Summer 2013

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July 22, 2013

Welcome back, if anyone’s still out there reading after such a long time away!

We’re almost at the end of July and the clock is counting down on our time living in Concord.

Yes, we’re moving back to Japan next month. The time has come to leave the U.S. of A.

After a 13 year period of living a double life between our 2 countries, we have determined that the Gods are telling us it is time to return to Japan full-time. Not an easy decision but perhaps a necessary one, for me anyway.

From this coming Aug.31st we will be no longer reachable at 150 Barnes Hill Rd., Concord, Ma., our home these past 7 yrs.

In it’s stead, we will be renting a new (renovated) home in Kyoto near Daitoku-ji, one of the greatest Zen Monasteries in Japan, and the world for that matter, in the northwestern part of the city. There will be more details about that in an upcoming post, once we get settled in later this fall. Our home in the N.W. hills outside Kyoto, Richado-Gama in Yotsuya, will still be our primary residence but this new space will provide me with a showroom for my work in Kyoto proper, not to mention a space where Mari will be able to once again begin teaching tea.

Today I want to announce that I am holding a very unique MOVING SALE- for the next 5 days only! (July 24~28th)

Please go to this link on SkyDrive (below) to view a wide variety of works that I have decided to make available directly from my US studio before it closes next month, at prices up to 70% off retail!!!

Click on any image on the main page and full size images will open for your viewing pleasure. From there scroll left or right with the arrows on your keyboard.

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=C932F597881F7EE2!1611&authkey=!AGicdmpQH6xLp9E

It’s a Once-in-a-Lifetime opportunity to purchase my work at unheard of prices before I make the final move back to Japan so I hope anyone reading this will realize they are in the right place at the right time if they ever wanted to get a great deal on one of my pieces. You can email me directly at rm@teaceramics.com  with your request.

ALL ORDERS WILL BE HANDLED BY ME PERSONALLY ON A FIRST COME FIRST SERVED BASIS UNTIL SUNDAY JULY 28TH AT 6PM, E.S.T.

THANKS FOR YOUR INTEREST AND ENJOY THE SALE!

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Summer 2012

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July 4th in Boston has come & gone as the  heat of summer ramps up for a big weekend with the “Evil Empire” Yankees coming back to Fenway Park for 4 games. Hopefully the Red Sox will remember where they left their bats, get hot and come out swingin’ against their arch-rivals to narrow the Yanks  7.5 game lead before the All-Star break. Gotta get at least 3 of 4 to make it interesting.

We are preparing for our 1 day summer workshop @ the Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts  on Saturday July 14th, a half day of demonstrations in the studio showing how I make tea ceramics followed by a screening of the documentary film Forbidden Kyoto: An Encounter with Green Tea, that was filmed in Kyoto last spring (see an earlier posting for more info on the film), and then a demonstration of Chanoyu, (a.k.a. the tea ceremony) by my wife Mari where she will perform “otemae”, as well as serve tea to participants.

http://www.emersonumbrella.org/japanese-tea-ceramics-workshop/

Anyone interested in attending please visit the Emerson Umbrella’s website, http://www.emersonumbrella.org/ and see under “What’s New” to register or get more information from Jason Springer, the Education Director @ the Umbrella (phone 978-371-0820).

Getting psyched as prior to the workshop I’ll likely be doing both a Raku firing and a cone 6 oxidation firing at the Umbrella in preparation for my exhibition coming up this Sept. (12-18) at the Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi Dept. Store Gallery in Tokyo. Mari & I will both be in the gallery all thru the exhibition, usually from 10:30am until at least 6:30 pm. Try to make it if you can, it should be SPECIAL!

See the events page for more information.

