makiko’s station is right next to mine and while i sit working i also watch her throw. she would affix a huge pugged cylinder of clay to the wheel head, center it and throw off the hump. taped to the wall in front of her are pages of orders from galleries. the entire time i’ve been here she has been working tirelessly to fill them.
originally from saitama (near tokyo) she moved here about a year ao when she married a shigaraki local. she’s in the process of building a new studio at home and in the mean time is a resident here. though she heads home most nights she (like the rest of us) has a room here. when she’s pulling all nighters to finish work or firing kilns she stays in her room.
makiko loves trimming, or maybe i just love watching her trim? one of her forms is a wine goblet, the stem of which she throws solid and then trims out everything but the stem. above her wheel, on the window sill above her orders sit several pots of trimming tools.
though her tight schedule has meant she socializes the least, sitting next to her has lead to several nice conversations. despite the language barrier we have talked about inspiration, the virtues of shared studio space, what it will be like when her studio is done…when i had some work crack in the drying room, she gave me cookies and consoled me with her own stories of ceramic woe. i couldn’t always understand every word of what she said (and certainly she couldn’t understand my terrible japanese) her quiet, sparkling voice was a comfort.
makiko’s pots are super popular in galleries and shops in osaka, tokyo and abroad, hence the busy schedule. as i write this she and her husband are sanding the bottoms of hundres of perfect, cleverly designed and glazed forms.
i can’t wait to come back to shigaraki and to visit her home studio or, better yet, for her to come show in the u.s..
***edit as of 3/28/17
This blog post contains some links to Makiko’s work.