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Touching Stone Gallery   Santa Fe, USA



Hiroyuki Wakimoto

Contemporary Bizen Ceramic Exhibition

April 6 - May 30, 2007

See more of this artist's work:
2002 show
, 2003 show, 2004 show, 2005 show, 2006 show, 2007 show, 2009 show, 2010 show, 2012 show,  2016 show


Hiroyuki Wakimoto  脇本博之

For centuries, wood-fired pottery from the "six ancient kilns" in Japan (Tanba, Bizen, Echizen, Shigaraki, Tokoname, and Seto) helped cultivate a quiet aesthetic sensibility and appreciation for simple unadorned beauty. The pottery center of Bizen produced many exceptional ceramists including five Living National Treasures, more than any other historic pottery areas. This luminous heritage offers great inspirations for contemporary ceramists, but at the same time leaves an enormous legacy for them to live up to. Traditionally, Bizen pottery is made for use. Blessed with a good local clay that turns brilliant red after firing, historically Bizen ceramists emphasized firing effects yet adhered to functional conservative forms. It is a challenge for Bizen artists to innovate without risking disconnection from "Ko-Bizen" (old Bizen) tradition. Hiroyuki Wakimoto is a notable exception who successfully integrates creativity with the Bizen tradition.

Born in 1952 in Tsushima, Nagasaki Prefecture in Kyushu, Hiroyuki Wakimoto received art training in textile design in Osaka Art College. In his senior year, he decided textile design was not his interest and left the college. While visiting a friend who was doing an apprenticeship in Bizen, Wakimoto found his true calling in Bizen-yaki. He began an apprenticeship under George Yamashita, an accomplished ceramist who studied under Living National Treasure Jun Isezaki. Nine years later, Wakimoto established his own kiln and gradually built a reputation as one of the most distinctive artists in Bizen. With a great interest in forms and training in design, Wakimoto creates some of the most interesting works in contemporary Japanese ceramics. His works are instantly recognized by bold, sophisticated forms with clean lines and beautiful fire markings.

What sets Wakimoto apart from many of his peers is his ability to produce an astounding body of innovative work without abandoning the cultural connection of this art form. For example, one of Wakimoto’s original forms is a three-legged sake bottle, which traces its conceptual origin to ancient Chinese wine-servers. The design is a seamless fusion of the old and new. In another example, incense burners take the forms of stylized figurines that may be inspired by ancient Japanese Haniwa pottery; yet these forms also evoke Isamu Noguchi’s whimsical ceramic sculpture. Even his abstract works are not without a cultural basis. Some of his composite forms, for example, apparently receive their cues from ancient walls in Japan. Those pieces are sculpted from chunks of clay rather than thrown on a wheel. The technique, called kurinuki, offers great freedom for creating unique shapes. Many of these are composite works composed of multiple components. To produce contrasting colors, Wakimoto fires the separate components in different parts of the kiln. Wakimoto recalled the evolution of his style, "In the beginning, I cared too much about making my work unique, my hands struggled with the clay. Then one day, I set my hands free to express my feelings without thinking too hard. From that day, my work became spontaneous."

The Achilles heel of many innovative wood-fire ceramists is in their firing techniques. In this respect, Wakimoto’s mastery of the firing process is legendary. He does a 14-days firing once a year in a three-chambered noborigama (climbing kiln) that holds up to a thousand pieces, representing his entire year’s work. This working style requires extraordinary confidence and impeccable technical expertise. He keeps detailed records of every firing, including data on temperature and the exact position of every piece in the kiln. Wakimoto's meticulous approach and technical excellence allow him to carry his artistic visions to fruition.

Wakimoto has won many prestigious awards in his career, including the Grand Prize of Yakishime Exhibition. In 2002, his work was first exhibited in America in Touching Stone Gallery. The show was enthusiastically received. Two years later, he was invited by the New Mexico Museum of International Folk Art to show at the International Folk Art Market. During that visit, Wakimoto toured several ancient Anasazi Indian ruins in the area. That visit further broadened his interest in other ancient cultures. The ensuing years saw interesting new works that might have been inspired by Anasazi Indian architecture. Wakimoto’s untiring quest for new ideas is possibly the most important attribute of a creative artist. Indeed, this quality may ultimately distinguish art itself from craft.


