Studio Visit: Kai Tsujimura

Magic of the Tea Bowl Volume III
July 4, 2023
Studio Visit: Kai Tsujimura

The Nara-based trailblazing ceramicist weighed in on four questions about pottery, tradition, and tea. Adept at many of the classic Japanese kiln styles, such as Shigaraki and Iga, Tsujimura is a unique potter as he is unnerved by the expectation that an artist stick to one such method. Rather, Tsujimura relies on his own eye and aesthetics to produce unique works with an unmistakable impression no matter the school he is working within. 

Kai TsujimuraShino Tea Bowl - 志野茶碗, (C25851)


Kai Tsujimura inherited an intuition for ceramics from his father, the famed Shiro. Kai is relentless and highly selective, building mounds of discarded works that rival the hills of Nara, in his total dedication to mastering all sorts of traditional styles.


Question 1

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



 Sado is not something special to me. It is something very familiar and part of my daily life. I grew up using my father’s masterpieces (Shiro Tsujimura), and even though I have never had a chance to learn tea ceremony in a directed setting, I have enjoyed them naturally since I was little.


From the studio of Kai Tsujimura



Please describe the influences that inspire your work.




Not specifically in my mind, but antique pottery has unintentionally influenced me because I am a massive fan of that sort of style and effect.


Kai Tsujimura, work in progress.
Kai TsujimuraShino Tea Bowl - 志野茶碗(C25854)
Kai Tsujimura, Koihiki Tea Bowls



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 treasure the relative balance of elements that make a well-rounded tea bowl.


Kai TsujimuraOribe Tea Bowl - 織部茶碗, (C25858)



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



 On one hand I might begin with a material like the clay, while on the other the origin may be an idea. My initial process tends to change depending on my situation.


Kai TsujimuraShigaraki Tea Bowl - 信楽茶碗, (C22602NP)


Magic of the Tea Bowl vol. III, the famous annual show at Ippodo Gallery NY, is your opportunity to see and touch Kai Tsujimura's ceramics first-hand. See for yourself the myriad techniques and natural variations embedded in Tsujimura's masterful ceramics. 


About the author

Keiko Taniguchi

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