Karatsu

I thought that the last stop on my potter’s pilgrimage, on the island of Kyushu, would be the most remote and provincial, but Karatsu, Japan is a thriving city, the women were fashionable, and it’s a bit of a resort town. Several school children called out “Hello, how are you?” giggling as they tried outContinue reading “Karatsu”

Hagi

The town of Hagi lies on the Japan Sea, near the western tip of the main island. The lonely, one-car train chugged along through tiny mountain towns, crossing the island and following the coastline at the very end of its journey. Misty rock islands appeared and disappeared in after-rain gray skies. My large room atContinue reading “Hagi”

A potter’s pilgrimage: Bizen

During my third year living in Japan, in 2011, I made a potter’s pilgrimage to three historic towns where contemporary potters, many descended from old masters, still produce mingei, stoneware folk pottery. This trip had been long planned; I had spent years gathering information and improving my Japanese. For a week, I alternately traveled aContinue reading “A potter’s pilgrimage: Bizen”

Icheon pottery

Having been a potter in my younger days, I often seek out traditional ceramics when I travel. Not to be confused with Incheon, the city with the major airport serving Seoul, South Korea, the town of Icheon is known as a pottery center and is about an hour southeast of Seoul. The area came toContinue reading “Icheon pottery”

Decades

Change has been a constant in my life. Sometimes I think about various periods of my life in terms of a cat’s nine lives. Right now, though, I’m thinking about decades, as I turn seventy. How is that possible, a voice in my head asks? I keep thinking I must be doing the math wrong;Continue reading “Decades”

A Japanese treasure

I first become interested in Japan in my college days, when, along with a generation of hippie potters, I was inspired by the works of Shoji Hamada. Declared a Living National Treasure, Hamada and his twentieth-century contemporaries created functional stoneware vessels. Sturdier-looking than decorative ceramics, in simple but graceful shapes, but with a strength andContinue reading “A Japanese treasure”

Women Potters of Guatemala

My article, “The Women Potters of Rural Guatemala,” based on a chapter from my book, appears in the October 2020 issue of Ceramics Monthly, the leading magazine for potters. I subscribed to CM for decades since my days as an art student and I’m honored to be included in their beautiful publication. As a travelerContinue reading “Women Potters of Guatemala”