Aki Katayama


A unique work born from insatiable curiosity

Striped pattern reminiscent of wood grain, soft outline, comfortable touch. The work of ceramist Aki Katayama has a soft atmosphere and dignified strength that you can't think of as soil. I visited the atelier where her work was born and the gallery that is on permanent display.

Creative time to face the soil in an atelier surrounded by nature

Ms. Katayama's atelier is located on the hill of Zennyuji Temple in Hongo-cho, in a quiet place surrounded by nature. When I visited an old folk house reminiscent of a grandmother's house in the countryside, she guided me to a separate room saying, "I'm making a work here." The scenery of the lush mountains spreads out of the window, and sometimes a pleasant breeze comes in. Is BGM the voice of wild birds and insects? I thought, "I always work while listening to podcasts and my favorite radio programs," he said with a laugh.

When you show me the work, I will silently scrape something like a lump of clay. It is not molded using a potter's wheel, which is often seen in ceramic art, and it is also different from hand-kneading. "This is a" Tatara ", which is made by stacking plate-shaped clay called tatara and colored clay in layers to make one lump, and then carving the lump into the shape of a vessel. It is a technique called. "

"What I'm doing now is shaving the lumps with a canna. The work of making shapes by hand continues." Kneading and kneading are traditional techniques, but it seems that the laminated sword is an original technique devised by Mr. Katayama. The amount of clay to be carved out is overwhelmingly large, and only a small part of the layered colored clay becomes a work, and this is a work that makes me feel confused. "It takes time and effort, and it's a wasteful way to scrape a lot of clay, so it may be difficult for other people to come up with it. People in the same industry often say that they do it (laughs). ) ".

Mr. Katayama has always liked small tasks and is more excited to make them slowly at his own pace. "I'm not very good at the speed of the electric potter's wheel, and it seems that it suits me better to take the time to make it while thinking about the shape one by one." I talk happily.

Going to the artistic path while studying abroad

"Since I was a child, I was a kid who loved playing with hands, drawing pictures, playing with mud, and making colored water. But I didn't think about going to art school or going to art. There were better people around me, including my sister, and my classmates. " Katayama's father is a potter, Masaaki Katayama. "My father said,'Manufacturing is good,' but I didn't say to me or my sisters,'I want you to do ceramics' or'I want you to succeed me.' Because it's wide, you can go anywhere and do whatever you want. "

One of the reasons Mr. Katayama went on the path of ceramic art was while studying abroad. "When I was in junior high school and high school, I liked English and was interested in languages, so I studied abroad in Australia for about 10 months when I was in high school. I had to finish it, and it took me a long time. I was always desperate to finish it in a hurry, but I thought that was the case. I was encouraged to take it home and draw it carefully until I was satisfied with it. Then, the art teacher praised the work at that time and asked me, "Why don't you aim for art college?" I came to be aware of that. " After returning to Japan, he was worried about language or art until the last minute, but the final choice was to go on to Kyoto City University of Arts. From the second grade, I majored in pottery. "I remember his father was happy for some reason at that time."

After graduating from university, I continued to work part-time in Kyoto while making pottery. Until his late twenties, he spent his days exploring his own style while moving from one house to another, which had a kiln that was indispensable for his work. The turning point was a special exhibition held at a gallery where I was working part-time. "The owner asked another child who is doing oil painting with me,'Why don't you both try to put out a work?' For the first time, I challenged the mass of soil that is the basis of the current technique. "

Mr. Katayama came across his new style and went on his way as a potter. After the age of 35, I was vaguely thinking, "I want to set up a base somewhere. Maybe I'll be back in Mihara." In 2018, my father's illness was discovered. And in June of that year, he returned to Mihara at the age of 39. "It was a sudden thing, but at that time I felt that it was okay to do it anywhere, so I wasn't worried. I was born and raised in the mountains, so I worked in an environment surrounded by nature. I wonder if it's okay to make one. "

Ceramic art is an experiment every day. Trial and error is interesting

During the interview, the word "experiment" came up many times. "Before arriving at the current technique, the first thing I thought about was whether I could make something interesting. Let's try sandwiching colors, layering clay, and repeatedly trying what I came up with to experiment. Mr. Katayama said, "I went." "As with all crafts, I feel like I'm experimenting every day. For example, just by changing the proportion of clay that is applied, and raising the firing temperature by 3 ° C, the baking will change, and the soil will change. Depending on the softness of the experiment, it may take on an unintended shape. I wonder if it will be a solo exhibition where you can see the results of the experiment. " Even those frustrating things that don't go as expected are fascinating, and if you're not interested, your eyes will shine.

