so many posts to catch up on. this is my first short term residency and while i’m thrilled about how much i was able to get done, i especially cannot wait to share all the little details with everyone.
today, finally, i was able to visit the shiga prefectural shigaraki ceramic research institute, a separate entity from the ceramic cultural park where i am doing my residency. there are students studying ceramics full time there but it is also open to the public. meaghan brought up wanting to look for glaze recipes on one of the first days i was here and today we finally made it there.
i’m not a huge glaze person but o.m.g. once we had signed in we went upstairs to a relatively small room filled with shelves. which were filled with file boxes filled with cardboard sheets filled with test tiles. triaxle blends, line blends, some with recipes, others with kiln schedules attached. it was out of control.
as you flip through you might notice that some images are upside down. i was just going crazy with my phone trying to get as much data as possible in each frame in hopes of translating some of the recipes.
i have been having a great time at shigaraki and one reason for that is all the awesome artists i am getting to know and work next to. in this little series of blog posts i hope to briefly introduce these awesome people.
naoki koide has appeared in this blog before, in this post about the paul clay show at salon 94. his work is in the second picture, the pink cloud-like figure in the foreground. that was my first time to see his work in person. all i really knew about him was that he was represented by tomio koyama gallery, where agatha and i curated think warm: miami draws for you back in 2006. turns out he saw the show too! i’m a big fan of his work and am now a fan of the person as well.
koide-san spends about a week of each month at togei no mori (shigaraki ceramic cultural park) and does his clay work exclusively here. he studied at tokyo zokei university and was at one time a student/assistant of yoshitomo nara. like nara, he used to work in plastics. they are both featured in a show at the Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Arts right now (titled doki doki) which features artists working in other media who have created works in ceramic and variety of ceramic artists.
though he is kicking some serious butt with clay he is also beginning to explore sculpting wood, which he can do at his studio at home. he mentioned that he gets huge chunks of wood from generous wood firing friends around shigaraki.
koide-san said his work is always about his family. earlier works talked about his parents and brother and in his current work he explores his small family of three. in sculptures of heads, which in scale are much larger than life, he portrays his wife and himself. he often portrays his wife as larger than himself. when i asked why that was he said that it is because she possesses more power than he.
on one side of these large sculpture an active interior is visible, full of tiny sculptures, paths and, in this series, a large figure symbolizing his young daughter.
the seemingly unrelated milieu of items inside the sculpture correlate to the mess of things constantly dancing around in our heads and the placement of the daughter figure explores the different relationships the mother and father have with the daughter.
for the one short week he was in residence koide-san was a great contributor to the fun and comradeship at togei no mori.
his work is up at the new hikarie building in shibuya now. click the link for images and an interview (with is in japanese but features some great shots of the insides of koide-san’s sculpture).
check back for more run downs on the awesome artists working at togei no mori this month:)
the last week has been kind of bananas. last friday i had pretty much run out of clay and took the opportunity to go to the clay store and get more, thinking i had another week of building ahead. that afternoon we had the monthly kiln meeting and i realized i had more like 3 days left. yikes!
i have amassed a pretty good collection of wall pieces for the installation i will mount before the end of my stay. i am using a mixture of local clays, both a smooth white and black shigaraki clay and a black clay with the ubiquitous feldspar inclusions. i am also using (sparingly) arita porcelain from kyushu.
i have organized a mini- trade with the other residents. these are my little guys. see that fake grass under them? i found a whole case of 12″ x 12″ squares of it in the dumpster and might try to use it for something….
working here the last couple of weeks has been awesome! i love that all i have to do everyday is just eat, sleep and work. and being able to wake up and walk right to my studio pretty much rules.
i have been able to put everything else out of my mind and i’ve even had time to do some cooking. sometimes the residents get together to cook and eat. i invited everyone to share some nabe one evening and the other night everyone cooked something and shared, kind of like a potlock.
ok, maybe not everything else. i keep having dreams in which my kitties wonder off. it’s so weird. during the day i think “this is so wonderful i hope i can come back and stay longer some day” and at night my brain feels guilty or something. miss those little nerds:(
after the golden temple we went to another famous site, ryoenji, which is a temple and a zen rock garden. i didn’t take any pictures, because i was busy talking with shizuka about art and happiness. i hope to post pics and some discussion with several of the artists working at the togei no mori in this blog so keep an eye out.
anyway, on the way back to the car…wait for it…..
making work, museum and wondering around the grounds. day two felt busy, but i also feel like i got a lot done. one of the other residents commented on how fast i was working and as those who share a studio with me in florida know, that doesn’t happen often!
yesterday i arrived in shigaraki japan where i will do a one month residency at the shigaraki ceramic cultural park.
after taking the shinkensen from tokyo to kyoto, i transferred to a local train and then to two buses. the bus ride was long and curvy, so i wanted to vomit a little but was eventually distracted by the amazing view out the window.
my view had been particularly beautiful for a good deal of my journey but soon after boarding the second bus i was literally awestruck. i am sure that these pictures, taken from my phone, through a rainy window, while the bus barreled upwards and around curves don’t do the scenery justice but my chin was on the floor. this might be the most breathtaking place i’ve ever been.
once i arrived at shigaraki, i was shown my room, introduced to the staff and several residents and taken to the grocery store to get provisions.
i unpacked my stuff, wondered around a little and in the evening there was a little welcome party. one of the women here is from the gunma prefecture and had several types of pork from her family’s farm.
this morning i woke up early and met with the staff to discuss my clay needs.
then we went off to the clay store, where i purchased some black clay, which you can see (ish) in the test tiles above.
everything everyone has said is completely true. it was totally overwhelming choosing clay. i haven’t been to the tool store yet but i’m planning to be blown away.
i’m really into the fact that there are entire stores dedicated to clay.
anyway, finally back to the studio and getting to work:)