2ND GENERATION THOR After returning from Tokoname my first pots came out looking the same, but with a different feel to it. Its in the details and the execution. Its in the corners, the carved top of the rim, the hues in the glaze. Thats why I now stamp my pots with "Kumatani" the honorary name I received when leaving Tokoname wich translates to "Bear Valley". Thor second generation you might say.
THOR GOES TOKONAME I returned with a little over 20 pots that I sold to finace the trip, but this one I kept for my collection since it captivates very well my whole experience. The classical large rectangle with cut corners, with Thor skull feets and drenched in a creamy white Shuho "Kiro" glaze.
THE ROOT DESIGN I was aware about the great risk to get "lost" in the experince of working in the heartland of japanese bonsai pottery for a month, but to my great joy the first thing my hands created when I got back to sweden was new designs, and new glazes.
FROM DUSK TILL DAWN The way I found Hidemi San when I arrived in the morning, and left in the evening. Bent over his turn table throwing large rounds he cut into lotus shapes and shaped into ovals.
1. TOOLS All potters, regardless of origin, use similar tools in creating a pot. What differs is the attitude, execution and time spent on each piece. Wich is set by the demand of their local market.
2. JAPANESE CHOPS A Tokoname pot is usually stamped so that you can see where its from, wich kiln was used and who made it. Sometimes you also find the stamp of wich nursery who ordered it.
3.SHUHO THE 3RD Hidemi Kataoka. 5th generation bonsai potter and 3rd generation bearing the name "Shuho / Shuuhou". A new "generation" can mean, like with Shuuhou that the son take over after his father, but it can also mean a drastic change in the production. Like a new kiln, or a new direction of products.
4.SHUHO THE 1ST Shuho the first, Yoshimura Kataoka, that founded the Yoshimura kiln and the "brand" Shuho with its instinctive style and glazes that are still repeated by Shuho the third.
5. IKKOS GALLERY Ikko Watanabe is one of the few who has built up a new gallery at his workshop, and market himself, to receive end customers as well.
6. YOSHIMURA KILN Through three generations thousands of pots and a huge amount of clay has passed through the these gates. When the kiln is unloaded small trucks gather and buyers quickly collect their orders.
7. SELLERS MARKET At large events, like the annual Taikan Ten in Kyoto, you find no potters selling direct to end customers. Mainly all sales go through wholesellers and buyers that may have a greater expertis and sale focus and can offer a large variety of both new, old with a wide range of styles and potters.
8. TOKONAME CATALOGUE Every year the Tokoname Potters Cooperative print a new catalogue where all active bonsai potters put up the designs they have for bulk orders. All set by fixed sizes, colours and prices. This catalogue is for buyers and wholesellers only. Thors note!!! ****please print this photo so that no prices are readable***
9. AT THE TEMPLE At the temples you find many of the shapes and aestethics that came to Japan from China with the buddhism in water containers and insense burners.
10. AT THE TEMPLE At the temples you find many of the shapes and aestethics that came to Japan from China with the buddhism in water containers and insense burners.
11. AT THE TEMPLE At the temples you find many of the shapes and aestethics that came to Japan from China with the buddhism in water containers and insense burners.
12. AT THE TEMPLE At the temples you find many of the shapes and aestethics that came to Japan from China with the buddhism in water containers and insense burners.
13.IN THE BEGINNING IT WAS THE POT... "Bonsai" plays an important part of a new branch of bonsai art where the pot comes first, and the tree master challenging himself to shape a tree after it.
14. FIRST IT WAS THE POT Some of "Bonsai"s latest work, waiting to be picked up by a tree master for a new project.
15. BOLD MOVE Kouichirou "Koyo" Aiba shows us an article from the 70´s when he, together with a small group of independent potters from Tokoname, tried to deliver pots direct to a store in Tokyo. A bold and unconventionall move that gained a lot of attention.