Japanese Pottery can be both rustic and elegant, defining your style as both natural and sophisticated. Pottery from Echizen is some of the greatest quality pottery in Japan.

Echizen is the old name for Fukui prefecture, which is just north of Kyoto on the Japan Sea. Fukui has established a pottery village that gathers various potters to live there and create there.

This is my wife Satomi’s hometown in Fukui prefecture, and whenever we visit, we stop by the potter’s places to see what their latest works of rustic Japanese pottery are. We always try to negotiate a good price, but overall Echizen ware is on the higher end of Japanese pottery.

We have come to respect these artists and the time and dedication that they put forth in creating each and every work of art. However, combined with my wife’s and my sense of artistic style and what we think you would enjoy we handpick every work of art that we bring to you. My wife Satomi was born and raised in Fukui, therefore we periodically visit and search out the best works of art for the best price we can.

This Echizen pottery tradition began in the late Heian period (794-1185). The majority of styles are made from clay that is rich in iron, which gives it a darker, reddish-brown color.

This rustic look is the quintessence of what they call wabi-sabi in Japanese, which is a concept of perfection within imperfection and impermanence. The beauty stems from so-called accidents that occur during the firing, when a myriad of colors can emerge to form a one-of-a-kind natural art piece. They are left in their natural form without glazing or polishing the exterior. The artists ultimately determine the price of their artwork, but we see it as our job to find the best or most interesting within a wide variety of price ranges.

My family and I have enjoyed walking around the outdoor art park as well as participating in their hands on workshop. Needless to say, appreciating beautiful natural works of art and creating them are not always the same. The Pottery Park is definitely a place you should add to your travel plans if you are in the area. There is a lot to see and do as well.
We have tried the hands on workshops they offer and I’ve come to realize that although I am an artist, I lean more towards the painting and music side of the arts. It has taken awhile but have reached the level of being able to sell these items to you. Similarly, our deep appreciation for Japanese pottery and aesthetics gives us confidence that we can select the very best pieces for you.

We hope we could share with you some of the simplistic beauty of Echizen pottery. The high degrees at which the kilns are set make for only a few successful pieces with an in interesting color pattern to emerge. The serene simplicity which stems from the convergence of mother nature and an artist’s creativity is unparalleled. To gain an appreciation for the rustic Japanese pottery of the Echizen area, you should definitely add Fukui to your list of travel destinations.

Author's Bio: 

Joshua M. Smith, PhD., is the owner of Grand Island Serene Gardens http://www.serene-gardens.com/garden-center/, a website and store dedicated to both traditional and contemporary Japanese gardening, culture, and art. He received his PhD in Japan at Osaka University and researches various areas of Japanese culture, such as Japanese music and Japanese gardens.