Speaking of exhibitions, I am currently represented by 3 of my favorite tea bowls in a summer show “THE CONTEMPORARY ART OF CHAWAN” at the Cavin-Morris Gallery, 210 11th Ave, NYC, NY, ph. 212-226-3768   www.cavinmorris.com . The show includes works from Japan, Korea, U.K. and the U.S. of A. If you’re in NY, or planning to go, I would definitely recommend a visit to check it out as there is a huge variety of chawan to see. Sometime in the next week or 2 there should be an online catalog of the pieces in the exhibition, which will run thru August 17th. I believe their summer hours are only on the weekdays but be sure to call and check before heading down.

It’s still a ways off but this Nov. I’ll also be participating in another group show at the VESSELS GALLERY in Boston which will focus specifically on Japanese Sake and it’s untensils, principally guinomi (sake cups), tokkuri (sake bottles) and katakuchi (sake pouring vessels). When more info becomes available Ill try to keep you posted.

In late July we will be leaving Concord on our way home to Kyoto with stops in S. California and Hawaii, due to return to Yotsuya by Aug. 4th.

 

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Portland Japanese Garden Exhibition

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Immediately following the Tacoma CC workshop Mari flew in from Japan and we headed down to Portland to set up a very special exhibition in the main pavillion of the Portland Japanese Garden, a well known institution in the N.W. about to celebrate it’s 50th anniversary next year. The timing was such that we arrived as their signature weeping cherry tree beside the pavillion was just coming into full bloom, a harbinger of the long-awaited Spring.

Portland Japanese Garden's weeping cherry tree

The exhibition was titled “Meditative Moments”, and was a collaboration between my tea ceramics and the exquisite 2D work of my good friend, Hiroshi Senju, undoubtedly one of Japan’s foremost contemporary artists and the first Asian artist to win a prize at the prestigeous Venice Biennale. The pavillion was transformed into a beautiful gallery by the small but superb staff of the garden installation crew under the direction of the curator Diane Durston, an old friend of ours from Kyoto, going back 30 years. The show was part of the Gardens’ theme of “Healing” for 2012 and we were hoping to give the visitors another perspective from which to enjoy the Garden through the art of tea ceramics along with Senju’s ephemeral works which so elegantly capture the spirit of nature, be it water, trees or skies.

One of the most wonderful aspects of the show was the synchronicity of my works in clay with Hiroshi’s paintings/prints/etchings, all of which was totally unscripted. The photograph on the left below is a prime example of this. On the right is a general view of the gallery.

Tea space and gallery in the main pavillion

Painted Shino Chawan with Hiroshi Senju scroll painting "Sky"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another great feature was the opportunity to have a space for tea right in the gallery (as seen above right). This enabled us to do tea presentations throughout the show, thanks to the warm cooperation of the membersof the Kashintei-Kai, the group that actually studies in the tea house in the garden itself. Over the 3 1/2 weeks of the show over 150 people were able to experience drinking a bowl of tea, and almost 18,000 visitors passed through the garden during the show, coming from countries as far away as Australia, Italy, Netherlands, S. Africa and throughout Asia, not to mention most of the 50 United States!

During the exhibition we screened the film entitled “Forbidden Kyoto- An Encounter with Green Tea” that I had shot in Kyoto last Spring, giving guests an insider look at the history, production and preparation of Chanoyu, to help with understanding the significance of  Chado (The Way of Tea) and Chatou (tea ceramics) in Japanese culture. Overall I felt it was an excellent introduction to tea, as well as showing that this centuries old art form can still be relevant in today’s world as a means of enriching people’s lives and serving as a natural healing force for both the mind & body.

To view an excellent body of images covering the gallery please click on the following link to see the photographs of Jonathan Ley.

http://www.leyphotography.com/temp/meditative-moments/

This is another link to a review of the exhibition featured in an online ezine of Portland art events.

http://www.portlandart.net/archives/2012/04/richard_milgrim.html

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Tacoma CC Workshop

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Wow, it’s already May and the world is green once again! Definitely one of the finest times of the year (unless you’re an allergy victim). Yes it’s time to come out of hibernation (for all you northerners) and soak up that long lost sunshine!

