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)
Peter Machek posted a very nice throwing demo of Tokoname Master Craftsman Hokujo (Genji Shimizu) throwing a teapot.
A photo gallery containing pictures from around his workshop.
And also take a look at the Tokoname Gallery which features his work as well as many other craftsmen.
And if you want even more of an insight into the creation of his work, check out this gallery. A very interesting thing is that some of his work is fired with seaweed to give the subtle and natural decoration.
Yūgen (幽玄) is an important concept in traditional Japanese aesthetics. The exact translation of the word depends on the context. In the Chinese philosophical texts the term was taken from, yūgen meant “dim”, “deep” or “mysterious”. In the criticism of Japanese waka poetry, it was used to describe the subtle profundity of things that are only vaguely suggested by the poems.
This led me to trying to find the term in Korean since Buddhism traveled to Japan from Korea and China. I am told the term in Korean is yuhyeon (유현) The concept goes very deep and I find that getting different perspectives helps me to understand the concept better.
If you notice the first Hangul character in my tattoo. This tattoo for me represents the three principals of Hapkido –
You’ll see that it is the same first character – 유 Are they related? Probably on some level, but I don’t have enough experience with the language to understand it yet. Everything connects to everything in some way though 🙂
A fantastic blog post going even further in depth with this concept can be found here at CreativeSystemsThinking. A fantastic blog I stumbled across when looking into this.