London Design Festival 2023: Kasama Potters

Shinya Take Kasama Potters LDF 2023

Kasama Potters return with cookware, drinkware, and a new display for London Design Festival 2023.

Following previous successful London showcases, Kasama Potters will return this autumn. A collective of accomplished individual ceramicists from the Japanese ceramic town of Kasama, their work is marked for its quality and diversity.

For LDF 2023, Kasama Potters will present a collection of specially fired clay cooking pots and unglazed drink ware. This will be shown together with original work and popular pieces at wagumi, at Oxo Tower Wharf on London’s Southbank.

Tomoka Nomura

Kasama in London

Japan can be mapped by its crafts, and Kasama is known as a place for ceramics. This has been the case for the past 250 years, with innovations and tribulations leading through history to the town’s modern identity as a location for individual ceramicists. Not far from Tokyo, Kasama has long both sold its wares to the capital, and imported creative talent.

A place with hundreds of potters at work, in 2020 the Kasama Potters project was formed as a showcase for 32 of them. Members of this group have successfully shown work in a series of pop-ups and exchanges in subsequent years, and return to London in Autumn 2023.

Shungo Nemoto

Clay for cooking, and for drinking

At LDF 2023, the Kasama Potters will show two collections for the first time outside of Japan. One: Kasama Kaki (‘Kasama Fireware’) shows the potential of Japanese style ceramic pots as cooking utensils, and the other: ‘Jun Kasama-yaki’ (‘Pure Kasama ware) the possibilities of Kasama’s clay itself. Donabe cooking pots are a feature of Japanese winter, with warming meals shared at the table. But these shallow pots are just one element of what can be achieved by Japanese potters when making ceramic items for use with direct heat. Deep pots for cookery, tagines with Japanese inspiration, items for tea and for coffee feature within the forms made in Kasama studios, a selection of which will travel to London this September.

Many ceramicists in Kasama have a love-hate relationship with its clay. A dark material, not always the easiest to shape, it also holds great beauty and potential. This can be seen best when works in it are not glazed. The ‘Jun’ (‘pure’) collection of items developed in Kasama, are just this: unglazed pieces of Kasama ware that show the region’s clay in all its imperfection and rugged beauty. Textural in the hand, there is a particular satisfaction in a hot or cold drink taken from such a vessel - as visitors to the Kasama Potters display during LDF will be able to discover.

Takuya Maruyama

A new selection of work

The selection at wagumi for London Design Festival also combines popular pieces from previous collections with new directions.

Akio Nukaga, a potter emblematic of modern Kasama, has contributed a pleated vase, in the rhythmical, mid-century inspired style for which he is known. Highlighting the role of Kasama made ceramics as items of beauty in everyday use, Shinya Take will show the quick precision of his kyusu (teapot) form, and slip inlay (zōgan) mugs. Yukihito Nakata meanwhile will provide ceramic kitchen mortars in the Japanese suribachi style, for use with pestles cut from the Japanese sansho pepper tree.

New work for LDF includes cups in the purplish blue style of Kōichi Iinuma, with his exquisite gold brush finishing and glaze crystallisation. Also the bold monochrome designs of Kenichiro Inoue, including a new hand painted fish motif katakuchi sake decanter. Slipware potter Giran Sagawa, has a similarly expressive style in pattern, and will provide a selection of his ceramic accessories.

16-24 September, 11am-6pm | wagumi, Unit 1.09, Oxo Tower Wharf, London SE1 9PH