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Ruri loading the kiln.

About the artist

Since the time I came back from Japan as an apprentice under master potter, Tatsuzo Shimaoka, Mashiko, in 1977, my goal was to focus on establishing my own anagama because I was so intrigued by the whole process of wood firing, and also the transformation of the work when it came out.  Although it took me 27 years, I finally made it happen with the help of dedicated friends in 2005.

Now I feel like I am finally starting in the direction of participating intentionally in the alchemy happening inside anagama, where all the natural elements (earth, water, wood, fire and air) and artist’s spirit all come together to give birth to a new life: claywork transformed and transfigured.

Whether it is a clay sculpture or a functional claywork, I have been always trying to express the Unseen through the Seen coming from Nature and all kinds of relationships, reflecting the state of my consciousness at the time.  I play with forms and contouring lines and curves, which give positive and negative contrasts with surrounding outer space.

I use a coiling and pinching technique for my clay sculpture, and lots of thrown vessels are so often altered after throwing.

The name of my anagama is FuuKooGama (pronounced foo-koh gah-mah, meaning "wind and light kiln" in Japanese), which expresses itself eloquently the kind of work I continue to search, pursue and explore.

-Ruri, March 3, 2008

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