Friday, January 21, 2011


“I try to enter into the spirit of the old Iga. I approach the masterpieces of that time, and allow myself to be charmed by them at the same time as I coolly analyze them. To make beautiful Igayaki, one shouldn’t fuss too much with the shapes but stat conscious of showing off the beautiful green color.”

“When I am ready to form a piece I always think in terms of trying to express the energy of the clay, but how to express that is always a difficult problem. For my kind of work, as it was for Old Iga, the clay is crucial; it dictates the pottery.”

These two quotes are from an exhibition catalogue filled with wonderful Igayaki by Kojima Kenji (b. 1953). He has been actively working to reproduce Old Iga (Ko-Iga) style pottery since 1973 and even did an apprenticeship in Bizen, to fully understand the nature of kiln firing and forming unglazed clay (yakishime). Though the work is heavily infused with elements of traditional and medieval style pottery, there is a very modern presence to his pots that holds out hope for such anachronistic work for the future.

(The illustration is an Igayaki mizusashi by Kojima Kenji from the exhibition catalogue; KOJIMA KENJI CERAMIC WORKS)