Porcelain Tea Cup
Porcelain Tea Cup
Leaking light like a firefly
Nagoya is Japan’s third largest city, located in the center of the country. Mr. Hiroshi Taruta’s studio is located in Seto City, Aichi Prefecture, less than an hour’s drive from Nagoya. Seto has long been famous for its pottery (Seto-yaki), and Mr. Taruta is working on a pottery technique called “Hotaru-te”.
"Hotaru" means firefly and "te" means hand in Japanese. The Hotaru-te technique originated in China during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and involves pouring a transparent glaze over an openwork base and firing it to create a raised pattern. According to Mr. Taruta, the difficult part of Hotaru-te is that no compromise is allowed throughout the creation process.
Hotaru-te, in which porcelain is cut and incised, also means daring to reduce the strength of the pottery. The risk of cracking is high, and the work requires a great deal of attention to detail.The general pattern for Hotaru-te is small round holes, but Mr. Taruta choses linear holes for his works.
Linear holes makes the pottery much more difficult to make, but the light leaking from the holes is like light shining through clouds. This form of linear Hotaru-te, which few people attempt because of its difficulty, was born out of a desire to do what others do not. His turning point came in 2015, when he spent 10 months touring Europe, visiting a ceramics school in southern Germany and the atelier of a Swedish ceramic artist. His own Hotaru-te works, which were considered “European-ish” in Japan, were appreciated in Europe as “uniquely Japanese.”
This experience convinced him that if he pursued the art of Hotaru-te, he could create his own unique expression that no one else had yet achieved. The beauty of Taruta’s work lies in the fantastic light that leaks from the slits of his works. When you fill it with Japanese sake or tea, the light shimmers along with the liquid inside. Because they are handmade, each piece has a slightly different shape.
- Material: porcelain clay
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