A Patient Fire: The Artistic Process of Bizen artist Koichiro Isezaki

Time passes slowly in the small village in Bizen City, Okayama Prefecture.

Atop a small hill, surrounded by mountains, we arrive to Isezaki’s studio hidden between branches and trees.

Bizen tea bowls works in progress in the studio. Each piece has their own unique yet minute qualities of texture, composition, and form.

Isezaki’s “Yo” Series displayed in his studio in front of a wall of notes.

¬†A Look Into Koichiro Isezaki’s Studio Practice

(Screencaps from Isezaki’s Video)

By his studio, there is a mound of Bizen clay that Koichiro Isezaki has inherited from his family Р generations of Bizen potters.

Smashing the dried material into fine particles allows for larger surface area for reclaiming and making the Bizen clay body.

 

The clay is passed through an extruder, pushing all the fine particles out of the form as well as creating a fresh canvas for artistic expression and alteration.

Isezaki throws, smoothes, and pushes out the clay in different directions and locations.

Isezaki wraps the tea bowl in rice straw and places it into a Saggar to create Hidasuki firing; bright red flashing brushstrokes on the form.

He carefully arranges each piece in the Anagama kiln to ensure a proper firing and specific outcome he is looking for.

Split red pine-wood is used to fuel the kiln

The kiln needs constant attention and wood must be replenished during the fire

A single firing takes around 8-10 days to complete

The end result are pieces that reflect the beauty of patience

 

For installation images from Isezaki’s first solo exhibition – The Breath of Clay: The Life of Koichiro Isezaki’s Contemporary BizenVisit here.