Archive: November, 2010

Autumn in Japan

Monday, November 29th, 2010

The colors in Kyoto right now are stunning.  Here are a few shots of the bright red maples and yellow gingkos around some of the temple grounds.

It’s a great time to travel off into the countryside and check out the fall scenery.  So I went off to Tamba Sasayama to visit an American potter, John Dix.  It is a beautiful part of Japan, with traditional thatched-roof farmhouses and lots of beautiful nature.

John Dix has a lovely country studio with a thatched-roof tea hut and gallery of some of his pots. He has been living in Japan for the past 20 years or so and makes some really beautiful pottery.

Here are some photos of some of his great woodfired pieces that are all around the property.

It was a great visit to Sasayama…. and with good company.  This last photo is with John Dix, Dr. Dirk Noyes and his son Gavin Noyes, who is also a great potter who studied in Shigaraki and lives in Utah (check out his pots at

Kawai Kanjiro

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

I recently returned from one of my favorite places to visit in Kyoto…. the home of Kawai Kanjiro, who was a master craftsman.  He and a few others started the Mingei (folkcraft) movement in Japan.  As a reaction to the increasing industrialization and how it contributed to the loss of beauty and good craftmanship in everyday objects, they felt that a resurgence in good craft was needed in society.  And so they dedicated their lives to producing good work for the people, naturally imbued with spirit and beauty.  His home, which he designed, is now a museum, and it shows some of the great and humble work he created in his life.

Kanjiro put his heart and hand into creating sculpture, furniture, calligraphy, and pottery.  He never signed his pieces, which in itself is a signature of the Mingei movement.  Rather than place the importance on the individual craftsman, instead they focused on the form and feeling, which would be their greatest signature.

Studio UFO

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Check out this great, short pottery film by Michael McAteer, shot at the studio of Masakazu Kusakabe in Miharu, Japan.  You can see us prepare and fire the Sasukenei Smokeless Kiln.


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