Yutaka Hyuga

     The son of a potter, Yutaka Hyuga joined the Japan Self-Defense Force and served for four years while considering an alternative career. When Hyuga returned home, his father persuaded him to consider a career in making pottery. Hyuga’s father, who was a master potter, would go on to teach Hyuga many different skills such as not overworking the clay, minimizing touching the pottery while making it, and repeating, as many of the same pots as possible in one day. 

     In the early stages of his career, Hyuga sought his own personal style. When asked how traditional Echizen ceramics influence his work, he answered, “Using my father’s kiln is preserving tradition.” In a follow-up question, he was asked if his own style would resemble traditional Echizen ceramics, and he emphatically replied, “Yes, it’s so similar it fits my style.” 

     During the interview, Hyuga defined his style. He singled out one plate from hundreds recently unloaded from the wood kiln. Most of the plates had not yet been cleaned after the firing. Stacked in columns six to eight plates high, many plates still had large round balls of clay wadding used to separate them during the kiln firing. This special plate, according to Hyuga, was the most successful because “you can see the path of the flame.” The flame path on the surface of the plate is apparent in cone shape areas of bare clay caused the placement of the wading. The areas of bare, warm, brown clay created contrast against thick pooling areas of melted ash. Sorting through the stacks of plates revealed astonishing diversity within a simple plate form. Many plates have blue, white, and black colors contrasting beautifully within a predominately earth tone, glossy surface. Hyuga appreciates the irregular beauty achieved when the high temperature of the kiln warps his work.