Ken Takara, Mud-master of Mud and Rocks Pottery, makes Utilitarian Art. That is, art that says “I’m tableware.” Or maybe it's tableware that says “I’m art.” Either way, a Tea Set can both serve tea and make a lovely display on your shelf.
Ken never thought about the style of his work. He makes pots that he wants to use – that accommodate his tastes. Like the pottery in his grandma’s kitchen, they should be quiet, unassuming, and useful. Ken believes, "My pots should rise from the wheel like bamboo shoots rising from the ground." It is this organic nature that he strives to achieve. Perhaps, because of his Japanese/Okinawan heritage, his ware looks like a contemporary version of the Japanese/Okinawan style.
Just as bamboo and pottery are central to the spirit of the Japanese people, they have always imbued Ken’s core. Having used bamboo handles on his early teapots, he decided last year to incorporate it more significantly. Many of his newer pots – including his ceramic baskets and trays – are intrinsically designed around bamboo.
His latest “Rustic White” tableware shares this philosophy. They are deliberately made to appear as though they just grew from the forest floor. The soft, white glaze seems to flow and drip along the sides of the bowls, mugs, and plates like morning mist dripping from the trees.
Ken got his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, and worked for nearly 30 years as a Software Engineer at companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1997, a stroke during emergency surgery removed him from the high-tech work force. Discovering the ceramic studio in the Foster City Recreation Center, he ended up covered in clay. Now, he continues to do what he loves: make useful ware. He simply exchanged the medium from precise computer logic to messy mud.
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