As a young boy, Mitsuo Kasatsuji and his friends found ancient pottery shards scattered around the Echizen countryside. They often kicked them down the street and played games with them as they made their way to school. Today, Kasatsuji still collects these shards and now uses the colors and patinas found on them as inspiration for glazing his work.
Kasatsuji’s knowledge of the traditions of Echizen pottery began in his early childhood schooling . It wasn’t until he came across an exhibition catalogue for The Japan Fine Arts Exhibition, also known as the NITTEN exhibition, that he felt truly inspired. This catalog, featuring a variety of works created by the nation’s finest artists, deeply impressed him and was paramount in his decision to enter the arts and study pottery. Kasatsuji is now a member of NITTEN.
Kasatsuji creates both traditional utilitarian pots and contemporary vessels, although his designs and forms do not always adhere to the same structural format derived from centuries of traditional Echizen production. Kasatsuji stretches and pulls the top portions of his pots as he produces them on a potter’s wheel, giving them a unique torn and textured surface close to the rim. In hopes of recreating some of the beautiful patinas found on his collected shards, Kasatsuji grinds found rocks to use in his uniquely developed slips and glazes. He feels these surface treatments successfully integrate the aesthetics of traditional Echizen-Yaki with his contemporary forms. His simple, restrained forms highlight elaborate surfaces that offer the viewer a visual and tactile experience. Kasatsuji fires his work in both his studio gas kiln and the town’s anagama.