Friday, May 23, 2014


There is a lot one can say about Funaki Kenji (b.1927) from idealist to a staple in the Mingei tradition. Unlike most of the post-war potters, Kenji embraced the teaching of both Bernard Leach and Yanagi Soetsu and in doing so fused together a distinctly Japanese sensibility with hints of Old English pottery and his personal mingei journey. This journey started under the tutelage of both Leach and his father, Funaki Michitada (1900-1963) creating a foundation for a dedicated mingei style. Working on the shoulders of the Fujina tradition and the Fujina-gama, founded in 1845, Funaki Kenji has crafted work that is direct, honest and aesthetically pleasing. His forms and glazes maintain a balance of function and practical utility but the simplicity of his pottery is betrayed by the luminescence and depth of the surfaces married well to strong and noble pots. Illustrated is a rather utilitarian covered jar, at its core a pot for everyday use, but examine the various details, the handles and knob are both practical and aesthetic considerations, the volume and decorative accents animates the verticality of the pot and rich, lustrous glazes encapsulate the piece to bring it all together and to life. It is a functional pot for everyday use, but the truth of the pot is, it is so much more.
"The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple." Oscar Wilde