Monday, May 14, 2012


As I continue to work with glazes based on Oribe, I am occasionally asked, what it is about this glaze that I find so interesting. After having thought about it for a long while, I came to the conclusion that Oribe is the most versatile glaze I work with. Beyond the versatility of the broad base of glazes I call Oribe, there is an undeniable playfulness to the style as well, just think about the modern works of Suzuki Goro and Takauchi Shugo. This glaze can be stoic and solemn or whimsical and playful. The first thing about Oribe, is that it is no single glaze, rather there are hundreds of varieties, differing glaze bases, percentages of copper, tempering agents in the form of iron and an nearly endless way in which it can be used. From my perspective, the wide range that it can be used within helps limit the limitations you can face with other techniques.

I concluded that there are certain limitations for surfaces and forms for wood firing, salt firing, copper reds, etc, but Oribe has far fewer of those restrictions and when the pot is good, the Oribe  just shines and allows the viewer to see beneath the surface of the glaze so that how the pot was made and the clay are apparent. Many glazes hide the clay, subtle gestures and marks, but the glass of Oribe, usually keeps the mark of the potter visible as another element of communication. Now when I am asked, why do I like and use Oribe, the response is, how many answers do you want?

Illustrated is a tebori carved slab plate glazed in one of my Oribe glazes. The style of work is called VERTIGO for obvious reasons and when used any excess moisture  collects in the furrows, keeping the food from become over saturated and crisp. These are especially good for sushi, yakitori, gyoza and negamaki.