Monday, July 31, 2006

Workshop&Lecture at Cornell University

We were very fortunate we got invited by Cornell University to give a ceramic workshop & lecture on July 13 & 14. We left Seagrove on July 10th, spent a night in VA, and drove up to NY again, and then arrived to Ithaca in the early evening on July 11th. It took 14 hours totally and was 700 miles from Seagrove to Ithaca.

Our good friend, Ed Feldman introduced us to the teacher & coordinator of Cornell Ceramic Studio, Mr. Andy Palmer who made all arrangement, and we were very happy we could make it happened.

As you know, Cornell University is one of the most well-known and prestigious school in US, and Ithaca is very beautiful area which is located in Finger lake region in the middle of NY State. We actually had come to Cornell in 2003, and visited to the university museum which has wonderful collections.

Our workshop was begun on 13th, Thursday. We brought many clay tests, local wild clays, wood fired pots as example. The most important theme for us is: appreciation of natural resources from the earth. Digging clays is very hard work and maybe not fun process for American potters, but many Japanese potters look for their own clays because clay is the first important things for ceramics. There is a Japanese proverb: No.1 is Clay, No.2 is Kiln, and No.3 is decoration.

Anyway, after introduce ourselves, materials and theme, we started demonstration. Takuro made Japanese style teapots (side handle) and a coiled jar. Hitomi made large bowls and some table wares. We both used wild clays (some are mixed) and showed how they worked. The first day workshop was done at 3:00 pm, then we all moved to the other room and started slide lecture. We showed Shigaraki photos (include Tanukis), experiences in MA, NJ, and VA, Seagrove ceramics, and so on by Power Point.

Second day, we finished pots which were made yesterday. Also we gave small hands-on workshops which were “Bamboo tool workshop” and “clay stamp workshop”. Both Hands-on were about one hour, and people really enjoyed to make something for themselves.

It was very interesting and wonderful experiences for us. It’s very hard to teach in English ( never be able to get used ) and always embarrassing if people don’t understand what we talked. But it’s better to challenge new things than to be afraid. We can learn from any mistake.

We can’t thank enough for Ed-san, Stefanie, and Andy.