2023.04.29. Naoki Kanazawa

Introducing Japanese ceramic artist Naoki Kanazawa.


Potter Kanazawa Naoki creates pottery in his hometown of Amakusa Islands. His studio is surrounded by lush green mountains and clear seas, with a scenic landscape that constantly changes with the seasons and daily fluctuations. He captures moments born in this grand nature with his warm and gentle sensibility, expressing them through his enchanting pottery. His studio name “Ayoo" s a local dialect in Amakusa, which people exclaim in moments of joy, sadness, or surprise. It embodies the idea of preserving emotions born from living with nature through the art of pottery.


Kanazawa's pottery always features colors and shapes inspired by the rich landscapes of Amakusa, such as fragrant forests, wavering seashores, and the warmth of the earth. He calls the scenes he creates with his unique glaze mixtures "Yukei." Through Yukei, we can see the Amakusa landscapes as Kanazawa has experienced them, with the unpredictable changes in the glaze capturing nature's constant transformations.


His pottery has a gentle form, created with the idea of making pieces that he would want to use himself. This results in practical and comfortable pottery, with a matte, smooth texture from the Amakusa pottery stones mixed into the glaze, despite its dynamic qualities and colors. Experience Amakusa through his unique pottery that combines essential functionality, the beauty of nature, and a balance of purpose and aesthetics.


- Blue Glaze Scenery "Blue Glaze Landscape"-
From the beginning of Naoki’s journey in pottery, the blue glaze he used was inspired by the ever-changing expressions of the sea and created to capture its beauty. This unique glaze is based on mica and copper, blending over 10 carefully selected ingredients, and results in an unpredictable kiln-fired finish. The blue hues born from the glaze's transformation beyond the artist's imagination evoke the vastness and depth of the sea. The glaze's appearance changes further when it's wet and exposed to sunlight, enhancing its captivating allure.


- Shells and Sea -
Shells and Sea is inspired by the beautiful underwater world he witnessed during his visit to the coral seas of his hometown, Amakusa. The design captures the gentle moments of sunlight gently touching the fine sands of the transparent sea, as it dances around the swaying corals and the scattered shells that resemble jewels. Using various glazes, these pieces portray the enchanting shimmer that nature weaves.

- Still Sleepy -
Rubs his sleepy eyes as he looks up at the dawn sky. A beautiful scene unfolds before him, where the morning and night seem to blend together gracefully. This product captures the moment when the beauty and tranquility of the morning intertwine, seeping deep into Mr. Kanazawa's heart. As he watches the gradually brightening horizon, the peaceful passage of time is expressed through a beautiful gradient.


- Ocean Flower -
Let your thoughts pause, and as you float in the gentle sway of the waves, a beautiful ocean flower suddenly appears. In that moment, the world turns vividly colorful, as if being invited into a mysterious, otherworldly realm. The Ocean Flower series captures this sensation with delicate glaze variations, expressing the fleeting yet stunning moment when the ocean flower blooms. This artistic piece is reminiscent of reading a verse from a poem, evoking both beauty and a sense of transience.


- mangata (Moonlit Path) -
"Moonlit Path" is derived from the unique Swedish term "mangata," which doesn't have a direct translation, but can be described as "a path of moonlight reflected on the water's surface." On a full moon night with the sound of waves echoing around, one feels a sense of time standing still while being surrounded by tranquility and a mystical atmosphere. Amid the cold air and rising mist, the moonlit path on the water seems to invite the beholder on a new journey. This series captures the essence of a gentle sea breeze caressing your cheeks, the scent of the ocean, and the slowly flowing peaceful moments and scenery that come with a deep breath. The artwork is represented through a glaze that subtly shifts to express these calming sensations.


- Planet's Lake -
Introducing the "Planet's Lake" dish, which captures the sparkling stars in its center. This dish is made using sea glass collected by Naoki and his wife from the beach near their workshop. It seems as if you can hear the gentle sound of waves crashing from this beautiful piece. Featuring a serene planet sinking into the glittering depths of the lake, this enchanting series is like a painting encapsulating a magical world within a small dish.

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