The characteristic black, reds and browns of the Tenmoku glaze make for an elegant and subtle salad or fruit bowl. The Tenmoku glaze is one of the oldest in Japan, and Maeda san gets a nice golden sparkle to liven it up.
The large bowls he makes for us originally started out as ikebana vases but they make fine (and perfectly safe) salad and fruit bowls. They range from a dark tenmoku glaze to two brighter green oribe glazes, both inspired by the birth of the tea ceremony.
Maeda san uses clay from his brother's paddy fields which he fires in a gas kiln. The tenmoku and oribe glazes are sometimes offset by his
warabai or rice husk ash glaze. Taking the left over rice straw after
his brother's family's rice harvest he will burn the rice straw and
refine the ash in water to create this textured off-white glaze.
Short and wiry but with a glint in his eyes, after getting through his
initial reserve, Maeda san is really fun to work with. Swallows
constantly flit in and out of his workshop where they build their nests
to try and escape the snakes. He also shares the workshop with his son who creates monolithic patterned sculptural pieces.