Kenta Anzai belongs to a highly distinguished line of ceramic artists in Japan. He studied ceramics at the Traditional Art School of Kyoto, first becoming an assistant to the ceramicist Daniel Smith in London before being apprenticed to the renowned master potter Taizo Kuroda, learning from his distinctive pure white porcelain. Kuroda was himself an apprentice to Tatsuzo Shimaoka, a “living national treasure” in Japan and a pupil of Shoji Hamada, who had begun the dialogue between Eastern and Western studio ceramics through his meeting with Bernard Leach. It is a truly impressive lineage.
Kenta Anzai’s work – a beautiful collection of handcrafted objects, including vessels, urns, containers, tea bowls and sake cups – is thrown porcelain and stoneware, in black and white. For his black pieces, he uses a glaze that is infused with a small amount of urushi, a natural Japanese lacquer, which creates a soft, reflective, “aged” surface that contrasts with the extreme simplicity of form.