Last month, actually beginning the final day of March, I traveled to Seattle, Wa. from Kyoto to teach at a four-man 2-day workshop focusing on Tea Ware at the Tacoma Community College (with Rob Fornell, Osamu Inayoshi & Jeff Shapiro), following the annual NCECA Clay Conference in Seattle. The workshop was held in conjunction with not only NCECA, but also a fine exhibition put together by Rob Fornell and Rick Mahaffey, the head of the ceramics program at Tacoma CC. The show featured tea bowls made by an assortment of about 40 potters from Japan, Korea, the U.K. and the U.S. made and fired in a wide variety of styles and kilns. Unfortunately it was only up for a mere week so very few folks had the opportunity to see it. On the other hand, it will travel to the Cavin-Morris Gallery in Chelsea, NYC this summer, where it is scheduled to run from June 29th thru August, so hopefully many more people interested in chawan will have a chance to see it.

The workshop was attended by about 35 participants from all over the US anxious to learn more about the art of the chawan. We 4 leading the workshop all made bowls using different techniques for both construction and trimming so everyone got a chance to see a lot of different chawan, despite the fact that there wasn’t nearly enough time in the day & half we had. Towards the end of the session it seemed there was an almost unanimous desire to get deeper into the work which might actually lead to a continuation in a future workshop as Part 2. We’ll see…….

Tacoma CC Tea Bowl Workshop Gang 4/1/12Milgrim, Shapiro, Fornell, Inayoshi & Rick Mahaffey (Tacoma CC Prof.)

 

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March 2012, A New Spring is on it’s Way

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March 5th, 2012

A short posting to refer you all to the Exhibits/ Events page above where you can find more details about the upcoming workshop & exhibition I will be showing in & teaching along with friends Jeff Shapiro, Rob Fornell and young Japanese potter Inayoshi Osamu, on March 31st & April 1st at the Tacoma Community College. This event is a sort of continuation of the Elusive Tea Bowl event organised by Jeff that was held last March 12~14th at the Lacoste Gallery, MFA Boston & the Harvard Ceramics Studio on the other side of the country.

Following this event I will be driving down to Portland, OR. to install an exhibition of my work at the Portland Japanese Garden, perhaps the finest multi-faceted Japanese landscape garden anywhere outside Japan. This exhibition, “Meditative Moments”, will feature appx. 40 pieces of my tea ware and be accompanied by an unusual selection of thirteen 2 dimensional works by the renowned painter and close friend, Hiroshi Senju, one of Japan’s most highly acclaimed contemporary artists. This will be the debut of Senju’s exquisite, ephemeral works in the Pacific N.W. and it is my pleasure to make it possible. For more information please go to the link in the Exhibits/Events tab above to see the write up on the Garden’s website.

 

Waterfall Print by Hiroshi Senju

Fusuma Paintings by Hiroshi Senju

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Oct. 2011- Showtime once again, but first a look back over this year (Part I)

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Welcome back to my phantom blog! Yes, it has been a while, to say the least, but I’ll try to give you an abbreviated update on the primary transitional events which have occured these past 9 months so we can start over in October and do a better job keeping you informed of what’s going on in my world of tea ceramics, and then some. I’ve updated the other pages with current show info so please have a look.

Jumping back to January, we had long-awaited month-long exhibition at the Pucker Gallery in Boston from Jan.15th to Feb.14th which was actually my first major showing in my adopted U.S. home base. The show contained appx. 120 pieces, primarily tea ceramics produced almost evenly in number between my Japanese and American kilns. We were fortunate to have an opportunity to actually do some tea ceremonies on the 4th floor of the gallery in a makeshift tea room devoid of anything other than 4 tatami mats on a platform to simulate a “chashitsu”, the necessary utensils and chairs for the 10 guests. The response was heartwarming, particularly since it was one of the worst winters on record in Boston, keeping many guests away. Fortunately those who were able to make it had a “once in a lifetime” moment of peace in the midst of downtown Boston that will hopefully stay with them for a long time and possibly plant a seed that will grow into a greater interest in things Japanese………..

