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I’ve had issues with my back for about 10 years now, but recently had a major back spasm that forced me to the hospital. My colleague introduced me to a wonderful chiropractor, and I have recovered relatively quickly without any lasting damage.

Just like coming out of a cold, regaining your health feels great.  Every day my range of motion increases and I could feel my body getting stronger.

I’m back in my studio making things now.

I started throwing these basic forms with my rough Ohio stoneware and I’m loving it.

Some cylinders too.

I’m also firing the gas kiln outside today.  Right now it’s in reduction, about 1900 degrees.  I’m looking forward to opening it on Thursday.

Hope you are enjoying the middle of the week.

I had a good weekend with my family, spending some time in the countryside.  Ever since reading a hilarious article about fruit picking, I was ambivalent about the whole thing, but I figured I would give it a try.  Apparently, Patterson is the place to go when it comes to apple-picking.  Some of our friends who grew up in Cleveland said, “I’ve been going to Patterson’s every year since I was a kid.”  So we had to go check it out.

First, we stopped by our favorite burger joint, B-Spot.

Getting ready to eat.

Saya and her best friend.

Each of them doing their thing.

We saw a cool flea market on the way.

I love old glasses.

We found two nice props for craft fairs for dirt cheap, so we’re psyched.

Finally arrived at Patterson’s Fruit Farm!

Tired of driving!

Actually, more riding.

Reminded me of Trick or Treating.

Sweet.

After finishing up with fruit picking, we headed over to the market.

The popcorn was amazingly delicious.

Chug that cider!

You can see that they are good friends.

Classic fall colors.

We had lots of fun, and I hope you are enjoying the beautiful season too.

I am starting a series on artists that I love and inspire me.  This is, of course, only my personal view about these wonderful people and their work, and I wanted to make clear that it will be subjective by nature.  It’s something like a fan letter to the artists I respect and admire.  Please let me know if there is any misinformation.

One of my all time favorite artist since I started working in clay is a Japanese contemporary potter, Shiro Tsujimura (辻村史朗).

Shiro Tsujimura

Shiro Tsujimura was born in 1947, in the town of Gose, Nara prefecture, Japan.  His first love was oil painting and when he was 18 years old, he aspired to become a painter.  For a short time, he considered becoming a Zen monk, and entered a monastery and underwent formal training.  During that time he had a dramatic encounter with a historic Ido teabowl.  The teabowl grabbed his heart, and redirected his life: Shiro Tsujimura decided to become a potter, at the young age of 22.

8 years later, after moving back to his hometown and teaching himself in the discipline of clay, Shiro Tsujimura had his first exhibition at his own residence.  He has produced a high quality body of work and is recognized in Japan and abroad.

Shiro Tsujimura defies working in set categories, and he makes Ido, Kohiki, Oku Gorai, Shigaraki, Iga, Shino, Kuro Oribe and Setoguro style pots with amazing skill and fierce intensity.

Ido tea bowl
Shino tea bowl
Kohiki jar
Natural ash glaze jar
Tall Black Hikidashi tea bowl
Shino tea bowl
Karatsu tea bowl
Iga Uzukumaru jar

It appears that Shiro Tsujimura works in traditional Japanese ceramics genres, but at the same time he is one of the rare artists who is not restricted by them.  The way that he touches clay speaks directly to my core.  If you have a chance to see his work in person, you will see what I mean.

Robert Yellin is an expert on Japanese Ceramics, and you can read his reviews on Shiro Tsujimura’s work on his website.

More of Shiro Tsujimura’s work can be seen at:

Ippodo Gallery

Lacoste Gallery

I’m vending at the Crafty Bastards craft fair this weekend, October 1st, with Kristen.  We are excited to be part of this popular indy craft fair in DC for the first time.  Kristen’s been cranking out works anytime and anywhere possible, and I have been busy in the clay studio too.

We had friends from Japan visiting us for about ten days.  On top of the craft fair, Kristen has to submit a book proposal at the end of September, and I have a staff show opening on the same day as the craft fair.  So it was kind of crazy to be hosting guests from out-of-town, but we decided to work hard and enjoy the busyness as much as possible.

We took our guests to Niagara Falls over last weekend.  Yes, it’s very touristy and everything, but the fall itself never fails to inspire me.  Despite the neon lights and the 12 million visitors who come to experience this spectacle, the water is surprisingly clean and the color is just gorgeous.  The fresh green color comes from “the dissolved salts and ‘rock flour’, very finely ground rock, picked up primarily from the limestone bed but probably also from the shales and sandstones under the limestone cap at the Falls.”  (NiagaraParks.com)

Here are some images from the fall:

A view from the American side.

Maid of the Mist

The Niagara River.

The color is stunning.

Gorgeous.

I love the color and want to capture that pristine feel in my celadon glazes.  Warren MacKenzie used to say he was after this particular deep green that you see in old glass bottles.  It is cool when you understand where the inspiration is coming from.  I’m always attracted to clean water, from beaches in California to milky white hot springs in northern Japan.  As life forms we are entirely dependent on water, so it’s probably natural instinctive attraction.

The other inspiration for me is my daughter.

From right: our guests from Japan Chiyo, her daughter Sakura, my daughter Saya and Kristen

People say having a child changes you, and it’s true.

What inspires you?

Small hakeme bowl I made in college.

Medium hakeme bowl made recently in my Cleveland studio.

Hi again.

I started working in clay when I was in college.  I went to a small liberal arts school in Indiana called Earlham College.  My parents are Japanese, but I was born and raised in Los Angeles.  I always had this yearning for all things Japanese as far as I can remember.  When I was in elementary school, our family would travel back to Japan for the summer.  When it was time to go back to LA, I was always seriously depressed.

When I was looking around for college, I found Earlham and a small still voice in me said, “Go There.”  Earlham was known for its strong Japanese Studies program, and I was very excited about majoring in it.  I was enjoying everything I was learning.  Politics, economy, history, sociology, and especially literature and religion.  The second semester in my first year, I took a class called Japanese Arts.  It was team taught by an amazing history professor and a very charming art professor.  These guys really brought the material to life.  I just loved everything about the class.

I found out that the art professor’s specialty was ceramics.  The following term I enrolled in his intensive “May Term” course, as it was called, where I took just one ceramics class for about a month.

I kind of loved it.

I loved the smell.  I loved the feel.  I loved the studio. And I loved firing kilns.

I got hooked.

I changed my major to Art.

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