Studio Visit: Hideyuki Fujisawa

Magic of the Tea Bowl, Volume III
June 14, 2023
Studio Visit: Hideyuki Fujisawa

In celebration of Ippodo Gallery's premier of the annual Magic of the Tea Bowl exhibition, lacquer artist Hideyuki Fujisawa shares the ideas behind his artistry and the practice of tea in his own life. 

Three of Fujisawa's lacquer tea bowls join the third installation of this legendary show, now on view at 32 E. 67th Street, 3rd Floor, New York. 


Hideyuki Fujisawa emulates the classical tenmoku in urushi lacquer with flawless precision. Unlike ceramic, lacquer allows Fujisawa to inlay mother-of-pearl, fashioning iridescent and mesmerizing patterns that mimic the traditional style.


Hideyuki FujisawaBlack Tea Bowl - 黒茶碗,  2023, C26024


Question 1

Do you practice tea in daily life? Please share your chanoyu routine, or a beloved memory of chanoyu.



I consider myself a beginner in the world of enjoying tea.

Yet I certainly enjoy the tea experience in my own way.

Making the tea  accompanied by just a bit of sweets, I think I can reflect and find comfort in the familiarity of an ordinary day. The verdant colors of the surrounding scenery are like finding a state of meditation. 

My tea experience has remained this same way for some time.

I recall my participation in two particularly memorable tea ceremonies. Once at Hida Kozan in Gifu Prefecture, and another during my exhibition in France.

Both times were certainly traditional, following the rules and using old ceremonial utensils; yet, the friendly space clearly welcomed new ideas. More so than the rest, the free interaction with the tea wares brought smiles and joy.


 Hideyuki Fujisawa, work in progress: Black Tea Bowl - 黒茶碗 2023, C26024


Hideyuki FujisawaLacquer Tenmoku Tea Bowl - 曜変天杢茶椀 (黒檀) 2022, C24642 



Please describe the influences that inspire your work.



Intuition is my inspiration. 

Intuitive decisions take a very important role in my creative process.

The selection of materials—my aesthetic preference for my work seems almost unconscious.

Making choices about what works and does not is not the only question I ask myself; often, I must go beyond what it is I see to include non-material inspirations that come spontaneously to mind.


 Hideyuki FujisawaMother of Pearl Lacquer Tenmoku Tea Bowl - 螺鈿曜変天杢茶椀 2021, C22930 



Please describe the qualities do you most treasure in a tea bowl—be that shape, color, texture, or history, style, and type of clay? 



I prioritize materiality: this includes shape and line, color, and texture.

There is no hierarchy in those three, and as important as they are, my work would not come to life without finding a harmonious balance between them.

I make each tea bowl one at a time. Maybe I am really not the type to be a multitasker.

Furthermore, I believe in the unique beauty of lacquerware. I continue to pursue my long-cherished desire to combine lacquer with the tea bowl form. The quality of lacquer inherently transcends “decoration.”


Hideyuki FujisawaMother of Pearl Lacquer Tenmoku Tea Bowl - 螺鈿曜変天杢茶椀 2021, C22930 

 Hideyuki FujisawaMother of Pearl Lacquer Tenmoku Tea Bowl - 螺鈿曜変天杢茶椀 2021, C22930 


Please share with us how you prepare to make a new piece; how do you decide on the materials and direction for the idea?



I make no compromises in search of materials.

I place no limit on the time I spend looking for the sufficient materials necessary for one of my Yohen-Tenmoku lacquer tea bowls.

Once I am satisfied with what I have managed to collect, then I carefully select only the most superior among these.

I sometimes take over 5 years to complete one bowl. My approach might not be the most ideal as a commercial artist, but this is what I mean by no compromises.


 The workshop in Hideyuki Fujisawa's studio. 


The iridescent beauty of Hideyuki Fujisawa's raden tea bowls, among our collection of over 100 chawan await your visit! Magic of the Tea Bowl vol. III will remain on view at Ippodo Gallery NY until July 13

About the author

Jesse Gross

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