'Elemental Journeys' - Ceramic Review (Issue 289)

This summer I wrote an article about ceramics residencies in Japan for the international magazine for ceramic art - Ceramic Review.

I interviewed three artists about their experiences in Japan and highlighted my own at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in March this year.

Anne Mette Hjortshoj told me about her residency at Mashiko - the historic home of Shoji Hamada - and the realisation of a life long dream to fire her own work in one of Hamada’s own climbing kilns. Christopher McHugh has a long association with Japan but until only recently undertook a residency there. He was particularly attracted to the programme at Seto in a town with a history of pottery making extending as far back as the 13th century. Jennifer Lee , like me, also attended the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, and as a Guest Artist there, spoke about the significant impact making work in Japan has had on her practice.

All three artists seemed to share a deep sense that Japan offered a complete change from life in the West, but also a chance to connect to an elemental source of inspiration. 

I was able to recount one of my own memorable experiences - the creation of a teabowl with Shigaraki tea master Okuda Eizan. In many ways this bowl has become a kind of self portrait of my time in Japan, and its dramatic firing back in England at Oxford Anagama Project - reminds me of the transformation I underwent.

The article also highlights some tips for planning a residency in Japan and one additional one which I want to add here, is the bi-lingual book I was recommended before my trip: The Japanese Pottery Handbook.

Ceramic Review (Issue 289) is out now.


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