Visit the craftsman – Ueno ware The master of Ueno ware who does not forget the playful spirit

December 14, 2015 We visited Mamoru Kumagai, who is demonstrating his work at Aoyama Square.

Ueno ware master: Mamoru Kumagai

Ueno ware is one of fukuoka prefecture’s traditional crafts. It was made as a tea utensil during the time of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. In the Tokugawa period, there were many works that were well-known and highly complete as teaware, so that they were selected as one of the Seven Kilns of Enshu.

However, in the Meiji era, the kiln was closed by the abandoned feudal clan prefecture, and it was as if it had been discontinued for a while. After that, it was revived with the assistance of Tagawa-gun in 1900, and it has continued to this day.


How I entered the world of ceramics

After graduating from an industrial school, he worked for a machinery company.

Mr. Kumagai had not wanted to become a ceramic artist since he was a child.

After graduating from an industrial high school, he got a job at a machinery company. However, it seems that it was full of feelings that I wanted to quit because it did not fit my skin even though I entered.


At that time, my father, who ran a farmhouse, advised me to work at a kiln in my friend’s house. It was the beginning of my relationship with ceramics that I changed jobs with a carefree feeling that I was better than a company related to machinery.



A time when pottery boom

When Mr. Kumagai started working at a kiln, it was still a pottery boom.

The biggest peak was a little while ago, but it was still a time when it was still exciting, and there was sales that I could eat only by pottery.


Mr. Kumagai, who had never studied ceramics, spent his days as an employee while having his master teach him ceramics at the kiln.

I wasn’t studying or studying somewhere, so I really decided to get to know from scratch at this kiln. However, when I worked at the kiln for seven years, my husband told me that there was one.


“Independent people can eat it.” Finally, Mr. Kumagai decided to buy a kiln with an awareness of independence and have his own shop at home.

At the beginning, however, I alternated between the shop and my home, and after the sales at home became the same as my salary, I became completely independent. That is the beginning of Morigama.

Ueno ware is unique to pushing forward with a self-style

Ueno ware that can be made freely because it is the first generation

When you become a craftsman in a kiln with a master, not only ceramics, it is usual to make something that suits the master’s intentions. However, Kumagai’s parents were not ceramic artists, and Kumagai himself opened the kiln, so he didn’t have to adapt it to someone’s wishes.


Therefore, Mr. Kumagai seems to have executed the desire to do pottery in a way that was not like Ueno. Currently, ueno ware is made by glaze after a lot of scales. However, Mr. Kumagai pours a lotion after the potter’s box and whites it, and then scrapes it off.


Scraping is a style that can not be seen easily in Ueno ware today. In addition, Mr. Kumagai’s characteristic is this flower picture. Although he had never learned to paint, his uncle was drawing, so he thought it would be interesting to bring the painting to Ueno ware, so he imitated looking at his uncle’s picture.


But after a few years, it was not interesting to imitate it, so I decided to draw my own style of flower painting. Now, even if you don’t look at whose work it is, you can see that it was made by Mori kiln just by looking at this picture.

Scraping off Ueno ware

However, although I thought that scraping was the first method in Ueno ware, when I bought a book on the history of Ueno ware after I started making it, I learned that it had been around for a long time.


Mr. Kumagai says that the reason why many kilns are not scraped off by Ueno ware is due to the large number of labor. In Ueno ware and scraping, it takes about three times the production time to remove the glaze. That said, it was not something that could raise the price, so it seemed to be a bottleneck that the cost would cost.


Various Ueno ware

Works produced last year

This work was born from a failure.

I haven’t got the hang of making similar works yet, so I’ve also increased the price a little.


Trial and error will continue until it becomes a stable work, but you said that you will make efforts to become a standard.


Rare Red Pottery

This work was also created by chance.


Even if you apply red glaze and burn it, red may not come out, but if you bake it again at 800 ° C, the color may come out, so when you put it in the kiln thinking of baking, it seems that it exceeded 800 ° C when you noticed.


When I stopped the fire in a hurry and went to see the kiln the next morning, a beautiful color like a mat came out, and this work was made. In addition to this work, there was red pottery this time, but all the colors are slightly different.

Works made with my daughter

Mr. Kumagai’s daughter is learning a metal carving course at the university, and sells works at Kumagai’s mamoru kiln.


A incense burner made by Mr. Kumagai with a potter’s crop and the rest of the skirt by his daughter. There are many feminine cute things, and he said that he wants to teach ceramics as a father and master if he succeeds me.




The future of Ueno ware that has been involved for 40 years

My thoughts on Ueno ware change

In Kumagai’s case, it was not an industry that I wanted to do Ueno ware. Therefore, it seems that it was good if I could go on a trip on my favorite motorcycle for half of the year ueno ware and the other half.


However, it is said that the feeling has changed a little recently. Of course, I still like riding motorcycles, but the time I’m doing Ueno ware has become more enjoyable.

He laughed and told me that the time he was making Ueno ware was the best time to kill time.


Ueno ware that we will make from now on…

Finally, when I asked him what kind of work he wanted to make in the future, he said, “Mamoru-san’s making is amazing!” and “It’s interesting to be on the surprise!” He replied that he could get such an impression.

I think that the number of fans of Mr. Kumagai who can make a smile with pottery will increase in the future because the person who has a playfulness in the creator can take it in hand with excitement from the buyer side.



Mr. Kumagai is currently exhibiting at aoyama square until December 16 at the Takumi corner “Ueno Yaki Kumagai Mamoru Ceramics Exhibition”.

In addition, Mr. Kumagai also writes a blog and there is a morigama diary, so please take a look.

What do you think?


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    Written by 工芸プレス


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