Though I love Yakishime pottery, which is a pottery without glaze, I have never been to the sacred place Bizen, Okayama until now. I was visiting Bizen for Bizen pottery festival in October 2022.
There in Bizen, there were so many individual artists making Yakishime-wares, and I found that many of them look a like. I liked them in general, but I was looking for something special with Yakishime technique. Toward the middle of the festival, I found Ichiro Mori. I just loved his pieces on the first sight.
The next day after the festival, I visited his studio. He explained how he became a potter and the way he makes pottery. Though his grandfather and father are potters, he went to an art school for sculptures, had been making sculptures until the age of 32 when he finally started making pottery. Even then, he didn’t take pottery class nor went to apprenticeship under masters. Most potters in Japan go to school to learn pottery or learn pottery as an apprenticeship. He tried to figure out on his own and sometimes watched YouTube for techniques.
He told me he tries to make daily use wares which also has a sense of art. He thinks the art should be a part of daily life and wishes his pieces would be that for his customers.
The firing takes place only twice a year in wood fired kilns, one anagama and one noborigama, he experiments different kind of clays and different methods of firing. One firing lasts about 10 days, about the same as traditional Bizen-wares. He said this firing process attracts him the most that each time is a different experience and pieces turn out differently both good and bad. Depending on where he places a piece inside kiln, outcome is different as temperature and the amount of fallen ashes are different in each areas.
At the end, I thanked him for the explanation and his time, and I personally purchased a plate for Sushi. I look forward to visiting him and Bizen in the future.