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

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Scenes from an Autumn Tea Party

Smack in the middle of Tokyo, a forest! Hard to believe yet there I was--albeit a teeny forest--for an afternoon of Tea hosted by Ajiki Hiro, chawan master and all-around funky walking art. With
all his joking aside, he is a very deep thinker, Tea historian and taking Tea in the now. Here are a few shots from the brilliant afternoon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Japanese 'Pots' Hit The Big Time....and your haiku please!

Any articles or books on contemporary Japanese ceramics are usually most welcome for any yakimono enthusiast, and before the advent of the Internet--and my decade long Japan Times column--there was the odd article in Arts of Asia or Orientations, yet never in a mainstream art publication, and thus information was very hard to come by. This holds fairly true even today although we have seen a few recent books including 'Fired with a Passion'(good, yet directed more by a single collector then the co-author/dealer(Playboy bunny cover?) and 'Toji'(if French is your language, superb) and a neat guidebook to visiting kilns titled 'Modern Japanese Ceramics' that all are most welcome--basically---additions to any library. So, it was a major surprise to see an article in Art in America about the groundbreaking 'Contemporary Clay--Japanese Ceramics for the New Century' exhibition held in Boston and New York. I wrote a review of the New York exhibition and it can be read here: The author of the AIA article is Leila Philip and her book 'The Road to Miyama' (Random House, 1989) is a fine read about her apprenticeship with a Japanese potter, as for what she has to say in AIA, please pick up a copy ASAP! Her quote seen shows still how little the 'west' knows about what goes on here; 'international stereotype' from whose perspective?! And thus again the importance of this exhibition, this article, and of Halsey and Alice North's vision, of whose collection the exhibition is mostly comprised of . Contemporary Japanese ceramics on the worldwide art field is a great bargain, for there are many undiscovered talents that know nothing, nor care for, what tunnel-visioned stereotypes the world may perceive; after all life is about clear perceptions.

I live near Daichuji Zen Temple and the head priest there---Shimoyama Koetsu--has asked me to assist in spreading the word on their 10th and final Haiku poetry contest. So please get out your best brush and ink and send what you may; more info can be found here:
Fuji-san's pure white snow/melting on clay/Hagi sake cup!