Touching Stone Gallery logo

Touching Stone Gallery   Santa Fe, USA

www.touchingstone.com    director@touchingstone.com

 

Reiko Kakiuchi-Cohen
Keeper of the Flame
August  2 - 30, 2002
Japanese pottery

See this artist's new work: 2008 show 2006 show, 2002 show

Reiko Kakiuchi-Cohen  コーエン冷子

The remarkable pottery by Reiko Kakiuchi-Cohen began its life a quarter-of-a-century ago through a chance encounter in Japan. In 1976, Reiko Kakiuchi was working for the City of Kyoto. One day, she brought some strawberries to a new neighbor, a young American named Ben Cohen. Ben made some strawberry crepes and invited her to share them. She learned that he was a painter, and had a sister in America who was an artist. That innocuous encounter started something of extraordinary beauty.

Reiko and Ben married in 1978. During their honeymoon, they traveled to Miyazaki-mura in Fukui Prefecture, birth place of Echizen-yaki and one of the six oldest pottery centers in Japan. Ben was so inspired by the quiet beauty of Echizen-yaki that he stayed to study pottery under master Shichizaemon Kitano. After three years of apprenticeship, the couple rented an old house surrounded by towering cedars in the tiny village Kadanji (Temple of Mosquito Valley). Ben converted an old oil-kiln for wood-firing, and named their kiln "Joyous Flame" - a phonetic play of the Japanese words for "Cohen". While other potters preferred firing with pine, Ben used cedar which was cheaper but burned poorly. He adapted his firing techniques to the unusually fuel and created a unique style of pottery with distinct patina of red flashes, white washes, and streaks of lime green.

In the next seven or eight years, Ben showed throughout Japan and his work began to gain recognition. Then tragedy abruptly shattered the couple’s dream. In the summer of 1989, Ben was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. After separating briefly to visit their respective families, the couple returned to their beloved valley and devoted their remaining time together to keep their dream alive. By then, Ben had lost the use of his hands. Through oral instructions, he passed his knowledge and skills to Reiko, who had never worked with clay before. Their sheer determination and heroic efforts helped Reiko to realize her untapped talents.

In 1991, the couple held their first joint exhibition in Nagoya. The show was a huge success. Over a hundred pieces of their work were completely sold out. The following year, they held another joint exhibition at the prestigious Ginza Tachikichi in Tokyo. It was again a sold-out. One month after that show opened, Ben passed away.

After Ben’s death, Reiko stayed with their two young sons in their house in Kadanji overlooking a rice field across from Ben’s grave. Determined to continue the legacy started by Ben, she worked tirelessly to create her distinctive style that blended femininity, strength, Eastern and Western aesthetics. While keeping many of the forms originated by Ben, she concentrated on refining her wood-firing skills to produce stunning works that earned her wide admiration.

In 2000, Reiko launched her American debut with a show entitled "A Life of Joyous Flame" at the Touching Stone Gallery in Santa Fe. The show was enthusiastically received by American artists and collectors. After a two-year absence to prepare for a major show in Tokyo, Reiko is invited to exhibit in the 2002 Contemporary Japanese Ceramic Masterwork Series hosted by the Touching Stone Gallery.

Her current show, "Keeper of the Flame", features her latest works that epitomize her extraordinary artistry and mastery of the wood fire. The show is a quiet testimony of the courage, love, determination, and grace of this remarkable artist. It is also a personal triumph for Ben, for the fruit of his life-long collaboration with Reiko is now shown in the homeland of his beloved sister – famed American artist Judy Chicago.

The Joyous Flame will live on.
Click on images to view selected pieces
Inquiry/order: director@touchingstone.com
ReikoCohen_KeeperOfFlame_L.jpg (83327 bytes)ReikoCohen_KeeperOfFlame_La.jpg (65852 bytes) ReikoCohen_WeddingVase_L.jpg (56333 bytes)ReikoCohen_WeddingVase_La.jpg (61568 bytes)
"Keeper of the Flame"
Wood-fired ceramic vase w/ rattan handle
16.5 x 10 x 9 inch  (2 views)  Sold


"Wedding Vase" 
Wood-fired ceramic vase
 8 x 8.5 x 5 inch  (2 views)  Sold


ReikoCohen_FacingTheWind_L.jpg (99923 bytes)ReikoCohen_FacingTheWind_La.jpg (60106 bytes) ReikoCohen_BlackRain_L.jpg (62372 bytes)ReikoCohen_BlackRain_La.jpg (65868 bytes)
"Facing the Wind"
Wood-fired ceramic vase
9 x 8.5 x 4 inch  (2 views)  Sold


"Black Rain
Wood-fired ceramic vase
10.5 x.11 x 3.5 inch  (2 views)  Sold


 
ReikoCohen_SpiritOfSeason_L.jpg (68333 bytes)ReikoCohen_SpiritOfSeason_La.jpg (70620 bytes) ReikoCohen_ClearingFog_L.jpg (54774 bytes)ReikoCohen_ClearingFog_La.jpg (52132 bytes)
"Spirit of the Season"  
Wood-fired ceramic vase
8 x 8 x 6 inch  (2 views)  Sold


"Clearing Fog
Wood-fired ceramic vase
7 x 8 x 4 inch  (2 views)  Sold


ReikoCohen_Shimmering_L.jpg (122857 bytes) ReikoCohen_DrippingMoss_L.jpg (59403 bytes)ReikoCohen_DrippingMoss_La.jpg (56478 bytes)
"Shimmering"
Wood-fired ceramic vase
10.5 x 9.5 x 4 inch  Sold


