Blog vol.1 | About This Japanese Contemporary Ceramic Artist

Blog vol.1 | About This Japanese Contemporary Ceramic Artist

"I am a ceramic artist born and raised in Japan. In 2020, I moved to the United States and am currently engaged in creative work in my studio located in the garden of my home in the outskirts of Seattle.”

 

Fortunately, since 2023, I have had more opportunities for collaborations, and as a result, I often find myself introducing who I am. However, a simple introduction like the one above still leaves me as nothing more than a 'mysterious Asian ceramic artist' in terms of resolution. Through this blog, I hope to provide more insight into who I am.

 

To start, let me share a bit more about my career as a ceramic artist.

 

I majored in contemporary sculpture at an art university in Tokyo, Japan. The department I was part of was more inclined towards abstract and conceptual art rather than representational arts. However, the facilities allowed for the creation of three-dimensional works, and it was in this environment that I chose ceramics as my expressive medium.

 

Touching clay, capable of soft and freeform transformations, is an immense pleasure for me. The magic of clay turning into a stone-like texture through the heat of the kiln, and the depth of ceramics as a material, which despite being studied worldwide throughout history, still holds untapped possibilities, captivated me.

 

During my studies in contemporary sculpture, I found myself more intrigued by exploring the material of ceramics than struggling to conceptualize my art pieces. To delve deeper into the world of ceramics and gain a better understanding of porcelain, I decided to step into the realm of pottery.

 

While my university did have a ceramics department, the traditional hierarchical structure in the Japanese pottery world made me apprehensive. Given my rebellious nature, I believed I might not be well-received by a master potter. Therefore, I continued my enrollment in the sculpture department where I was left to my own devices. I spent hours in the university library, researching literature, and occasionally sneaking into pottery workshops, gradually acquiring skills and knowledge.

 

It's important to note that it wasn't entirely self-taught. I had a mentor, Professor Matsumoto, in the sculpture department who taught ceramic sculpture and was the only person who took care of me. He guided me in the fundamentals of glaze formulation.

 

However, no matter how much knowledge I acquired about the potter's wheel, it was essential to develop a hands-on understanding. At the time, I was more interested in using the potter's wheel than hand-building. So, I purchased an old, noisy, yet sturdy Shimpo’s electric wheel on eBay and placed it in my parents' house, where I dedicated myself to relentless practice.

 

I was not the obedient and understanding woman that Japanese society traditionally expected, so I never had a mentor in pottery. As a result, my apprenticeship in pottery was incredibly lonely, a time of solitary introspection. However, this allowed me the freedom to create anything I wanted, and through trial and error, I honed my skills.

 

Upon entering graduate school, I had the opportunity to become a teacher at a ceramics studio in Shinjuku, Tokyo. In 2018, I was able to hold my first solo exhibition in Tokyo. That same year, I met my current husband, and in pursuit of a life together, I decided to immigrate to the United States.

 

Letting go of the familiar ceramics environment in Japan and embracing a new way of life in a new world was indeed accompanied by uncertainties. However, for me, it felt like an exhilarating and valuable adventure. In 2020, I moved to Seattle, married my husband, and instead of a diamond ring, received an electric kiln and potter's wheel. Starting from 2021, I turned a small laundry room in our apartment into a studio and began my career anew.

 

Currently, I continue my creative work in the studio at our home in the outskirts of Seattle. Living abroad has its challenges, but each day brings new learning and joy. Above all, the ceramics environment in the United States is wonderful, with resources and knowledge widely shared through the internet and the market.

 

As a foreigner, I must feel inconvenienced by the language and culture, but more than that, I feel as if I have freedom as an artist. In order to thank those who have accepted me as an immigrant and loved my work, as well as to make my work better known, I have been actively sharing my process and techniques on YouTube since 2023.

 

My current goal for the time being is to have a solo show in a gallery and to become a full time artist. I hope you will continue to keep an eye on me. Thank you.

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