Pucker Gallery 2011 Show Installation

Tea Ceremony Demonstration @ Pucker Gallery

 

In mid-March I was pleased to participate in a truly unique series of events specifically focusing on the tea bowl, or “chawan”, that took place in the greater Boston area.  The exhibition at the center of the event was called “The Elusive Tea Bowl”. Curated by a friend, Jeff Shapiro, and held at the Lacoste gallery in my current home town of Concord, Ma., this show brought together 30 artist/potters from across Japan & the U.S. making various forms of chawan in a wonderful cross-cultural event that attracted a large audience of chawan lovers from all over the country for the opening on Sat. March 12th.

w/ Dr.Takeuchi & Peter Grilli, Boston-Japan Society President @Lacoste Gallery Opening reception

Working alongside Suzuki Goro @ Harvard Tea Bowl Demo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exhibition opening was followed Sunday, March 13th, by a day long symposium of the same name at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts attended by over 300 people that gave a variety of perspectives on the Way of Tea. It included a special exhibition of tea wares from the MFA’s collection, a tea ceremony demonstration by Urasenke tea master Allan Palmer, talks by a reknowed Japanese Art curator and critic from Tokyo, Dr. Junichi Takeuchi, as well as curator Ann Morse from the MFA,  the foremost American collector of Tea utensils, Richard Danziger, and a panel discussion with artist/potter Jeff Shapiro from upstate N.Y., along with highly regarded Japanese master potters Shiro Tsujimura & Goro Suzuki. The turnout was quite amazing not to mention the excitement of the participants who were eager to get new insights from the Japanese potters in particular. Unfortunately Goro & Shiro are probably 2 of the least talkative potters I know so it was a real challenge for Jeff to get any serious dialogue going with them, especially on stage!

 

After the symposium a private dinner reception was held for the participants at the residence of the new Japanese Consul General in Boston, Mr. Hikihara.

 

On Monday the 14th, the event finale was a full day of tea bowl making demonstrations (see above pic) which was held at the Harvard Univ. Ceramic Studio and included Goro, Shiro, Jeff and myself throwing bowls in the morning, trimming in the afternoon and finally showing slides at the end of the day. This was limited to a packed house of 100 guests and provided non-stop action as we split into 2 pairs for the demos while the audience shifted back & forth, enjoying the variety of techniques and styles of work being produced.

The weekend was an amazing opportunity for many people to get a much clearer idea about the essence of tea bowls, their meaning in Japan as cultural icons as well as the actual context in which they are used.  The entire event became an even deeper bonding experience for many participants due to the timing; March 11th, the day before the exhibition opening, coincided with the tragic earthquake and tsunami which devastated northeastern Japan. There were many heavy hearts as waves of news came pouring out of Japan and people tried to comprehend just how bad the situation really was. At first it was all so surreal and distant yet so many participants had links of some sort to the Tohoku area and there was a powerful desire to try to offer some help. Lucy Lacoste, owner of the host gallery for the show, offered a % of her proceeds from the show sales and artists who wanted could also donate from their proceeds. On Monday we decided to donate all the works made by the 4 demonstrators that would be glazed and fired at the Harvard Studio and put up for auction after their completion, with all the proceeds going to the Tohoku Disaster Relief Fund.

