June 15 :

Rick Mahaffey

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Rick was the head of the ceramics department at TCC for over 20 years, was a co- founder of the International Society for Ceramic Art Education and Exchange, and gave out my favorite ever advice in his classes: "Might work, might not. try it and see."

This is going to be a great one! 

"I strive to make work that is honest and true to potters in the past, to the materials I use, and to the fire."  Rick Mahaffey

Saturday, June 15

4:00 - 6:00

Homework:
Read Rick's Artist Statement

Growing up in San Francisco I was familiar with Asian art, and Japanese art in particular, and I have been interested in Japanese Ceramics from my second ever ceramics class at San Jose State University in 1969. 

The traditions of Japanese stoneware ceramics hold a particular appeal, especially work produced in the “Six Ancient Kilns” of Japan. Among my favorites are the work made in Bizen, Shigaraki, and Iga. The clay in these traditions is critical; it brings character and Tsuchi Aji (clay flavor) comes through and I strive to include some of that flavor in my work.  
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Time spent living and making pots in Japan deeply influenced my work -  the ceramics, the Mingei tradition, and tea ware design with roots in the Wabi-Sabi concept from the time Sen No Rikyu (who chose Korean Rice Bowls from an anonymous potter for use as he began to explore Wabi Tea). That Wabi–Sabi concept (simple beauty and the beauty found in the imperfect which tends to reveal itself over time in a deeper way than does the machine-like perfection found in porcelain work from Japan and China) is part of my approach as well.

My early (and lasting) interest in the “Six Ancient Kilns” of Japan led me to begin firing in a wood kiln and later building an Anagama kiln requiring firings lasting up to five and a half days. I also fire work in reduction gas kilns with Celadon, Tenmoku, and other glazes derived from Asian original glazes, and I am developing work fired in oxidation with a line of Oribe Glazed work (the dark green contrasting with the off white/tan to create a pattern reminiscent of the Late Momoyama and early Edo period works that replaced Shino ware as new technologies in kiln design and firing replaced earlier kiln designs).

I strive to make work that is honest and true to potters in the past, to the materials I use, and to the fire. 

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