Friday, January 18, 2013


What may have been a perfunctory tokkuri in hands of most potters, has been transformed into a lyrical celebration and an excuse to have some sake. This tokkuri by Okabe Mineo is part of a body of work that pushed his pottery beyond mere craft and took full advantage of the qualities of clay, glaze and firing. The beauty and energy of his work comes from the spirited irregularity that has a great deal to say and is accompanied by the marks of the potter, incised in a direct and unconscious manner. Even in this simple piece, his attention to how the clay was handled is evident through the transparent Oribe glaze. In essence, like a long practicing Zen monk whose Zen calligraphy took just 5 minutes to execute, but a lifetime to perfect, Okabe understood the built in physical and mental memory that created his pieces, one after the other over the course of his lifetime, an accumulation of experiences. In the end, for potters like Okabe Mineo, and there are few, it is the subtle things that transform the good, to the great in such an honest and persuasive manner.

"What meaning do instinct or accident have in achieving form? Without a concrete and accurate understanding of materials underlying technique, no development is possible." A quote by Okabe Mineo from the catalogue; OKABE MINEO; A Retrospective.