Tonights my last evening at home before flying out to Tokyo and travelling to Mashiko, where I’ll be working as Ken Matsuzaki’s apprentice, sort of, for six months. I’ve worked previously with an ex-apprentice of his, Masaki Dejima, who came over to Maze Hill Pottery to do an eight week residency near the beginning of time there. He had apprenticed with Ken for seven years, and his current prentice looks like he might be there for ten, from what I’ve heard. So six months doesn’t really cut it, I’ll be assisting him with whatever needs to be done and when the last month arrives I’ll be able to throw and fill a kiln load of oribe style pots.
I spent more than three years listening to Lisa Hammond talk about her travels there, the people she’d met, the pots she’s seen and collected, the strange clays and glazes, the beautiful potteries and the rich history of the families, pottery towns and rivalries. Not only that, but many of the pots Lisa makes are for tea ceremony and use shino glazes and techniques learnt from Japan. So my only real experience of the place is through the eyes of someone else and now I’ll be able to see it for myself and most importantly work in that environment.
I can’t promise I’ll be as responsive to emails and messages over the coming months, I’ve heard I’ll be working twelve hour days, six days a week, but I hope to continue posting daily although the next week or so might be shaky. All the warm wishes you guys have been leaving me these past weeks have been surreal and really do mean the world to me. I honestly can’t wait to write about and photograph my experiences, if I’m allowed to. I’ll miss home, I’ll miss my friends, but six months is but a drop in the ocean and one I’m sure will have an affect on my work and my approach to clay. Oh, and for anyone wondering, I thought this photograph shows the proportions of my smallest one of vessels quite well.