Shinichiro Kanouya

Craft Talk 05: Shinichiro Kanouya

»A tableware is a kimono for cookery«

The simple shapes and a little bit rusty colors, off-white surface with brawn spots from the layer underneath. This ash glaze over slip-decorated style is my favorite among Shinichiro Kanouya’s works.

Kyoto born artist Shinichiro Kanouya learned pottery at Traditional Arts School Of Kyoto. After a Training period in Tanba he set up his own brand. Having an atelier in Kobe, he has private and joined exhibitions at various locations in Japan. He was also one of the participants at Matsumoto Craft Fair 2015, where we met him and arranged our Craft Talk No. 5 :

What do you see from the window now?

Shinichiro Kanouya: The harvested rice field spreads out at the moment. The seasonal transition is so beautiful here.

What did trigger you to become an artisan?

Crafting things which we use everyday is the best job for me to get along with, I assume. I used to see myself going for two-dimensional art. But at some point I started to feel inclined to ceramics which were always close to our everyday lives. Around that time I also found out that there was a school where I can learn ceramic art. Then I made up my mind.

Why do you prefer to work with your hands instead of having the pieces mass-produced?

Whatever I choose, I want to know who is behind it, or who produced it. This is my principle. It is lovely to realize that our everyday lives are made of each other’s presence, though it might sound over the top.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I love visiting museums and observing architectures. Japanese paintings, unique objects, old textiles, etc. I am inspired by various things.

Do you have any mottos or slogans?

The words of Rosanjin Kitaoji (japanese artist、1883-1959) “A tableware is a kimono for cookery” is my motto. Food should play the leading part. I always search for colors or sizes which would highlight meals.

Which is the greatest challenge of leading a life as an artisan?

It is really hard to materialize textures or colors on ceramics as I want. Just how I space out the works in the kiln would easily affect the temprature, therefore, it is impossible to set the same temprature each time. That is fascinating, though. When or if at all would I be able to handle it? This may be my lifetime trial.

What is the biggest joy as artisan?

The customers’ joyful looks holding my works make me happy. Their face expressions are beyond words. If my works could contribute others’ happiness, it is most delightful for me.

What makes your products special?

I apt to make things in a too painstaking way. For better or worse, this may be my works’ character. I am saying “better or worse”, because it is not necessarily good to make ceramics visually well-proportioned; however, I like to be thorough in my works and I do so.

Where can people find your work?

At my own gallery,other galleries and craft fairs in Japan. I usually upload information of upcoming events on my website and instagram.

What will you be doing after this interview?

Do my work, probably … I shall get back to my atelier and work listening to my favorite Music.

Visit Kanouya’s website: