The creative contemporary potter Yoshimitsu Nakasono creates his pottery at studio MAVO in Tajimi, Gifu prefecture. The Tajimi region is the origin of Mino ware. In Tajimi, there are ceramic fairs and festivals, along with many potters. While the place is a traditional pottery region, Yoshimisu is open to new ideas and new cultural concepts.
He first came across pottery as a subject taught at university, from which his interest sprang. After he finished his masters degree at the Nagoya Zokei University of Art & Design, he started creating ceramics at studio MAVO. The studio is a place for creators who share space. It was founded by the Japanese potter Masanobu Ando, out of his desire to support his fellow craftspeople.
We visited the studio and Yoshimitsu showed us around the gallery space in studio MAVO. Among the other potters' work, Yoshimitsu’s ceramic work has its own unique appearance – from its silver glazing to the skull motif on a cup.
Yoshimitsu recalled the first time he saw Masanobu Ando’s silver glazed ceramics. He was shocked, but this experience opened him up to new ideas. Yoshimitsu’s signature ceramic work is also silver glazed tableware. One of the reasons he uses silver glazing is because of its oxidized metal effect, whose look may change depending on the environment or frequency of use. It is an enjoyable experience to experience the gradual transformation of an object.
Yoshimitsu makes his ceramics using a hand forming technique, instead of a potter's wheel. This gives each ceramic object a unique, handmade shape. He incorporates pop design and colors into his handcrafted shapes.
This young potter shared the thinking behind his creations. He said that his style is not purely based on thinking about ceramics. "I am thinking about the story behind people’s lives - the situation in which my ceramics will be used," he said. When he makes his work, he imagines where, by whom and in what situation his ceramics will be used. That is how he finds his inspiration.
Yoshimitsu said that he does not want to be stuck in the traditions of pottery. "Creating a new culture and bringing it into modern society is more what I want," he said. He is interested in producing style through ceramic works, based on his artistic sensibilities.
Japan has created the culture of “kawaii,” meaning something roughly akin to "cute." Kawaii is most commonly found in some Japanese contemporary fashion. As a potter, Yoshimitsu wants to create a new culture through his ceramic works. While he still follows traditional techniques, he wants to create a totally new style.
In fashion, people choose their own favorite color, style or they follow certain trends. Yoshimitsu offers the same experience, but in pottery. He makes ceramic ware that gives you the same sense of satisfaction as when you wear your favorite clothes. His ceramic ware adds enjoyable new colors and designs to your tableware. The pop culture-infused designs and colors bring new concepts and positive feelings to people's tableware, as well as to their homes.
For Yoshimitsu, making craft is a means of communication. Tableware is an integral part of your lifestyle. Yoshimitu’s ceramics bring a new style into your daily space.