Three different kilns; three very different firings; upwards of 9 months’ work throwing and glazing; every guinomi set Phil Rogers puts together is truly a labour of pottery love.
A veteran maker of considerable skill and expertise, Rogers needs little introduction. Having taught himself to throw in the early 1970s, he has over the years established himself as one of the world’s leading studio potters. Alongside his proficiency on the wheel, he has published widely respected volumes on glazes and throwing techniques and has given lectures, workshops, and masterclasses all over the world.
In recent years we have worked closely with Phil to produce magnificent sets of guinomi, little Japanese-inspired cups originally designed for drinking sake, arranged in large custom-built display cases.
Now one of our most popular ceramics items, the idea for the project came almost by accident. When 80 beautiful individual guinomi arrived at the gallery for our 2014 exhibition of Rogers’ work, we decided to show them grouped together in a special shelved unit. A photograph went up online: just three minutes later, a call had already come through from Germany asking for the whole set.
Unlike the now ubiquitous contemporary installations of identical ceramic ‘vessels’, Rogers’ guinomi are unique and thought-through, with careful consideration given to marrying every hand-thrown form to complimentary glaze and decoration. To realise their varied appearances, each set must be split over three separate firings in three different kilns, ensuring each cup can be positioned to achieve the very best quality and contrast of surface in the shifting atmospheres of each kiln.
From creamy Nuka to jet-black Tenmoku, woody pine-ash to milky hakeme, each guinomi cup captures Rogers’ ceramic style in miniature. Singly, they offer an intimate way to enjoy a dram of whisky or a tot of liqueur; collectively, they become a powerful work of art, their interchangeable order between shelves providing endless rediscoveries of individual pieces.