Every day, our community grows in unexpected and delightful ways. For our Fresh Shops series, sellers who have been on Etsy for a handful of months or are waiting for those first few sales introduce themselves. Here’s a warm welcome to all our newbies!
My name is Kimiko Kotouge and my shop is Bluemics. I was born and raised in Okayama, Japan, where I now own a kiln and work.
In my early twenties, I went by chance to a pottery lesson with my older sister. Touching clay for the first time, I discovered a fun new world. At that time, my mother was running a soba (buckwheat noodle) restaurant, and I became interested in the relation between food and the dish it is served upon. I realized how much just one little dish can enrich a person’s life, and I found that I wanted to create these works of art.
I went to Shigaraki, a major center for Japanese pottery, to learn tsukuri, or construction. Through my studies, I became eager to learn about etsuke, a painting technique, so I went to a specialized school in Seto and got a job at a kiln there. While working as a painter and designer at the kiln, I continued to study on my own.
At the specialized school in Seto, I learned a technique called sometsuke dyeing. I liked the fresh blue and white of classic sometsuke works and wanted to create my own pieces, adding my own touch to the tradition. After making various trial pieces, I found my present style.
Dyed works are usually made of kaolin but I use argil to add warmth. Round pieces are mainly shaped on the wheel. For the others, I use plaster molds. After molding, the pieces are biscuit-fired. Then they are covered in white sand and fired again in the kiln. Next I paint each piece, drawing brushstroke by brushstroke with underglaze color called zaffer (cobalt). Finally, the pieces are glost-fired in a gas-fired kiln for twelve hours.
My recent pieces reflect my interest in tiny dishes called mame-zara, which just big enough to fit in one’s palm. “Mame-zara” or “bean dishes” have long been made in Japan and come in various shapes and patterns such as flowers, animals and landscapes. They are works with a sense of fun. I am fascinated by this small and condensed cosmos and hope to keep these traditions alive through my work.
All photos courtesy of Bluemics.