Fukumitsu-yaki is cool but warm, and sharp but soft all at once. It has an organic elegance that can only be achieved through the careful method with which it is crafted, and the sensibilities of the craftsman, Kenji Kawamoto.
Fukumitsu-yaki wares are made entirely with local, natural materials, in a process using no electricity. Kawamoto uses a foot-powered potter’s wheel which allows him to throw at his own pace and change speed if he so desires, creating natural and gentle forms which complement the cool-toned ash and iron glazes of this pottery. Another characteristic of Fukumitsu-yaki is the mentori technique, in which the surface of a vessel is shaved away, creating angular yet soft works. Kawamoto’s master’s skill does not end there, though. Perhaps the most difficult part of the process is firing the vessels in the climbing kiln, whose wood flame must be tended round the clock to ensure a successful firing.
Kenji Kawamoto trained under Kazutaka Ikuta, who trained under Kanjiro Kawai, an extremely highly-regarded potter and one of the key figures in the Mingei (Japanese folk art) movement. After training, Kawamoto opened the Fukumitsu-yaki kiln in 1980, and since then has produced pottery tirelessly, out of passion to “nurture [his] vessels, which are like [his] children, from start to finish,” making pottery that bring harmony to the lives of its owners.