Perspectives Opening – Akira Satake Workshop

I had a wonderful opportunity to go to the opening of the OCAF Perspectives Pottery Event on opening night. Its only about an hour away from my home. I’ve never seen so much quality work in one place and from what I hear it is an event that goes unmatched, at least here in the southeast.

I picked up a few pieces, the prices were reasonable and some of them felt outright too cheap to make a living with (that is another post, pricing your work).

Two pieces from Roger Jamison on the left and the right. A gorgeously decorated and salt fired piece by Kathy Phelps in the back and a piece by Anne Ginkel in the front (I cant find much information about her, shoot me a comment or email if you know of a portfolio page and I’ll add it).

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Roger Jamison is a fantastic potter. This yunomi is a fine example of everything a yunomi should be. Its simple, functional, light, it feels right in the hand both in shape and texture. Also it’s as if the decoration of the piece takes place in layers, some seem further into the piece giving a strong feeling of depth when looking at it. I hope to talk with Roger in the near future as he runs an anagama kiln and I hope to one day run my own.

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In the end I had to just get the hell out of there because looking up and down the aisles I kept seeing things that I wanted for my collection! I’ll be going back every year!

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The next day was a 2 day workshop being done by Akira Satake. I have long admired his organic forms and beautiful yunomi, chawan, guinomi and sculptural work so I had paid for this long in advance. I was actually able to meet a friend and somewhat close potter who goes by Grype who I met through the Ceramic Arts Daily Forums. His work is fantastic and coming along nicely.

Here you can see some of Akira Satake’s work along with a few of his contemporaries. This is by no means a complete document of the show but I really had fun seeing these strikingly beautiful works in person.

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The workshop was full of information and he went over a lot of material. The main thing that I took away was that clay is clay and to let it be what it is and to help it be itself. This is expressed fully in his sculptural works that look as if they are made partly by man and partly by the earth itself.

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He also went over his technique of applying slip and getting the textural pieces that he is famous for. It is a very in depth and lengthy process which requires the right amount of drying time after the slip is applied. He spent a very long time perfecting this technique which goes to show that he is, among other things, a very patient and persistent person. With the textured slabs he built a teapot and showed us how the handles were made. Stories were told and among them were a few about potters who were teaching Akira Satake technique workshops at a very reputable pottery center and another person who took his slip recipe and started selling batches of it on eBay if I remember correctly.

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Shameful really. I’ve heard the same stories from other potters who are really the nicest and most open people but when they talk specific recipes or techniques others shamelessly use it and copy it for their own gain. The one thing about people who copy though, they are always one step behind 😉

I personally feel that you can use the technique or recipe, but, MAKE IT YOUR OWN! After all, what you create is truly a reflection of yourself. Why would you want to be anyone but yourself? Some of the techniques shown I will probably never use because they are Akira’s specifically. They are clever and technical and are good fodder for new ideas but the specifics are his. I am grateful that I was able to attend and chat with him and see a great potter at work.

Unfortunately at the end of the first day of workshop I was not feeling well at all so I had to leave and I didn’t make it back for the second day. I wanted to make a portrait of Mr. Satake as I try to do when I meet someone who influences me but it just wasn’t in the cards. He has a studio in Asheville so its not entirely out of the realm of possibility that I could meet up with him again and finally make that portrait.

Here is my memento guinomi from the workshop and meeting with Akira.

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Overall a fantastic few days and I was able to be very productive with my own work. I anticipated this in advance and booked some vacation time from work 🙂

 

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