Nothing is more characteristic of Mr.Michitaka Fukuno’s work than the ”akaekasuri” patterns. The unique warmth created by the uniquely simple and pleasant lines and patterns is synonymous with Fukuno’s work. Fukuno received training in Kutani as a government sponsored trainee, and it shows in his painting skills where he draws well calculated patterns. The soft colors will lead you to believe that all the painting was done in single overglaze at first, but in actuality, most of the patterns painted are the result of combination of over glaze and underglaze paintings. The shadow like colors that appear in the background against the light colors add depth to his work. This subtle color is impossible to achieve without knowing and calculating each and every element of pottery, like the characteristics of clay, how the works come out from the oven, and about paints.
Using warp and weft
Fukuno learned from Haruhiko Ito, a master of ”Kasama yaki” pottery. What characterizes his work is the use of cloth patterns. Before the work is put into the oven, wet cloth is pressed against the pot and the texture of the pattern of the cloth is copied on the surface of the work. So learning from his master, Fukuno decided to make use of that technique. ”I wanted to draw patterns so I’m thinking of utilizing the patterns of cloth to come up with something new.” The master created works that utilzed the patterns of textiles to enhance his paintings of plants and trees. Now Fukuno is making a new challenge for new works with his own patterns.
”You see, I am thinking of painting a very faint color that is almost not even a color. I want to make something like a pattern of colorless colors. ” I could feel the persistence that he has towards patterns from the conversation, which also seem to seep through his works.
Not being lazy
Nakata was allowed to work hands on to paint cups in the factory. Nakata’s muffler was chosen as the sample pattern and he started drawing lines on the cup. Then we chose colors. We were assuming he would choose 4 colors as in the muffler itself, but Fukuno said today we will work the a graduation of just two colors instead.
Then we mixed paints. He took out a balance scale. His mixing work was extremely exact. He never let go until the exact amount was measured. Looking at how he worked, Nakata commented ”You are so exact, so detailed” time and time again. Yet Fukuno was reluctant to admit that. ”Oh do you think so?” was his modest answer. a slight difference in the mixture can cause subtle differences in tone. The fine details made up the difference in Fukuno’s works.
Nakata took his time to draw gray patterns on the cup. When he was done, Fukuno guaranteed that he thinks this will bake up just fine. With the encouraging words, we asked him to do the calcination process. Feeling the patterns and the colors, we realized we had touched upon another charm of pottery.
- Michitaka Fukuno, Potter
- 3194-14 Hakota, Kasama, Ibaraki Prefecture