His visit proved fruitful. A chance exchange with the owner of Tokyo ware shop led to the owner asking Kaneshige to take an apprentice. Expressing his heartfelt desire to learn the art of Bizen yaki (Bizen ware), John was accepted as a disciple of the illustrious master. Two years had passed since he first wrote to the master.
The apprenticeship was not easy. For the first year, he was not allowed to make any wares but to carry out miscellaneous tasks. His master was not there to teach him so he had to ‘steal’ his master’s techniques and try making is own wares at night after work. In the middle of winter, he would have to process clays in the ice-cold water, making his hands go numb. However, such hardship let him refine his inner self. “In order to create beautiful things, first the artist must have a beautiful character,” says John. Based on this belief, John has been strict to himself.
John still keeps to the traditional methods of potting acquired during his apprenticeship. Unlike many young potters, he tries to maximize the attractiveness of the natural texture. Today, John is one of the world’s most respected Bizen potters and an important member of the Bizen yaki community.
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