My work began as a quest for iridescence. The luminous glazes of ancient Chinese tea bowls enchanted me, but they were glazes no one had been able to reproduce. I became determined to discover new glazes that would add life to the light that touched them, that would shift with the angle of each eye that saw them, and that would add
I was born in Japan and lived there for much of my early life. While there, I studied and apprenticed with a master potter for six years. At first, my studies focused on form. I made thousands of sake cups, then thousands of tea cups, then, eventually, vases and other forms, until my hands and body could create without the intervention of my conscious mind.
I performed thousands of experiments with glazes, seeking always to find the mix of materials and temperatures that would produce the iridescent effect I desired. The Chinese tea bowl that first captivated me was a variation on the yohen tenmoku, a dark and mysterious glaze that reminded me of a clear night’s endless sky (in Japanese, in fact, yohen means “stars glistening in a night sky”). Through my years of research and experiment my passion for particular glazes broadened, but I never lost the first desire to find forms and colors that would give infinite life to the light.
By the time I moved to the United States in 1989, I knew that my forms and glazes needed to enhance each other. What is now most important to me is clarity and simplicity of line. Each form occupies space and illuminates space. I am drawn to classical forms, forms that bring our gaze to a tradition’s accumulated wisdom and knowledge. The past gains life through our interpretation of it, and my work allows me to render the past into my present, making it new. The appeal for me of classical forms also lies in their ability to create unity with their surroundings. I want my pieces to feel in balance with their environment, to stand in natural harmony with what is around them. The form directs the light and the eye, allowing the glaze to shape the perception of form.
Download Hideaki Miyamura’s CV here.