Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Visit to Nobuhiko Tanaka-san's Pottery Studio

March came like a lion and went out like a lamb! Now we can enjoy the gentle April weather with the wind carrying the faint smell of fresh flowers and newly grown baby leaves. Though there may be some conceptions that the city of Tokyo is a vast sea of gray concrete, it is actually filled with small parks and gardens, in which you can enjoy all different colorful flowers and plants. Take a stroll outside to embrace spring weather, and your eyes will be met with a beautiful array of colors of seasonal, flowers: grape hyacinth, daffodil, daisies, crocus and tulip.

Tanaka Nobuhiko, a new artist in our store who we have waited so eagerly to introduce, is an artist that creates works that reminds us of such vibrant colors of spring: the colorful flowers, freshly grown leaves, and brilliant blue sky. 

We had the pleasure of visiting Tanaka-san’s studio in Iruma City, Saitama Prefecture where we  were warmly welcomed by Tanaka-san and were mesmerized by his collection of works.  
We will give you a sneak peak of Tanaka-san's colorful, sensual works that we stocked up on our visit.  They are perfect to freshen up the table for this season and upcoming summer. 

 [Mini Bowl with Lip   3240 yen    Bowl (in the front)  9720 yen    Bowl (in the back)  5184 yen] 

The works that especially caught our eye are Tanaka-san’s blue pieces.  Not only is the cobalt blue color refreshing, the thinly made simple form makes these pieces ideal for the table for upcoming hot summer weather.  

We are very excited to share some behind the scenes photos of the Tanaka-san’s studio where all the magic happens! 

In order to create his colorful works, Tanaka-san uses over thirty glazes that he himself makes with his own recipe.  

The thinly made pieces that are drawn with a potter’s wheel are carefully stored on a shelf inside a place called “muro”, a small, semi-humid room in which the ceramics are dried slowly and evenly in order to avoid creating cracks on firing. 

The surface of these cups is finished with chatter decorations called “tobi-kanna”, literally translated, jumping planer.   While the dry ware is rotated on a wheel, a flexible metal tool is held against the surface, so it jumps rhythmically, cuts nicks on the surface, and creates a characteristic pattern.   Though “tobi-kanna” is an old, traditional method typically used in Koishiwara-ware and Onta-ware, Tanaka-san’s works have a distinct modern flair that is unencumbered by the weight of traditional technique.  

These are the tools Tanaka-san hand made to make the chatter decorations.  It’s astonishing how these simple looking tools create those complex patterns. 

[Flat Plate (Olive and Yellow) each 5184 yen    Rimmed Plate 5184 yen] 

The flat plate on the left finished with chatter decorations is an aesthetic piece that reflects Tanaka-san’s contemporary, artistic sense.    

 [Flat Plate (Yellow) 5184 yen   Single Bud Vase 4860 yen    Sake Cup 3240 yen]

The muted gold color of this single bud vase and sake cup looks gorgeous when placed on a yellow chatter decoration plate. 

[Small Pot 10800 yen]

The placing of chatter marks and the amount of glaze applied are each carefully calculated and administered in order to create the stunning gradation of vermilion and pink.  

The burst of refreshing color of these soba chokos, cups for dipping sauce for eating buckwheat noodles, render a modern impression and makes them especially useful for placing fresh fruits and yogurts in the morning.  

[Soba Choko  3456 yen]

Tanaka-san strives to make pieces that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but functional as well.  Take this cup, for example.  The angle in which the handle is formed is carefully crafted so that the thumb fits comfortably when you hold the cup.  Each cup comes with different color combinations. 

 [Cup  3888 yen]

All of Tanaka-san’s pieces have a soft color palette that is soothing to the eye and are finished with a transparent glaze, which renders soft, matte finish. 

[Rice Bowl  3780 yen]

Tanaka-san’s colorful work has officially brought spring to our store!  If you are enjoying the cherry blossoms in full bloom down by the Meguro River near our store, please do stop by our store and see these colorful pieces.  


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