Swanica explores Japan

Friday, March 10, 2006

Well awakened by a Starbuck's coffee I started my day with a lecture about "New York City Subway Ceramics". Always already I am interested in tiles and they did a wonderful job in New York. After another panel discussion , about raw materials, minerals and clay and discussion about how to critize and be criticized,
Platter by Frank Boyden.

Frank Boyden

Iwent back to the simultaneous clay demonstrations by Jamie Walker, Frank Boyden and Mika Negishi, a continuation of yesterday.

Jamie Walker

Bowl and Spheres by Jamie Walker.

It was interesting to see what the final products were becoming.

Mika Negishi's work: arms in the air and basket.

In the afternoon, I saw an exposition from kids from Kindergarten - 12 grade. Some wonderful pieces! Then there was a book signing and the mug sale. A friend of mine had bought my mug!
At ClayArt in the evening we had a mug exchange and I received a really nice little mug with daffodils engraved in it.
Tomorrow, I will still go to some galleries and a market.
Thank you for reading my logs and talk to you again the next time.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

This morning I had a wake-up breakfast at Starbucks across the street from the hotel.

Then one block futher is the Convention Center and a panel discussion/lecture "Up in smoke" about wood firing started at 8:30am. So, with everything close by, I was on time and three interestings artists told their stories about their wood firing kilns: successes and problems. Of course a lot of problems with the environment, because of polution and all the permits , restrictions etc. before you even can build a kiln. Very interesting and what a hardship those people go through.

Then I went to the clay demonstrations: 3 artists work on a big podium and make their work and talk about it: throwing, sculpting, slabwork etc. with 3 big screens, so, the people in the back can see too. In the mean time I always meet some friends and hook up with them, have lunch with them or watch the demo together.
In the afternoon I strolled around in the hall of the 121 manufactuers/suppliers and nonprofit exhibits. Of course , I bought some small supplies and some books. One about Kanji decorations and another about Japanese woodfiring!! Also, some people demonstrated some tools or did some special throwing on a wheel and there are quite some colleges with information about their art departments.

I dropped off a cup for the fundraiser of the Annual Cup Exhibition and Sale. Tomorrow, people will stand in line at 6am to be the first when the door opens at 8am to buy cups from famous potters, which they will sell for $150.00 or so!

In the evening I went out to dinner with quite some other potter friends and had a good time.
Now, I still have to add some images and will blog again tomorrow about the last NCECA day!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Today, I had my gallery hopping day. I joined a wonderful group and we were in 2 cars: Bob and Sandy Kinzie, Barbara Brown, Robin Hopper, Lee Middleman, Bob Nichlos, Edith Franklin and Rick Andersen.

We saw the most interesting shows at the Lewis & Clark College, the Clackamas Community College, where Robin Hopper and his wife Judi Dyelle exhibited some beautiful pieces, the Skutt Ceramics factory kiln site with a very wonderful "Teapot" exhibition. This is a beautiful Black and White teaset, made by Sam Scott in Seattle, WA: www.samscottpottery.com .

Also, we visited the Hall Gallery and the Center Space Gallery, where Mel Jacobson had his wonderful show. There were still lots of other shows, but you have to make a choice and perhaps I will still have some time to see more in the coming days.
Around 4pm it was pouring rain and very cold and windy and then we were ready to return to the hotel. Unfortunately, we didn't go to the Japanese gardens, because of the weather. Robin thinks it is one of the most beautiful Japanese gardens in America. He himself landscaped a Japanese garden on his property near Victoria, BC, Canada. So, I will try to go on Saturday.
Tonight, we had the opening ceremonies and the keynote speaker: dr. David Suzuki. He is an avid environmentalist and scientist and gave a depressing, but revealing and eye opening speech about what we are doing to the earth. Especially, us, clay people, who work with the earth.
Tomorrow, I will go to panel discussions, demonstrations, lectures and video screenings and exhibitors hall of manufacturers.
All, have a good night.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Years ago, when my husband, Adriaan, worked together with Japanese companies and I went there with him for the first time, I told him that whenever our boys would leave the house, I would move to Japan with him instantly. Such a beautiful serene country. We both felt very much at ease and kind of home. Hard to explain this feeling. And the people are wonderful. You can feel safe in this country. Also, I like to work with clay a lot and so Japan has a special interest for me, because it has such a rich history in ceramics.
And so the moment came when my husband started a Japanese company and had to be in Japan, the US and in Holland, our native country. Then our youngest started college and time for the preparations came.
I quit all my jobs in my ceramic organizations and went a couple of times with my husband to Japan to check things out. In Tokyo, where the company is, I went around with Toshie and a real estate agent to check out apartments. They were nice apartments, but quite expensive. Already, we had been to Kamakura a couple of times. It really attracted us. I met with some potters in Kamakura with Stuart and in Tokyo checked out some potter clubs with Etsuko: "togei" schools. I went to Mashiko and met with Lee, a potter and his wife, Jean, a woodblock printer.
End of January we found a place for rent close to the beach in Kamakura with Stuart's help. The wonderful, historical, shogun capital city with lots of shrines and beautiful nature. And you can go every where on your bicycle. Like when I was young. My parents didn't own a car until they moved to Canada at age 67 after my Dad's retirement. So, I feel completely fine and go grocery shopping on my bike or I walk where I have to go. (Although our friends have a car and they took us to Costco!!!! for grocery shopping).
Last week, we furnished our apartment with Stuart's and Juli's help. First of all they have a car and second, they speak and read the Japanese language. Very helpful!!!
We needed a washing machine, refrigirator, vacuum cleaner, drawers, dry rack and lots of other things and we filled up the minivan.
The house is newly built and surrounded by old and new houses. The house is not directly on a street; a path connects the house to the street and there is no parking for a car. No problem for us, because we have our bikes. It has 3 floors. The first floor has the bathroom and a bedroom. The 2nd floor has the livingroom and the kitchen and the 3rd floor is another bedroom with a balcony and view over the beach and ocean. So, we live on the 3rd floor! If the sky is clear, we even can see Mount Fuji.

A funny thing: it is still quite cold and so, in the morning, when you get up and the house is cold, you go to the restroom and then you go sit down on a warm toilet!!! A wonderful way to wake up. What a luxury! A lot of toilets have that feature, also in public places.
Then of course we are quite tall. My husband has to duck often and some chairs are so small and the tables low. Can you imagine when my youngest son comes to visit. He is 6'11" tall!!!
We feel very fortunate to be here and lucky to have found this place!
Now, I'm back home in the US and will go next week to a ceramic conference, NCECA, in Portland. Then I will prepare for a 3D group show for the Gallery House, a cooperative of which I'm a member. Then I will return in April and will continue the story of my Japanese experiences. Until then!