Hajimu Kato was born in Shigaraki in 1946 and his fantastic wood-fired pottery is some of the best that the Harlequin Gallery has shown throughout its existence.
His family’s business was one of the major commercial companies producing Shigaraki pottery and so he grew up surrounded by pots. After gaining a degree in Business Administration from Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, he went back to join the family firm where he stayed for 17 years.
During this time he learnt about ceramics from the potters around the area and started making his own work. Upon reaching 40 in 1987, he gave up “his proper job”, built his own Anagama kiln and concentrated on becoming an artist, making traditional Shigaraki pottery. In this he was successful, gaining a reputation not only locally but also throughout Japan. His work has been selected for and shown in national ceramic and traditional craft exhibitions, he is a member of the Japanese Craft Association and he has won numerous prizes for his work.
In 2001 the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park Museum held the “Great Shigaraki Exhibition” that was a celebration of the history of Shigaraki pottery from its beginnings in the early part of the 13th century to date. The exhibition showed work from all eras and that of Kato-san was represent alongside other Shigaraki masters.
I was introduced to Hajimu Kato‘s work by the potter, Takuro Shibata, who is now based in Seagrove, North Carolina USA. At the time Takuro was living and working in Shigaraki and had been taught much about making and firing by Kato san. I first showed some of Hajimu Kato‘s teabowls in a Harlequin Gallery teabowl exhibition of March 2005 and then again in a similar exhibition the following February. Finally, in the summer of 2007 his work was featured in the exhibition “3 Japanese Wood-Firing Potters” at the Harlequin Gallery. I selected around 30 pieces of work from the best of the two most recent firings of his anagama kiln from photographs and was delighted with the work when it arrived.
Since then a number of pieces have remained in my personal collection, making up the largest group of work by any wood-firing potter. However, the time as come to thin things out a little and so I will be offering a few examples for sale, including the ones below, shortly.
More details can be found at https://www.studio-pots.com/recent-acquisitions/