Posts Tagged Under: bizen ware

    2015/11/22
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john with clay

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 Read More

    2015/11/21
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Inside the factory of John

Inside the factory of John

John was born in the US and lived there until settling in Japan 30 years ago. He is a Bizen yaki (Bizen ware) expert who apprenticed to Japanese Bizen master Michiaki Kaneshige, a Living Prefectural Treasure and first son of Living National Treasure Toyo Kaneshige. John currently lives in Bizen City, Japan, where he operates his own kiln.

Bizen City, the mecca of Bizen yaki, is a small town surrounded by mountains and rice fields approximately 2.5 hours away from Kyoto by train. It is surprising to find a foreigner living in such a place. What is more surprising, he is a pottery master who speaks perfect Japanese and has a Read More

    2015/11/20
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bizen ware2
The beauty of Bizen ware, or Bizen yaki, is strongly related to its rough texture and sober color. Its beauty was discovered at the end of the 16th century as the Japanese established their world-renowned tea ceremony. When the tea ceremony began to embrace ultimate simplicity, tea masters gradually favored Bizen yaki. They preferred Bizen yaki because of the simplicity. The aesthetics of beauty in simplicity and incompleteness, which was developed during the evolution of the tea ceremony, is called sabi. (Sabi will be described further in a subsequent post.)

John, a pottery artist who was apprenticed to a renowned Japanese Bizen yaki master Michiaki Kaneshige in the early 1980s says the beauty of Bizen yaki is something you extract Read More

    2015/11/19
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bizen ware

At first glance, you may be confused as to why Japanese people consider Bizen-style pottery very beautiful and one of their most valued cultural arts. Because its color does not seem to be something special, the shape looks ordinary. You could pick up a Bizen-style pottery by the roadside without realizing its beauty. But if you were to take it home and display it in a tokonoma alcove, you will appreciate its beauty.

Bizen yaki, or Bizen ware is said to have originated in the 5th century, as sueki (or sue ware). It was then used by upper-class people. Only around the beginning of the 14th century did Bizen yaki become popular nationwide due to its robustness. The name is derived Read More