Category Archives: workshops

Images from WIT2014

Workshop in Taku, 2014. This is what you get when a professional photographer runs wild, and is kind enough to share. Thank you Robert (Brad) Haughie!


Clay Supplier

Today I paid a visit to a clay supplier in in the nearby town of Ureshino. They make a clay body that I am hoping will be suitable for large work in the front of the kiln. I picked up five 17kg pugs to make some tests with.

Two of the six filter presses.

Cakes fresh out of the press waiting for the pugmill.

A very small sample of their bagged clay.

Crushing, mixing, and blunging equipment.

Piles of Toseki (porcelain) waiting for the stamp mill.

After getting clay, I dropped by my favorite tea store for a good deal on seasonal tea, and to talk about having one of their certified tea instructors give a presentation during the biannual Workshop in Taku next fall.

Hosui Sato Workshop

This last Sunday, I had the opportunity to attend a short calligraphy workshop conducted by calligrapher/teacher Hosui Sato. I first met him last month when he attended the Workshop in Taku 2012. During the evening pizza party, he did an impromptu calligraphy performance for everyone, doing brushwork on paper, clay, and finally even a large work (which now hangs in my studio) on a tatami mat, using a big fat brush.

The group of participants was comprised of the Wakate Shokunin (young craftsmen/women) group of Omura, and I was invited as a guest. In the next picture, one of the participants is signing the group work, with Hosui san (sitting) looking on. Members for the evening included a woodworker, two potters, a silversmith, and a graphic designer.

Here are the two pieces I completed during the event. The first is RASHIKU (等志駆). First kanji means equal, second means intention, third means run. A rough translation would be ‘to apply yourself equally vigorously in all endeavors’.
The second piece is KAISHIN (魁心). First kanji means pioneer, second means heart. The first is actually the kanji for my eldest sons name, and I am thinking about using Kaishin as the name of the first chamber of the wood kiln, and naming the second chamber using kanji from my younger son’s name.

That’s about it for today, have a good evening!

-Posted from iMike

Location:Omura, Nagasaki

WIT 2012: Okamoto Sakurei

During the fourth and fifth days of the Workshop in Taku 2012: The Simple Teabowl, we were treated to pottery demonstrations by Okamoto Sakurei. He made a variety of items for us using a variety of techniques. On the afternoon of day four, we visited his studio and showroom and he honored us by allowing us to view some of the older pots in his personal collection. Breathtaking Korean bowls, and a couple of Japanese bowls. They were just amazing to hold (and maybe a little bit of fondling happened too, but mum’s the word).

Big Pot

This is the first of some large pots I would like to start working on. This one is slab and paddle work, a garden lantern. It includes holes in both sections so that an electrical line can be run, if the user prefers a light bulb to a flame. This is a test piece of sorts, it will be fired just to see how it reacts to the kiln, then I can start planning other pieces. The piece is about 140 cm tall, and probably about 20kg.

-Posted from iMike

May/June Update

Well, all lot of little things have happened over the last month or so, but nothing really blogworthy all by itself, so I thought I might do an umbrella post for May/June.

First, and what I posted about before, was the Workshop in Taku, 2012: The Simple Teabowl workshop, with Kawakami Mako, Tsuruta Yoshihisa, Okamoto Sakurei, and Maruta Munehiko. We started with a wonderful tea ceremony demonstration and talk, then we moved outside to prepare tea ourselves. The second and third day, Tsuruta sensei demonstrated his pottery making techniques, fourth and fifth day Okamoto sensei demonstrated, and on the sixth day we watched Maruta sensei at his studio. The last evening we had a very nice banquet at Hisago, and Kawakami sensei joined us again for that.

After the workshop I needed to decompress for a couple of days, then found out I’d be needing to go back to the US for the summer, so I moved up my kiln firing schedule to the end of June. Got into the studio to start making work again, and also found some time to bid on a Furo being auctioned off on Yahoo Auctions. A Furo is used to heat water for tea ceremony. Next, after years of looking for a suitable garden hose storage device, I broke down and decided to just make a few which I am pretty happy with, we’ll see how they look after the firing. Several friends came over last weekend and spent much of the day playing on my wheels. They ended up with about 20 pots which will go into the next firing. I wedged up some clay and played too, some guinomi and chawan for the rear chamber. Lastly, I spent yesterday morning gathering wood from the local mill, who sold me three K truck (a very light little flatbed type of truck that is used a lot in the country areas of Japan) loads of mill ends for about $30, a real bargain, so I donated some coffee mugs to their mill office. Hopefully they will get some use out of them.

Well, that’s about it, have a great week!