Ceramic Artist Profile

Suzuki Tomio

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ceramic artist Suzuki Tomio's name in Japanese

Shino pottery was first fired during the Momoyama era (1568-1603) at kilns in Minō (central Japan), and its appearance marked a dramatic shift in the evolution of Japanese ceramic art.  Its humble tone and characteristic citrus skin-like texture attracted the eyes of tea ceremony practitioners of the day who incorporated shino into the evolving art of chanoyu, or Japanese tea ceremony.

image Suzuki Tomio's kiln

Hailing from Kyoto's Yawata district, ceramic artist Suzuki Tomio has reinvigorated the world of shino with his provocative clay creations of incredible tactile richness and creative energy.  Unlike the shino works of old, lavish applications of feldspar, deep crackles and bold brushwork are the trademarks of his craft.


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Suzuki Tomio

1948

Born in Kyoto

1988

Establishes own kiln in Yahata District, Kyoto

1989

Begins specializing strictly in shino glazes

1995

Published in the Kansai Area Museum Review

2001

Wins award for best shino entry, Oribe Commemorative Exhibition, Shiga Prefecture

2005

Kyoto Takashimaya Gallery Exhibition

2006

Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi Exhibition, Tokyo

2011

Work acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

2012

Works acquired by the University of Durham's Oriental Museum, United Kingdom

2013

Mitsukoshi Isetan Gallery, Osaka

   

Diversity

Suzuki Tomio's works are based primarily upon three types of shino: traditional shino which is usually white, nezumi (lit. "mouse" or grey), and aka (red).  The difference between them lies in the use of an iron oxide-rich sediment, called onita, which is found in certain riverbeds in Japan.

Through years of experimentation with firing and slight refinements to the amount of onita, Suzuki has been able to create a number of signature glazes while still faithfully adhering to the shino making techniques established centuries earlier.  One of the most notable is his yōhen-kin.  First introduced in 2003, this type of shino is an opulent, golden glaze and has come to serve as the predecessor for a number of lustrous glazes in the artist's growing body of shino work.

There is one exception, however, to the shino lineages in Suzuki's glazing repertory - a lustrous black glaze named kokuyōsai.  Inspired by The Inferno, kokuyōsai is accented with red and white feldspar drip details that dance wildly around a black manganese base, like smoke and flame from Danté's Divine Comedy.  It is fired in similar fashion to the artist's shino glazes.

Yet, to further enhance the tactual appeal of his works, Suzuki Tomio approaches every unglazed pot like a landscape architect would an undeveloped plot of earth.  It first requires slow, thoughtful sculpting before anything is lain upon it.  As a result, his vases and tsubo jars invite curious hands to explore their terraced surfaces, deeply cut ridges, and winding vistas.

Along this sculpted path, Suzuki Tomio has secured his position as one of Kyoto's most outstanding contemporary ceramic artists.



Exhibitions

Suzuki Tomio holds regular exhibitions across Japan at major department store galleries, including Takashimaya, Hanshin, and Mitsukoshi.  In 2011, his work was acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art for display in their East Asian Art collection.

2013

exhibition image

Mitsukoshi Isetan Gallery Exhibition

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Potter's Insignia

Suzuki Tomio's works are signed around the footring with the kanji character "Tomi" - the first in his given name.  The wooden presentation box holds his given name and his artist stamp.