After meeting young tea farmer Shutaro Hayashi in Kirishima, we board the train and go deeper into the mountains. While the tea garden of Shutaro Hayashi is located at the foot of the volcanic mountain Kirishima, the atelier of NARIEDA Shinichiro, where we are headed to now, is much deeper in the mountains. From NARIEDA’s garden, which is an important source of inspiration for the artist, there is an almost free view to the peaks and craters of the volcanic mountain range Kirishima.
The pieces NARIEDA made for us this year reflect NARIEDA’s admiration for nature. This is clearly visible at first sight. Over a light-coloured, almost white clay with dot-like dark-metallic inclusions, NARIEDA lets flow a light glaze, with a tendency to lilac-colour. The new tea bowls [yunomi] are inspired by the mountain landscape of Kirishima in spring. Because then, at the edge of the barren volcanic craters, shining pink-coloured small flowers are growing, the Miyama Kirishima.
When NARIEDA made a series of tea pots [shiboridashi kyusu] and small tea bowls [yunomi] in 2017, he used a even lighter, almost shining white clay and fired the pieces in a way that the pink-coloured shades had an extraordinarily shining effect, with a strong tendency to purple red in many spots. At that time, he applied the glaze to the pieces with a finger-snapping movement, which created pieces full of energy, even slightly restless: the awakening of spring. These pieces could be interpreted as the first days of spring, when the sun shines on the flowers of the Miyama Kirishima with full power, and when the mountain birds’ loud singing can be heard.
This year’s pieces’ opulent colours are no less multi-faceted, yet a bit rounder. The clay is not so shiningly light-coloured, but rather nuanced with a slight pale-gray or pale-beige, which might as well be used for pieces in a traditional tea room. To accentuate the colour of the tea in the tea bowls, for the pieces created now in spring 2019, NARIEDA experimented with a very high temperature in the kiln and rather long firing, so that the colours of the glaze appear intense but rather light. This is how this year’s series of mid-sized tea bowls was created, characterised by their light lilac-shades and, partly, even with colour shades with a tendency to light turquoise or light blue. Due to the high firing temperature, the glaze flows over the well-shaped round surface of the tea bowls as smoothly as jade, so that each touch of the pieces caresses the skin.
Just like in a dream, flowers of the Miyama Kirishima fly through the light-blue sky, carried by the wind, and, reflecting the sunlight, they trickle down to the ceramist’s small garden.
After the ceramist carefully packed the pieces of the new series for us together with his wife, we bring them to the post office of the little mountain village. In Japan, tomorrow a series of holidays starts which together are called “Golden Week”. The post office will be closed then. Now, everything is ready and NARIEDA’s pieces, which he calls his children, can start their journey to Europe.
In the evening, a friend of the artist comes over for dinner together with NARIEDA and us in his atelier. For this, NARIEDA harvested the rare sprouts from his little garden, which are called “tara-no-me” in Japan. NARIEDAs wife prepared them for us, and we enjoy them together with green tea, which we, of course, drink from pieces made by NARIEDA.