Click on images to view selected pieces

Inquiry/order:, see Inquiry/Order


Waki_Vase24b.jpg (271269 bytes)Waki_Vase24c.jpg (290444 bytes)Waki_Vase24a.jpg (296171 bytes)

Vase Form No. 24

 wood-fired ceramic   19"h x 14" x 8" (3 views)




Waki_Vase5a.jpg (150955 bytes)Waki_Vase5c.jpg (219803 bytes)Waki_Vase5b.jpg (169220 bytes)

Vase Form No. 5
   wood-fired ceramic   13"h x 13" x 5.5" (3 views)

Waki_Vase1b.jpg (133576 bytes)Waki_Vase1c.jpg (133564 bytes)

Waki_Vase2a.jpg (100502 bytes)Waki_Vase2b.jpg (94724 bytes)

Vase Form No. 1

 wood-fired ceramic   11"h x 9" x 7" (2 views)




Vase Form No. 2

  wood-fired ceramic   13.5"h x 7" x 6.5" (2 views)




Waki_Vase3a.jpg (119177 bytes)Waki_Vase3b.jpg (129124 bytes)

Waki_Vase4b.jpg (103038 bytes)Waki_Vase4a.jpg (102123 bytes)

Vase Form No. 3
 wood-fired ceramic   11"h x 10" x 10" (2 views)




Vase Form No. 4
wood-fired ceramic & wood   11"h x 7" x 7" (2 views)




Waki_Vase6b.jpg (106815 bytes)Waki_Vase6a.jpg (102794 bytes)

Waki_Vase7b.jpg (120477 bytes)Waki_Vase7a.jpg (125433 bytes)

Vase Form No. 6
 wood-fired ceramic   11.5"h x 5.5" x 5.5" (2 views)





Vase Form No. 7

  wood-fired ceramic   12"h x 9.5" x 6" (2 views)






Waki_Vase8a.jpg (156582 bytes)Waki_Vase8b.jpg (131037 bytes)

Waki_Vase9b.jpg (139037 bytes)Waki_Vase9a.jpg (476805 bytes)

Vase Form No. 8

 wood-fired ceramic   9.5"h x 8.5" x 5" (2 views)





Vase Form No. 9
 wood-fired ceramic   8"h x 6.5" x 4.5" (2 views)

Waki_Vase10a.jpg (84321 bytes) Waki_Vase10b.jpg (83047 bytes) Waki_Vase11b.jpg (52366 bytes) Waki_Vase11a.jpg (58297 bytes)
Vase Form w/ Cover No. 10
wood-fired ceramic   7.5"h x 7.5" x 6" (2 views)
Not available




Vase Form w/ Cover No. 11
  wood-fired ceramic   6"h x 6.6" x 5" (2 views) 


 Waki_IncenseBurner20b.jpg (60070 bytes)Waki_IncenseBurner20a.jpg (61950 bytes)  Waki_Vase13b.jpg (52234 bytes)Waki_Vase13a.jpg (48216 bytes)
Vase Form No. 20
 wood-fired ceramic   8"h x 5" x 3.5" (2 views)




Vase Form  No. 13

  wood-fired ceramic   9.5"h x 4.5" x 3.5" (2 views)





 Waki_IncenseBurner16a.jpg (51389 bytes)Waki_IncenseBurner16b.jpg (49068 bytes)  Waki_IncenseBurner21a.jpg (65502 bytes)Waki_IncenseBurner21b.jpg (70160 bytes)
Incense Burner No. 16
   wood-fired ceramic   6.5"h x 3.5" x 3.5" (2 views)




Incense Burner No. 21
  wood-fired ceramic   7.5"h x 5.5" x 3.5" (2 views)