(April)-Due to the disaster our original schedule to return to Japan in late March was put on hold until things settled down a bit. This sudden change of plans consequently provided Mari & I an opportunity to finally take advantage of a trip we had been planning to celebrate our 25th anniversary; a lifelong dream for both of us- a safari trip to S. Africa. If I got into it now this blog would go on for days. For now I’ll just say it was an amazing adventure that gave us a glimpse of what the world used to be, countless centuries ago. A  fascinating experience that certainly whet our appetite for the next journey to that far off world, so different from the rest of the “civilized” planet. Here a very quick peek of some of what we saw. (Sorry about the spacing problems, this software is a nightmare to works with! I decided to only post a few pics as there were way too many to choose from)

 

Traditioanal Zulu village

Our Safari Reserve in S.Africa2 females & 1 baby elephant @ Zulu Nyala

 

A herd of Water Buffalo

Local Zulu school children on break

 

 

 

 

 

Safari trail along the property lineOur Safari Reserve in S.AfricaAccomodations @ Zulu Nyala

The Welcoming Committee

I think it's time to wake up and have some lunch....

 

 

 

 

 

 

(May)- Soon after our return from Africa, a journey which took us to Paris & London for brief visits, we headed back to Japan to begin preparing for my fall shows in Chicago & Yokohama, or so I thought!

Almost immediately after we arrived a phone call came from a production company in Tokyo asking if I would help with the making of a TV documentary about the inner world of “Chanoyu”, known in the West as the tea ceremony. Two days later the producer, a woman named Sheri Yamaguchi, came out to the kiln to see us and after about 6 hrs of discussions I was enlisted to be the central character of the latest version of the program “Forbidden Kyoto”. Little did I know at the time how big of a project it would turn out to be!

Three days later a staff of 10 people descended on Kyoto and the filming began in the tea fields of Uji, just as the harvesting season was in full swing. Over the next 5 weeks the cameras followed me many days & nights in my quest to find new inspiration for my work in preparation for my fall exhibitions in Chicago & Yokohama. Sherry & I were able to gain access to some of the the most hallowed sites relating to the history of tea in and around the ancient capital. Besides our journey to see the actual production process of making matcha (powdered green tea) at Koyama-en, a 350 yr.old tea purveyor, we saw Dr. Sen Genshitsu, my mentor and the 15th generation Grand Master of the Urasenke Tea Tradition, perform a ritual tea offering to the priest Eisai who brought tea from China to Kennin-ji, the oldest Zen Monastery in Kyoto 800 years ago. Dr. Sen also invited us to visit his home, Konnichi-an, the 400 yr. old headquarters of Urasenke and we spent time with Zen Master Onozawa Kodo at Juko-in, a 450 yr. old temple in the Daitoku-ji Zen Monastery that houses the gravesite of Sen no Rikyu, Dr. Sen’s ancestor and the man often called the father of the modern day tea ceremony.Through these various encounters my creative energies got back on track and I developed a new glaze for my tea bowls using the cuttings from Koyama-en’s tea plantation in combination with some ash from a locally grown strain of green sticky rice straw. I also made some other new formulas working with the rare rice straw ash and began firing right away, trying to make more new pieces for the upcoming shows as well as the various mentors who were so helpful in the success of my quest. I’m hoping the film will be available on my website at some point in the future so you can all take this journey into the heart of “Forbidden Kyoto; An Encounter with Green Tea”, together with me.

Sharing tea with Dr. Sen in the Yushin tea room, Konnichi-an, Kyoto during filming

I hope to continue with Part II in the next week or so but in the meantime please see the recently updated  Events & Exhibitions page for the latest info on current & recent shows!

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Welcome Back, New Year Greetings for 2011!

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Happy New Year for 2011, the Year of the Rabbit!  (look for the rabbit in the 3rd post)

Time to get this blog updated and looking forward to a fresh start for the 2nd decade of the 20th century!!!

This post will address last summer’s primary events and I’ll follow it up with 2 more real soon to catch up on last fall and then all the goings on this month of January, particularly my 1st major exhibition at the Pucker Gallery beginning Sat., Jan. 15th.

