With his deep love and knowledge of Japanese crafts and folk art, Takayuki Minami is a Creative Director who can connect the dots between fashion, crafts and art. As we welcome the 11th installment of his series for Silver Magazine, he’s turned his focus on artists who create works that are closely connected to our daily lives. In this issue, he highlights artist Naotsugu Yoshida and his ‘Black’ ceramic ware series.
“I love Yoshida’s black: there is something different about the black he creates. When I think of black tableware, he comes to mind,” Minami says. Naotsugu Yoshida, a ceramic artist, has an atelier at the foot of Mount Fuji and produces mainly black and white ceramic ware. His atelier looks very stylish—modern yet in harmony with nature—a perfect reflection of his aesthetics. “The color black that Yoshida creates is deep with an aura about it,” explains Minami. “I asked him about that; it seems to be a characteristic of his firing process. It’s not the color of the glaze, but rather the way he fires the pieces to achieve that deep black that I love so much. Black ceramic ware looks cool on a dining table; good black tableware brings out the vivid colors of the food, making it look even more delicious. White pottery is also a part of his signature work, but I always ask him to make black items for Graph Paper.
In my opinion, only Yoshida could pull off creating such stylish black pieces. Because of its simplicity, clean black pottery is difficult to make. It’s all about the shape and quality of the piece, together with the texture of the black color. In fact, he told me that it’s challenging to control the blackness, and it sometimes turns out brownish. There are a lot of simple, mass-produced black ceramics and porcelain on the market. But when you look for simple and cool black ones, they are few and far between. Edgy but organic; modern yet emanating human warmth—perhaps Yoshida’s black is the result of his long search for his own style. His master is known for his white ceramic pieces; Yoshida broke away from that and created his own after trials and errors—that’s what his black conveys to me. He uses iron glaze, which is not particularly rare, but there is something different about his. They are delicate and beautiful, but with the warmth and wildness of a human being. Yoshida’s nature, calm and gentle yet discretely passionate with a strong conviction, is imbued in his work. With his personality reflected, this collection is simply wonderful.”
Yoshida studied under ceramic master Taizo Kuroda. After his apprenticeship, he built his atelier and kiln at the foot of Mt. Fuji. He produces black and white ceramics with simple yet rich expressive designs. Yoshida’s personality emanates from his work, which has gained wide recognition.
As a Creative Director, Minami is popular among a wide range of audiences, and has headed projects such as Graph Paper and Hibiya Central Market. Drawn to Yoshida’s current collection of black pieces, he paid a visit to the artist himself.
|Select Takayuki Minami||Photo Masayuki Nakaya||Interview & Text Takuya Chiba
English Translation Akiko Watanabe & Rei Matsuoka