By Regina Connell.
Japan’s master potters are revered for their skill, dedication, and form.
They’re also damned tough to find.
They’re not easily located in Japan’s exorbitantly priced cities, but are far out into the countryside. Language is frequently an issue. And while they’re online, the websites can be a bit hard to fathom and there’s not a whole lot of point-and-shop instant gratification going on.
Unfortunately, outside of a few galleries in the US and England who specialize in goods by Japanese makers, (Onishi in New York, OEN in England, Japonesque in San Francisco and Turtle and Hare in Oakland among sadly few others) it’s rare to find the dealer/retailer who wants to do the hard slog of scouting for great ceramic work from Japan and then popularizing it.
And if you’re looking for something outside of the pure traditional forms, something with a more modern sensibility, it can be even harder.
That’s why Akio Nukaga is such an outlier. He recently did a show of his simple, noble, warm, perfectly shaped work, along with a mesmerizing throwing session at Heath Ceramics. Seeing how beautifully people responded to the work (literally snapping it up by the cart-load), how perfectly it integrated into a western setting, was not just impressive…it was just so right. You see work like this and almost more impoatantly – the way it moves so many people – and you have a sense for a moment at least that everything’s right in the world and that we’re all connected at a deeper level than we ever acknowledge.
And isn’t that what grace, what pleasure, what life is about?