Fitting the quintessential image of a Japanese master potter, Shūji Haneishi works with earth and fire. The possibilities of firing ceramics in wood fired kilns such as the maki-gama that Haneishi uses, have fascinated potters in Japan for centuries.
Always the focus is on the right wood, the right kiln conditions, with days spent achieving them, and most important of all: the element of chance and discovery that the potter battles to create. Perfection is achieved when the energy in a form comes together with the energy in the kiln to create a compelling combination of human and nature, that is itself imperfect. In Haneishi’s case, much of his efforts are spent on controlling, or seeking to control, the kiln based movements of ash as a natural glaze. He also applies salt glaze, and other material based decorations, but all the time with the aim of eliciting new moments and reactions within the kiln. Haneishi’s interest in ceramics began in his teens, and after training in Kyoto, he established himself in Kasama in the late 1980s. From the 1990s onwards he began to appear in the prize categories in major ceramic awards in Japan, and has continued to do so since. He makes vessels for sake, or simple objects, which are always beautiful, and always connect their owners, and his branch of ceramics, to its heritage in natural effects.