Wednesday, July 3, 2013


I have had a number of conversations about the potter Tsujimura Shiro with collector and internet friends alike. There is a consensus that the pots and the potter gets you there with the piece. That is to say, if there is any objective of art, beauty and craft, Tsujimura is able to draw the viewer into that highly personal conversation that combines the emotional and intellectual read of the pot. I think this comes from an innate, intuitive understanding of how to manipulate the material to a certain height of expressiveness and not backing down when he gets to the very edge of what the clay, glaze and fire can do while staying rooted in function and traditional aesthetics. For me, many of his best works seem like they ran to the very brink of destruction and survived to tell their story. I think this is one of the attributes that makes many pots stand out and Tsujimura walks this pathway better than most.
Illustrated is a wood fired, Shigaraki chawan by Tsujimura Shiro. The form is very simple in design, though its execution is skillfully handled and deceptively complex; the subtly undulating lip has a palpable tautness which culminates in a precariously thin edge that despite the ferocity of the firing, has survived intact adding to the dynamic tension of the piece. The surface is the perfect diaphanous coating of ash streaming down the form which is further punctuated by melted feldspar burst about the surface. The chawan is the perfect blend of form and function that is highly expressive and fully persuasive on every level.