In a studio housed within a former silk worm farm, nestled in the village of Kuwagai, Kyoto Prefecture, Japanese potter, Katsuya Hattori creates his wonderful “koma” or “spinning top” ware. Employing a form of “kohiki” technique to produce the ware – Katsuya hand throws an iron-rich red clay body, which he then covers with white slip; from this he carves out a circular design to allow the red clay to show through. Originally developed by Korean potters, the kohiki technique greatly appealed to the “busho chajin” or tea-warrior men of the late 1500s.
Katsuya Hattori first discovered his love of clay while studying Shakespeare at university in Tokyo. This love and reverence for the raw material can be clearly seen in the special relationship Katsuya forges with each of his pots. Katsuya extracts the Ayabe-shi clay from the ground himself and then like a pattiserie chef, sieves and mixes the clay to produce the correct consistency – it is never an exact science but one which Katsuya has learned to gauge from the feel and texture of the mix. Having hand thrown the pots on the wheel, Katsuya fires his wares in a hand-built wood burning furnace (inherited from Katsuya’s father-in-law), using the roofing timber from old Japanese houses as fuel.
Katsuya Hattori has recently been commissioned by a number of well-known restaurants both within Japan and internationally to produce sets of tableware.