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


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