From April 1st to the 10th was the Imari International Amateur Ceramics Contest. I was lucky enough to receive an outstanding achievement award for my "Blue Moon" vase. I was so happy and shocked by the news! I had lots of trouble with this vase but it all paid off in the end. This is my first recognition for my pottery in Japan! There was an awards ceremony and a photo session to celebrate the occasion.
Here I am receiving a plaque and gift from the mayor of Imari City.
Certificate and gift, an Imari porcelain bowl
A group shot of all the winners and judges!
A few pictures of me and the judges, who are from the famous ceramic families of Imari.
The ceremony and pieces were on display here in Okawachi area in Imari City.
A total of 77 adults entered the competition and over 400 children entered the youth division. Here is the room where the pieces were on display.
Here is a shot of some of the adult pieces. As you can see most of the pieces are large vases, mine looks tiny compared to the others.
Here are the top three grand prize winners. The middle is first place, a woman from Sasebo. Second place is on the right and third place is on the left. All the top winners were 50 years old or more.
Here is another outstanding achievement award. It was given to another lady at Sara Yama Studio! I remember her making this piece and it was cool to see how it turned out :) It has a cord next to it so I'm assuming she will use it as a lamp.
Here are some of the other outstanding achievement winners.
These were two of my personal favs. I loved the cherry blossom vase and the lovely hand painted plate next to it.
The kids pieces were in the middle of the room. It was so fun to see all the cute animals and creatures on display. Here are some pieces that appear to be monster themed.
The adult pieces are amazing but it's more fun to look at the creative kids pieces. Here is one titled "Bunny" hehe
Here are a few turtles.
And my personal fav. an octopus! So cute!
These are pieces from the pottery club at one of the elementary schools I teach at. Of course Arai Sensei is the head of the club.
Of course the kids section had winners as well. Here are the grand prize winners.
A shot of the kids section winners and judges.
Finally, me and my vase. What a great experience! I'm so sad my time in Nagasaki is slowly coming to an end, but I will for sure continue with my pottery and develop my style and skills. Thank you Arai Sensei! I couldn't have made it this far without you!!!
For those of you who aren't familiar with Imari ware I'll give a brief description of it. Historically Imari city was a port of trade for European exports, one of the main exports being Arita porcelain. (Arita is a town next to Imari which is know for Arita-yaki, and has a long ceramics history) The main types of ware exported were porcelain ware white in base and hand painted with intricate flowers, china themes, designs etc. The main colors are blue and red, but aren't limited to only these two colors. Eventually kilns started forming in Imari as well and Imari developed its own style and designs, mainly the Imari style and Kakiemon family style. The Imari and Arita area are very unique since they have outside influence from Korea, China and Europe. It is definitely a must see place for pottery fans. This is a very brief account of Imari so I urge you to do some research yourself to found out more about this wonderful pottery town. (Picture is a porcelain tile map of the kilns in Imari)
Imari is a great day trip. There are lot's of small shops to stop at and maybe buy a souvenir.
The Okawachi area has a lot of charm as well. There is a beautiful stream flowing through the town and the bridges are decorated in broken porcelain pieces. Sometimes you can even see koi swimming in the river.
Spring is also a great time to go. The cherry blossoms are in bloom and the days are nice and warm.
Next Post: Spring Noborigama
Until next time!