Texture Is At The Heart Of This Ceramic Artist’s Tableware


Water being poured from a black kettle into a ceramic pitcher by Kazu Oba, with two ceramic cups beside it

For artist Kazu Oba, who channels his creativity into works of clay, wood and stone, there is no difference between the tableware and sculptural art pieces he creates for clients across the country.

“They are all three-dimensional objects,” he says. His tableware creations—typically wheel-thrown and made from one of some 20 clay varieties in his Lafayette studio O’baware—take inspiration from the specific dishes his chef clients plan to serve in them.

“I look at textures, at what will elevate the meal and at the weight and feel of a piece in one’s hands,” explains Oba, whose minimalist vessels star at Denver eateries like Sushi Den and The Wolf’s Tailor.

When carving sculptural works using chisels and mullets, he takes a more spontaneous approach. “I carve without blueprints and maquettes, because each material is unique; the shapes emerge from the wood or stone,” the artist says. “Sometimes, I feel like I’m finding interesting natural objects and I’m just sharing them with the world.”