Testimonial #59

Participant from Poland
Program: 30-day Pottery Making in Seto – With Guidance
Start date: 24th June 2023

Dear Japanese Ceramics, Dear Kato Hiroshige san,
I would like to express my gratitude I could experience a monthly stay in Kasen Pottery studio in Seto this summer. The time I spent there was both intense and easy. Intense because it was my first trip to Japan. The encounter with Japanese culture about which I read so much before was still a shock to me. Easiness in travelling across the country, extremely nice and helpful people everywhere I went, not really high prices of taxis or food positively surprised me. Easy because I could focus on pottery totally. Having my bedroom, kitchen and bathroom above the studio allowed me not to waste time on getting to the place where I could practice my wheel throwing skills.

My sensei Kato Hiroshige willingly guided us whenever we needed assistance. “Show time” was always the most exciting moment during the day. Both of us (me and first Sylvia from SingaporE and then Elis from the USA) were carefully watching our master showing us how he works. He explained every detail of his methods and his comments were very helpful.

Sensei adjusted the program to our personal needs. I could practice precision when making cups, mugs, bowls, teapots, bottles. I could understand how important proper and sharp tools are. I learned making and sharpening trimming tools, making dragon flies. I learned how to wedge clay properly, how to decide when the vessel is ready for trimming. We could practice drawing Japanese designs using proper calligraphy pencils and oxides.

Sensei cared about our free time on Wednesdays which were our days off. He would take us to a restaurant or to nerikomi master Tetsuo Nagae san to learn this unique and beautiful technique or to the Seto noborigama place at Masayuki Mizuno san’s workshop. He showed us the kiln he is using for wood wiring at Nagoya University where he teaches ceramics.

It was also a great experience to meet Sonoko san who visited our studio every week and had a chat with us and Junko san who looked after me and my companion with devotion. She even arranged a visit at her hair dresser’s is Seto and accompanied me in my visit of a Seto ceramic artist in Light Gallery in Nagoya where we also went together to a tea ceremony.

Thank you for both a welcome and good buy dinners Sensei arranged. For taking us to the local tool and glazes shops and ceramic centres in Seto area. For helping is doing food shopping. Thank you for everything I could experience. I hope it was not my last meeting with Kato Hiroshige whom first met at Penelope Vallejo’s ceramic studio in Spain in 2019 and that meeting led me to Japan to see and learn more.

And my heart was stolen by the doggie Kuri whom I walked every day in the area plus by the turtle Herman- the fast runner who was accompanying us in the studio.
During my ceramic practice I had also time to visit places I wanted. It is clear that my first choice was Tokoname and Tajimi. I managed to go there twice. Then I travelled across Japan for another week. I will definitely visit Japan again. And yes. Do learn Japanese. It was so helpful to communicate in Japanese in those small towns on the way.

Testimonial #60