Tsugaru Ujoyaki creates objects by the potterusing only materials existing in nature, melted ash of the Japanese red pine leaves mystic designs. This emotional resonance that remains steadfast, even as time goes by. Oinomori in Toyooka, Kuroishi, Aomori Prefecture – a place where life breaths deeply amid magnificent nature, a place where pottery is created.
interaction of nature and humans
Tsugaru Ujoyaki pursues the ultimate expression of glaze without glaze, produced by the interaction of nature and humans. After nurturing a high-temperature flame in the kiln, the wood turns to ash and falls onto the works like snow. As the temperature in the kiln goes even higher, the ash melts into a vitreous entity. This is Nature Glaze. Reminiscent of precious jewels, which are created through natural phenomena, Nature Glaze appears on each piece as a one-of-kind crystalline formation after going through numerous transformations in the kiln.
Every firing is unique
A vessel is formed by adding string-shaped clay, one by one. Praying that it will withstand the flame in the kiln, the potter carefully taps the work both from inside and out to ensure durability. This “tataki method,” thought to have been around since ancient times, still remains as an indispensable practice in handmade pottery—a technique that embodies the craft’s origin.
move people with his work after 1000 years
Having been enchanted by vessels of the Heian period（794-1185）and the Kamakura period（1185-1333), Tsugaru Ujoyaki’s only goal has been to produce works that surpass them, and to pass such works down to the future, working exclusively with climbing kilns and Nature Glaze. Having fired his works in a 70m-climbing kiln in Ashikaga, Tochigi then a 100m-climbing kiln in Kashiwazaki, Niigata, he is now working on the project for the world’s longest climbing kiln. Just like the passionate potters of the Heian period whose names nobody knows now, the owner wishes to become a potter who can move people with his work after 1000 years.
ancient pottery and porcelain
At the Nature Glaze gallery, the finest Nature Glaze works by Rikei Imai are exhibited and available for sale, along with everyday tableware such as cups, plates, tea ceremony cups, and flower vases. At the Old Pottery and Ceramics Museum next door, you will find a permanent display of works that influenced Rikei’s artistic practice, such as pots from the Six Ancient Kilns and Old Imari, as well as ancient pottery and porcelain from various areas.