Kanazawa, Ishikawa prefecture, is famous for its kôgei (工芸), which can be translated as “traditional craft.” With the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, leading the way with the new exhibition Art Crafting Towards the Future (工芸未来派), it’s an exciting time to be in Kanazawa and to be part of the dialogue about the future of kôgei in Japan.
One of the artists in the exhibit is Kanazawa’s own Ohi Toshio, an 11th generation Ohi-yaki (大樋焼) potter. Ohi-san participated in TED x Seeds 2009, a series of independent TED talks hosted in Japan. The first half of the video features Ohi-san forming a chawan while scenes of Kanazawa, tea ceremony, and his workshops play on the screen; the second half is a lecture about Ohi-yaki and his philosophies about his craft.
There is an interactive transcript in basic English for those who do not speak Japanese or are unfamiliar with some of the art-related terms. Ohi-yaki is hand-made without the use of a potter’s wheel (ろくろ) and is a form of Raku ware; Ohi Toshio’s work is unique in that he travels the world, creating chawan out of clay from the American southwest, China, and Africa, and leading workshops to teach Ohi-yaki to local participants.