Almost the opposite of the concept of “lustre”, Shigaraki is a ceramic technique steeped in tradition. It intentionally forfeits reflection and refraction by a layer of ash that hugs the surface. One feels as though one has shone a light through a thin layer of dust settling on a sheet of paper. The Shigaraki medium evokes a meditation on age, time, and light, reminding us of the symbiosis between light and shadow.
The young purveyor of Shigaraki, Tani Kyu (known as Tani Q) (b. 1977) focuses on creating beautiful functional wares. Inspired by Japanese “Kogei”, he enquires into how form relates to function, and how functional wares change over time. The notion of an imperfect 仕組み (“mechanism”, “structure” or “assemblage”) of a pot, cup, box, or object are concerns that he thinks through while creating his shigaraki wares. This wabi sabi philosophy is a key aspect to Shigaraki, which Tani Q elaborates upon fluently in his works. After graduating from the 3D modeling class at Seian University of Art and Design in 2000, he accompanied the sculptor Nakahashi Katsushige as an assistant to domestic and international exhibitions. Tani Q operated the historical Seiemon Kiln which is historically associated with medieval shigaraki techniques. He is inspired by Shigaraki techniques from the Muromachi period.