Ogata Kenzan on my mind…

Ogata Kenzan -Incense Box; ca.1731-1743
Ogata Kenzan -Incense Box; ca.1731-1743

This is the first pot I remember associating with the great Japanese Potter, Ogata Kenzan (1663-1743).  I must have been in Scholes Library with a big stack of books piled next to my cozy chair.  I remember feeling that I had just seen something special.  There seemed so much contained expression in this simple, tiny object.  This was the kind of pots I wanted to make.

As I work in my studio I try to be guided by great objects of the past and the artists that made them.  I don’t wish to duplicate great objects, but to create pots that dwell inside a lineage with them.  I like to imagine that if a pot of mine was placed next to a great pot, like the one above, a conversation could take place.

The Kenzan piece was on my mind today as I finished up this little spice jar:

spice jar-after Kenzanspice jar-after Kenzan (top)

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3 Responses to “Ogata Kenzan on my mind…”


  1. 1 Michael November 25, 2008 at 10:28 am

    That’s a great pot, no doubt. Yours are nice too, in there striped state. I have always worshiped Kenzan, and strive for his brilliance. But alas… My good friend friend Mark used to call me Igotta, because I would go around saying, “I gotta __________.” Anyway, I took it as a compliment and the probably the closest I will get to comparison to the man. I was just telling my mother-in-law about a story from the Wilson book on Kenzan that I will have to quote on my blog if I can find it. Now with your post I GOTTA find it NOW. I’m enjoying this series. Thanks.

  2. 2 Steven November 25, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Thanks Michael-
    I’ve been enjoying your posts as well.
    I can’t seem to log into my ‘disqus’ account to tell you so.
    Don’t know if any of your other readers are having that trouble. I bet it’s on my end.


  1. 1 More Kenzan on My Mind… « Steven Colby: potter Trackback on January 26, 2009 at 10:43 am

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Detail from Pitcher - 9.o9

lunch plate ; circa 2oo9

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