Originally a painter, Korean tea bowls (known as Korai) intrigued Tetsuro Baito at a young age. Their simple shapes and subtle colors inspired him to design and produce his own line of bowls. Korai bowls were originally used as rice bowls and became popular for use in the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Baito senses the universe is contained in these small bowls. He says he creates work as a means of giving a voice to ideas he cannot verbalize.
Baito’s anagama and firing technique are unique among Echizen potters. His anagama resembles ancient kilns measuring 15 meters in length, much longer than others contemporary Echizen potters kilns. He also fires with pine, which burns much quicker than typically used hard woods, leaving less ash deposit on his work. This firing technique leaves soft highlights of color on each piece, complementing his simple, Korean-inspired forms. Baito also does not rely exclusively on Echizen clay. Rather, he uses a variety of clays found in surrounding areas matching specific textural characteristics of the clay body to his desired forms.
Baito enjoyed much success in his career as an artist. His work has been exhibited widely throughout Japan, including numerous solo exhibitions in Tokyo. In addition to creating tea bowls, he also developed a sculptural body of work that investigates personal philosophies of life and death. He references the human skull in these forms to depict themes of death and decay. Now semi-retired and a grandfather, he spends time sculpting Hiniwa toy horses for his grandchildren.