It was in a teahouse in Japan that the potter Julie Lavoie discovered Tenmoku. On seeing the works of Kamada Koji for the first time, she was inspired by the 'starry skies' effect, unique to this glaze. Like a premonition, this idea of meteors had already appeared in her work before this journey.
Hugo in Japan, bowls and chawans (2 of 2)
Bowls & chawan (2 of 2) - Tenmoku - The bottomless well
Along with Peter, my trusty translator, we find ourselves in a residential area of Kyoto, eager to enter the residence standing before us. The door opens and Mrs. Kamada invites us inside. Sitting on tatami mats in a simple but inviting room, we receive a bowl of matcha. Shock. The contrast between the bright green matcha and the blue of our bowls is dazzling.
Mr. Kamada enters the room. A simple and refined man. He has been a practising potter for over 40 years. He devoted the majority of his pottery work to Tenmoku, one of the most difficult styles to achieve. This turning technique and the working of this type of glaze comes originally from Fujian (China) and dates back to the Song Dynasty. For those who have readTea and Tao (The Chinese Art of Tea), by John Blofield, think of "rabbit fur" bowls. That's Tenmoku.
There are two basic styles of Tenmoku, Yuteki and Yohen.The research of Mr. Kamada has been towards pushing the limits of these styles. He has succeeded in inventing two additional types of glazes.
When looking inside his bowls, be careful not to "fall in"! Due to the sublime effects of the glazes, it seems you could literally dive in, as if it were a bottomless well ...
Mr. Kamada's works are exhibited in museums in Japan and some pieces were recently acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of New York. You can also see some at Camellia Sinensis, Rue Emery in Montreal and our store in Quebec! "
-written by Hugo Americi during his trip to Japan in spring 2010
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