Toshiko Takaezu & Raku : Rustic Perfectionism
[ Moon Pot by Toshiko Takaezu ]
A few weeks ago I was seen fleeing to the State Museum of New Jersey thinking I was going to see one of my all time favorite potters (next to Maria Martinez) Toshiko Takaezu. A fixture in the somewhat limited New Jersey art scene, Toshiko's work embodies so much of the rustic perfectionism that beguiles ones senses. In that way she might be seen in a similar vain with Alexander Calder and Jackson Pollock—obsessively paddling her Raku pieces into existence yet managing to hold back enough to create something that looks as if it had been made purely by nature. Helped along by some passing bird or bat overhead ala Pollock.
Sadly, once at the museum I was told Toshiko's exhibit had been cancelled due to a complicated set of events and should be rescheduled for the Fall. How disappointing but I did drool over a Deborah Butterfield in all its rusted, equine glory and yet another example of that delicious aesthetic. Still I wanted to share with you some of the amazing pieces of Raku I found while soothing myself on etsy after the whole debacle:
Pieces using the Raku firing technique by etsy sellers: 1st row) Ron Mello Studio, 2nd row) Marianne Stebenne, Artyard Studio, Mud Stuffing
Raku Pear by Frye Pottery
For those of you in Michigan, Toshiko will be at the Cranbrook Art Museum ending this March 15th 2009 and in Portland at the Museum of Contemporary Craft this February 5 through July 12, 2009. For everyone else I highly recommend one of the few documenturies on Toshiki, "Toshiko Takaezu: Portrait Of An Artist" on DVD. It's exceptional and shows the Raku process along with how Toshiko creates her emense rattling pots.
Image: Live Auctioneers, Ron Mello Studio, 2nd row) Marianne Stebenne, Artyard Studio, Mud Stuffing, Frye Pottery