“When you become so absorbed in your work that beauty flows naturally, then your work truly becomes a work of art.
Everything that is, is not. Everything is, yet at the same time, nothing is. I myself am the emptiest of all.
Kanjiro Kawai’s House
Japanese ceramist Kanjiro Kawai is most closely associated with the Mingei movement which, together with Bernard Leach, Shôji Hamada, and Sôetsu Yanagi, he helped found. The movement celebrated the “unknown craftsman” and emphasized traditional folk crafts, cultures, and values.
Trained technically in ceramics, Kawai considered himself a scientist as well as a potter, and his mastery of glazes grew out of a scientist‟s interest in experimentation as much as a potter‟s desire for a particular color or effect. Consistent with the Mingei system of beliefs, he worked in the master/apprenticeship model in which students worked alongside the master, learning not on the techniques of their craft but also the cultural values, and equally consistent Kawai did not accept any of the honors offered him for his work.
A prolific potter, Kawai was also skilled in other arts, among them woodworking, calligraphy, poetry and writing, and sculpture. His home and workshop in Kyoto have been restored and is now a museum showcasing his life and work.