Visiting the ceramicist Loui Fukuda of Mizuho Kiln in the heavy rain.
(Somehow, I tend to hit heavy rain or snow when I go on trips... )
Her cat also welcomed me!
Mizuho kiln was started in 1973 by Toyomizu Fukuda who was born in 1928. Loui Fukuda, the second generation of Mizuho kiln, is currently creating all of the works.
Loui had learned oil painting in art school in Kyushu Japan. After graduating from the university she decided to take over the family business.
Loui went to Mashiko in Tochigi prefecture (where is the historical area to learn ceramics and many craftsman go to Mashiko to be trained) to re-learn ceramics and had trained as a craftsman. After returning to her hometown Kumamoto, she took over the family business.
Her father, Toyomizu, was a passionate craftsman that made unique glazes while keeping their tradition of Shodai-yaki.
Shodai-yaki is the way they create ceramics and it’s been said it has a history since 1632.
Shoday-yaki ceramics traditionally have an ash-glaze base and Toyomizu carefully picked all the ingredients such as what kind of rice husks he wants to use to create the ash glazes.
Like her father, Loui also carefully picked the ingredients to create the glaze. She gets the rice straw and husks from her neighboring organic rice field.
Loui enjoys making unique carvings to experiment how the glaze drips on each product. I like how they all have dramatic glazing and how they drip to the end.
When you see her works closely you will see many layers of color. One seems dark brown but has a slight blue finish. Hope you will enjoy her work too.
I was still in my early 20s when I first visited Loui to buy some items when I used to work for tortoise. I bought some small vases for the store. Loui asked me "I heard people in America prefer larger items. How are you planning on selling these?" I replied that it can be used for a little sake server or a small vase as suggested by Loui.
I was happy that she still remembered me and the conversations we had over 10 years ago.
After 10+ years, her creations became even more powerful and I could see she enjoys creating ceramics and has dramatic experimental glazing on each items.
And the lunch we had together.
Loui also owns a beer garden only during the summer. Too bad that I had to leave Japan before summer. I hope I can visit her beer garden next year and have some beer with her!