Benio Tomishima, Tokyo ceramic artist

Benio Tomishima, Tokyo ceramic artist
We first met Benny at the Aoyama farmers' market in Fall 2023. By chance, there happened to be a craft/vintage fair happening that same day in the courtyard of the building. We were invited to the farmers' market by Takasaki Jo (Takasaki no Okan) to discuss Fuyu Fest 2024, so it was already a fortuitous day. Wandering around, killing time, we ran into Benio's table and were totally taken by her work. Such delicate, thin pottery, glazed generously with iridescent hues from the outer reaches of the natural world. We were shocked to learn this was her very first time selling her work...actually, she had been making pottery for years at this point, but never sold it until she felt she had reached a certain level of skill. We bought several pieces (her first sales ever!) and they became our go-to's for enjoying sake at home. I'm not sure Dennis used any other sake cup more than once or twice in the intervening 6 months.
So on our next trip in May 2024 we arranged to visit Benio's Hiroo (Tokyo) atelier. I wasn't sure if she'd have the interest or inventory to supply Sunflower so I never mentioned this possibility to my regulars, but I was hopeful. As you probably know, I work with local artists and source vintage shuki, but I have also hoped to develop relationships with a select few Japanese artists, should the opportunity arise. Arriving at the atelier, we were so honored to have been invited in with such generosity of spirit and I was once again reminded how special her art is. Benny showed us her methods, her thousands of glaze test pieces, her books and books of homemade glaze experiments.
I think between our own purchases for home and mine for the shop, we bought more than 2/3 of what she had available. We discussed a proposed US sale price, built in a margin for breakage and shipping, and agreed upon a price: a little more than she would normally earn in Japan, thanks to the strong USD conversion. I'm very excited to watch her evolution and to (hopefully!) source new works for Sunflower at least twice a year. (We've also asked her to draw up a short bio and select a bio photo, and will share once they are available.)

These cups drink beautifully-- they sit like fine crystal on the lip and the intricate natural details are endlessly pleasurable to observe.
Thank you all for your ongoing support of Sunflower and of Benio Tomishima. I hope you enjoy perusing her work.