On January 23, 2019, renowned Japanese potter Mr. Ohi (Toshio) Chozaemon XI visited the Morikami. Born in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture in 1958, he is the 11th in the Ohi yaki (Ohi pottery) lineage of traditional craftsmen. His family craft dates back to 1666 and is best known for producing tea bowls and other utensils used for sado (tea ceremony).
He creates his ceramic wares, as his forefathers did, using the soft clay found in the hills outside the town. Each piece is shaped by hand–no wheels are used–and fired in the kiln while rapidly raising the temperature then quickly cooling the piece in the open air. The family’s distinctive glaze called, ameyu, is a vibrant caramel color, which perfectly compliments the bright green of the powdered tea used in tea ceremonies.
While he is an expert in traditional techniques and designs for producing tea wares, he is also a designer of interiors and fashion. In 2011, he began producing large ceramic wall panels using the craftsmanship of old to create contemporary spaces. Recently, he even started a new line of eyeglasses featuring traditional kimono fabrics.
The audience was delighted by his humor and charism. One of the reoccurring themes in his lecture was that ‘tradition is contemporary’ and he reiterated this point with enthusiasm as he toured our current exhibition Hard Bodies: Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture
Mr. Ohi brought two stunning tea bowls with him, which he generously gifted to the Morikami Museum Collection. His visit was organized and sponsored by the Consulate of Japan in Miami. This was certainly one of our most memorable lectures.