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

Monday, October 30, 2006

Custom Made Wooden Boxes

I often am asked where to order those fine custom made wooden boxes that should accompany any fine piece of Japanese art. If one cannot communicate in Japanese then it's a rather difficult task, if not impossible. Good news! A place now exists online in English directly from Japan where custom boxes can be ordered, visit here:
The site is run by Chikako Kitaoka, wife of potter John Dix, who makes some fine wood-fired pieces indeed, do visit his web site too at

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ichino in Osaka/Mugs in Numazu

Happen to find yourself in Osaka next week? If you're that lucky then I also suggest you stop in to see Ichino Masahiko's exhibition at Takashimaya from Nov.1-7. Much more about this young celebrated ceramic artists on; as I've noted before I think Ichino is simply brilliant.
Happen to find yourself in Numazu on the holiday weekend Nov.3-5.? And would you like to sample the absolutely best craft beer in Japan? And see some fine beer mugs too?! Then head on over to the Fishermarket Taproom, the brew pub of Baird beer for it's--actually our--Baird Beer and Yakimono Craft Festival! More information and a list of the participating
potters can be viewed on Baird's homepage at:

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sixth Mashiko Ceramics Competition and the passing of Nishioka

Mashiko is the world famous potting town in Tochigi prefecture made famous by Hamada Shoji. It's a must visit for any yakimono fan--a pligramage of sorts--and if one can get there before Dec.12th then you'll also so be able to see the 6th Mashiko Ceramics Competition held at the Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art. Two large awards are given each year--those being the Hamada Shoji and Kamoda Shoji Awards--and this year the former went to Kita Kosuke for a series of pastel colored plates(featured on the poster), while the Kamoda Award went to Kuwata Takuro for a large wavy layered plate. The museum's homepage--in Japanese only--can be viewed here:
One of Japan's 'hidden treasure' potters was Karatsu's Nishioka Koju(1917-2006); he was a Karatsu scholar who came to making pots later in life at the urging of Koyama Fujio. Nishioka's research into ancient Karatsu styles only deepened his own pots that are highly valued by collectors here in Japan. I wrote this for a past listing on our gallery, 'In Karatsu pottery Nishioka Koju is a living legend. He has excavated old kilns and studied the ancient ways starting in 1953. He established his kiln in 1973 and his kiln was named by the late great scholar-potter Koyama Fujio. Many other great potters made their way to Nishioka's kiln, creating and firing there; these include Arakawa Toyozo and Fujiwara Kei. In my opinion Nishioka's Karatsu is some of the finest ever seen.' A fine Nishioka Chosen-garatsu gunomi is pictured here.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Living National Treasure Miura Koheiji

I had the honor of meeting Miura Koheiji a few times, what a wonderful man, so full of humanity and a respect for global cultures. I was saddened to read he passed away this Tuesday from a heart attack. The story in Japanese from the Asahi Newspaper can be viewed here:
Miura's celadon--for which he was named a LNT in 1997--was the same as the man, graceful often depicting different painted figures from his world travels. More about Miura can be read on
In Today's Japan Times--Oct.7th;

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tokyo Art Club Fair and Shodai Exhibition

A great chance to see fine antiques and contemporary art will be held (Oct6-8) in Tokyo at the Tokyo Art Club (Tokyo Bijutsu Kurabu), located near Shinbashi station across the street from the Red Cross bldg. Mostly ceramic wares related to Tea will be on display for sale by some of Japan's top dealers. The TAC's homepage is in Japanese only and a map can be found here:
On Oct.10 until the 15th will be the Shodai pottery association's annual exhibition in Tokyo. A total of 12 kilns---the only kilns for this wonderful mingei ware--will be displaying hundreds of works at very reasonable prices. The exhibition will be held at the Orange Gallery in Ikebukuro. The gallery is located next to the Metropolitan Plaza and the address is Nishi Ikebukuro1-9-11-103; phone 03-3971-5934.
On is a museum quality Edo period large tokkuri for any serious collector or museum.
Hagi fans be sure to check out Kaneta Masanao's online exhibit of 45 works until the end of Oct. also on

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Kohiku Master Potter Takahashi Samon Exhibition in Nagoya

There are certain prefectures in Japan where the citizens take great pride in their ceramic heritage--a few that come to mind are Aichi(Seto, Tokoname), Tochigi(Mashiko) and Gifu(Mino) to name a few. Unfortunately the prefecture I live in--Shizuoka--did have small, slightly famous styles, such as Shidoro-yaki, yet none exist today. Any kid growing up in Gifu would surely have gotten to know about ceramic traditions and quite a few got hooked and then became potters themselves. This happended with Takahashi Samon(b.1948) and after graduating high school he entered the Kobee Kiln and studied under Kato Kobee and Kato Takuo. He then moved onto prefectural cermaic art schools and then to Kamamura to study at Rosanjin's kiln. Finally in 1977 he established his own kiln in Kasugai, Aichi prefecture where he still works today. His work has a fine and original kohiki crackled glaze that is arguably the finest in Japan. His current exhibition begins today--Oct.3--in Nagoya and for anyone in that area it's a wonderful chance to meet an exceptional traditional potter. The exhibition is at Mitsukoshi, Sakae, seventh floor gallery until Oct.9th.