Crafts Professor, Students Spend Summer Break at Ceramics Workshop in Japan

Ceramics Coordinator James Makins takes 13 students to the International Workshop of Ceramic Art in Tokoname

Professor Makins and two of his students check on their ceramic works after bisque-firing them at the Kyouei-Gama Ceramics Art School in Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture, earlier this month. Photo by Chunichi Shimbun.

July 5, 2012

Ask Crafts Professor James Makins what he did over the summer break and he'll tell you the same thing he's been doing every summer since 1990: making and teaching pottery in Japan.

Makins, who is also a UArts alum and serves as coordinator of the University's Ceramics program, took 13 Crafts students with him on his annual trip to the International Workshop of Ceramic Art in Tokoname (IWCAT), where the young artists got to experience a city with a rich history in pottery and ceramics.

"I want more students to learn about Japanese culture and pottery making," he told The Japan Times, the country's major English-language newspaper.

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A recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Japan and a Japan Foundation Fellowship, Makins maintains a studio at the Kyouei-Gama Ceramics Art School, where the pottery-making lessons take place. Local artists show students their techniques, teaching them about their culture in the process.

At the end of the two-month IWCAT workshop, the students' work is featured in an exhibition at the Kyouei-Gama gallery.

Katharine Kent BFA '12 (Crafts) said the experience was part of her journey to becoming a professional ceramicist. "I was looking forward to using the wood-fired kilns to complete my work," she said. "The people of Tokoname are friendly and I would like to tour the city before returning home."

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