Monday, December 16, 2013

Tobe: the Real Deal

Two weeks ago Stephanie and I took her friend Sarah to Tobe Yaki. Tobe, like Bizen, is a traditional Japanese pottery center. Tobe's style couldn't be more different than the dark reds, bronzes, and gold browns of Bizen's climbing kilns, but the feel is largely the same. Almost every home has some little ceramic detail, and every garage, livingroom, or back yard has some type pottery studio, collection of slip molds, or even a small kiln shed in the back yard. IT WAS GLORIOUS to see.

Simply the idea of an artistic community dedicated to preserving, promoting, and simutaniously modernizing local pottery traditions is like stepping into my dream list of job titles and making them materialize before my eyes. The Tobe Culture Center has a fantastic show room that takes you through the early traditions of the pottery, and also showcases the way the various artists and families of potters have changed the traditional forms and had fun with the glazes. Tobe is most well known for its navey blue brush work on white clay, but as you can see there are many takes on this old standard.

We got a chance to try our hand at painting a pot of our choosing. My brushwork clearly needs work, but I think Steph is a natural! It was great fun, and I'd return in a heart beat to show just about anyone this little treasure of ceramic culture.

Here are a few of the more contemporary designes we saw at the cultural center. There was a huge (very cool) store where you could buy work, but photos were prohibited.

I have some peices in a local christmas market in Kochi City. If you're in Japan and have just been itching for one of my pots then this would be a good chance. Yamma Neko gallery is a great place.
Mr. Leach even made time to stop in. It's always such a pleasure to see his work.
All this typing about pottery has me itching to get into the studio and get back into the making cycle. I saw some really fantastic slab work in Tobe and have been thinking about trying my hand at it since. I'm off to create something, you should do the same!

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