Shiraiwa Taisuke is a young potter (30 years old) who resides in Hakodate, northern Japan. He has studied with the famous Japanese potter Konishi Yohei (Yusen) and the influence of this pottery master is clearly seen in Shiraiwa’s work. HIs kiln, named Kurakakegama (cave kiln) is located at the foot of Mt. Hakodate with its spectacular night views and soft lights of the fisherman’s boats.
This teapot features a lovely shape with an emphasis on strong shoulders and what we call his lizard skin surface texture. Shiraiwa perhaps has taken inspiration from an old historic style of clay tea container and kept it in mind when creating the shape of this teapot. The handle is applied at a strong angle, and the teapot lid has a very fine, delicate finial. Both of these features give Shiraiwa’s teapots a distinctive appearance. The red flashing on one side of the teapot suggests the flames in the kiln licking-up on this part of the teapot, imparting a colorful memory of it’s presence. The two dominant colors of this teapot dance across the surfaces of the teapot. One side of the teapot wears an ivory-colored ash glaze that has settled on a portion of the lid and the shoulder. A lovey sweep of kiln-effects red-brown flashing on one side of the teapots adds visual and textural interplay with the contrasting ivory glaze. The flashing suggests the image of flames in the kiln licking-up on this part of the teapot, imparting a colorful reminder of it’s once powerful presence. Adding to the appearance, little spots of brown color dot the surface of the teapot, which, in some places, has developed a patterned, lizard-skin llike texture. The clay is white/ light grey in color with small black spots ( best seen on the footring, the underside of the teapot and around the inside lid collar).
ABOUT SHIRAIWA’S ANAGAMA KILN
Shiraiwa fires his teawares in a wood-fired anagama kiln and uses natural ash glazes and refined color glazes. Robert Yellen (http://www.e-yakimono.net ) an American expert on Japanese ceramics living in Kyoto, Japan explains anagama kilns like this:
” Kilns come in many varieties, from wood-burning to electric, fuel oil, natural gas, coal, or propane. The heating method greatly influences the pottery — e.g., for natural ash glazes, potters prefer the wood-burning anagama for it produces fly ash, which settles on the pieces, melts, and creates a natural ash glaze that cannot be achieved with any other type of firing.”
Anagama kilns are also known as single chamber tunnel kilns. They were introduced to Japan in the 5th C by Korean potters. Burning wood not only produces heat of up to 1400°C (2,500 °F), it also produces fly ash and volatile salts. Wood ash settles on the pieces during the firing, and the complex interaction between flame, ash, and the minerals of the clay body forms a natural ash glaze. This glaze may show great variation in color, texture, and thickness, ranging from smooth and glossy to rough and sharp. The placement of pieces within the kiln affects the pottery’s appearance, as pieces in the front of the kiln may receive heavy coats of ash, or even be immersed in embers, while others deeper in the kiln may only be softly touched by ash effects. Potters can also apply ash glazes to their pieces which will add colors such as blue and green and grey to their finished pieces. Some pieces will feature both areas of natural color flashing contributed by the heat of the kiln as well as areas of applied glaze The length of the firing depends on the volume of the kiln and may take anywhere from 48 hours to 12 or more days. The kiln generally takes the same amount of time to cool down.
Please Note: This is a handmade item – slight variations in the painting, colors, tooling, patterning and kiln effects of Chinese and Japanese teawares are to be expected. We have carefully photographed this item as best as possible – please be aware that different device screens can render colors and subtle tones slightly differently.
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