Member’ s Message
Mr. GRAHAM ANSELL
I have a background in design having worked in London, Osaka and Tokyo as a professional graphic designer. So naturally the art of Japan has intrigued me ever since I arrived in Japan almost 30 years ago.
About 15 years ago I was given a Kutani-yaki sake cup (OCHOKO). I couldn’t believe how small and incredibly detailed it was.I really wanted to find out more about it so I decided to go to the Kutani production area in Ishikawa prefecture and see for myself.This first trip started me on my adventure into the world of pottery.
After this trip I began going to antique markets in Kyoto and became interested in the history of pottery of Japan. From this interest I started collecting EDO period sake cups and TOKKURI.
Over the years I have been to many pottery production areas including: Bizen, Arita, Seto, Karatsu, and Mashiko.It was a one week trip to Mashiko, in Tochigi Prefecture, which proved to be a turning point for me. In Mashiko
I had a chance to visit Hamada-Gama and talk with Hamada Tomoo-san, the grandson of Hamada Shoji.
When I first walked through the entrance gate of Hamada-gama I felt like I had walked into a magical, private world. Talking to Tomoo-san and being able to ask lots of questions I felt really privileged.
While in Mashiko my wife and I decided to try a ‘pottery experience’ which I really enjoyed. On returning to Kyoto I decided to look for somewhere I could study pottery in more detail.
In three years I will be 60 years old (KANREKI) and I want to open my own pottery workshop in a building in my garden. To be able to do this I needed to find a KYOUSHITSU that would allow me to achieve this goal.
I started studying at Shimpo Tougei Academy. It is very welcoming and has a relaxed atmosphere. I feel I can step into a different world, as I did at Hamada-gama.
At first I only went to the class once a week, but I realised it would not be enough for me to be able to master pottery as quickly as I would like. I now go 2 or 3 times a week! The staff at Shimpo are not only knowledgeable and but are also incredibly good teachers. They answer all my questions and give me informed feedback. I have now been studying at Shimpo for just over one year and I feel I am definitely on the road to being able to achieve my goal.
Even though I will have my own pottery workshop in the near future I would like to continue studying at Shimpo for as long as possible!