2012年、ニューメキシコのAztecにあるCasa Verde Studioで焼成されたものに、更谷源とのコラボレーションで塗り蓋を誂えて、遂にこの逸品となった。

Monday, February 9, 2015

"Murrini and Lace" 3/26 -3/28 : Fujiko & Ushio Duo Exhibition

Fujiko Enami & Ushio Konishi
- Murrini and Lace -
Italian Traditional Technique with Japanese Aesthetic

March 26th Thu.  – March 28th Sat.
Artist Reception : March 26th Thu. 6pm-8pm
We are pleased to announce that Sara Japanese Pottery will present Duo Exhibition of Fujiko Enami and Ushio Konishi.

After working in Massachusetts at the Chatham Glass Company, they returned to Japan in 1998 to Miura Point to establish the Ushio Glass Studio.
Ever since, they have worked in the traditional Venetian glass technique of Murrini and Lace to create an oeuvre of original pieces. Familiar with Tea Ceremony, the Japan-esque subtleties are radiant in their world of glass.
The glass beads are made and lined up to resemble a geometric structure, yet the flowing nature of the colors is Murrini glass. The clear and colored twists of glass are assembled to create Lace glass. The multiple dimensions expressed by the thinness of the glass will move you and take your breath away.
マサチューセッツのChatham glass companyで働いていた2人が日本に帰り、1998年三浦岬に潮工房を立ち上げて以来、LaceとMurriniと言う伝統的なvenetian glassの手法を用いて、数々のオリジナル作品を制作してきた。

The event is their first exhibition at Sara Japanese Pottery. Artist, Ushio Konishi, is visiting from Japan, and happy to greet you during the exhibition.

* Open Hour *
March 26th, Thu. 10 am - 8 pm   Artist Reception  6pm - 8pm
March 27th, Fri.   10 pm - 7 pm
March 28th, Sat.  12 pm - 6 pm

Fujiko Enami
Your world becomes as if looking through a kaleidoscope. Taking a combination of tiny pieces, Fujiko's works are characteristic of Venetian Glass, particularly, Murrini glass. Similar to making Kintaro-Ame, a Japanese candy where long stems of candy are cut with the same pattern at each intersection, the Murrini technique is a complex technique, taking long stems of glass and cutting them into 5mm pieces. Then, after arranging 200-2000 glass pieces, they are fired together and shaped using a glass blowing rod.
"When I was a child, I loved watching my mother embroider. She would divide and beautifully arrange the many embroidery threads; it was very comforting to me. With the Murrini technique, a lot of time is spent sitting and working on a delicate arrangement, which to me is a peaceful time spent on doing something and being somewhere I am supposed to be."

Ushio Konishi
As if lace was made from glass, Ushio's Lace Glass technique beautifully folds glass to create delicate designs reminiscent of lace patterns. This glass blowing technique used to make Lace Glass is one of Venetian glass's most famous techniques. It is such an advanced technique that it was once known only within the most expert of Venetian glass blowers and its technique was held secret to others.
"How to combine the colors, or how to express it in a way that will make it the most beautiful is what Lace glass is about. In other words, how to use the colors and make them transparent so that the glass is both brilliant and understated; the glass then has beauty and charm. When I look at the primitive and labor intensive process, I want to make glass out of it. To understand what glass can become is, perhaps, what I am searching for as a craftsman."

Friday, February 6, 2015

Wood-Fired Dinosaurs by Shumpei Yamaki

Wood-fired Dinosaur
Dinosaur Expertise : Shumpei Yamaki
It was in 2008 that Shumpei was introduced to me through Tim Rowan. At the time, Shumpei was still teaching at Long Island University.

While studying at the University of Wisconsin, Shumpei was an accident where he was seriously injured. With his positive and forward-looking disposition he delved into rehabilitation. This would be the link where he started ceramics. Demonstrating talent from the very beginning, he continued to excel, and, ultimately, to become a professional ceramicists. I have told him before, "It must have been when you were sculpting dinosaurs that working with clay became so natural to you."

After his first solo show at Sara Japanese Pottery, I invited him to stay at my home where we shared stories late into the night and where I got to know his personality. In answering a question of mine, he responded, "I started making dinosaurs back when I was in kindergarten. Even now, making dinosaurs is a passion of mine." Until that moment, I only knew him as a potter when, surprisingly, making dinosaurs was one of his true and continued passions.

Interested from childhood, he played with dinosaurs; making them, then having them fight one another. He never tired of dinosaurs throughout his schooling, and entered college to major in archeology. He asked his professor, "When do we start learning about dinosaurs in class?" only to be told, "Archeology is the study of humans living in the past, so our classes will not cover dinosaurs". True to his eccentric personality, this was the first time he was faced with this misunderstanding.

Half-jokingly, I told him, "If you love dinosaurs so much, instead of making pots why don't you become a dinosaur artist?" At this point, I remember him nodding as if the idea weren't completely out of the question.

It was partially at my behest that he sculpt dinosaurs; we then planned for a small show that was titled, "Wood-fired Dinosaur".

