What is Kiyomizu-yaki?
Kiyomizu-yaki is a pottery style traditionally represented in Kyoto. During the Edo period, pottery was made in various parts of Kyoto and those baked around Kiyomizu-Dera were specifically called Kiyomizu-yaki. On the other hand, a general term for ceramics made in Kyoto from the Momoyama period to the early Edo period was called "Kyo-yaki." Therefore, the official name would be Kyo-yaki / Kiyomizu-yaki.
The area surrounding Kyoto was never known to have resources such as clay and pottery stones to produce pottery. Therefore materials for pottery were brought in from all over Japan. And at the same time, excellent potters also gathered. The phenomena at the time turned advantageous and the current Kyo-yaki and Kiyomizu-yaki were developed.
Kiyomizu-yaki were also used frequently by Daimyo (Feudal Lords) and Court Nobles during their tea ceremonies, that many of the potteries were custom-made to their likings. Over the years, potters enhanced their technique and creativeness of pottery making, which developed "tea ceremonies," "flower arrangements," and "Kodo" unique to the Kyoto artistic culture.
Painting Profession “Ezuke shi”
The process of pottery, starting with the potter's wheel, firing, and painting, is typically made by one craftsman. However, Kiyomizu-yaki was historically made by diversifying labor and placing skilled craftsmen in each process.
The "ezuke shi" is responsible for the painting process and is further divided by craftsmen in sketching, printing, and "damishi", a craftsman specializing in tinting and blurring. By subdividing every aspect of the pottery process, each craftsman honed their skills further, which created the detailed patterns in the Kiyomizu-yaki.
Traditional Craftsman Niei
The pottery I trained at made excellent cooking tableware used for Kyoto cuisine, using many unique artistry skills, including Kenzan-utsushi (made by a master craftsman known for telling the history of Kiyomizu-yaki in the Edo period). There, you learn techniques to instantly judge the "color depth," "line thickness," "pattern shape" of the sample painting to make something as close as possible and be able to paint multiple orders all in a uniform tone.
For example, the technique of "Kakizume", in which the same pattern is arranged in the same size and the same color depth and drawn repeatedly, is a required skill set for Kiyomizu-yaki painters. One of my pillars as a craftsman is to master and absorb this traditional technique into my mind and body.
On the other hand, from the urge to go beyond the traditional methods and challenge the limits of my skill, I am actively creating my own work, "Tougou <Niei>." My goal for this work is to improve the detailed print and elegance of color and bring out expressions that can't be produced in a commercial product while maintaining the subtleness of pottery made in Kyoto.
Career / Award
Kyoto Ceramics Wholesale Chairman's Award
Kyoto Ceramic Design Protection Association Chairman's Award
at 2018 40th Kyo ware & Kiyomizu Ware Exhibition
Kyoto Newspaper Award
at 2018 60th Kyoto Color Painting Ceramic Exhibition
Kyoto Ceramics Association President’s Award
at 2020 42nd Kyo ware & Kiyomizu Ware Exhibition
Certified as a traditional craftsman by the minister of economy, trade and industry
Certified as a traditional industry of Kyoto City "Future Master"