Wednesday, June 6, 2012

NATURAL BEGINNINGS

A while back, I posted up an early mizusashi by Shigaraki potter, Kohyama Yasuhisa. Along with Kohyama-san, rebirth of the anagama in Shigaraki Valley was in also due to the pioneering efforts of Furutani Michio. Illustrated is a very early Shigaraki mizusashi by Furutani Michio, though I am unsure when it was made, my best guess is sometime before 1975. There is a nice soft dusting of natural fly ash on the face and the rest of the pot is painted in various hues of hi-iro fire color. The work by both Furutani and Kohyama were a quantum leap forward from what had replaced the old medieval style of anagama firing in Shigaraki and Iga. Though wood fired, the previous pottery had an applied ash glaze on the pottery that was then wood fired. The works after the early 1970's were fired in anagama throughout the valley and the surfaces were all natural, shinzen-yu; the results of hard work, good long firings and the build up of natural ash circulating inside the kiln as a natural extension of the process. Though this pot was made at the beginning of Furutani Michio's career, it can be considered a milestone among 20th century Shigaraki/Iga pottery for being the product of a resurrected and all natural,medieval tradition.

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