NEWS

New and old stories about Japanese Crafts. 

An Afternoon with an Up and Coming Artisan in Nara’s Autumn Countryside

Ikura san creates very large pieces as well.

Ikura san creates very large pieces as well.

On our recent trip to Japan, we spent an amazing week in Kyoto and Nara, traversing the streets and alleys of the two famous old capital cities so rich with tradition and culture. We visited ancient shrines and temples, ate incredible food and enjoyed a few of the local beverages that go so well with them.

While there, we also spent time visiting a few of our artist friends, including Kotaro Ikura who comes from a family tradition of creating beautiful ceramics. Ikura-san’s father is a famous ceramic artist, and he could have followed that path, but he has chosen to go in a new direction, following his creative instincts, and we love what he is doing. We visited his new studio in the hills outside of Nara at their vibrant peak of autumn’s colors so revered in Japan.

His new studio is an old sake distillery full of original character and new touches Ikura-san has brought to the rustic space, which he has converted into a working space, showroom and living quarters for his family. It was quietly breathtaking inside and out. As he showed us around, Ikura-san pointed out the black coloring on the tan walls, which is caused by inhabitants of the previous owners -- the spores of the Koji cultures, vital to the making of sake. The past still lives and watches while the present continues and grows.

We will be showcasing Ikura-san’s translucent works in the months to come, but we wanted to lift the curtain a bit to give a sneak peak, and yes, maybe a tease, at what’s to come.

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A cup with Ikura's signature style translucent stripes

A cup with Ikura's signature style translucent stripes

Large bowl with beautiful light blue glaze

Large bowl with beautiful light blue glaze

Very cool traditional house!

Very cool traditional house!

Ikura san's studio space used to be Sake brewery, so its Sake culture keeps changing the wall texture. 

Ikura san's studio space used to be Sake brewery, so its Sake culture keeps changing the wall texture.