Monday, May 19, 2014


If you follow my blog or are just a casual reader, you may have noticed that I am also keenly interested in Japanese calligraphy. From scroll, shikishi, panels and what have you, all the way to the expressive calligraphy on pottery boxes, ink can provide insights into the artist or potters nature. There are a large number of potters who lend their artistic calligraphy to their hako-gaki but there are three who always spring to mind as being idiosyncratic and somewhat eccentric; Ishii Takahiro, Kumano Kuroemon and Shigaraki potter, Kon Chiharu. Over the years, the calligraphy of Kon Chiharu has become more personal and dynamic and the illustrated box lid is a good example of his ink from the mid-1990s. The playful nature of the ink is immediately recognizable as the hako-gaki of Kon and simply reads, from right to left; SHIGARAKI CHAIRE. The brushwork, both expressive and dynamic is economical in nature and in many respects relates to his pottery which is always presented without any superfluous addenda yet thoroughly energetic. Working out of Niigata, Kon Chiharu creates using ink and clay to reflect both his true nature and that of the tradition which he pursues.
(I apologize for the bad pun used in the title, it just seemed apropos.)