Tetsuou Ogawa Profile

Tetsuou Ogawa, Ceramic Artist

Born in 1968
Famous Japanese ceramic artist

1968  Born in Gifu City
1994  Visited ceramic artists all over Japan to be a potter
1998  Built firewood kilns and became an independent potter in Yamaoka, known as pottery village.
2001  International Art Institute Exhibition, Grand Prize
2003  Japan Arts Association Exhibition, Grand Prize
First solo exhibition at Tobu Department Store in Ikebukuro
2004  Ginza Kuroda Toen (~ 2006), Nihonbashi Takashimaya
2005  Nihombashi Mitsukoshi Main Store, Tachikichi Main Store (~ 2011)
2007  Established Ogawa Kiln Co., Ltd., Kure Sogo, Morioka Kawatoku, Shinjuku Isetan
2008  Yokohama Takashimaya (~ 2011), Fukuoka Iwataya, Shinjuku Odakyu
2008  Chiba Sogo
2011  Osaka Takashimaya
2012  Serialized ‘Tokobo’, Pottery Workshop
2017  Member of Mino Ceramic Association and many solo exhibitions at galleries and department stores


I was born in Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture, Japan in 1968 and studied oil paintings at university.
After I graduated, I spent my days drawing oil paintings while traveling around Europe.
In 1993, I returned to Japan and was seaching for an alternative route for my work.
One day, I was walking in the woods and happened to see smoke coming from a firewood kiln.
The fire in the kiln was so beatufiul and divine, I was instantly enchanted by the flames and decided to
devote my life to pottery.

The following year, I visited kilns all over Japan such as Mino, Iga, Bizen, Hagi,
Knratau. Tanba and Echizen. I learned how to make furnances, fire kilns and mine clays.
while I was visiting kilns to create more artwork known as *Kama(Kiln) Gure nagara.
I acquired all the pottery skills needed by working at a clay factory, clay mountain, glaze factory and pottery.

In 1998 I estahlished my own kiln called 'Ogawa Kiln' in Ena City, Gifu
Prefecture and started my career as a potter, Tetsuou Ogawa.

I devoted myself to making creative potteries and by 2005,
I was able to host solo exihibtions several times a year at galleries and department stores around Japan
such as Kuroda Toen in Ginza, Tokyo and gained a good reputation.
I have never forgotten my original intentions and will continue to study and
work on raw material production, furnace construction and kiln
firing as well as my creative activities.

Having started out as a wandering painter in Europe and then becoming a potter who is
enchanted by the flames, I once again feel that "Life is filled with
mysterious connections" and fate can take some curious turns.

I've decided to devote all of my life to the firewoord kiln as I learned about the kiln
and realized that it was a joy and my duty to live with it.




Enchanted by the land of Ena

Originally Japanese pottery was at one with nature. Potters used to go into mountains to make a firewood kiln, finds and refine raw materials, cut trees, prepare firewood and fire the firewood kiln.
Traditional ceramics are made from clay and the glaze is made from four types of foldspar, ferrous rtibhle, wood ash, and straw ash.
The land of Ena is the only place in .Japan where all of them are available and Akamatsu. the fuel for firewood kilns is also abundant.
In addition the temperature difference within the year and between day and night is large the Akamatsu pine trees contain a lot of tar producing firewood the excels in 'firepower,
which is the essence of a firewood kiln. Ena is my ideal home where I can go into the mountains, search for raw materials with my five senses and successfully fire the wood-fired kiln.
I carry out all the processes related to pottery hy myself so that each work has an authentic vitality and the sacred heart of my
love and pottery is engraved on the living things that were once just raw materials. I carefully knead the soil and then take the time to allow the firewood kiln to work its magic. This way with my own aesthetic sense I am able to produce the supreme one out of tens of thousands.
For that purpose it is necessary to experience all the excellent works of ancient and modern times and continue to sharpen my own eyes and my selective senses. A potter must overcome many obstacles and continue with his lifelong work, all the time aiming to reach the peak in his ideal world. It is an endless and worthy battle.



"Developing new ideas based on the study of the past"

A man should keep cherishing his old knowledge all the while continuing to acquire new understandings by following the teachings of the masters. Through this blend of the old a nd newI hope to pass on the ancient Japanese techniques and spirit of to me.
pottery to future generations. My goal is to continue to make pottery as a craftsman who knows all the processes of traditional pottery, mastering his way as a furnace maker and a kiln maker.
This means that I will continue to be a "Kama gure", and consider it my destiny. To learn ancl inherit Japanese pottery culture, to continue to improve its quality and to pass it on to the next generation. To become a true seeker of creation and a pioneer is everything to me.


Akamatsu pine trees should be called the food of pottery, their wood produces a especially strong fire when cut between November
and December because of the high tar content. In the early winter these red pine trees are cut down and cm into 50 cm lengths to provide firewood in the valley.


When the snow melts and spring comes the first thing I do is to gointo the mountains to search for raw materials. The raw materials for pottery can be found in the uplands around Ena but once the grass begins to grow it will be harder to find them. As soon as the snow melts I walk around the mountains and fields relying on just my five senses to find materials. Since the whole Ena area has abundant raw materials such as clay and feldspar it is an ideal placefor potters.


Making clay and glaze using the power of the brilliant sun. The clay is dried and is then water is added after being passed through a sieve and the clay is then kneaded. This clay should be aged for at least 3 years before use. Instead of using tbe glaze asit is I dry it in the sun to inject the energy of the sun into it before mixing.


The best season for burning wood-fired kilns. Under the influence of dry air. calm and composed production can be undertaken,
Firewood kiln burning is diflicull because il is greatly affected by moisture bill in autumu there is no moisture which bring a depth to the products.

In Winter the. cycle repeats just as in nature and I start making flrewood again. Feeling the changing of tbe seasons on my skin I work according to and in harmony with them. This is the true form of Japanese pottery making. I think that old pottery was equipped with a more powerful vitality because of this and every day I want to get closer to the work of my ancestors.