"Dripping Moss"
Wood-fired ceramic vase
9 x 8.75 x 3.5 inchh  (2 views)  Sold


ReikoCohen_Windswept_L.jpg (87930 bytes)ReikoCohen_Windswept_La.jpg (69839 bytes) ReikoCohen_IntoMist_La.jpg (56589 bytes)ReikoCohen_IntoMist_L.jpg (61261 bytes)
"Windswept
Wood-fired ceramic vase
5.75 x 7.5 x 4 inch  (2 views)  Sold


"Into the Mist"
Wood-fired ceramic vase
7 x 8 x 4 inch  (2 views)  Sold


ReikoCohen_IcyMoonShine_La.jpg (95451 bytes)ReikoCohen_IcyMoonShine_L.jpg (111109 bytes) ReikoCohen_AfterTheRain_La.jpg (64643 bytes)ReikoCohen_AfterTheRain_L.jpg (55795 bytes)
"Icy Moonshine"
Wood-fired ceramic vase
6 x 7 x 4 inch  (2 views)  Sold


"After the Rain"
Wood-fired ceramic vase
7.5 x 8.5 x 5 inch  (2 views)  Sold


ReikoCohen_StrawberryHeart_L.jpg (50042 bytes)  ReikoCohen_FrostyLicens_L.jpg (63524 bytes) ReikoCohen_SnowWoman_L.jpg (79116 bytes) ReikoCohen_Momiju_L.jpg (57354 bytes)
"Heart"
Wood-fired ceramic  vase
4.4 x 5 x 3 inch  Sold




"Lichens & Frost"
Wood-fired ceramic vase
6 x 9 x 4.5 inch  Sold




"Snow Woman"
Wood-fired ceramic vase
8 x 6.5 x 3.5 inch  Sold



"Momiji"
Wood-fired hanging vase
4.5 x 5 x 2 inch  Sold



ReikoCohen_TwlightGlow2_L.jpg (78705 bytes) ReikoCohen_DreamInBlue_L.jpg (56578 bytes) ReikoCohen_WhiteHeat_L.jpg (68251 bytes) ReikoCohen_WinterRoad_L.jpg (61602 bytes) ReikoCohen_EveningTide_L.jpg (71905 bytes)
"Twilight"
Wood-fired hanging vase
7.5 x 6.5 x 2 inch  Sold



"Blue Dream"
Wood-fired hanging vase
6 x 5.75 x 2 inch Sold



"White Heat"
Wood-fired hanging vase
7.5 x 6.5 x 2 inch  Sold



"Winter Road"
Wood-fired hanging vase
6 x 5.75x 2 inch Sold



"Tide Pool
Wood-fired hanging vase
6.5 x 6.5 x 2 inch Sold



Reiko Cohen Reflection  ReikoCohen_Life'sACircle_L.jpg (73584 bytes)
"Moment of Reflection
Wood-fired ceramic platter
14 x 6.5 inch  Not for sale


"Circles
Wood-fired ceramic vase*
4.5 x 10.5 x 5.5 inch  Sold

 *Part of a ceramic & iron sculpture (See below)
   25.5 x 20.5 x 9 inch  Sold
 

 

All my life's a circle, sunrise and sundown

The moon rolls through the night time

Till the day break comes around

All my life's a circle, but I can't tell you why

The seasons spinning round again

The years keep rolling by

 

It seems like I've been here before, I can't remember when

But I got this funny feeling

That we'll all be together again

There's no straight line that make up my life

And all my road have bends

There's no clear cut beginnings, and so far no dead ends

 

I've found you a thousand times, I guess you've done the same

But then we'll lose each other

It's just like children's games

As I see you here again, the thought runs through my mind

Our friendship's like a circle

Let's go round one more time

 

                                           -  Harry Chapin (1942-1981)  

 

Exhibitions
1981  "Joyous Flame" Kiln established in Kadanji, Miyazaki-mura, Japan
1991  First joint exhibition with Ben Cohen, Gallery Akane, Nagoya
         Second joint exhibition with Ben Cohen, Clay Work Gallery, Fukui
1992  Last joint exhibition with Ben Cohen, Gallery Tachikichi, Tokyo Ginza
1993  First solo show, Gallery Tachikichi, Tokyo Ginza
1994  Solo show, Gallery Tachikichi, Osaka Shinsaibashi
         Solo show, Gallery Ichie, Okazaki
1995  Solo show, Gallery Tachikichi, Tokyo Ginza
         Solo show, Gallery Masuda, Shimane
1996  Solo show, Gallery Ichie, Okazaki
         Solo show, Gallery Tachikichi, Osaka Shinsaibashi
1997  Solo show, Gallery Yamahoushi, Kyoto
1998  Solo show, Gallery Tachikichi, Tokyo Ginza
         Solo show, Gallery Ichie, Okazaki
         Solo show, Gallery Kantan, Matsuyama
1999  Solo show, Gallery Fuchitei, Nagano
2000  Solo show, Gallery Tachikichi, Tokyo Ginza
         Solo show, Gallery Misaki, Ehime
         Solo American debut, Touching Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
2001  Solo show, Gallery Yamahoushi, Kyoto
2002  Solo show, Gallery Tachikichi, Tokyo Ginza
         Solo show, Touching Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA