Robert Yellin's Japanese Pottery Blog

Greetings from Kyoto, We've just moved our gallery into a magnificent old Sukiya style home located very near the Silver Pavilion; a stunning area and setting for the inspired ceramic art we share with the world. Please visit us if ever in Kyoto or online at and

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Miwa Jusetsu:A Retrospective

This past April 29th 96-year old Miwa Jusetsu once again lit an eternal and magical fire in his Hagi kiln; the flame burned for thirty hours this time around. From that firing 11 new works will be displayed, along with 169 others, in a large retrospective exhibition that will be at the Crafts Gallery, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, from July 15th-Spet.4th. It then travels to four other locations in Japan (Hagi 10-7/11-26; Fukuoka 1-2/14,'07; Nagoya 2-7/2-18; Ibaraki 4-21/6-24) and for any Hagi fan is surely to be a must visit. I'm also pretty sure an exhibition catalog will find its way to me and will hopefully I'll be able to get copies for anyone interested. Miwa is a living legend and is also known as Kyusetsu XI, taking that name in 1967. Along with his elder brother Kyuwa (Kyusetsu X), Jusetsu helped revive and create classical and contemporary Hagi wares in the early and mid 20th century. He still continues to amaze the Tea world here with his large, bold and brilliant wari-kodai Oni-Hagi chawan. In some estimates he is the greatest chawan maker Hagi has ever known; for reference at exhibitions now his chawan run about six-seven million yen (good rate conversion site here: Anyway, the photo of him seen here was taken this May and he certainly is looking fantastic for his age; they say a cup of matcha a day will do that for you, and having a good work ethic for 80 years. His white-glazes, ash-glazes, wari-kodai split foot, and Oni-Hagi (Devil's Hagi) are four aspects of his work that he's renowned for. The museum's homepage can be viewed here and an article I wrote some years back about Miwa can be read here
Various events and lectures are planned for this exhibition at the museum and include gallery talks, panel discussions and workshops with such guests as Kaneta Masanao and Okada Yu--more details to any who might be interested--and in Tokyo--by emailing me at

Friday, June 23, 2006

Scandals in the Art World

I once heard about a young Japanese potter---who I will only refer to as S-san--being sued by the wife of a famous deceased potter. The wife, known for her severe stance with anyone infringing in her husband's name and 'style,' saw a resemblance in this young potter's work---Oribe--and immediately called in the lawyers. I'm not sure how it all ended, yet I haven't seen much Oribe from S-san in quite awhile. Now in Japan an art scandal has rocked the nation and what a louse 'painter' Wada is! Read for yourself all about it here:

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


With regret I'm here to tell you that the best online source for Japanese pottery related books is closing on the last day of this month, June 2006. If you were thinking about buying any books or videos there is still time and orders will be taken until June 30th:
The bookstore itself--Avis Felix--is also shutting its doors for good the same time, if you happen to be in Tokyo do stop by, or forever hold your peace. Takahashi-san, nagai aida iroiro arigatou gozaimashita; otsukaresama!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Leach Pottery Restoration Project

"Bernard Leach's pottery in St.Ives is up for sale and in dange rof being lost as place where pots are made. We think the site is far too important to allow this to happen. With your help, we want to save it and celebrate the life and work of this hugely influential potter." These words are part of the pamplet I recieved at a benefit for the Leach Pottery in Tokyo last week at the UK Embassy. In Japan there are quite a few famous potter's homes that are now museums, such as Kawai Kanjiro, Hamada Shoji, Arakawa Toyozo, Fujiwara Kei, Tomimoto Kenkichi and Nakazato Taroemon, to name a few. What is interesting to note is that the Leach Project calls for not only a small musuem, yet also a working center for study to keep the 'flame alive.' A worthy project indeed and donations in any amount are being solicited at

Friday, June 09, 2006

Ceramic NOW and The Future Exhibition in Hyogo

A new ceramic museum was recently opened in Sasayama, Hyogo prefecture simply named The Museum of Ceramic Art, Hyogo. I've yet to visit and hope to do so when I visit the area in early autumn to select works for our Kako Katsumi Sept. exhibtion. The museum is hosting their third major exhibit titled, Tougei no genzai, soshite mirai e, Ceramic Now plus' that showcases the works of five Japanese ceramic artists: Itabashi Hiromi, Uchida Koichi, Komatsu Jun, Toda Morinobu, and Miwa Kazuhiko. All are very unique to say the least and have created their own voices in clay; Itabashi for his white clay spike groupings, Uchida for his tremendous versatility, Komatsu for his eerie organic forms, Toda for his 'puzzle piece' boxes, and Miwa for his Hagi sculptural 'robed goblin' vases. The exhibition starts June 10 and finishes on August 27. More about the museum can be found on their web page: