Rich Briggs
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Japan Visit
In 2004, I was a visiting artist at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Shigaraki, Japan. After short visits to Kyoto and Nara, I arrived in Shigaraki for a one month stay. I worked in the studio, sharing space with a dozen other artists from around the world. I had a primary interest of learning more about wood fired kilns. I had the good fortune of meeting Mamoru Ishino, who was in Shigaraki on holiday, before going north to build a kiln. He was generous enough to drive a few other artists and I to visit local artists and see a variety of wood fired kilns. My stay in Shigaraki was most enjoyable and I specifically enjoyed the atmosphere of congeniality among the artists. My desire in going to Japan was to learn as much as I could about a variety of traditions, so upon leaving Shigaraki, I traveled to many cities, including: Bizen, Hiroshima, Hagi, Imari, Arita, Nakaoyama, Fukuoka, and Naha, Okinawa. It was fascinating to see the dedication to tradition, and yet the diversity of that tradition amongst the different villages. 


Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park work space

Takahashi Rakusai firing his wood kiln-2004 
 

Multi-chambered production kiln 


Pieces bought from Nobuyaki Goto, a local Shigaraki potter


Noborigama in Bizen, Japan


Display outside of Nakaoyama showing variety of kilns from around the world 


Old Noborigama on the island of Okinawa



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