Skip to Content
Showing 1 of 1

Toshiko Takaezu


Med Round Pot # 8

7.5 x 7 x 7 in.
Gift of the USU Ceramics Guild

Takaezu was instrumental in the postwar reconceptualization of ceramics from functional craft tradition to the realm of fine art. Wheel-thrown or handbuilt, stoneware or porcelain, her sculptures range in form and size from palm sized to more than five feet tall. Following the functional vessels and pots of her early years, Takaezu progressively abstracted her forms to arrive at her signature rounded, closed shape with a nipplelike opening that allows gases to escape during firings. Medium Round Pot #8 is emblematic of the work for which she is best known. Before closing the forms, she often dropped a bead of clay wrapped in paper inside, so that the pieces would rattle when moved. She applied glaze freely and experimentally through dripping, splashing, pouring, and brushing, and the painterly results exhibit a deliberation as well as an openness to chance. Takaezu uses an exceptional range of glazes, although she has shown a preference for cobalt and copper blues, greens, and blacks. During her six-decade-long career, the artist worked in many mediums including painting, fiber, and bronze.

The sixth child in a family of eleven brothers and sisters, Takaezu was born to Japanese immigrant parents. At age 18 she worked at the Honolulu Hawaii Potter’s Guild, creating identical pieces from press molds. From 1948 to 1951 she studied ceramics at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, then (1951–54) under the noted Finnish ceramist Maija Grotell at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, who became Takaezu’s lifelong mentor. In 1955 Takaezu joined the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Art’s ceramics department. That same year she spent eight months working with master potters in Japan and delving into the philosophical underpinnings of Zen and mingei (folk-craft) ceramics—utilitarian objects prized for their rustic beauty. In 1967 she began teaching at Princeton University. She retired in 1992 and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1996. Takaezu’s distinctive art is represented in major collections throughout the world. In 1981 she was voted one of the twelve greatest living potters in a readers’ survey by Ceramics Monthly magazine.

Billie Sessions, PhD.

Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version

Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Also found in
Click a portfolio name to view all the objects in that portfolio
This object is a member of the following portfolios:

Your current search criteria is: Objects is "Med Round Pot # 8".

This site facilitates access to the art and artifact collections by providing digitally searchable records for thousands objects. The information on these pages is not definitive or comprehensive. We are regularly adding artworks and updating research online. We welcome your comments.