No words can describe these two incredible vases by Koyama Kiyoko, signed on the base and enclosed in the original signed and stamped wooden boxes. Kiyoko, born 1936 started as a painter who drew designs on pottery. Today, she is considered one of the leading Shigaraki potters both nationally and internationally. Kiyoko was the subject of the feature film Days of Fire (Hibi), and is the pioneering female wood firing artist in Japan,the potter’s dramatic life and the trajectory of her artistic career. Kiyoko has a list of shows and prizes too lengthy to go through,but the highlights are, Nihon Dento Kogei Ten (Japanese Traditional Crafts Exhibition), Nihon Togei Ten (Japanese Ceramic Exhibition), as well as being prized at the Asahi Togei Ten (Asahi Ceramics Exhibition), and many international exhibitions.
Kiyoko Koyama, what are the colours of natural glaze?
"The green of the Shigaraki mountains; the azure blue of the Daido River. I dig my clay out of the mountains of Shigaraki and dry the raw clay in the open air for quite a few day. Then I remove the many stones in the clay. knead it , and leave it to mature for a number of years. Although I like to maintain a flavour of Kamakura and Muromachi-period pottery, my forms are always new and original. Firing is carried out in the traditional way, leaving the pieces in the Kiln for about two weeks. For fuel I use large quantities of various woods including pine ,chestnut and oak. I do not add a single drop of glaze. The pots are fired until the last possible moment when they are about to crumble in the heat; this long confrontation with the flames is a battle of strength and willpower.”
From ’My Natural Glazes ’by Kiyoko Koyama
1. Reference:’ I Love Pottery ’ Kiyoko Koyama , Kokoku to Bunka (The Lake Country and its Culture) vol.40 (1987).
Natural glaze :the natural effects of wood-ash settling on the pots during firing.
Her life is the basis of a new film titled "Hi-Bi" (starring Yuko Tanaka and directed by Banmei Takahashi). Please click here:
Hibi turned out to be a fantastic and unique movie. Director Banmei Takahashi did very nice job with this movie, it's touching, and rather special Japanese movie. Hibi tells about mother who does pottery and lives rather simple life, growing her children up. She does remarkable job in pottery, finding a new way to make natural pottery in her own tunnel kiln. Then, her son gets leukemia. And entire family has to fight hard to find a donor who has matching bone marrow. The movie is unique and beautiful story about life, but at the same time, very hard and realistic movie about leukemia. Little a bit eccentric character of Kiyoko, acted by Yuko Tanaka is fantastic as such characters haven't yet seen in Japanese screen since eighties. I was really impressed about Yuko Tanaka's way to perform her difficult role so naturally. She doesn't seem to have to act much. Shunsuke Kubozuka impresses me as much as his brother Yosuke, who did convincing job in movie "Go". Maybe the final message of this movie would be that living and dying exist in this world not as opposite, but as a parallel forms of each other. Even the most perfect form will eventually break down, whether it's piece of art of pottery, or a human life.
No. 1: 15,7 cm x 9,9 cm \
No. 2: 18,4 cm x 9,5 cm
Great condition, no chips or cracks.