Large Indigo Glaze Bowls by Shussai-gama

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These bowls are by Shussai-gama, a pottery collective based in Shimane, west Japan.

With their dark indigo glaze, the forms represent their origins at a meeting place between craft and design in post-war Japan.

Shussai-gama was founded by a group of five friends in 1947, inspired by the ideals of William Morris and Japan’s own folk crafts movement of the time. They aimed to work in traditional ways with local clays and glaze ingredients to make items that would bring the decorative arts to a wide audience.

There were ups and downs, but the kiln received strong support from Soetsu Yanagi, Bernard Leach, Kanjiro Kawai and other important figures within the so called mingei movement. Slowly it established an identity for combining the techniques of Japanese ceramic culture with new movements in product design.

True to its original principles, the 15 or so potters working today at Shussai-gama in a converted rice storage, still do so by hand with locally collected materials. Their large wood-fired kiln is lit three or four times a year.

The ethos of Shussai-gama remains to provide unassuming and attractive items for life through the work of the potter.

These bowls present a limited edition variant on the classic ‘Shussai blue’ glaze shade. The normal light indigo here becomes a shade closer to navy. Within the sharply designed lines, pieces of nature and craft are shown in the varied interplay in colours, and the rim of unglazed pottery clay visible at the base.

High-sided and deep, the bowls can be used for food, or even plant presentation. They are 15cm in diameter, and 9.5cm at the base. Each is 10cm high, and weighs around 530g.

As they are made by hand, there are small variations between each piece.

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