The beauty of the kohiki pots made by Japanese potter Inoue Shigeru are striking because he puts so much effort into acquiring and mixing two types of native clays for the dark base before the white slip is applied. The depth of the white is enhanced by the underlying dark clay.
To me, the negative aspects of common kohiki pots are that they are often thick and clunky because the layer of white slip is applied to the surface of the pots. They also chip more easily because of that extra layer. Inoue-san’s kohiki are very different though. They are light with lovely crisp rims and do not chip easily because of the fine nature of the base clay.
I would like to warn first time kohiki owners though that because kohiki have an extra layer of white clay between the glaze and base, they are vulnerable to spotting and staining, especially when you first start using the ware. A Chanoyu practitioner called this spotting of kohiki as “blossoming”, which I thought was a poetic way to describe what was happening. Over time with use, the spotting will stop and the ware will season. So if you are looking for a pristine white pot, kohiki pots are not for you. But if you are willing to nurture a pot, do give them a try.
As a thank you for all your support during 2019, I will offer sets of beautiful kohiki pots by Inoue Shigeru with free shipping within the U.S. for sale this Saturday. I hope that you will use this opportunity to grow your own kohiki.