At a young age, Kentaro Miyoshi was attracted to both the fine arts and crafts, but was particularly drawn to pottery. Miyoshi trained under master potter Tokuzawa in Kyushu. From him, he learned to listen carefully and to produce technically proficient wheel-thrown work. After three years of training, Miyoshi felt uninspired with the work he was creating, and although he had great respect for his teacher, he left his studio in search of a place where he could have more personal investigations with his work.
Miyoshi was attracted to Echizen’s rich history and artistic community and therefore chose to relocate. At first, he produced pottery explicitly for use in the Japanese Tea Ceremony, but after a time, he again felt constrained by the limited shape and size this dictated. Determined to have more personal expression in his work, Miyoshi began hand-building his vessels. “This is a more time-consuming method, and it is often a waste of time”, he says, but he felt the process liberated him to create more unique and expressive forms.
Miyoshi draws inspiration from ancient pottery of the Momoyama age, and also from contemporary artists, such as sculptor Isamu Noguchi and ceramicist Hans Coper. Looking around his studio, it is easy to see these influences especially in the hand-built pieces that are architectural in form and the large, sculptural coil pots that balance large, spherical bodies on narrow bases. Influence from the Japanese Tea Ceremony is also evident in the bases of his lidded containers, which have a strong reference to iron water kettles used in the Tea Ceremony.
Like other potters in Echizen, Miyoshi built his own wood kiln at his studio, but unique to him, Miyoshi designed and builta much smaller, flat, rectangular kiln. This enables him to fire it by himself and reach temperature quickly. Miyoshi says, this smaller kiln gives uniform ash deposits on each piece, regardless of its location in the kiln. This quick firing technique has allowed him to expand his production line.