Summer of 201o was an extremely fruitful period in many ways, not to mention really busy! The Midorikai (see previous post for details) 40th Reunion/Celebration was a rare opportunity to share some time & energy with other” Tea” people who studied in Kyoto over these past 40 years with the intention of helping to spread Dr. Sen’s vision of  “Ichi wan kara Peacefulness”, (Peace through a Bowl of Tea). It also allowed all of us to collectively offer a bowl of tea to Dr. Sen himself, (as well as the Hawaii Tea community), as a gesture of our mutual gratitude to him for his truly boundless generosity in giving all of us the opportunity to learn the true  ‘Way of Tea” at his home in Kyoto, Konnichi-an, the headquarters of the Urasenke Tradition of  Tea.

Tea practice at Urasenke on Rikyu-ki, 3-28-1980

Being a part of this event, which happened in conjunction with the Urasenke Hawaii Summer Seminar, was a wonderful experience which I feel helped renew everyones commitment to helping  Chanoyu become more than just a Japanese ritual presentation of tea but an indispensable element of world culture. I felt privileged to play a part in this event, particularly because my contribution of the small futaoki (kettle lid rest), given to all attending and bearing the kanji for (or letters for) North, South, East & West, will travel with participants to their respective corners of the globe as a reminder of the universality of both the event itself as well as the significance of the mission we have all chosen to undertake through our connection to The Way of Tea. Each time this futaoki is used, where ever it may be, I hope it will create ripples which will, in turn, grow to waves, helping to spread the message of peace to all corners of the globe.

Futaoki for Midorikai Reunion

The return trip to Boston routed me through Vancouver as well as Wyoming as I took the opportunity to reunite with some other  close friends from not only college days but all the way back to elementary school in Detroit, Mi.!  It was in some ways a trip down memory lane that I had long since forgotten, yet it was a reminder that we all have our own unique history which in some way plays a part in who we ultimately become. Thanks in particular to Tony Sgro & Steve Borin for making this part of the journey not only possible but very special!

Rocky mountain high with the Sgro Family

August- The journey back to my roots continued in another form this month as I prepared to head West to teach a summer workshop specifically focused on Japanese Tea Bowls at the Mendocino Art Center. In preparation it seemed like an ideal opportunity to return to Raku firing since it would allow for students to make and fire tea bowls in the span of a week. With the help of  my friend Steven Branfman, a well known expert on Raku and author of several books in the field, we did a Raku firing, which for me was the first time since college at Antioch almost 35 years ago! (this is despite the fact that I’ve been living in the land of Raku [Japan], and am actually friends with Mr.Raku, for most of the past 33 years!)  Definitely a nostalgic step back which I sense will nonetheless lead to another very positive step forward.

Mendocino Art Center Workshop 2010 with Shozo Sato

To start the Mendocino Art Center Workshop I felt it was important to begin by getting everyone focused on “The Way of Tea” so we began with a tea ceremony on the first morning which was presented for us by Dr. Shozo Sato in the tearoom at his home in nearby Ft. Bragg. Besides his status as a tea master of the Dai Nippon Sado Gakkai School of Tea, Dr. Sato is a magnificent teacher of many of Japans traditional art forms such as Kabuki Theatre, Ikebana, Calligraphy & Sumi-E, and the recipient of many honorary doctorate degrees here in the U.S. as well as a medal for the Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Emperor of Japan. He is one of the best teachers/translators of the spirit and essence of Japanese culture in the world. Over the past 5 years Dr.Sato and I have become good friends and he generously agreed to offer my students the opportunity to  have an authentic tea experience prior to their embarking on a week-long journey into the world of Japanese tea bowls, an opportunity which obviously affected their perceptions in terms of what a tea bowl is and set the tone for the workshop to come.

The Mendocino workshop was the 1st time I have ever specifically taught a workshop only about tea bowls. There was a certain apprehension going in but I had a really good group of potters who were ready to learn and seriously focused on the task at hand, creating an ideal learning atmosphere in a beautiful place (N. California coast) for 5 days. I decided to spend the working time demonstrating not just wheel-thrown bowls but also alternative techniques such as a few types of slab & coil construction. This was done to try and get participants to intentionally step outside their primary working mode, and thereby their comfort zone. That included me as well!

