Entering Toyokazu Yoshida’s studio, one is quickly confronted with the two distinctive styles in which he works. One line of work is utilitarian in design with traditional Echizen style at its roots. The other body of work is sculptural, influenced by the surrounding natural elements and landscape of his hometown, Echizen.
As a young artist, Yoshida was inspired to create objects with a variety of materials. He experimented with many forms of media in an attempt to find his own artistic voice. Ultimately choosing to focus on ceramics, Yoshida traveled to Kyoto to train with potters he knew there. After years of study, he returned home to Echizen to establish his own studio.
Yoshida does not have an anagama in his studio and chooses to utilize the town kiln to fire his traditional Echizen-yaki forms. In making these forms, Yoshida leaves distinct finger ridges produced from pulling the clay. These throwing lines pick up more deposits of ash when fired in a wood kiln, resulting in variations of colors from light yellow to earth tones.
Yoshida fires his sculptural forms in his studio using a gas kiln. These sculptures are abstract representations of his surroundings. They also incorporate important personal life experiences. One large, tubular, twisted piece Yoshida describes as “the umbilical cord representing the birth of his son.” Another sculpture is a tall, rectangular piece with open crevices exposing complex ceramic configurations representative of archeological finds. Each sculptural piece is unique in form and context. This work is where Yoshida says his heart and spirit lie.