Welcome to Galaxy Glaze.... for the dreams and hopes of tomorrow
Thousands of years ago, people in the orient believed that the stars in the sky held our fate and future.
After ten years of tireless study I discovered a technique to convey the beauty of the cosmos through pottery.
I call it “The Galaxy Glaze”.
I hope that in the future the Galaxy Glaze will aid in the realization of a better world, achieved through
love and freedom.
My aspiration is that the Galaxy Glaze will become a beacon of hope for the future in these turbulent times.
Characteristics of the Galaxy Glaze
The array of colours displayed in the Galaxy Glaze are formed by the various metal elements in the glaze crystallizing under the extreme heat of the kiln. This process is designed to replicate the infinite twinkling of the stars. The particles of various metal elements in the glaze crystallize during a stage of gradual reheating after being subjected to extreme temperatures in the kiln (with highs of up to 1280°C).
Galaxy Glaze belongs to the group of iridescent crystalline glazes including others such as oil spotted black glaze (Yuteki Temmoku), Blackish “hare’s fur” glaze (Nogime Temmoku) and iridescent spotted black glaze (Yohen Temmoku).
While the black glazes’ (Temmoku) colour derives from two abundantly used metal elements, iron and manganese, Galaxy Glaze aims to have more complex crystallization by containing various metal elements with the exception of gold, silver, platinum and lead. This creates a wide range of beautiful colours and forms crystals which give an enchanting depth, more than the ordinary Temmoku. Similar to opals, all the crystals are different in colour and size.
The creation of the Galaxy Glaze required an in-depth knowledge of the field of pottery. Furthermore, it needs the skills to gauge changes in the environment, such as humidity and temperature, while simultaneously adjusting the kilns to these factors. This ensures the control of the firing and glazing process.
However, due to the unpredictability of the environment the process to combine expectation and reality still remains difficult, and presents a daily struggle for the artist.
No two Galaxy Glaze creations are the same. Due to the sensitivity and complexity of the glaze each item displays a unique array of colours and patterns, each as magnificent as a jewel.
As the glaze is formed through a firing process the finish does not peel or fade with time. This endurance of the pieces means that the items are also microwaveable and oven-proof.
The shapes of Tetsuaki’s ceramics add to the individuality of the pieces. The vases, bowls, utensils and tableware are created from his skills and wealth of experience. His masterpieces are second to none in quality and beauty.
Tetsuaki Nakao and the Galaxy Glaze
Interview from the magazine “Tottoto” Nov 2006, Vol 28 pp.12-13
The spring Galaxy Glaze is reminiscent of the tender shoots of green leaves.
The summer glaze replicates the blanket of stars on a clear summer night.
The autumn glaze is inspired by the autumn colours.
The winter Galaxy Glaze represents a blanket of snow and frost.
The Mutsuki glaze turns into a bronzed gold.
All these basic Galaxy Glazes conjure the image of stars in the universe. This unique sparkle is one of the exquisite charms of the Galaxy Glaze.
Chasing my dream: from scholar to potter
“I used to want to be a scholar, studying social sciences”
In Tetsuaki Nakao’s art there is always the theme of passing the message through art. His message was influenced by his philosophical studies at university.
Born in the town of Yamauchi, Takeo, in 1952, Mr. Nakao aspired to be a philosopher or sociologist.
“Student activism was popular among my generation and I was influenced by this. When I was young I wanted to be a scholar. However, once I became a university student, I realized that there was a huge gap between my ideal and the reality to being a scholar at university. At that time I had lost my dream and struggled to figure out what I actually wanted to do with my life. Soon after this I saw my father and other craftsmen working tirelessly at the workshop to create their pottery and then I decided I was going to be a potter. I left university and started to train and follow the family business. I still read a lot of books about philosophy, social science etc, and discuss ideas with teachers and friends from university.”
From his appearance, I got the impression that deep down, he is still more of a philosopher than a potter.
I wish to create pottery that captures the beauty of the universe.
I aspired to create a glaze that captures the bright lights and colours of the universe. This aspiration lead to my invention of the Galaxy Glaze.
Everything started when, at 32, I was diagnosed with retinal detachment. I stayed in the hospital for a year, unable to see anything. This caused me great suffering, both physically and mentally. I worried that one day I would be unable to create anything at all. One day an image of the stars in the sky appeared in my mind and the sparkle of the universe began to wash my depression away. I could feel the stars in my mind, behind my eyelids, and it made me believe that there was still hope that one day I would be able to see again.
I started thinking that if I could create a piece to show this, the extraordinary beauty of the universe, that there could be hope for another, suffering in the same way that I did.
This thought became my dream and this dream became my motivation.
Creating the Galaxy Glaze.
The Galaxy Glaze is the result of metal crystallizing after being heated at a high temperature (between 1200°C – 1250°C) in a purpose built kiln.
This is a type of iridescent crystalline glaze which Tetsuaki himself named ‘Galaxy Glaze’
‘As soon as I started my recovery from retinal detachment I began to read books about glazes and pottery from all over the world. I experimented countless times with different mixtures, continuously exploiting more and more data to further the research. I treated the project as a scientific experiment. It took 5 years to create the first Galaxy Glaze, and even more to perfect the end product.’
