A man who believes he would not be alive today if it was not for discovering pottery. 

Takemoto Ikuo

1940 Born in Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Prefecture
in Takeshi Fujiwara studied
ancient kiln excavations on the participation of attracted to Echizen old kiln Nagoya University
excavation drawings Kumagai Ueke flat kiln built kiln the
peak from Daitokuji Tanminein KatsuraDo Osho Received the name of Koshi kiln 

Exhibition of Ikuo Takemoto ceramics

Saturday 12th July 2008

"Nippon Rokuko Kiln / Echizen Minekoshi Kiln-Ikuo Takemoto Ceramics Exhibition" Hara Art of Asahi-cho, Ina City. This is the first solo exhibition in Nagano prefecture and over 100 new works are on display, focusing on tea utensils.

Ikuo Takemoto has been building a furnace in Echizen City, Nyu District, Fukui Prefecture for more than 30 years. The theme is "warm and easy to use". "Since it's a tool, his use occupies the most important part of beauty," he said. "In particular, how do tea utensils express themselves within the limits of size? It is unthinkable without the exact size and uses."

The Echizen tableware is cooked and there are dinnerware, tea bowls, water fingers and bowls of flowers. Mr. Takemoto's feature is scarlet. When I participated in the excavation of the old Echizen furnace, I saw a bright red mortar and was convinced that it had a scarlet color. He has created a scarlet work that says, "Even if you look for it all over Japan, there is no scarlet color."

"It's a ceramic that only stands out when there is a partner. I want you to see warm, easy-to-use tea utensils."

Ikuo Takemoto believes he would not be alive today if it was not for discovering pottery. Over thirty years ago, the suicide of a deeply respected friend made Takemoto feel helplessly lost. He recalls being in a bar one night questioning his own life, when he came across a postcard of a small vase by a National Living Treasure, master potter Fujiwara Kei. The postcard transfixed Takemoto for a long time, and staring at it made him began to realize that there was more to life. He said, "This postcard saved my life." Although inexperienced in clay, he felt a career in pottery would bring meaning to his life. At the age of 33, Takemoto left Tokyo and his successful career as a professional photographer to seek out the man who produced the work that forever changed him.

Takemoto managed to find and convince Fujiwara Kei to take him on as a student. Under Fujiwara's guidance, Takemoto learned crucial lessons such as the importance of clay, its texture, workability, durability, and most importantly, where to find and store it. Fujiwara also introduced Takemoto to highly influential people, one being the scholar, Koyama Kujjio, whose research established Echizen's importance as the sixth ancient kiln site. Koyama encouraged Takemoto to go to Echizen to help preserve its tradition. There, Takemoto excavated ancient kiln sites and studied historic kiln designs; he then used this knowledge to construct his own kiln.

Takemoto's work is very delicate and deliberately void of much decoration and glazes. His simplistic forms are highly enhanced by dry matte finishes left by his kiln firing. Only soft tool marks can be seen on the exterior of his esteemed red tea bowls. Unlike most wood-fire potters of Echizen, Takemoto fires some of his work encased in stackable, lidded containers know as saggars. These protect the work from any ash buildup. Doing this allows him to achieve smooth, unglazed surfaces. Takemoto digs his own clay, storing it for up to a decade before he uses it. He believes the clay is the life of the pottery and only through constant use will a piece live and become more beautiful.