Wednesday, April 11, 2007
1999 Kanzaki piece
In 1999 I drove up to Iowa City to interview with Bunny McBride while considering attending the MFA program at Univeristy of Iowa. Although I did not apply, I did check out the exhibit "Different Strokes" an international wood fire event. This exhibit actually catalyzed my disdain for wood fire, and only now am I beginning to reconsider. I've always done some wood fire down through the years, but never really considered it the nuts and bolts of ceramics. Then there was this Shiho Kanzaki piece (photo taken from the catalog). Not only was the fire color unusual, but it strongly exhibited "quiet simplicity", so much so, I kept coming back to it for further understanding. And then there is the signature unique beaded texture of the ash deposit. I pride myself in an observational power I call "sweating the details" but only now am I realizing that encountering this work, because it stood out as an unique and genuine expression, has catalyzed my renewed attraction to wood fire ceramics. Its not just the wood, but also the long firings that produce the surfaces I enjoy seeing. This pot seems to be something more than the commercialistic virtuosity so common today.