Yenyu is a ceramic artist based in Tajimi City, Gifu Prefecture. We visited the shared atelier (also known as “Tsukasa Lab.”) that she uses. Let's take a glimpse into the background of her creation!
You can see her works here
She showed me how she made a large plate in quite a short time. It is very satisfying to see the process of making a shape on the potter's wheel.
Q: Please tell us about the source of your inspiration.
Wild nature such as rainy sky, mountain mist, rocks, and moss. One of the most impressive places I visited recently was Amanoiwato Shrine in Miyazaki Prefecture. There are many bizarre rocks along the canyon near the shrine, and if you walk through the canyon, you will find Amanoyasukawara, where countless stones are piled up.
Then Heisen-ji Hakusan Shrine in Fukui Prefecture. The moss growing on the temple grounds was so mysterious that I will never forget it.
Photo credit 2023, Yenyu
When I am in Taiwan, my hometown, I often visit the North Coast, north of Taipei City. The rocks along the coast are very beautiful. Also, since the weather changes very rapidly in Taiwan, I often keep an eye on the changing clouds and haze.
In addition to using the pottery wheel, she also forms dishes by pressing thinly stretched clay into plaster molds. She likes to use black clay for plates. Using dark-colored clay underneath gives a sense of depth to the surface.
The unique depth of the appearances are created by glazing twice with different types of glazes.
The studio has a cool, rugged style that can only be brought about by the age of the building. As an old building without air conditioning, the environment is harsh. Super hot in summer and freezing in winter.
Q: What is your favorite process or moment in the production process?
The scraping process. The process itself is satisfying, and I like the way it gives me the shape I want. Also, my hands don't get too sludgy during the scraping process. It can't be too hard or too soft, so I find the right level of moisture and sharpen it all at once.
From the atelier, we moved to the glaze workroom at the Tajimi City Pottery Design and Technical Center where she is enrolled. She also does research on glazes to be used for her works at the institute.
Q: Is there anything you would like to create, or any techniques you would like to use in the future?
I would like to make vases of various shape. Vases that are large enough to be held by one person. I would also like to continue researching firing methods. I am currently mostly using reduction firing, but I would like to experiment with other firing methods suitable for different types of clay. Since I am always fascinated by the wide variety of Japanese clay and raw materials.
A group exhibition was being held at the institute on the day we visited, and her new pieces were also on display. This piece was about 30 cm in diameter, yet it was beautiful in its gravity-defying, softly dancing appearance...!
Profile photo credit 2023, Yenyu
Born in Taiwan, living in Japan since 2016.
Graduated from Fu Jen Catholic University, Department of Applied Arts. Currently based in Gifu Prefecture and researches at the Tajimi City Pottery Design and Technical Center. She is attracted to Japanese clay and raw materials. Expresses the scenery she finds in her daily life through ceramics vessels.