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 🙂

 

Coming Along Nicely

Enso project coming along nicely!

Also I just found a neat little plugin called Orange Twig that lets me import my entire Etsy Store into my Facebook Page. Nice!

I’ve gotten a new tattoo based on the 3 Hapkido Principals

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Yu – Won – Hwa or Water – Circle – Nonresistance

My explanation in a very very condensed form and are ever changing and take on new meaning in different situations and at different times in life.

Yu – Water or Flow – Flow like water. It can be soft or it can crash. It can find the lowest ground. It can conform to any container and take its shape. It can bore a hole into solid stone over time. Flowing movements.The indomitable spirit of the Hapkido practitioner!

Won – Circle – Using circular motion to overcome instead of using force against force. Do not counter a linear attack linearly. Counter it with circular motion. “Roll with it”. It can lead away from something and also to completion. The circle is a sacred sign that I talked about in a previous post.

Hwa – Nonresistance or Harmony – Represents the harmony between mind and body, the spirit and the physical self, It represents harmony in every aspect of your life. Nonresistance is a big part of attaining harmony. The huge oak tee will crack and fall down in a storm while the wispy tree next to it is flexible and offers no resistance to the wind.

These three principals exist and fit together in a way where they become greater than the sum of their parts. These principals are used time and time again and are an integral part of my pottery, my photography and my life. Now I have a visual reminder to delve even further into the symbolic depth of these symbols.