croterrace ellipse plate
croterrace ellipse plate
Our brand was named for our wish to illuminate (“terasu” in Japanese)
the future with the crossover of Ohbori Soma Ware and Ogatsu inkstone.
Ohbori Soma Ware (Ohbori Soma-yaki) is a type of pottery produced in Namie (formerly Ohbori village), in the Futaba District of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. It was created about 300 years ago during the Genroku era by Sama, who was a servant of Kyukan Hangai, a feudal retainer of the Nakamura Domain. Toward the end of the Edo period, when pottery reached the height of its prosperity, there were more than 100 Ohbori Soma kilns. The ware is characterized by the blue cracks that are reminiscent of Longquan celadons; a double-wall structure; and a Kano-style drawing of a running horse. After the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, however, the town of Namie was designated as nuclear evacuation zone. As a result, some of the kilns were forced to close their business (about 25 kilns were operational before the earthquake). Despite being faced with this harsh reality, the remaining potters stood up dauntlessly to maintain their tradition by building new kilns at new sites, while staying true to their principles.
On the other hand, speaking of inkstones, the history of Ogatsu stone (a renowned inkstone material) dates back to the Muromachi period, which was more than 600 years ago. The stone is characterized by its pure black color unique to hard slate, as well as its resistance to degradation caused by chemical reaction and aging. The slate material is also known for its use in the recent renovation project of the Tokyo Station building. The town of Ogatsu in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture had a population of about 4,300 before the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, but because the town was close to the epicenter, 80% of buildings in the area were destroyed by massive tsunami. Although the current environment surrounding Ogatsu inkstones has not totally recovered yet, its production has been resumed with cooperation from many people.
An encounter with these two towns in northeast Japan has produced chic tableware that illuminates the future for everyone—We are proud to introduce croterrace.
croterrace is made by first grinding Ogatsu stone (normally used to produce Ogatsu inkstones) to generate ceramic glaze, and generously pouring it on the clay for making Ohbori Soma Ware. Then by slowly firing this material, we obtain the lustrous finish of croterrace. The tableware may be used at home or in restaurants to serve meals, beautifully accentuating any kind of food with a dash of luxury.
The name “croterrace” represents the beauty of the black luster produced as a result of using Ogatsu stone glaze, with black (“kuro” in Japanese), luminous (“terasu” in Japanese) color. The chic black color is unique to croterrace. The name also expresses our wish that the tableware’s gleaming luster will illuminate the smiles of those around the table, the future for everyone, and the tomorrow for the disaster-stricken northeast Japan. In addition, the English spelling of croterrace contains the connotation of “cross” and “terrace,” which represents our image of this tableware serving as a catalyst for promoting the encounters and crossovers of a wide diversity of people.
croterrace is produced by Matsunaga Kiln, an Ohbori Soma Ware manufacturer. The kiln was first opened by Kampei Matsunaga in 1688, and the fifth-generation descendant Seita Matsunaga found the glaze material for Nakoso-yaki pottery in 1873 in Hatori village (now Futaba town), and then became famous as the founder of Ohbori Samehada-yaki pottery. The kiln later suspended its operation, but a descendant, Shigeo Matsunaga, reopened the kiln in 1910 in Namie (former Ohbori village), which operates to this day. In 2014, they moved the studio to Nishigo village, located at the south of Fukushima Prefecture. Even today, the kiln continues to make pottery in an environment richly endowed with nature, surrounded by beautiful countryside and the Nasu mountains, with a panoramic view of the Kashi highlands.