KaratsuPots' Shop Announcement

Welcome to the Karatsupots Etsy shop!

It has been a busy couple of years getting the new wood kiln built and fired right, but we finally have some new pots for you. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed making them.

I'm a potter residing in the Gotanbayashi neighborhood of Taku city, in Saga Prefecture, Japan. I make my work using traditional Karatsu techniques and tools, and local materials. Most of the clay used in my work has been collected by myself in the surrounding area, and is sometimes blended with commercial clays and/or locally acquired stone which has been processed by hand. All my glazes are ash and feldspar, with a bit of clay in some cases. I use all non-toxic materials, and though my work is dishwasher and microwave safe, I strongly recommend hand washing.

Because much of my work is in the style of Karatsu, there is naturally a Japanese flavor to my work. One of my major goals is to successfully incorporate both ancient and modern American influences into the Karatsu tradition. One main reason Karatsu ware is attractive to me as a potter is that its simplicity and refinement reaches beyond trend and fashion. A good piece of Karatsu ware will be functional and aesthetically relevant, not just for months or years, but for generations of use. My goal as a potter is to produce work with a Karatsu flavor, but at the same time crosses national and cultural borders.

Karatsu as a living tradition encompasses an enormous range of work, representative of both Japanese and Korean culture. It seems entirely natural to me that the future of the Karatsu tradition come to include other cultural influences as well.

I want to make pots which will enhance your life functionally and aesthetically. Pots which will slowly change over time and years of use, becoming more beautiful to you as they come to reflect your unique lifestlye. Pots that are not only beautiful to the eyes, but to all five senses. When you use my work, I want you to feel the 500 years of Japanese and Korean tradition and technology, the local flavor of Saga in my pottery materials, the spirited interaction of foreign and Japanese culture, and my devotion to studying and making simple, beautiful ceramics.

More information on Karatsu ware can be found at the Karatsupots website, and the Karatsupots blog, see below for the addresses. Feel free to visit...

Michael Martino


About the artist

Michael is a native of New Mexico, but has lived in Japan since 1990. Although he developed an interest in pottery as a child from visiting ancient ruins and surrounding pueblos, but didn't start making pots until 2002 when he met veteran Karatsu potter Tsuruta Yoshihisa who mentored him in the Karatsu tradition. After an initial period of renting and borrowing kilns, he built Gotanbayashi studio in 2005 and installed a gas kiln. In 2008, Michael began showing his work to the public, participating in shows, and conducting workshops.

2010 saw the construction of the Gotanbayashi anagama/noborigama hybrid wood kiln next to the existing studio, and this is the kiln in which most of the work is fired today. Much of the work is teaware for the Japanese tea ceremony, but Mike also makes Japanese and western style tableware, ware for drinking sake, sculptural work, and collaborative pieces with artists from other mediums.