photo: WATANABE Osamu

White Raku Tea Bowl ”Colorado Raku Clay

ArtistOHI Chozaemon XI (Toshio)
Material/ TechniqueCeramic Raku, Corolado White Raku Clay, White Raku Glaze
Size/ DurationH7.3×W15.5×D15cm
Copyright Notice© OHI Chozaemon XI (Toshio)
Year of acquisition/ donation2012
DescriptionBorn in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan in 1958. Lives and works there.

Ohi Chozaemon XI is a ceramist who creates as an individual artist. He is, at the same time, a potter born into the traditional Ohi family, a ceramic dynasty having a history of 350 years. The Ohi ware kiln – the only branch kiln (‘wakigama’) of Raku ware – has always produced tea-bowls for use in tea ceremonies. For Ohi, creating tea-bowls is a matter of thinking about the beauty of ceramics in the context of its relationship with tea. Meanwhile, as an individual artist, he also works in the wide-open field of art-oriented ‘kogei’ (craft). In recent years, he is gradually narrowing the distance between these two attitudes, traditional and contemporary. During his travels, he produces ceramics works using local clay at places visited en route. In 2013, he embarked on a project of investigating clay from near Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station – both radiated and non-radiated samples – and creating works from clay found to be at the very borderline of being safe.

These are pieces from the “diary using ceramics” that Ohi is creating as a lifelong project. Raku ware uses primitive methods: it is hand-formed and fired at low heat. Giving play to these characteristics, he travels the world, forming and firing tea-bowls using local clays. This particular work is, therefore, like a page from his continual firing of ceramics in the manner of keeping a diary. When firing, he often works alone, but he also frequently fires with others, and such times are occasions for the once-in-a-lifetime encounters with people that make traveling so rewarding. Ohi’s work is distinguished by its open, casual character – the result of his talking and sharing experiences with others.