Smio Satou: Smooth Volcano
Satou's deep red stain is wonderfully elegant. It also, unlike so many deep, rich red stains, does quite a fine job of displaying grain. Once you factor in Satou's signature Urushi
finish, a combination of exotic resins which are normally reserved for only the finest Japanese furniture (and will never require buffing to retain its gloss), you are looking at quite an amazing package. In many ways, this presentation represents a full return to the Satou Volcanos which I fell in love with back in 2005. The rim is a perfect ellipsis, features a subtle saddle contour, and that contour is reflected, within a couple of degrees of arc, in the curvature of the heel. Satou always employs a hantsuki
(half-moon) shank and mount with his non-bamboo Volcanos; both highly complementary to the master's 'cano bowls, and allowing the creation of liquid smooth transitions, the choice is logical. Where this particular interpretation breaks from his previous Krakatoas lies within the subtle, oppositional angles of the rim and mount - best viewed in picture 7. On paper that difference might seem a bit too small to point out, but that understated variation imbues this briar with a palpable sense of suppleness and liquidity.
-- R. 'Bear' Graves