Ichi Kitahara: Smooth Acorn with Horn
While Ichi Kitahara is best known for his lithe, innovative and imaginative shaping, most anyone who knows his work knows that he is far from a one trick pony (Actually, given the numbing breadth of his repertoire, I should say "far more than a hundred-trick pony"). A little bit of Danish inspired classicism anyone?
While in the minority of his work, Kitahara-san will tackle a Danish classic when the mood strikes, and he usually chooses the bent Dublin and Billiard shapes. "Ichi" means "one" or "first one" in Japanese, and this stunning bent Acorn (with horn) is "Ichi-ban!" (Number one!), with a bullet. Though on the compact side, only a skosh over five and a quarter inches, and sporting a thick, tapered shank, the shank to bowl proportions are exquisitely intuitive. The overall shape? I see more than a bit of "Sixten-1" Kazuhiro Fukuda in here. Since I'm on an Ikebana roll (read: here comes a clumsy segue), the regularity of the straight and flame grain, along with one of the more impressive shows of birdseye that you are likely to run across (pictures three and four), would place this Acorn somewhere between a 'G' and 'H' Grade.
--R. 'Bear' Graves