The works of Katsutoshi Mizuno are innocently beautiful and project an image of exquisite quality. At the same time, they possess a serene ambience that deftly winds its way straight into the observer’s heart. The well-proportioned and beautifully shaped bowls, plates, and other tableware are created using the impression-die forging technique, in which the clay shaped using a potter’s wheel is then placed in a plaster mold carved by the artist himself, and pressed down to form the desired shape. Although to some extent, this method enables mass production of a fixed number of items, all operations are done by hand, so in reality no two finished products are alike.
“I have not even once considered myself to be skilled at what I do. When I am making, I think about what it takes to create universal tableware with a strong connection to society."
"This fierce-yet-humble dedication to the art of ceramics has been cultivated through an 8-year- long apprenticeship at Kutani Seiyo, the birthplace of many up-and-coming artists. There, his mentor Yoichi Hata often said:“If you want to create new things, take your lessons from the classics.”
Mizuno is driven by the belief that artifacts that have survived to the present day possess a certain intrinsic universality. He seeks inspiration in the past by visiting Art museums and antique stores.
“Getting too absorbed in the creation process makes your hands move in a contrived, artificial way. This imprints the personality of the artist in the finished work. But tableware used in everyday life must be simple, like the air we breathe. The last thing it needs is an artist’s self-assertion.”
Although Mizuno’s tableware is designed for traditional Japanese cuisine, it provides the perfect backdrop for a variety of ingredients and dishes.
Mizuno still uses Tobe clay from Ehime Prefecture, where he established his atelier immediately after becoming an independent artist. Vessels made with Tobe clay are known as Tobeyaki. There is a poem by the renowned poet Masaoka Shiki that goes “I arranged plum blossoms and camellia in a milky- white Tobeyaki vase.” According to Mizuno, this distinctive soft white color is the reason why Tobeyaki porcelain brings out the appeal of any kind of dish.
“The modern dietary lifestyle is extremely rich and diverse. In order to pair with all kinds of cuisines, tableware must assume the role of a simple base.”
Day after day, Mizuno faces the potter’s wheel and continues creating, inspired by a sense of empathy with the people who use his works.