Waki_Platter15a.jpg (123481 bytes) Waki_Platter15c.jpg (55403 bytes)Waki_Platter15b.jpg (126127 bytes)

 Form No. 15
 wood-fired ceramic   4.5"h x 8" x 7.5" (3 views)



Waki_Vase12a.jpg (143156 bytes)Waki_Vase12b.jpg (83404 bytes) Waki_Vase14a.jpg (87678 bytes)Waki_Vase14b.jpg (77433 bytes)
Vase Form  No. 12
   wood-fired ceramic  6"h x 12" x 5.5" (2 views)


Vase Form  No. 14
   wood-fired ceramic  4.5"h x 10" x 5" (2 views)





 Waki_HangingVase22a.jpg (53890 bytes)Waki_HangingVase22b.jpg (35361 bytes)  Waki_HangingVase23a.jpg (36926 bytes)Waki_HangingVase23b.jpg (29090 bytes)

Hanging Vase Form No. 22 

 wood-fired ceramic  12"h x 7" x 2" (2 views)




Hanging Vase Form No. 23

  wood-fired ceramic  9"h x 3.5" x 1.5" (2 views)




  Waki_Bowl26b.jpg (180739 bytes)Waki_Bowl26c.jpg (88167 bytes)
  Bowl Form No. 26 
 wood-fired ceramic  8.5"h x 10.5" x 10.5"  (2 views)

Exhibitions & Awards

1952     Born in Tsushima, Nagasaki Prefecture, Kyushu

1975     Osaka Art College

1981     Apprenticeship under Bizen ceramist Joji Yamashita

1990     Established own kiln in Bizen

            Honorable Mention, 52nd Itt-sui Kai Ten

1991     8th Cha-no-yu no Zo-kei Ten, Tanabe Museum

            2nd Biennial Ceramic Exhibition

            38th Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition

            1st Yaki-shime Ten

            Honorable Mention, 53rd Itt-sui Kai Ten

1992     9th Cha-no-yu no Zo-kei Ten, Tanabe Museum

            30th Asahi Ceramics Exhibition

            39th Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition

            54th Itt-sui Kai Ten

1993     Honorable Mention, 3rd Biennial Ceramic Exhibition

            31st Asahi Ceramics Exhibition

            36th Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition, China Branch

            Asahi Contemporary Arts & Crafts Invitational Exhibition

1994     11th Cha-no-yu no Zo-kei Ten, Tanabe Museum

            Grand Prize, 2nd Yaki Shime Juried Show

            Chairman’s Award, Japan Arts & Crafts Exhibition, Chu-goku Chapter

1995     12th Cha-no-yu no Zo-kei Ten, Tanabe Museum

            13th Japan Ceramics Exhibition

            42th Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition

1996     13th Cha-no-yu no Zo-kei Ten, Tanabe Museum

            34th Asahi Ceramics Exhibition

1997     14th Cha-no-yu no Zo-kei Ten, Tanabe Museum

            35th Asahi Ceramics Exhibition

            44th Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition

            Nominated as a permanent member of Japan Arts & Crafts Association

1998     15th Cha-no-yu no Zo-kei Ten, Tanabe Museum

1999     37th Asahi Ceramics Exhibition

2000     3 - 4 shows every year in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kobe

2002     Touching Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

2003     Kuroda Toen Gallery, Tokyo

            Tenmaya, Takamatsu

            Touching Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

2004     Kuroda Toen Gallery, Tokyo

            Tenmaya, Fukuoka

            Touching Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

            Invited artist, Santa Fe International Folk Art Market 2004, USA

2005    Kuroda Toen Gallery, Tokyo

            Touching Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

2006    Touching Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

            Komats Yamato, Ishikawa Prefecture

2007    Gallery Aoyama, Tokyo

            Touching Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA



2002    Omen - An article on Hiroyuki Wakimoto's work, by Tim Wong & Akko Hirano. In: Ceramics: Art & Perception, no. 48, pp. 97 - 99.



1.         Omen. Ceramics: Art & Perception, no. 48, pp. 97 - 99. 2002.