Etsuji Noguchi (b. 1975, Japan) is a contemporary ceramic artist based in Kagoshima prefecture. His fascination with Yakishime pottery from Tanegashima, a southern island of Japan, instigated his relocation to the island in 1999. During his tenure at Tanegashima, Noguchi devoted his days to various activities such as excavating and processing clay from the mountains, preparing firewood, and firing pottery in traditional kilns. His experience using naturally sourced raw materials continues to shape his work and is fundamental to his practice.
‘In today's era, where clay and other materials are readily available online, I was able to work with materials that were naturally sourced, and this brought me immense joy’.
In 2006, Noguchi received training under the tutelage of Takashi Nakazato, a renowned ceramic master in Karatsu.
This experience allowed him to refine his craft, eventually leading Noguchi to establish firewood kilns as a guest potter in Italy, Denmark, and Northern Arizona.
Noguchi's mastery of firewood kilns is particularly evident in his latest series, Verdigris Green. These dynamic, finely made pieces murmur through hues of chromium oxide to rich copper green. This hum of colour is echoed in the tactile moss-like surfaces he achieves by adding an accumulation of ash during the firing processes. The resulting works blur the line between contemporary pottery and historical artefacts, endowing them with an enigmatic beauty that leaves the origins of these pieces unclear, an ideal that Noguchi is seeking within his work.