Shigaraki Ceramic Artist, Otani Shiro: A recorded interview with Robert Yellin

Otani Shiro

Shigaraki has been one of the great centers of Japanese ceramics for about 800 years. The clay of this district is light colored and contains tiny bits of feldspar that explode on the surface of the pots during firing. Whereas glazed ware may be fired in a kiln for about 30 hours, unglazed Shigaraki ware is fired for five days or more. Any apparent color on the surface of the work is entirely from the fly ash and flames within the kiln. Knowing how to manipulate that natural environment into a work of art, depends on the skill of the artist. Otani Shiro is a visionary and leader whose creativity has greatly expanded the Shigaraki tradition into the 21st century. His works are in the permanent collections of museums around the world, including the Boston M.F.A., the Freer & Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian and the Museum of Arts and Design (formerly the American Craft Museum.) In this recorded conversation, author, lecturer, ceramics expert and gallery owner, Robert Yellin discusses six of Otani-san's works, in the order they appear in this post.

Click on the play button to hear Robert Yellin's commentary on the following photos.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


otani b

otani c

otani d - Copy

otani e

otani f

otani g

Additional Otani Shiro images

8 thoughts on “Shigaraki Ceramic Artist, Otani Shiro: A recorded interview with Robert Yellin

  1. Douglas Abshagen

    Mr. Beimel,
    Glad to meet your blog, which I found via a link from Robert’s.

    This interview with Robert together with the relevant photos was an excellent idea.
    I would love to be able to check in and find this as a regular feature…

  2. Rick Mahaffey

    Steve,
    I very much enjoyed the interview with Robert Yellin. I teach ceramics in the USA and I will recommend that my students visit your site and listen to the interview.

    It is great to hear someone who really knows what he is talking about speak on Japanese Ceramics.

    Thank you very much for putting the interview on the web for us to hear.

    Rick Mahaffey
    Tacoma Community College
    Tacoma, WA
    USA

    Ps if there is any way to get notification of future interviews on ceramics I would be happy to receive an email.

  3. Milton Schaefer

    Dear Steve,

    Thank you so much for the interview with Robert Yellin about Otani Siro. I had recently acquired one of his pieces and it has helped enormously in my appreciation of it.

    All the best,

    Milton Schaefer

  4. Mike McFarland

    Bravo.. Robert Yellin is such a warm and enthusiastic person. What a great opportunity to hear him discuss each individual piece. I found it helpful to see the art through his eyes.

    Steve, thanks for the opportunity to “meet” him and to learn.

    Really like the interview format.

  5. Dugan Moore

    Hi Steve,

    What a wonderful treat to see more of Otani Shiro’s incredible work and to hear Robert Yellin’s insightful commentary. You know I love the focus on ceramics -brings back terrific memories! Thank you for this interview and other podcasts on the site. The “Street Fashion” entries are very fun too.

    Looking forward to a daily dose,

    Dugan

  6. gukanraj

    I LOVE SHAPES AND GLAZESS, I DID ONCE ANAGAMA IN MY GURU RAY MAKEER STUDIO, IN GOLDEN BRIDGE POTTERY, ITS NICE EXPRIENCE, I REALEY LIKED YOUR WORKES ,