‘It is still a hard task, creating the Galaxy Glaze I envision. Unpredictable elements, such as the humidity of the kilns, have an important role in its creation.
The Galaxy Glaze was created after many years of research and experimentation, with great patience. When I finally saw it I was in awe.’
‘The Glazy Glaze is actually very similar to jewellery. If I take a ruby or emerald for example, their colours are different due to the refraction index. The colours differ based on the arrangement of the atoms. For this reason there are five different kilns for each colour in the Gyokuhou workshop.’
He (Mr Nakao) says ‘There are two sides to my work, the artistic side and the scientific side. Kilns are not always stable, so it is very hard to create a specific colour. You cannot give up, even when you feel you have no control of the kiln’s reactions.’ Almost as if he is a chemist. The crystallization of the glaze gives off an almost jewel-like beauty. It requires him to not only have a knowledge of the science but also the skills to predict the unpredictable. His journey to create the perfect pottery continues.
The message I passed onto Galaxy Glaze.
The Japanese painter Hiroshi Senjyu said in his interview that all the artists in New York are now on the edge of despair. Mr. Senjyu added, “After experiencing 9/11, the artists should have taken the role of alleviating pain from peoples’ minds and present the sympathy felt towards both the attackers and the victims. Yet, they lacked the purpose. After the 9/11 terrorist attack, art such as those created by Cézanne and Gaudí, widely recognised in history, encouraged and healed the peoples’ broken hearts. Art has been able to give hope and encourage people, as well as heal the mind, regardless of the differences which divide us; the border, religion and ideology.”
I indeed wish to pass on this message within Galaxy Glaze. To have love and liberty, take the same role as that of the art in history.
Mr. Nakao explains passionately, “Surely, I can do this by inventing a new glaze, never before seen in history.”
“Beauty” is beyond borders.
Having looked at Mr. Nakao’s record of the prizes, I was astonished. Especially the number of prizes he received from abroad. China, Italy, Spain, France, the list goes on and on.
Mr. Nakao started to look abroad around a decade ago, after meeting Professor Zhang Shou Zhi (張守智) from China.
“The professor praised my art highly, yet I wasn’t doing great at that time in the public art exhibitions in Japan. I tried to sell my art, but no one wanted to buy it. I spoke to Professor Zhang. The professor advised me to send my art to European exhibitions. He said that the Japanese art culture is not yet open-minded enough to approve your art, but you would have opportunity to be recognised in Europe, where the art was developing. He encouraged me by saying “it is even possible for your art to be acknowledged as one of the best, when you aim high and put in enough effort.”
Soon after Mr. Nakao started sending his art to exhibitions in Europe. In 2003, he awarded ‘Prix de La Porte des Lions’ as well as ‘Prix Tricolore de la Paix de l’Art’ at the ‘Revolution in Art’exhibition at the Louvre Museum.
“I was fulfilled by knowing that my art had been awarded, because it was the moment I could feel that my message was being passed on. ‘Love and liberty’ had reached to people beyond the border from where I had created it. I could feel that what I had been doing and the time I had spent striving towards my dream had meant something.”
Meeting Iemoto (current Grand Master of tea ceremony).
When you hold any Chadougu (Japanese tea ceremony utensils) from the Galaxy Glaze, you will be surprised. They are extremely light.
Mr. Nakao says “Tea utensils like Mizusashi are used to hold water. I always think about how much it would weigh if it was filled with water, used as a tool, so people can hold and lift it.” Not only is his art beautiful, it has a keen aesthetic and sense of consideration for the user.
“I wanted to blow a new wind into the world of the traditional tea ceremony. The Japanese tea ceremony is about ‘Ichi-go ichi-e (a once in a lifetime encounter)’. I was touched when I met Iemoto of Enshu-ryu(one of the historical schools of tea ceremonies) when I was struggling to create my tea utensils. 5 years ago, I had an opportunity to meet Iemoto after my acquaintance who introduced him to me warned of the likely possibility he would be disapproving of me and my art. He also suggested that I give up trying to create my tea utensils if this was the case. Iemoto has been consulting me on tea utensils ever since.”
The tea utensils in Galaxy Glaze were used in the special teahouse at The 2005 World Exposition, in Aichi, Japan, and are used in tea ceremonies still held by Enshu-ryu nowadays.
“When you create something new, people often do not acknowledge the value immediately, but this will change as the time passes. When you keep challenging yourself, you will eventually create the one that will be remembered by history, even if it’s 100 years, 200 years later.” Iemoto encouraged me.
Mr. Nakao is enthusiastic to continue challenging himself and his journey.
Tetsuaki Nakao profile
Born in Takeo City, Saga Prefecture, Japan.
