For nearly 12,000 years, Japan has been producing ceramics. The earliest pottery, developed in the mountains around Nagano, was heavy and unglazed, reflecting the types of clay available in the mountains. Beginning with rice cultivation in around 300 BC, coarse mountain pottery gave way to the development of smoother, finer types of ceramics made from the delta silts where rice was grown. Although much of Japan's ceramic technology came from China, Japan developed a multitude of techniques and styles of its own.
has been creating pottery
for about 30 years. He began his craft in 1970 when he started three years
of apprenticeship with a master in Japan's yakimono capital, Shigaraki.
Shigaraki pottery is characterized by natural, unglazed russet colors,
streaked with ash glaze from the kiln fires. Mr. Yamada retains this style
in many of his works while continuing to develop his own style.
His goal is to live as simply as possible and to that end, he built last year his own yakimono studio and store at the edge of the sea. Working at his wheel inside his studio, he enjoys the scent of the structure's open beam cedar architecture, the sounds of the sea, and the song of uguisu, a nightingale-like bird with a beautiful song, and a Japanese national treasure. His life is dedicated to his craft and wife and three children. When asked the obvious question, if he thinks a simple life is best, he replies, "For me. Yes."
to begin browsing Yamada-san's traditional ceramics.