Visiting Mr. Takenishi
The two collections within the Joshua Blue series, Seto Blue and Shima White, are made in a small town called Tobe in the Ehime prefecture. Ehime is located on the island of Shikoku, and faces the Seto Inland Sea. There are high mountains in the inland region and a long coastline. Mr. Takenishi, artist of the Joshua Blue series, said his ceramics are inspired by nature in Ehime and his pottery reflects a mixture between nature and tradition.
Ceramics made in Ehime are called Tobe Yaki, and it has more than 200 years of history. Traditionally, Tobe Yaki's patterns are karakusa (arabesque), sun, and nazuna (shepherd's purse). However more recently, artists are striving to create new designs and techniques while keeping the traditional skills.
My family and I visited Tobe in December 2019 for the first time to visit the Takenishi family. It was great to see his collection of Tobe Yaki tableware and eat so many delicious foods. One of my favorites was an orange called beni-madonna, it was spectacular! Mr. and Mrs. Takenishi said that they hardly need to buy them since their neighbors share oranges as well as other foods with each other. Tobe seems like such a tight-knit community. I feel like staying in Ehime for a couple of months, eating delicious food served on great Tobe Yaki tableware.