Robert Yellin’s Newsletter: Japanese Pottery by Fujioka Shuhei

Greetings from Mishima,

We hope this finds all well and enjoying the wonders of autumn
(here in the northern hemisphere).

As the rain falls here for the past few days, I know magical snow is falling on Mt.Fuji, what a wonder to see when rain stops and the clouds part; I hope to share that wondrous sight in a future online listing! Stay tuned, yet for now it’s Iga time.

We are excited to announce and share previews of our third Fujioka Shuhei exhibition. Iga ceramic artist Fujioka Shuhei (b.1947) possesses the power to make mountains out of clay. He then fires his bold creations in an anagama to ‘fire-brush’ on mossy green, blue and gray natural ash glazes.

These captivating colors contrast and highlight the rich clay flavor and hi-iro (fire color) that Iga is world-renowned for, as well as the koge scorch colors (Iga has three famous keshiki-landscapes of hi-iro, koge and bidoro-glass). Iga is one of those magical medieval styles that speaks volumes of the Zen-inspired ways that are to be found within Tea-pottery; Fujioka understands this. His heart is pure and he loves the earth at his feet, whether it is for his clay works, or the vegetables he grows in the fields. Like potters of old, he too is a farmer and listens to the teachings that nature whispers in his ears. In a nutshell, after graduating college Fujioka went to work for a production kiln in Seto. Yet upon seeing a Ko-Iga piece, he then knew there was no other style for him. He apprenticed with Tanimoto Kosei before establishing his own kiln in 1975.

He’s had countless solo exhibitions throughout Japan and has been featured in numerous publications. Fujioka is to Iga what Harada and Kakurezaki are to Bizen, except without all the awards. He’s a soft-spoken man, humble and deep; all these qualities are in his work as well as an awe-inspiring feel of the power of nature. Fujioka fires a small kiln for three
days and if he gets a one-third success rate for any kiln he feels it’s been a success. The high loss rate is one reason we find so few Iga potters, it’s almost loony–as Fujioka himself says—to work in Iga with all its hurdles and failures. Yet the successes are clay jewels, as you’ll see for yourself in the following links. We are extremely pleased to offer the world a chance to see Fujioka’s Iga world online or here at our Mishima gallery until December 10th.

The exhibition will go online for public viewing on Tuesday of next week, for those who have signed our guest book please see the following hidden preview links. Only minimal details are noted and any extra information or additional photos will gladly be sent upon request. We hope you enjoy the world of one of Iga’s most important ceramic artists today, Fujioka Shuhei:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

Also, our gallery was very honored to be the feature in arecent Japan Times article, you can access that here:

Kampai and all the best from Japan.


Robert Yellin

Warren Bobrow
5 Star Foodie
Think Twice
Frank Fariello

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi


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