progress

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!

wall collection.

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.

tiny black and white trade pieces.

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….

soon to be floor pieces.

floor pieces drying.

lightweight templates.

middle floor piece.

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.

yumie working on her dish.

nabe night.

kimchi nabe.

potluck!

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:(

violet and junior.

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tokyo food and friends or friends and food?

as completely pumped as i was to be reunited with all my wonderful friends in japan, i may even have been more excited about the food.  there is a lot of food pride in japan so i think my friends understood.  the whole week i was in tokyo i got to enjoy great company and great meals.  here’s a little smattering of photos, when i remembered to take them before digging into delicious food and of course, the ubiquitous memory lane:)

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shabu shabu with my tokyo gang.

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making tempura with momoru’s mama.

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my favorite ramen in tokyo, rasuta ramen.

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followed by dessert and coffee at mr. donut with masa.

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delicious dinner with my japanese teacher and her family.

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i was so lucky to chat with them about life and art and our old friends.  and chiba-sensei gave me some homemade umeboshi plums to take home.

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okonomiyaki and monjayaki with masa, mariko, and

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surprise!  yuki and blair all the way from australia.

fun times in harajuky with kiyomi, who brought us delicious japanese bakery lunch, sorry no photo!

residency time.

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.

mountains! trees!

clouds

 

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.

meat! from kumie’s famliy.

amazing spread.

this morning i woke up early and met with the staff to discuss my clay needs.

serious business.

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:)

 

 

return to tokyo.

back in tokyo after four years.  thanks to my tokyo family for taking care of me, putting me up and going out almost every night!

critique time!

my students had their first critique today.  i think these folks have ceramist blood because they brought amazing food for our potluck and gave really useful and thoughtful feedback.   more pics to come.

going local.

lancaster, pa skirt steak. one of my first attempts at responsible meat purchasing.

i have really fond memories of going to local farms with my family and picking tons of tomatoes and eggplants.  eating them fresh for weeks and freezing or pickling (pickled eggplant!) what we couldn’t finish.  of course growing up in florida, you can’t really help but eat local, with the mass amounts of oranges, lemons, mangos, avacados and grapefruits literally falling of trees into your hands.  i’ve stopped at a strangers house to ask if i could pick their tangerines, and they grab the grocery sacks, press them into your hands and and say “yes, please, there are too many for us to eat.”  at my parents place i grew up plucking loquats, mulberries, prickly pears and papayas off the plant and sticking them in my mouth  (ok, ok, not the prickly pears.  they require use of a special picking tool and complex cleaning to avoid cactus needles in your face).

despite this, markets are full of seasonless imports and most of us have gotten into the habit of expecting anything anytime, i know i have.

but a few weeks ago i went to a workshop on sustainability and education.  hearing about so many awesome ideas and projects really got me fired up.  my favorite lecture of the day was about economics (a class which i fully slept through in high school and have never revisited) and the local foods movement and it illuminated SO MUCH for me.  all of the attendees got a copy of barbara kingsolver’s “animal, vegetable, miracle” which (like her fiction, which i’m a big fan of) was an amazing and engrossing story.

and now, like so many others (thankfully) i am getting amped to go local.

i think the local foods movement should just be called being awesome!  i mean, you give your money to actual real people in your community who work really hard doing something they love.  and then, you casually get to eat fruits, vegetables and meat that actually taste like fruits, vegetables and meat.

so i’m gradually trying to educate myself on what comes from where here in pennsylvania and starting to research what i can expect to find once i move to gainesville, fl.  incidentally i’ve gotten a renewed sense of excitement about cooking and baking.

being back on familiar ground will be nice, things falling of trees will be nice and getting to know the more agricultural central florida will be awesome.  yay exciting!