KIM Hono’s (b. 1958) take on the jar is nothing less than revolutionary. His color is bold and artsy, and his skill is highly unusual, resulting in a vessel that both surprises and delights. His jars are built from large strips of clay, almost like wide lasagna noodles. These are molded and creased into his desired form, usually a nod to traditional shapes but with playful deviations from the expected. His tender color is unglazed, leaving a soft matte surface that retains the texture of the clay. Hono’s organic forms and colors suggest the early buds of spring flowers, tender and lovely.
The “TATARA” is a traditional Japanese furnace for smelting iron and steel. Indeed, this jar showcases an industrial sensibility.
With roots in both Korea and Japan, Korea born artist Kim Hono faces some difficulties in Japan due to a history of discrimination against people of Korean descent in Japanese culture. Still he can not travel outside of Japan. When Kim graduated from high school, everyone including his teachers insisted that he must choose one of the few jobs deemed acceptable for Korean-Japanese people: construction worker, Pachinko shop owner, plumber, or taxi driver, etc. But Kim knew that he wanted to be a potter. Though others sneered at this idea, he remained firm in his desire to create and to express himself through working in clay. This determined spirit and untrammeled passion shines through in Kim's work. Images from nature boldly adorn his tea bowls, jars, and sculptures, as is clearly visible in this group of works. Figures appear in stark white against a rich black background, which Kim achieves in a mid-high fire. An effect of this soft heat is that you can almost feel the softness of the clay through the glaze. He paints his works with elements from the wilderness around his home, and here we have gentle butterflies and fearless dogs-both as two-dimensional decoration and a three-dimensional sculptural object. Kim's inventiveness brings a lively spirit to his work that is unparalleled.