All individually wheel thrown or hand built and embellished
with glazing and/or other surface enrichment, the works on
view are by Daven Hee, Hideo Okino, Reid Ozaki, Yukio Ozaki,
and Kauka de Silva. Their tablewares, all associated with tea
ceremony, flower arranging, and food and drink preparation
and serving, reveal a connection to the Japanese appreciation
for the functional and handmade, not merely the decorative
and mass produced.
Hideo Okino (b. 1938) and Kauka de Silva (b. 1953) have both
spent time in Japan with master potters, Okino for the past
three summers, and de Silva for a three-and-a-half-year apprenticeship.
Especially interested in the oneness of art, life, and spirituality,
Okino focuses much of his work on shapes that can be adapted
to tea ceremony, the meal that can lead up to it, and the flower
arrangements that can be part of its experience. His forms
are simple in shape and often embellished only with a spray
of sodium carbonate during firing or with the pattern of ironwood
needles burned onto their surfaces.
De Silva, comfortable with the now-second-nature ritualization
of process learned from his sensei, values his materials for
their expression of a sense of place. He uses clay from Ewa
Beach and glazes he formulates with lehua and lauhala ash.
He also impresses designs into his unfired clay shapes using
Yukio Ozaki (b. 1948) studied flower arranging in his native
Japan before settling in Hawai‘i. An interest in abstract
sculptural form gives a bold character to his tablewares and,
more especially, his vases for flower arranging. Glazes, which
he often experimentally formulates, sprayed and spattered on
his clay forms, further animate his work.
Reid Ozaki (b. 1951) shares an interest in traditional Japanese
arts and gardens and specializes in creating vessels for flower
arranging. His kaki, containers for ikebana, are strong, simplified
forms both geometric and organic in feel as well as curiously
modernistic. Ozaki favorite shapes are low, broad, and rounded
in format, and these, as with his upright, vertical formats,
are all covered with a richly pebbled, black glaze. He designs
them to be in harmony with the flower arrangements, to be an
integral part of the whole.
Daven Hee (b. 1968) works most playfully with the mingei tradition.
Devoted to the potter’s wheel, he passionately throws
vessel and bowl forms, often stacking cylinders of slightly
different shape and diameter one on top of the other, enjoying
their contrasts of profile and spontaneity of effect. By adding
a spout, a handle produced with extra spouts linked and twisted
together, and a lid whimsically created with other, smaller
wheel-thrown forms, he creates teapots with attitude.
Each artist is part of a tradition, each looks into themselves
and creates works individually expressive and modern, and
all five are masters of their craft. Their work is for
not the shelf; it is to be admired for its simplicity, informal
spontaneity, and unpretentious, non-elitist functionality.
Their art speaks with sureness, strength, and energy that
is respectful of hand and heart, of process, and of use.
remind one that art is a part of the experience and profound
beauty of life.