See all items of Galaxy Glaze pottery
"Galaxy Glaze" represents the infinite universe and starry sky
The crystallized metallic elements look like countless stars floating in the night sky.
Galactic Odyssey - 2003 Florence Glorious Neo-Renaissance Exhibition Costanza de' Medici Art Prize -
The artist who created this unprecedented technique while following conventional pottery techniques is Tetsuaki Nakao, who has been working on pottery in Takeo City, Saga Prefecture, since his twenties and is highly regarded overseas for his rich expressiveness and advanced techniques.
Expressing the night sky with stars in my pottery
Mr. Nakao's family owned a kiln, and although he helped out as a child, he had no intention of taking over the family business. At university, he majored in philosophy.
"I wanted to pursue my own way of life," he says,
So I entered the philosophy department at university, but I began to feel that university was not a place of study or research, but rather a preparatory school for employment.
At that time, I went home to my parents' house and saw my father working on ceramics, and I was moved. I dropped out of college during my senior year and then returned to my hometown to pursue a career in pottery.
The inspiration for the galactic glaze was born when Nakao was in his 30s. One day, while working on making pottery, he was hospitalized with a detached retina. He spent many anxious days wondering if he would ever be able to make pottery again.
As I lay in bed in the hospital, I suddenly saw countless stars in the night sky in my mind. When I was discharged from the hospital and returned to the world of pottery, I wanted to express colors like the night sky in my work.
If you look at the earth from the night sky, you can see no borders, no races, and all people are the same. I wondered if I could express such a world through pottery.
Creating works that transcend borders, race, and language barriers
After leaving the hospital, Nakao began researching glazes (a layer of glass adhered to the surface of ceramics). He continued his research steadily, collecting literature from around the world.
It was about eight years later that he realized "Galaxy Glaze," in which metal crystals shine like stars in the sky due to color changes caused by chemical reactions. It was a departure from conventional pottery.
Nakao says that even though it took a long time, he never wanted to give up.
I thought it would take much longer to express the world I wanted to create. Since I majored in the humanities, it was not easy to learn and experiment in the sciences, but I did not want to stop halfway.He puts this message into his work.
I wanted to realize my goal of creating a starry sky and a world view like the universe as soon as possible. That was my sole intention.
Through Galaxy Glaze, I want to communicate across borders, race, and language barriers. I want to send the message to the world that "we are all the same human beings, even if we are from different ethnic or racial groups.
I would like to explain the history of the earth and the human race, and the reasons why different ways of thinking have emerged in various parts of the world. How can we accept diversity, overcome differences, and help people of different races and ideas to coexist? I am always thinking about such things.
Unique tints created by an improved kiln
Nakao's works have been accepted around the world and have received numerous awards in France, Russia, the Netherlands, Spain, and other countries. In the past, when travel to other countries was easier, many foreigners were impressed by his work and came to see him.
He feels that there is a difference in the way people in Japan and overseas think about ceramics and ceramic artists.
I think that people overseas have a strong desire to know what kind of person the creator of the work is, what kind of view of life and philosophy he or she has. I feel that they appreciate a work of art after getting to know the creator.
Meanwhile, in Japan, people of all ages, from high school students at the bottom to people in their 80s at the top, have come to see his solo exhibitions and have become fans of his work, and his works have certainly continued to win the hearts of people in Japan.
Nakao currently lives in Takeo City, Saga Prefecture, with his wife Chikako, who is in charge of office work and some pottery making. His son, Masanori, is in charge of the website and social networking services. He does all the work using a potter's wheel by himself.
Tetsuaki Nakao, his son, Shintoku, and his wife, Chikako.
The work using the potter's wheel is similar to making a sculpture, as the shape is created by pulling a mass of spinning clay.
The shape and originality of the work varies greatly depending on the artist's sense of style, and it requires a high level of skill, so it is a work with a world view that only my father could create.
I think that only my father could create such works with such a unique view of the world," says Masanori.
After the pieces are shaped on the potter's wheel, they are unglazed and then fired. It can take up to six months to complete a single piece in order to achieve the ideal color.
There are six kilns for producing colors, and each kiln is modified by changing the flow of gas. This is also done to produce the ideal color. No two pieces are the same, and if the color is not satisfactory, they sometimes have to be remade.
Continuing to Pass on the Culture of Pottery
Due to the current trends of the times, the pottery industry is currently facing a difficult situation, and few young people are coming into the industry. At the same time, the number of potters with proper skills and techniques is also decreasing.
On the other hand, there are people who visit Nakao with a strong desire to learn pottery. He is willing to teach his skills and knowledge to such people.
I feel that I have to pass on the skills and knowledge I have cultivated to those who aspire to the world of pottery. Otherwise, the culture of pottery may eventually die out.
The same is true in the world of tea ceremony and flower arrangement, but I believe that most of the culture that exists in Japan today is the result of the improvement of things that came from overseas and became part of our own culture, and that there is almost no culture that is uniquely Japanese.
However, I believe that the charm and quality of Japanese culture will attract renewed attention from the rest of the world in the future. I happen to work in the field of pottery, but I would like to continue to convey my thoughts and wishes for world peace and coexistence in my work.
While firmly holding on to his own ideas and beliefs, Nakao is not bound by existing frameworks, but rather flexibly accepts the changes of the times and various differences and reflects them in his artwork.
An artist with a delicate sensibility, but also a philosopher and researcher, Nakao puts his wishes into each piece of "Galaxy Glaze" pottery he creates, which will surely enrich and gently color our lives.