Column
Zen Onuki and His Attractive Works

Glazed, unglazed, blue/white porcelain, kneading…these various styles can be seen in Onuki’s ceramics works. Naturally he selects the clay for his works from china clay and porcelain clay. Also he decides to use characteristic clay all over Japan, sometimes mixing different kinds, depending on the features of the clay.

Usually a ceramic artist who has built his career creates ceramic works with the same clay and in the same method. It can be said the last, choicer style for expressing the artist’s idea, but on the other hand, it might be the result from likes and dislikes. If a ceramic artist wants to realize a free style, he would be required high spirit for challenge like Onuki. It is regarded as a personal quality or a taste that a ceramic artist fixes himself on one type of clay or method. On the contrary, it can be said that the ceramic artist cannot express his individuality unless he is fixed to conventional method.

Onuki’s ceramic works have a strong identity regardless of the style. Persistency toward clay and method is meaningless to Onuki in the large bound of ceramics, which would make his idiom tasteless and boring. It is astonishing that Onuki creates new ceramic works while he keeps studying clay and better method. Normal ceramic artists cannot follow his way.

Onuki has a delicate sensitivity for beauty and ceramic technique which correspond to his high spirit.

His sense of beauty is based on beautiful symmetry derived from the works in medieval Europe. He adds to his works fine, sensitive patterns like hailstone or dynamic, elegant curves seen in Ukiyoe. Well-balanced combination of these elements gives awesome impressions to people. In the traditional Japanese ceramic world where beauty pictures are most valued, Onuki’s fancy ceramic works are somewhat different.
 
Onuki is technically excellent. He can form shape and fire ceramics by mixing different kind of clay. Of course Onuki got this technique through everyday’s hard study and a lot of mistakes.

For example, Onuki dislikes creating too much artistic works. In fact, he has created daily ware like vases, dishes or cups. He has seldom created something that is just placed or observed.

In Japanese we have an expression, “You no Bi”. It means any object that is created for use has some artistic beauty in itself.

If the object is easy to use, it looks beautiful and turns user’s manners beautiful too.

As craftsman’s works, Onuki’s ceramics are basically to be used. Beauty seen in his ceramics is exactly “You no Bi”, which is produced from his craftsmanship.

Onuki says he wants the users to use his ceramic works in the way nobody would ever think of, for example, pouring wine into a sake jar, putting flowers in a torso, etc, which ordinary ceramic artists might disagree. For Onuki, users’ unexpected ideas are exciting. This is because he is a man of challenge all through his life.

Onuki feels most alive while he is creating. He likes to imagine that his ceramic work brings a new friend to him, and then it brings another new friend to the friend.

Being a folk art object originally, ceramic works have been greatly influenced by people’s lives and customs and the culture of the times. Onuki thinks it the most important to foster relationship between people and ceramics.
     
  COPYRIGHT Creative System Engineering Co., Ltd. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.