Started undergraduate degree of Philosophy in the Faculty of Letters of Keio University
Decided to be a ceramic artist and was selected for Japan Contemporary Arts and Crafts Association Exhibition
Awarded a place in the Japanese Fine Arts Exhibition
Works archived at the Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum, Beijing and the Guanyao Museum, Hangzhou (China)
Invited as the Japanese representative to exhibit at “Biennale Internationale de Ceramique d’Art de Vienna” (France)
Parallel exhibition with “Kitaoji, Rosanjin” at the Denver Art Museum, Colorado (USA). Currently housed as a permanent collection
Awarded the International Art Encouragement prize ‘Mostra D’arte Giapponese’ Comune di Montelupo Fiorentio, Italia.
Exhibited as the Japanese representative at the Japan-Spain Cultural Exchange Art Exhibition, “Heart Art in Spain 1997” (Spain)
Awarded the SIR City of Sevilla Cultural Education Merit prize “Premio Meritorio de Culturay Education de Municipio de Sevilla”
Appointed “Salon L’Amicale des Arts de Versailes” member, France Selected for EXPO ARTEC’98
Selected exhibition to a Japan-France contemporary art exposition. Medalist of the Trustee, CHRISTIAN RANGROACH (President of de L’Acdemie des ‘Beaux-Arts’ de L’Institut de France.)
Selected for the Japanese Art exhibition in Amsterdam in celebration of the 400 Year Anniversary of Japan-Dutch Relations and awarded “Art Union Holland prize”.
Ceramics exhibition “Contemporary Arita & Meissen”
Selected for Art gallery exhibition at Albrecht Castle Museum (Meissen, Germany).
Awarded the Millennium Art Academy Global prize by the Overseas Arts Exchange Association
Selected for and exhibited at the Paris 2000 touring exhibition “Japanese Art Festival.”
Awarded the “Premio de Arte A.M.S.C. Espana” by the Art Maison Selecting Committee Invited to be the Japanese representative to exhibit at the 5th Monaco Japanese Culture Festival upon the recommendation of President of Honor of the Society of Artists PAUL AMBILLE.
Awarded the Principality of Monaco Honorary prize by the AAD-council-Monaco
Appointed as an honorary member of the “Associazione Culturale L’alba Gatta Roma Awarded AMSC Spain Headquarters Commendation prize by the Art Maison Selecting Committee
Special exhibition held at the China-Japan Joint Calligraphy Exhibition (China)
Awarded The Cultural Agency Director’s prize
Awarded The Grand Prize, in the Ceramics Division at the Ecology Earth Art 21 Exhibition
Exhibited at the Revolution in Art exhibition at the Louvre Museum (France) Awarded “Prix de La Porte des Lions” and special prize “Prix Tricolore de la Paix de l’Art”. Exhibited at the 2nd Turkey-Japan contemporary art world exhibition 2003 at Istanbul Topkai Palace (Turkey)
Granted the Ottoman Empire art decoration Awarded “The Glory of Neo Renaissance Art in Firenze” and “Premio Costanza de’ Medici per la Art” prize Specially invited to exhibit at the Vatican City’s “Vatican Divine Creation exhibition” Exhibited specially to Galeria Della Pigna
Exhibited at the “Cannes International Art Festival”
Awarded “The Cote d’Azur International Art” prize
Galaxy Glaze tea utensils are introduced by Sojitsu Kobori(the 13th Enshu tea ceremony head family grand master)as Grand Master’s selection in “Ozone Summer Tea Festival” Exhibited to German Arita Ceramic Art Exhibition (Meissen, Berlin and Dusseldorf)
Galaxy Glaze tea utensils are introduced by Sojitsu Kobori to the Grand Master platinum tearoom “The 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan.”
First private exhibition in KEIO, Shinjuku, Tokyo Certified by AUL as an artist who has made a significant contribution to the art world and its history by AΩ selection conference Exhibited at the Japanese Fine Arts exhibition at Queen Sirikit Art Museum (Thailand) Awarded the prize for excellent art from the Thailand royal family
Invited to exhibit at the Beijing International Art Exposition
Invited to exhibit at the Moscow International Art Exposition Awarded “The Russian Academy of Arts Secretary of the Organizing Committee Award” Private exhibition at a Queen Victoria gallery London Exhibited the first one man show in a foreign country at the Chelsea Old Hall London Exhibited at the Heart Art in BARCELONA – Spain & Japan art Exchange Festival Awarded “The Barcelona Ceramic Art Foundation” prize Debuted Galaxy Glaze vases in Bonhams International Contemporary Ceramics auction
Received Art Cup of Princesses under the patronage of H.R.H Princess Somsawali of Thailand
Exhibited at the interchange festival in Hungary as recommended by the museum director for the Louvre
Exhibited for Hungary Culture Art Honorary Artists prize and awarded Heart Art in Budapest Exhibited Tetsuaki Nakao and the Galaxy Glaze solo exhibition at Fukuoka Art Museum
Tea bowls exhibited at London Christie’s Auction, Japanese Art & Design including Arts of The Samurai
Tea bowls exhibited at London Christie’s Auction, The Japanese Aesthetic
A stoneware vase exhibited at London Christie’s Auction, Asobi
Arita Ceramics Association Regular Member
Medici Culture Association Regular Member
Hapsburg Art Friendship Association Regular Member
Alba Gatta Roma Artists Association Honor Regular Member Former Spain National Prado Museum Founder Regular Member