Wednesday, January 22, 2014


From my perspective, Ki-Seto is one of the hardest surfaces to work out just right. Many modern Ki-Seto glazes are all wet, translucent and flat and just don't do justice to what the original intent of the style was. Looking at older pieces, the drier, scorched aburage surfaces are what cloak the treasured bowls of the Momoyama and Edo periods. In modern times, potters like Arakawa Toyozo, Kato Tokuro, Kagami Shukai, Hara Kenji, Hori Ichiro and Suzuki Goro create works based on the Momoyama archetypes with surfaces that do justice to the original vision of the glazes. At times, it seems that truly great modern Ki-Seto pottery is rare and not that often seen, but there are always examples that emulate the spirit of those great old pots.
Illustrated is a Ki-seto chawan by Suzuki Goro. Suzuki, something of a renaissance potter, has mastered the skills and styles necessary to create inspired works in a wide array of styles from Ki-Seto to Shigaraki pottery. This chawan is simply thrown, with the slightest amount of looseness present creating a subtle rhythm to the pot. Decoration is fluidly incised about the piece with highlights of copper added before dipping the bowl in a thin coating of Ki-Seto. The results are both intoxicating and timeless with dry and wet areas complimenting the piece. The decoration calls to mind the sparse decoration of old Ki-Seto ware and create a lyrical, even poetic statement in total harmony with the chawan.

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