Wednesday, 10 September 2014

First two days in Shonai - part two

After climbing Mount Haguro, we visited Sachi and Mitsufumi Motomura's gallery and kiln nearby on Haguro.  They make Oribe (above left) and Shino (above right) ceramics.  I already knew each style a little, because they are popular for tea ceremony bowls and dishes.  The Shinoyaki above is black Shino - there are also red, yellow and white kinds, depending on the glaze.

Their gallery was hosting the last few days of an aizome (indigo dyeing) and kakizome (persimmon dyeing) exhibition when we arrived.  I thought it was such a beautiful exhibition space, traditional and modern at the same time.

Here's Emily and Keiko Ishikawa at the gallery, sampling matcha tea.


The next exhibition, which opens on Friday 12th September (I think!) is the Motomura's own ceramics. There were many wonderful new pieces ready for the exhibition.

I found out a little more about Oribeyaki.  The black patterns are painted under a clear glaze while the green is a translucent glaze.  I like their free and a modern interpretation of Oribe style very much and the textures of many pieces reveals the beauty of the green glaze.

These are the other colours of Shinoyaki - from the left, red, yellow and white.

A beautiful Oribe platter.

They fire in an amagama wood kiln, as well as a gas kiln.   This is the amagama.  It takes five days to do a complete firing.  I didn't ask them how much wood was needed, but I would guess 3 - 4 tons.  They are using pine - red pine? The amagama needs a wood with a high resin content. It has to be dried and seasoned, so it will burn properly and evenly.

You can see the massive woodpile for the kiln.

In their workshop, with the drying racks.

This is a piece Mistufumi was working on when we arrived.  He was applying feet to the dish.

The dish is made with two different clays.

The gas kiln.  I didn't know that Oribe can't be fired in the amagama.  Apparently, the temperatures are wrong for the green glaze and it would be spoiled.

The outside of the kiln building.  I could tell immediately that they must have an amagama because of all the wood!

Back in the gallery with the Motomuras. 

Mitsufumi told us about his travels through Russia and Europe in the early 1970s.  He must have been an amazingly intrepid traveller.  I don't know how he managed to travel through Russia in the early 1970s - I haven't met any other person who did that.

More views of their lovely gallery space. The dark timber and roughly plastered walls really compliment the kind of works they show.

Here are a few details of the dyeing exhibition.  I hope I captured the colours reasonably well.

While it seemed very idyllic at their gallery and studio, they told us that they have to close in January and February because there's so much snow!

I hope I can visit their gallery again sometime.  It is exactly the kind of place I would love to be able to exhibit.  

When we came back to Yuza-machi, we saw the supermoon rising...

... before joining the Yuza Sashiko Guild's Scotland trip group for a party afterwards.

I'm enjoying my time in Yuza so much.  I can't believe our trip to Japan is half way through already...!! 

If you are in the Shonai area, the Motomura's new exhibition of their own work starts tomorrow.  Their gallery's address is -

293 Fukurobi
997 0121

tel. 0235-62-4337

Sorry, they don't have a website.

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