"I like beautiful shapes and mysterious patterns. I stare at and collect things that I find attractive. When I look at the finished vessel, it reminds me of the curves of nuts and stones. It may often be in. " He says he finds that the beautiful things in Mihara's nature that he has spent since childhood remain comfortable in him. Mr. Katayama continues to be curious, experimenting many times, and working on making works until he is satisfied. I felt the purity and strength of pursuing "like" without hesitation.

Ukijo kiln, Masaaki Katayama's work in the foreground and left back

Aki Katayama Exhibition

2/7 Sat. ~ 3/1 Sun. 2009

What does the happiness of a maker mean? 

More than 20 years ago, I visited a potter in Hokuriku. He lived with his wife and children in a country house that doubled as a workplace. He had a split bamboo kiln built elsewhere. In the living room, the young potter had a pale look and sat down with something like pride and murder. The tatami mats were conspicuously cracked, and something like pen pen grass was growing from the tatami mats. But I remember the child's eyes were clear and his cheeks were red. Poor may be poor, but it seemed that there would be great salvation in his life. He had the atmosphere of living in a strange world of pottery. It can be said that strangeness is a value that exists in Kenkon, which is different from Nari and Fuki. There may be times when you play with the innocent life that divides the blood and flesh and wash your heart. Such a child cannot be seen in the city. Although he was reluctant, he thought that he was satisfied with the situation, accepting the situation, or living according to the circumstances, with a clear heart. Above all, I thought that was reflected in what he made.

The world is unrelenting. Even now and in the past, human beings are all money, but what remains is their heart. No matter how blessed you are with things and convenience, it seems difficult to maintain your mental health. It's not that there's no food to eat today, but it's not that there's nothing to eat today, but it's a water service that can be twisted, clean toilets, safe and accurate transportation, an ambulance that can be carried by free, a library that can read books, health insurance, and when in trouble. It is said that almost all the people who gathered have been granted welfare protection, even though it is a dispatched village these days. Isn't it unusual? And above all, we do not hear the explosion sound in our daily lives. It's a really well-made product, and I think it's a reign that governs this kind of society. From the point of view of people in a certain country, it looks like heaven. However, how many of us are worried about our hearts. What a weak heart to endure lack and misery. For example, equality is desired, but in reality society cannot be equal. The world is full of reluctance and regret. Nevertheless, he says that he only evaluates perfect equality. I can't forgive you. I can't forgive and can't stand it. That kind of heart is eroding my heart. My life has already been haunted, as Kenko Yoshida says, but I don't think so.

It seems that people are in a bad mood unless they are self-centered forever. I think so ... In that case, we should push the ego further and seek and build our own world of iron walls that is not violated by anything. Rather than being trapped in Ressentiment, demanding only to receive it, the starting point is lack and misery, and the egoistic pursuit of value for one person. For that purpose, mental freedom will be required. I feel that someone who can do that is truly happy. I have no choice but to fill my heart with myself.

Kudan's potters were driving themselves into the immersive state of pottery, transforming omissions and misfortunes into higher ones. A young woman named Aki Katayama of this exhibition is also a person who can do it. She may not be in trouble, but she finds and chooses what to do and has her own world as a lifetime value. It is a world that no one can invade. It is the ultimate self-centered world that is cut off. It is free in it. I envy these kinds of people. If more people like this increase in the world, I think it will be a reign that will settle down in terms of mind. The true heart is the most uncontrollable, though it is my own.

Her pottery technique is called "Kurinukide", which is her original. She is a kind of so-called kneading hand, but she realizes a pattern that can not be put out by kneading or inlaying. The line pattern is delicate and clear, and although it is a line, it forms a surface and crosses the inside of the womb. The line is a surface and the surface is a line. And I think that it can abstract the mystery of creation and show unseen uniqueness.

Thank you for your patience.

Aki Katayama

1979 Born in Hiroshima

2002 Graduated from Kyoto City University of Arts, Department of Ceramics

2004 Solo Exhibition, Kyoto Takashimaya Arts and Crafts Salon (Kyoto)

2006 Solo exhibition, container shop BON.II (Kyoto)

2007 Solo exhibition Savoir Vivre (Tokyo)

2008 Solo Exhibition Savoir Vivre (Tokyo)

2009 Solo Exhibition / Gallery Utsuwakan (Kyoto)

2008 26th Asahi Contemporary Craft Exhibition Jury Encouragement Award