Friday, July 27, 2012


I received a package from Amazon yesterday and in it was the long overdue book; YASUHISA KOHYAMA; The Art Of Ceramics. I first heard they were going to publish this book from Wakae Nakamoto (Kohyama-san's assistant), nearly a year ago and have been waiting for it to go to the publishers. A few delays worried me that in this age of disappearing books, it may not be published, but my pre-order arrived and I am pleased to say, it is a very fine book with an exceptional array of photos and essays. The essays are by Susan Jeffries, Michael Cunningham, Yoshiaki Inui and Jack Lenor Larsen and through these, you get a perspective of the artist and individual who helped pioneer the age of the modern anagama in Shigaraki Valley. The illustrations show a nice selection of works from the 1980s to present and there are pictures of Kohyama-san with Hamada as well as working, loading and firing the kiln. I was rather surprised to see two photos taken while I was working at the Iori-gama in 1993 showing Kohyama-san stoking the anagama. For any one, potter, craftsman, artist or collector, I would recommend this book, not so much as a book about a Shigaraki potter, but about the work and life of an individual dedicated to an aesthetic and an ideal, over 50 years in the making.

"The essence of  Kohyama's work is a combination of physical aesthetics and the transfer of his energy, which gives each piece a unique life of its own."   Yoshiaki Inui

Illustrated on the book, KOHYAMA YASUHISA; The Art Of Ceramics is a wonderful Shigaraki mentori-object by Kohyama Yasuhisa. The object is cut with energetic slices and the surface is covered in a wet sheen of ash from the intense anagama firing. The shoulder of this sliced earth form is further accentuated by a thicker build up of ash that accidentally (?) accentuates the cut line of the body. There is a whole lot of energy is this great little pot.

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