Craig Wisner

Kumano Kurouemon

The Bear of Echizen.

My hero, so far away.

I’ve been looking at a good deal of his work again lately, admiring new pieces (especially the “Devil’s Arm Shape” vase posted here!)  and browsing old interviews, my appreciation completely renewed.  I remember the first I had heard of him; many potters I knew dismissed his work as eccentric but it immediately nailed it for me.

His work hangs over me, an certain aesthetic that I don’t believe I’ll ever have the ability to achieve; his kiln, clay bodies, and glazes are all beyond reach given what I have access to.

I believe all artists have those few they look up to, the artists that really speak to them, keep them humble, keep them striving, yet all the while knowing they may never arrive.  I want to say that I don’t intend to copy his work, I certainly haven’t directly tried to do so at this point, but is this really an honest statement?  When I discovered him, it was the discovery of an aesthetic that I wasn’t sure existed but had been searching for, unknowingly, since the beginning.  How can one not be profoundly influenced by an artist that holds this place?  How can one not begin to feel that everything is merely an attempt to achieve what someone else is already doing?

Art.  Dammit.

Natural Ash Glaze
(Devil’s Arm Shape)
35.5H x 17.2W cm

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