As always, when one tries to teach others you learn a great deal about yourself. The workshop provided me a chance to not only share my knowledge and experience with the participants but also to learn alongside them. By making bowls using some of the handbuilding techniques I mentioned, my own parameters were expanded, leading me to discover a freshness in some of the bowls I created which has inspired me to continue working with some of these new techniques in the future.

Our Raku glazing and firing on the final Friday culminated in some really special pieces and allowed us to then actually make some green tea in the freshly fired bowls so everyone could better understand the pieces they had made and the essence of a tea bowl as a piece of functional art.

White Raku Tea Bowl direct from the kiln at Mendocino Art Center

Following  the workshop I stopped in Santa Rosa to visit some new/old friends who I hadn’t been able to catch up with for many years, Mario & Liz Uribe. During my visit I also met Michael Hoffman, another old Kyoto hand from long ago who has recently come back to N.California. It’s always great to spend time with other artist friends, especially ones who you have so much in common with!

The next stop was Lake Tahoe to see my old friend from Antioch Douglas & his wife Kathleen Dale and rendezvous with Mari coming from Boston. A few days after so many years away from Tahoe wasn’t nearly enough to catch up but we had a really fine visit full of  great food, music and fine weather. If you’re in Tahoe be sure to hit WOLFDALES , a suberb restaurant on the lake for over 25 yrs. Douglas is a magician with food and you’ll surely not regret the experience. A true feast for the eyes as well as the stomach!

High above Tahoe w-the Dale's

Wolfdales Restaurant

Alaskan Salmon Special

Wolfdales Owner/Chef Douglas Dale

Boulders Beach, N.Lake Tahoe

Tahoe Alpine Glow under a full moon

From Tahoe we made one last brief detour through Napa Valley to visit a few more friends and see the Castello de Amaroso Winery, an authentic medevil Tuscan style castle built just south of Calistoga Hot Springs. Quite a fascinating experience if you’re in the neighborhood be sure to check it out. Their winery tour is quite interesting and the vino is pretty good too. Be sure you don’t miss the torture chamber!

Entrance to Castello di Amaroso, Napa

"The Rack" in the torture chamber

The Grand Banquet Hall

Just  in case you can’t make it over to Italy, you can always go to Napa instead!

After visiting another winery or 2 we headed down to the Berkeley Art Museum to attend the opening reception for the exhibition of masterpieces from the Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture’s collection, “Flowers of the Four Seasons”. A very eclectic variety of artworks spanning the last 1000 years with an emphasis on Edo Period paintings & screens assembled by Mr. Willard Clark of Hanford Ca., a protege of Dr. Sherman Lee.The Center also has a large collection of 20th C. bamboo basketry and the consummate collection of Fukami Sueharu’s exquisite celadon porcelain sculptures.

Opening for Clark Center Exhibition @ Berkeley Art Museum

On the way back to Boston Mari & I were finally able to meet with another former Antiochian, gallery owner Doug Dawson at his magnificent space in Chicago. As a another former potter from Antioch who preceded me to Japan (as did Douglas Dale), Doug had encountered a number of the same experiences as I which made it seem like I was rediscovering an old friend. The level of taste which permeated all the works in the gallery was as distinctive and consistent as in any gallery I have ever visited! An awesome display of artifacts from civilizations throughout history & from all corners of the globe. The energy in his space certainly had a unique aura all it’s own. It was readily apparent to me that he could understand my work as well as anyone I had met in a long time.   I look forward to my next visit in the coming year.

Doug Dawson in his Gallery

Misc. ancient art, Douglas Dawson Gallery, Chicago

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Catching up to life in the fast lane! Spring-Summer 2010 Part One

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As the months fly by and life refuses to slow down, I realize how difficult it is to stay on top of this blog but anyway, here’s a quick review of the past couple months………

The show in Kyoto this Spring was great! We had 7 days of pretty much non-stop activity, especially the first 5 days while the tea ceremony was being done alongside the gallery. So many new clients that it was hard to remember who came when.

