Bizen pottery is known worldwide for its warmth and earthy texture. The woodfiring method allows for a natural ash glaze to be formed as well as variations in pattern according to differences in heat intensity within the kiln. Hiraoka specifically uses clay from the Bizen pottery region to create all of his works. It is said that Bizen clay in partiuclar is known to have water preserving qualities which allow flowers to last longer in Bizen vases and beer to be frothier in Bizen cups.
Hiraoka can only fire his kiln every six months as a result of the sheer size of his Anagama (dragon kiln) which has multiple chambers that not only take a long time to fill before firing but he also chops all the firewood for the week-long firings himself. The time and effort that he puts into not only creating the forms of his pottery but the planning and skill required for firing makes Hiraoka’s works incredibly special.
1976 Born in Iwade city Wakayama prefecture
2001 Began his apprenticeship under his father Shigeo
2003 Training in Okayama prefecture for Bizen ceramics
2006 Started creating his own works in Wakayama
2008 Set up his own kiln in Wakayama
2012 Selected for Japan Traditional Craft Guild, Western Japan.
2015 Selected for Shinbi Craft Guild