Category Archives: pottery

WIT2012,The First Pottery Demo: Tsuruta Yoshihisa

Here are some pictures from the first pottery demo conducted during the Workshop in Taku, 2012: The Simple Teabowl. Tsuruta Sensei’s demonstration was conducted over the course of two mornings. He did all of his work on a small kickwheel, focusing on handbuilding techniques for teabowls, cups, flasks, and water jars.

The first day he demonstrated coil built bowls, cups, and a flask. The second day he trimmed the first day’s pieces, and demonstrated the coil and paddle water jar.

Thank you Kim and Minna for all of your great photos!

New bowls for Craig

These are some new bowls made from some horrible (awesome) clay. Extremely short, the only things I could get out of it were guinomi and small teabowls. I ended up having to add about 30% other finer local clay to it to make it practical for larger teabowls, but it was still quite argumentative and I ended up smashing many and re-wedging, about 4 times in all. What I finally came out with we’re these.


You can see how they all are on the verge of stretching beyond the limit, and are just starting to tear, but the insides are smooth, and the trimmed surfaces are just really juicy.

-Posted from iMike

Location:Taku,Japan

An amazing place

At the teabowl festival 3weeks ago, we visited Bongamsa Temple which is normally closed to visitors. We happened to be in Korea on the one day a year that they are open. It has been a meditation temple since it was founded over 1000 years ago.

The monk who gave us the tour asked if we would like to visit a ‘nice’ waterfall a short walk away. This is what we found:


A paradise in miniature…

-Posted from iMike

Location:Bongamsa Temple, Korea

Workshop in Taku, 2012: The Simple Teabowl

Well, I am sitting here now in the quiet aftermath of what turned out to be a fantastic week long pottery workshop, here in Taku, Japan. As I sit here, looking at the prospect of going back to my normal schedule on Monday, I realize what an amazing experience the whole thing was, and am now looking forward to going through the hours of video of pottery and tea demonstrations.

We started the week with a tea ceremony demonstration by Kawakami Mako Sensei. She had prepared an informative talk on the roots of modern tea ceremony, and some of the key concepts such as Wa Kei Sei Jaku and Ichi-go Ichi-e. She prepared Koicha (thick tea) followed by Usucha (thin tea), and then we all went outside near  a waterfall in the park and tried preparing a bowl of tea by ourselves.

Sunday and Monday mornings, Tsuruta Yoshihisa Sensei demonstrated his handbuilt teabowl forming techniques and coil and paddle techniques for larger forms. It is always amazing watching him work.  In the afternoons, we visited a few ceramics galleries and a tea ceremony supply in Karatsu. We also made a very interesting trip to the workshop and kiln of Nakazato Shigetoshi Sensei, second son of the late Nakazato Muan, 12th gen. potter of the Nakazato family and Living National Treasure. He was kind enough to show us his small personal museum of shards and special work, as well as a tour of his kilns and showroom.

Sunday evening was pizza party at my house and studio, and we baked pizza in the wood fired oven, yum. One of the Japanese guests, Housui san, is a calligraphy artist, and he treated us to an impromptu performance, first on regular paper sheets, then with a large brush on a tatami mat (I’ll post pictures of that later). We also did our first collaborative piece when he wrote a poem in iron deco one of my large plates. It will be fired in the next wood kiln firing.

Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, Okamoto Sakurei demonstrated his pottery making skills making larger forms, thrown, hand built and coil/paddled. We visited Sakureigama studio and kiln in the afternoon, and Okamoto Sensei was kind enough to bring out a few of his antique teabowls. He brought out two old Karatsu teabowls and two Ri period Korean bowls which were my favorites. I was even accused of ‘fondling’ them. I probably was. Wed. afternoon we visited the Nagoya Castle ruins in Chinzei. This was the castle from which Hideyoshi staged his campaigns into Korea. It is a huge complex, quite amazing when you imagine what it must have been like at the time. There is a tea room there, Kaigetsu, which we visited for tea, and the hostess showed us the separate tea house set in the far end of the garden. My father in law, who helped drive for the group, said it was the first time he has ever visited a tea room and the first time he ever had matcha, which he enjoyed thoroughly.

Thursday we visited the studio and showroom of Maruta Munehiko and  he demonstrated throwing teabowls on his kickwheel, as well as trimming. After his demonstration we visited his showroom, where everyone ogled the work and a couple of  people bought  two of his beautiful Kuro Oribe guinomi. I couldn’t resist buying an E-Karatsu yunomi. Thursday evening we visited the tool store, before going to dinner at Hisago on Nishi Arita. Maeda san, the chef at Hisago, prepares Kaiseki meals in dishes he has personally collected over the years. The whole meal is a feast for all the senses. He keeps records of what he has prepared for his customers, and never serves the same thing twice.

Friday we took it easy and shared all of the photos and video we had taken over the last 6 days. Everyone packed up and I took them to the train station, to head back to their own countries. It was an amazing group of people and everyone got along, making for a remarkably smooth workshop with a minimum of drama. I hope everyone will come back for the Workshop in Taku 2014: The Undecided Theme.