Richado-Gama 25th Anniversary Exhibition, Kyoto Takashimaya, April 2010

With Hounsai Daisosho at Richado-Gama 25th Anniv. Exhibition, Kyoto Takashimaya Art Gallery, April 2010

That was followed up by a very busy May filled with lots of overseas visitors, chakai everywhere, and lots of preparations for getting back to the States in time for our daughter Toby’s Senior Exhibition and Graduation from Rhode Island School of Design in late May and early June.

She finished her 4 years with High Honors and received the Tiffany Scholarship her Senior year for outstanding achievement in the Dept. of Jewelry and Metalsmithing. What’s next?? Who knows? Perhaps she’ll be as fortunate as I was in being blessed to meet the right people at the right times who can help her along on the path to her true destiny.

A selection of Toby's work from the Best of RISD's Senior Exhibition

Toby in her Glorious Glue Custom Gown

The family gathered for Toby's graduation

Following Toby’s Graduation celebration we returned to Concord and got swept up in the Celtics fever as they battled with the Lakers for NBA supremacy only to lose in the final minutes of the 7th game in L.A., Another banner was not to be.

Mari’s birthday celebration happened the next day and a few days later it was time to re-enter Red Sox Nation as we were off to Fenway Park for the return of  the notorious Manny Ramirez in a Dodgers uniform. No Manny magic this day as Dustin Pedroia went nuts for the Sox, hitting, fielding and stealing bases, as he almost single-handedly helped Clay Bucholz beat the men in blue in a 2-0 shutout .

Spent the rest of the month and into July working furiously making  over 200 futaoki, (lid rests) used to support the cover of the iron kettle used for boiling hot water in the tea room. These futaoki were used as gifts for participants in the summer seminar held at the Urasenke Hawaii’s Branch in Honolulu mid-July in conjunction with the 40th reunion of the Midorikai, the school for foreign (non-native Japanese) students who studied at the headquarters of the Urasenke Tradition of Tea in Kyoto. I was a student there exactly 30 years ago on my 2nd trip to Japan, as a Watson Fellow during 1979-1980. For me a tremendously valuable period in my study of not only “The Way of Tea”, but all aspects of Japanese culture at the deepest levels. A crucial time that solidified my foundation in preparation for my career as a tea ceramics artist.

To be continued…………..

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Summer Workshop Announcement

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Please click on this link to view my latest e-email announcement of my upcoming workshop on Japanese Tea Bowls at the Mendocino Art Center in N. Calif. this Aug. 16th-20th.

There is also a special discount offer available only until July 16th so I hope you’ll check it out!

http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs001/1103540043182/archive/1103550600752.html

(If the link doesn’t work please copy and paste it into your browser)

[Sorry, I'm still on the downside of the  learning curve]


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SHOWTIME!

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Well it certainly has taken me a long time to get some new info ready for you but the reason is that I have been furiously working on preparations for my upcoming major exhibition at the Kyoto Takashimaya Dept. Store’s 6th Fl. Art Gallery. This will be my 7th showing there over a period of 21 yrs. and actually the first one since 2005. The show will run from April 21st through the 27th and gallery hours are from 10AM – 8PM, except the final day when the show will end at 4PM.

I have attached the invitation pamphlet for your enjoyment as I realize not too many of you will likely be in the neighborhood during the event, a mere 7 days I’m afraid. The announcement is actually 16 pages of new works as well as photos of mine which will give you an idea of the environments I work in, both in Japan and the U.S.. Unfortunately it is only minimally bi-lingual but I hope that won’t stop any non-Japanese speakers from enjoying the images. Sorry I haven’t got the time to do a translation since I’m still working on firings for the show as I type!  Click here to view the pamphlet.

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