Up for Monday is a rich and lustrous hiki-dashi-guro tokkuri by Gifu-ken Important Prefectural Cultural Property (2003) and Mino specialist, Ando Hidetake (b.1938). This tokkuri has a pleasant and inviting form with slightly diagonal ribs dividing the piece and making the pot seem a bit bigger than it is. The deep black glaze has a wonderful landscape with a profuse amount of curdling to the surface which helps give the piece a rather timeless appearance. The trick to this glaze is that it must be snatched out of the red hot kiln at precisely the right moment, at the height of the glaze's maturity to create such a perfect black pot. Many a piece shatter due to the extreme shock of going from red-hot temperatures down to the ambient temperature outside of the kiln, it is a risky technique. Though a high risk/reward maneuver, a positive outcome is bolstered using the right clay and glaze and having decades of experience with the process.
Ando Hidetake is truly a master of many Mino traditions which he learned under the tutelage of ceramic giant, Kato Tokuro. Ando creates exceptional works in Oribe, Shino, Ko-Seto, Ki-Seto and hiki-dashi-guro style Seto-Guro. It is nearly impossible to discuss Mino-yaki without discussing the works of Ando in the same sentence as Suzuki Osamu and Hayashi Shotaro. Though his pottery has a more restrained and understated elegance to that of many of his contemporaries, he has obviously traveled along the route which best fits his style and once you have seen his pottery, the unique and personal qualities of his work are readily identifiable.
"I cannot deny making ceramics is like entering a labyrinth. From selecting the clay to finding it is a simple line into which I must find a way of weaving myself." Ando Hidetake