Down to Earth: Masayuki Watanabe

new series honoring studio ceramics

Exhibited from July 12 2008 – September 7 2008

Studio ceramics created by artists in Santa Cruz County is one of our principal collecting focuses. On July 12th, we launch Down to Earth, a new series honoring this focus.

The first artist in this on-going series is Masayuki Watanabe, an artist whose exquisite functional work is rich in the symbolic textures and traditions of the Way of Tea. Watanabe says,

“Nature inspires both the textures and shape of my pots. Since I work as a professional chef, I like to make useful objects such as tea bowls, sake cups and serving dishes that enhance the enjoyment of eating and drinking.”

Twice a year, Watanabe and other potters fire up a special hand-built and wood-fired kiln that must be fed for 18 consecutive hours. Most of the ash- and soda-glazed pieces you see in this exhibition are from this labor intensive adventure. Other vessels seen here are fired in the classic anagama (“cave” kiln that is single chambered and shaped like a tunnel) and noborigama (climbing chambered kiln) wood-fired kilns. Others are raku fired.