Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Gem in Plate Mountain

I came to Nagasaki Prefecture in August of 2008, but didn't discover the wonderful hidden treasure in my tiny town; Sara Yama Pottery Studio until May 2009. The studio is nestled between a park and Sara Yama, or Plate Mountain and has been there for over 20 years. The teacher, Arai Sensei, is a native of Akita prefecture and has been practicing ceramics for 35 years.

Until I came to Sara Yama Studio I had no ceramics experience whatsoever besides the coil pots American elementary kids make in art class. I fell in love with it and discovered a new type of thinking towards art, one revolving heavily on technique and tradition. The perfection Japanese ceramics has cannot be challenged easily, nor can the technique be learned quickly.

"Practice, practice, practice" is the phrase me and Arai Sensei jokingly say when something I make flops, but honestly I'm learning that's the only way to achieve the Japanese standard of "flawless"

The road to perfection is a slow one, but I'm enjoying the trek. I'm here in a prefecture steeped with ceramics history, I need to learn as much as I can while I'm in this special place.

* Pictures are all taken by me unless otherwise noted.

** These shots are of Sara Yama Studio


  1. We love your beautiful photos of Kyushu! Love, Tom & Barb

  2. Hi Sierra, this is Elaine, Love your blog site so far...You sure are having an interesting life, good for you. Lindsay and Pat and Ericka all say HI!!!! I love pottery. You are definitely your mothers clone.

  3. I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to visit you in Saza this September and meet your Very Kind and Wonderful Arai Sensei.
    The studio is story bookish in my mind ...perhaps because it was night fall and tucked away and down a little hill. So cool. Well... Hotter than heck actually.