Here is a man who boldly works on his own terms. With his own two hands he built his own compound, not just a house, but 4 buildings, one of which is purposed as a place to view the moon. It says something about Shiro that he spent the time and energy to build something dedicated to watching the moon and I dont know who wouldnt envy having one of their own.
As far as getting along in the art world, he does not enter any competitions and says that the critics can go to hell. Bravo! It’s not about pleasing the critics. With any type of work it is best to do the work for yourself first, to the best of your abilities, and then see what the world thinks.
It is unusual that he was not a Deshi (apprentice) under any Sensei (master) during the time he was learning. I myself felt cheated at a younger age when I learned of this system of learning. However I quickly learned that the entire world is full of masters at anything you care to learn about. Shiro became a potter at the age of 22 and had his first solo show by 30 which was hosted at his own residence. His knowledge traverses the range of styles that Japan is known for: Shigaraki, Iga, Shino, Kohiki (Beautiful Style), Ido, Oku-Korai, Kuro Oribe (Black Oribe) and Setoguro.
His black chawan in any style are very impressive and for one of his solo shows it was said that he made 500 teabowls in 3 months. In the documentary above he says that on a busy day he can throw 800 tea bowls or 1000 teacups. Because of the wide range of work he is producing, technical skill and probably in part due to his nonchalant demeanor, he has gained fame. There is more information on Mr. Tsujimura here at Artsy & E-Yakimono.
Here are some of his works.
(Special thanks to http://artsy.net for the use of these images. There are many more wonderful artists and works to view on their site)
Maksabal – A Korean term for “A bowl for everything”.
There is such a rich history of ceramics in Korea. Japan gets the limelight for the Chawan and making the Chanoyu (Tea Ceremony – Way of Tea) famous but the vessels came from Korea first. Its like I’m taking a trip back in time as I further research my interests in ceramics and Martial Arts. There are many types of Sabal (bowl) but It especially resonates with me the unpretentious and natural beauty that these bowls embody.
I found a fantastic short documentary on the history of the Maksabal and an abbreviated history of how they came about. It includes how they are made and what makes them special enough for a war, The Hideyoshi Invasion (1592-1598) to erupt, sometimes called “the pottery wars” that involved this type of simple and utilitarian bowl.
One of these bowls is now designated a Japanese National Treasure – The Ido Chawan
Lee Love has become my go-to guy for his depth of knowledge on the Japanese and Korean concepts that come along with a really in depth study of the “why” of ceramics and the tea bowl in particular. He has kindly steered me in the directions I wish to study. The deeper I go the better it gets!
I truly hope to get to the Hadong region during our Korea trip later this year where the tea is grown. Enjoy the video!
So I am getting better at carving my feet and they are looking good. However when handling I realized that I had made a “mistake”. The edges are sharp and do not feel good in the hand. I’m getting the form the way I want but I think I just need to tweak it a bit.
Another realization that I had is that the types of modifications you make to your work are sometimes born out of the way you work. Little mistakes can begin to form new pathways to other places. The direction you lean to observe the profile of the vessel makes a difference in the way you may approach what you think the completed piece will be. The amount and types of tools you use… What you had for breakfast… My pieces are minimal and will always be very minimal. I am finding that minimalism in my workflow as well I only need 5 tools:
Small metal rib
Small carving tool
Here is my latest foot carving which is deeper and more rounded and feels a lot better in the hand.
I got a bag of iron oxide from my supplier and did some experiments with this. This is a brushed heavy coat.
This is a light application via a spray bottle. I think the key is not to let any of the liquid “gather”. You can see on the rear or the bowl that it creates an interesting watermark but that inst quite what I was going for at the time. I think it might have potential as an accent type of modifier on rims and such. The next firing I do I will glaze over the iron oxide to see how it reacts. Also will spray directly onto the glaze to see if the application on top makes a difference in the end result.