Monday, March 10, 2014


Lugs, ears, mimi, what have you, have been used to accentuate and decorate pots for almost as long as pots have been made. If you think back to the fantastical and functional lugs of Jomon vessels, the concept has certainly been a part of Japanese pottery from a long while. Lugs on woodfired pots, in particular, help define, unify and accentuate the forms as well as acting to trap ash or create pathways for the ash and flame. For the pots of the various distorted, weathered and rustic pots of Iga, Bizen and Shigaraki the attachments need to compliment the form in attitude, posture and strength which is a bit easier said than done. Like a mediocre foot on a fine chawan, lugs can easily ruin a strong and well fired form; Kermit the frog style arms on a solid, purposeful form comes off as timid and almost feeble, yet this is far more common that one would think. The ultimate goal of such attached clay is to create a complementary anthropomorphic form without appearing superfluous or contrary to the pot.

Illustrated is a strong, wonky Shigaraki style vase with overtones of whimsy and modernism by the master of combining tradition, playfulness and purpose; Suzuki Goro. The wonderful form echoes the human form with undulating neck appearing to be held in place by the strong, arm-like lugs as if Alice in Wonderland had first visited Japan. The parts of this vase all work well to create a form that has a whimsical sense of movement which accentuated by aggressive marks and rich hi-iro and ash. Created by an innate understanding of form, clay and firing, Suzuki recognized the importance of putting together strong elements that cease to be just pieces parts and create unity as a strong and impressive pot.

No comments:

Post a Comment