Over the past nine years that I have been talking about Satou pipes, I have watched the master move through creative cycles in the majority of his mainstay shapes. Most all will continue their aesthetic travel to a certain point, before returning to something more evocative of the earlier forms, but that return shape will carry a few souvenir elements from the walk-about. The low profile body of the Volcano on your screen was, pretty much, how Satou approached the form from 2004-2006, the earlier ones simply employed bamboo. 2006-2007 saw Satou-san’s Volcanoes move away from bamboo and towards a briar shank, with bowls showing more height/less slope. From 2008, until fairly late last year, Satou returned to bamboo but, just as Eric and I figured the Satou non-bamboo volcanoes had gone extinct, they reappeared again, with each new iteration showing a slightly increased incorporation of modernist inspiration.
Here Smio Satou didn’t continue a slow-as-the-minute-hand-of-a-clock progression. No, he takes a huge leap and executes a hypnotically modernist, low-slung Volcano, and does so without any sacrifice to that ‘Satou-ness’ that has delighted us for so many years (could this bowl have been created by anyone else?). A slanted, katachi-inspired hantsuki (half-moon) mount sets the tone for composition to follow; holding sway through the reduction, and subsequent expansion of the shank, then on to that insanely pretty heel. Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t this briar seem to flow far beyond what a length of just five and a half inches would indicate? Just a lovely briar.
--R. ‘Bear’ Graves