NIHONMONODiscovering Japan [Nihon] through authentic craftsmanship [Honmono]

A ceramics artist who represents Okinawa ”Potter, Masakazu Yamada”

A ceramics artist who represents Okinawa
”Potter, Masakazu Yamada”

Dynamic brushwork and vivid use of color

Masakazu Yamada is a ceramics artist who represents Okinawa. His works are highly praised both in Japan and overseas, and have won many prizes. His ceramics are characterized by dynamic brushwork and vivid colors. ”I basically use traditional colors, but if you put black ink next to the traditional indigo, it gives a modern impression. You don’t have to try to do something modern – modernism and tradition are like two sides of the same coin”, says Yamada. Nakata was led to the workshop.
In most cases, Okinawan pottery does not go through biscuit firing, and there were many ”raw” ceramics lined up in the workshop. Generally, ceramics go through biscuit firing to prevent cracking and deformation. Yamada explained, ”in cooler climate, water in the ceramic may cause cracks or breakage, so pre-baking is necessary. The climate is warm here, so we don’t need to”.

Learning how to use the potter’s wheel

Yamada showed us how to use the potter’s wheel. He gave us a tip for shaping the clay, that is to is to use the palm of your hand when shaping in an upward direction, and the base of the thumb when making shapes downward. The clay quickly changed its shape and a teacup was made in the blink of an eye.

Climbing kiln – the symbol of the Yomitan Pottery Village.

The symbol of Yomitan Pottery Village is the climbing kiln. It consists of a number of kilns connected to each other. Using the merit of the slope, the flame from the lowest kiln rises to the higher ones, and many ceramics can be baked at the same time. It is a rule to make a kiln facing the north, so that the sunlight can dry the ceramics in the morning and the westering sun in the afternoon. Wisdom from the old days is still alive. When starting a fire in the kiln, it will continue for about 80 hours, with 4 people taking turns to watch over it. Sometimes gas is used, but Yamada said, ”When using gas, you have to control it to bring out the same texture that comes out naturally in a climbing kiln.”

ACCESS

Potter, Masakazu Yamada
2653-1 Zakimi, Yomitanson, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa Prefecture
URL http://www.tabi-yachimun.jp/115/