Ceramic artist Harukei Takatori
Born as the eldest son of Yazan, the 13th generation head of the Takatori ware family, and the successor of the Takatori ware head family, a pottery directly descended from the Takatori ware family in Fukuoka Prefecture, what are the thoughts behind his work? We spoke to him to find out what he is dealing with .
— Mr. Takatori, please tell us about your thoughts on manufacturing.Since I was a child, pottery was something I took for granted, so I didn't have any particular obstacles, and I feel like I entered the career of pottery fairly easily. Looking back on the past, I watched my father making glazes and clay, and I was able to see the family business from a third-person perspective, thinking that our family was doing something amazing.
I started seriously thinking about pottery when I was in high school, when my father said to me, ``I want you to take over the family business.'' When I went to junior college, I purposely majored in a different genre of metal crafts in order to broaden my horizons, and started making accessories. I started making pottery after graduating, but Takatori ware is different from ordinary potters and has a strong connection to the tea ceremony, so I wondered if I would be able to create works that would be suitable for glasses. I felt under pressure. Now, I work hard every day to make pottery with the desire to firmly preserve the techniques and traditions passed down from generation to generation.
— What kind of works have you been creating recently?Recently, in parallel with traditional works, I have been creating works using golden glaze and gold paint. I like the luster of metals, and since I studied metal crafts, I am also trying out new colors. I have always wanted to express the life I have lived through vessels, and over the past year or two I have finally come up with the colors I want to create. Although it is different from the traditional Takatori ware glaze, it is thin and retains the potter's wheel technique. I'm also experimenting with new ways of expressing things, such as changing the way I apply glaze. I think it will be difficult to continue making pottery unless I constantly take on exciting challenges. The glaze called “Shunkei” is an original glaze that he made himself. The glaze for Takatori ware is basically a mixture of four raw materials, feldspar, rust, straw ash, and wood ash, in varying proportions. All that's left is where to pick it up. The color changes slightly depending on which feldspar is used. In recent years, there are fewer places where raw materials can be obtained, and it seems that it is becoming increasingly difficult to reproduce the colors of our ancestors. In that sense, I would like to increase the variety of my own colors.
— Please tell us about the charm of this area where your workshop is located.The first generation had a kiln in Nogata City, Fukuoka Prefecture, but from there it moved to Iizuka City, and around the time of the second generation, it moved to what is now Koishiwara, Asakura District, Fukuoka Prefecture. The soil of Koishiwara is sticky and suitable for thin construction. During Nogata's time, Oribe's style was very popular, and many of them were made of rough clay, but by the time he moved to Koishiwara, it was the Enshu era *1 , so he created works with great care and refinement that were known as ``kirei-sabi.'' It became a refined vessel, and its "thin construction" became one of its characteristics. In this respect, Koishiwara has good soil and a river, so you can also use a Karasu *2 . Because of the slope, it was easy to build a climbing kiln, and it was a very suitable place to open a kiln.
*1 Kobori Enshu
He was a military commander from the Sengoku period to the Edo period, and was also active as a tea master, including serving as a tea ceremony instructor for the Tokugawa Shogun.
He imparted a unique sense of beauty known as ``beautiful rust'' to Takatori ware, and it came to be known as ``Enshu Takatori.''
A tool used to crush potter's clay using the flow of a river.
— Please tell us about the technique of inheritance from one child to another.There is also the potter's wheel technique, but the most important one is mixing the glaze. The glaze has been passed down from generation to generation as a secret book, and is only shown to the next generation, so I've actually never seen it before (lol). My father also makes the glaze himself. We do the preparation, but we don't know the proportions or mixing methods. It seems that the previous generation secluded themselves in the glaze room and mixed the ingredients. It seems that the disciple was listening outside, guessing, and stealing the technique. That's why the glaze mixture is so precious.
— Japanese crafts are attracting attention both domestically and internationally as an eco-friendly form of “ethical consumption,” but are there any concrete initiatives being taken?What we do is much more ethical. When it comes to preparing the soil, they use the river's flow to crush the soil with a mortar and strain it to make clay. We do not use energy other than natural sources. I also make the glaze by growing my own rice fields and burning straw. We live a zero-waste lifestyle and reuse all of our resources. When words like ethical and SDGs started coming up, we started a thatched roof restoration project through crowdfunding. The project was to make glaze from old thatched grass and provide it as a return gift, and thanks to everyone's support, we were able to complete a wonderful thatched roof. I am very grateful. At the same time, I felt that ethical activities were attracting attention.
— Please let us know if there are any works you would like to create in the future.Takatori is a type of pottery that expresses scenery by layering two or three colored glazes, but I would like to try new expressions by combining the traditional glaze of Takatori ware with a modern glaze that I have developed myself. . I think that this will lead to unexpected combinations, so I would like to challenge myself to create new scenery.
The glaze is really deep, and for example, in this mizusashi, a different glaze is lightly applied to the small gaps between the pieces to create a scenery in the sink. It's a small difference, but I want to express my individuality, so I'm trying a new way to add a unique touch to the traditional way. There are many different ways to express it, so I would like to keep working on it as a technique and establish a stable method for myself.
There are not many people who create beautiful colors by layering glazes. The beauty of overlapping coincidences is really nice. I would like to increase this variation within myself. Since it is a "tradition" rather than a "tradition," it changes with the times. I'm still experimenting with making it look less artificial and more harmonious.
History and present of Takatori ware
Takatori ware is a type of pottery that has been handed down in Toho Village, Asakura District, Fukuoka Prefecture, and dates back 420 years to the Sengoku period, when the Eimanji Kiln was built at the foot of Mt. Takatori in what is now Nogata City, Fukuoka Prefecture. is the beginning. Since then, many famous kilns have been produced as a kiln used by the Kuroda clan. Takatori ware, which was the official kiln of the Kuroda clan, was a hidden kiln that was presented only to the lord of the domain.As it was so thorough that once a masterpiece was fired, all the rest were thrown away, so it was never sold to the general public. There was no. In the Edo period, under the guidance of Kobori Enshu, the Tokugawa shogun's tea ceremony instructor, the brewery inherited a sophisticated sense of beauty and became known as ``Enshu Takatori'', which was described as ``Kirei Sabi.'' . The techniques of Takatori ware, cultivated through a long history and tradition, have been preserved as a "secret book" and are still passed down from generation to generation by the Takatori ware family, which is a diameter kiln.
Although Takatori ware is ceramic, it is thin like porcelain, yet light and durable. Most importantly, it is characterized by the beautiful colors expressed by the glaze (seven colors of medicine), which is blended in a traditional way. Nowadays, not only tea pottery but also plates and cups are made. Please take a look at these easy-to-use vessels that are not only beautiful but also made with advanced technology.
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