Friday, November 5, 2010


Back when I would periodically wood fire, I had developed a quasi-Ki-Seto matt glaze that I had moderate success with. It was made from rice-husk ash and pure yellow iron oxide and really needed the wood fired atmosphere to activate the glaze. In gas, it was too even and actually not interesting so I was able to do very little with this glaze. I have actually, of late, been working on a revised version of the glaze that is the glassier style and is actually a combination of mixed wood ash and rice-husk ash. The results have been mixed and the testing continues. The wood fired Ki-Seto pieces are all sold and long gone and all I have to show for that work is a few pods and some fading slides.

Western potters trying to make Ki-Seto glazes can attest as to how complex this deceptively simple glaze actually is. There are two distinct types of Ki-Seto glazes, the matt style (ayame-de or aburagi-de) and the glossier, glassier style. Though the formulas differ, the glassier style is fired to a higher temperature than the matt type. I far prefer the aburagi style Ki-Seto glaze for modern Japanese pots and very few potters do this glaze well.

I am not sure if you are aware, but there is a nice web exhibit of Hori Ichiro’s works, mostly Ki-Seto wares that can be seen here;

I first became aware of Hori Ichiro during the 90’s and before our current internet was anything other than a fermenting idea in Al Gore’s mind. I was instantly impressed by how he handled clay, glaze and firing. Hori, together with Yamada Kazu and the late Kagami Shukai (d. 2009) represent what I refer to as the San Mino Momoyama-jin, the three Mino Momoyama men. All three have made significant additions to the art of the Modern Momoyama style which both Arakawa Toyozo and Kato Tokuro set a very high bar.

Hori Ichiro is my favorite of the modern (living) Mino potters. He studied with current LNT, Kato Kozo, who was a student of Arakawa Toyozo, and much of his teacher and his teacher’s teacher can be seen in his work. Using a specially constructed anagama kiln, Hori fires his modern Ki-Seto in a neutral to oxidation atmosphere, controlling his temperature and firing with exacting precision to produce his aburagi style pots with wonderful koge scorching. When you examine his pots, Hori makes the greatest kodai, highly active, animated and medieval; they are immediately recognizable as his work. Hori’s forms, made from great Mino clays, are strong and powerful expressions that harkens back to earlier pots and together with his exceptional glazes and great kodai, his pottery represents the height of what I think of as Modern Momoyama. In my opinion his ability to create works in Shino, Seto-Guro and Ki-Seto is outstanding and will stand as a new standard for the Heisei era potters and beyond.

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