Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Kazuhiko Kudo’s Yellow Kohiki and White Birch

Kazuhiko Kudo is a ceramic artist that resides in Hokkaido, the most north island of Japan.  We can easily say that among many ceramists in Japan, Kudo-san is one of the arists that holds strongest principles and passion in making his work in Hokkaido.  However, his work isn’t eccentric or difficult to use.  Rather, Kudo-san’s work can be used for any kind of meal that we eat in our daily lives.  

For example, this rectangular plate (Length 32cm Width 11 cm) is big enough to easily fit pacific saury, but is just the right size so it will fit comfortably in the kitchen cupboard and used on a small table.  This reasonably priced plate is a versatile piece that can be used to serve a couple of side dishes as an appetizer plate as well.  

White Birch Comb Pattern Rectangular Plate   4860 yen
Yellow Kohiki Birch Comb Pattern Rectangular Plate (Narrow)  3780 yen
White Birch Comb Pattern Rectangular Plate (Narrow)   3780 yen

All items Kudo-san creates are made with clay from Hokkaido that Kudo-san himself digs with his own hands, a proof of how much determination and dedication making work in Hokkaido.  When Kudo-san first moved to Hokkaido, Kudo-san spent many years digging and experimenting with clay from Hokkaido, which is typically considered difficult to use for ceramics making.  After more than eighteen years of experimenting trial and error, Kudo-san was finally successful in making thin, durable tableware.  

What amazes us the most is that the earth where Kudo-san’s clay is well over 200 million year old, with ancient yellow sand from the continent that was deposited by trade wind.    In order to keep his respect for the land and humble feeling towards nature, Kudo-san continues to dig clay with his hand and a shovel, rather than using a machine.  We cannot even imagine the difficulty in digging two tons of clay each year. 

Making pieces with kick potter’s wheel and clay that he hand digs, Kudo-san’s sincerity in making work with his own hands is reflected in his artwork. 

Though they are earthenware, Kudo-san’s pieces are light, easy to handle, and durable.  One of our store staff has been using Kudo-san’s work for more than ten years and has seen at hand its durability.  These are small bowls that can be used to serve any kind of side dishes. 

White Birch Quince Shaped Small Bowl   3780 yen     (Yellow Kohiki version is available as well.)
Yellow Kohiki Quince Shaped Small Bowl   2160 yen
White Birch Small Lipped Bowl   2700 yen

The yellow kohiki series is Kudo-san’s most fundamental, signature series.  Kohiki usually refers to white ceramics that have white slips covering the clay, but Kudo-san’s kohiki has slight shades of yellow because Kudo-san’s clay body contains yellow sand. 

This is an extra-large size mug that can be used to take time and drink lots of fluid.  Fulsome piece but not too heavy because the handle is actually hollow inside. 

Yellow Kohiki Large Size Mug Cup   10800 yen

Last year was a year of a change for Kudo-san because he bought an old “onsen”, hot spring, to build his studio.  He turned an old public bath into a ceramics studio with handmade kilns.  The large plate is a piece made with Kudo-san’s new wood-fired kiln that he made last year.  

Please come to our store to see well crafted, original pieces by Japan’s northernmost ceramic artist!!  

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