It is his animal figurines, however, that people seem to associate him most with. Other Canadian artists from across the country were also making stylized animals during the 1960s and 1970s. The Deichmanns and Lorenzens in the Maritimes, and the Harlanders and Jarko Zarvi in Ontario. The Schwenks made some in British Columbia but no one could match the variety and numbers of Thomas Kakinuma.
His minimalist style reflects his Japanese heritage and the modernist influences of the time. The figures are simple thrown or pinched forms he usually shaped into birds but he also made fish, cats, dogs, monkeys, and people, among others. Glazes were simply done - usually dipped, with some details applied with slip. His work is easily identified and marked with a stylized “TK” and occasionally he would sign his name "T. Kakinuma" on larger and significant pieces.
Thomas Kakinuma passed away in 1982, and the first major retrospective of his work was shown in Spring 2018.
If you have a piece of Thomas Kakinuma pottery you would like confirmed or to sell, please contact me.
Studio Pottery Canada
Pottery enthusiast learning about the history of this Canadian art form and curating samples from the best in the field pre-1980.