Eleven dinosaurs were delivered: T-Rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops. All different sizes, all realistic in capturing the movement of a dinosaur. The largest T-Rex was the highlight of them all with a span of 23 inches. A lurking rugged posture, it looks as if it will attack its prey at any moment, showing its snarling fangs, breathing its rasping breath.

Using the wheel to create a hollow center, Shumpei builds the figure by adding the head, feet, arms, and tail; a technique of the potter. The large thick hind legs center the weight, the long tail sweeps down, and its body curves as if it were turning to one side. Its small front legs are formed below its head, poised to grip. Its head is tilted at a slight angle bringing it to life. It is not sculpted in every meticulous detail. However, at one glance, you can see that there is no compromise in life-like proportion; you can see the muscles and the movement.

Entirely coated in natural glaze, the body is a deep glossy brown making the dry ash glaze of the head and spine look beautiful. Following the tail, it curls with a wavy texture like silk crepe. It makes you think that this is how real dinosaurs looked like. This is an accidental product, a boon from the gods.

Hip hop dancer turned ceramicist, an archeology major with dinosaur expertise.
I wait in anticipation for his greatest works yet to come.
W8" x D23" x H9" $1200


Tim Rowanの紹介で僕が駿平君に初めて会ったのは、彼が未だLong island University で教えていた頃、2008年だった。


Sara Japanese Potteryでの彼の最初の個展の後、私の家に滞在した彼と夜遅くまで語り合い、ひととなりに触れた。


半ば、私の願いを無理に聞いてもらうような形で、恐竜を作ってもらって小さなショーを企画した。"Wood fired dinosaur " 薪窯恐竜だ。

11体の恐竜が届いた。T REX、ステゴサウルス、トリケラトプス、大きさの違う薪窯恐竜たち、どれも、動きの一瞬をうまく捉えたリアルな恐竜だ。中でも、一番大きなT REXは圧巻である。全長23インチ、低くががめた姿勢は今まさに獲物に飛びかかろうとしているかのごとくで、牙をむき出した口から荒い息遣いが聞こえて 来そうだ。

太く大きな後ろ足は、重心を支え、長い尻尾は垂れ下がり、横に振られたかたちにカーブしている。小さな前足は頭の下に保たれ、いつでも掴みかかれるような 姿勢で、右に少し傾いだ頭がとてもリアルだ。決して細部まで細かく作り込んでいるわけではないが、あくまで本物のスケール感を意識して作られたのは一目瞭 然。筋肉の動きが見えるようだ。



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Ruri Takeuchi's Works will be returning to Japan : until 2/14

As porcelain painting artist, Ruri Takeuchi, will have an exhibition, the works will be returning to Japan.
If you still have them in your mind, please stop by at Sara Japanese Pottery.
The works are available until February 14th Sat.
If you are far from New York, please feel free to contact us, we are happy to assist you.
Ruri Takeuchi is an artist who paints exquisitely fine motifs on porcelain pieces - boxes, incense holders, or small figurines.
A native of Nara prefecture, in Japan, Ruri studied at Kyoto's School of Traditional Arts and Crafts.  Upon graduation, she apprenticed under Chousa Yamamoto, a renown porcelain artist, and became entranced by traditional Kaga crafts and Kutani porcelain painting.  She would spend four years learning and developing her techniques in porcelain painting.In 2010, Sara Japanese Pottery held a group exhibition, "KAGAKUTANI in NY 2010," where she premiered her vivid designs as an independent artist, not as a learner.
"Microscopic Craft from KAGA" will be Ruri's fourth time showing in New York
“With each individual work, including the title, I condense a single universe into that piece.  The motifs are mostly inspired by nature, and I find it most satisfying when someone is able to look at my work and experience a soft breeze, hear the voice of a bird, or recreate a feeling from some story.”   -Ruri Takeuchi

Her works are as she describes them.  She encapsulates a single scene from nature into a design with lush green leaves surrounding a marten or rabbit, or an elegant expression of a bird with glamorous feathers.
Her brushstrokes, the point tapered to a single hair, paint thin and wispy lines.  It is with her steady hand and delicate brush that she draws the outline and applies the color to fill the design, and which compels her precise and beautiful craft.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Little Ceramic Box and Lacquer Bowls : Winter Sale Vol.5

Winter Sale Vol.5 from Sara Japanese Pottery.
Little box and lacquer bowls are from Kanazawa in Ishikawa prefecture, Japan.
Please stop by or visit our site, we have more sale items at Sara Japanese Pottery.

* Items are limited and
sold on a first-come-first-served basis.
* Please note that all sale items will be final sale.

Click the link to Shop Our Site
Little Box
Lacquer Bowl Set

Little Ceramic Box
with Bird
W2"1/4 x D2"1/4 x H 1"1/2  $38→$28.50

Little Ceramic Box
with Flowers
W2"1/4 x D2"1/4 x H 1"1/2  $38→$28.50

Lacquer Bowl and Spoon Set
 2 bowls and 2 spoons
Bowl : W6" x D5" x H2"1/2
Spoon : W1"1/4 x 6"1/4
$75 → $56.25