Tetsuya Ozawa found his calling early on in Junior high school. Born in Tajimi, Gifu Prefecture which itself has a strong culture in clay, Ozawa now resides in Tokoname after graduating in Fine Arts at Nagoya University. It is not without reverence that Ozawa mentions that after Uni he apprenticed under Yoshikawa Masamichi whose work resides in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
We were fortunate enough to meet and visit Tetsuya at his home, a few times - a charming old converted farm house in Tokoname where he lives with his equally talented ceramicist wife, Hikari Masuda (you can read about it here). Being invited to tea and lunch was wonderful and being invited into his studio are a treasured highlight of any of our numerous visits to Japan.
We were struck by Tetsuya's youth, born in 1984, but overwhelmed by his finesse and the deep seated elegance of his shapes. There is a nod to classicism, restraint and refinement with the appearance of lightness in his work, but with a modern fresh brilliance wrought into surfaces, which is achieved by his special glazing technique. The palette being restricted to the colours of the clay in the region, rust, yellow, white, black.
"Kofuki" is whereby Ozawa dusts white soil over the black Tokoname clay forms after firing. Scrubbing it back to leave a delicately textured surface. The pieces have the appearance of paper or tin, even - the fineness at odds with the idea of clay.
Cy Twombly came to mind, crossed with the scratched and worn walls of Pompeii, however we are told that it's Mark Rothko that springs to Ozawa's mind - wishing to create a peaceful state of mind, where the viewer is invited to interpret the work.
It's Ozawa's humble approach to his work, mixed with an incredible talent for refinement, elegance, sophistication and beauty that make these forms timeless and coveted the world over.