SHOZO MICHIKAWA || Harnessing The Energy of Nature: Sculpting with Earth & Fire


Harnessing the Energy of Nature: Sculpting with Earth and Fire
with Shozo Michikawa

March 1-15, 2018

 “The energy of nature is truly immense. No matter how much our sciences and civilization might evolve, the power of human beings is inconsequential in the face of natural threats such as typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis and erupting volcanoes.” SM

Deriving great inspiration from his childhood home at the foot of the very live and active Mt.Usu volcano in Hokkaido, Japan, Shozo Michikawa’s faceted and twisted forms evoke this potent natural energy.  Join this master of wheel-formed sculptural forms in an exploration of the power of the natural world and how we may harness it in the physical as well as conceptual creation of our ceramic works.  Demonstrations will include his signature twisting of fractured planes on an internal axis, as well as offering a different understanding of wheel-throwing all together—a cutting and paring down, rather than an expansion of form.  Shozo will help participants engage in the “conversation” with the raw materials—finding a way to assist where the clay wants to go, rather than expecting it to submit to the creator’s entire whim.

After an exhilarating week of building forms, the workshop will turn its focus to harnessing the energy of the dragon’s breath in an Anagama firing.  Two days will be spent placing the pieces assiduously within the flame’s path, two days and nights hearing the fire’s roar, another two days of quiet before a final unloading.  Awaiting to understand the wrath or beauty bequeathed to us upon our wares, the entire process will be a reverence for the forces of nature witnessed within the raw elemental play of earth, water, fire, air… and ether.

Thursday, March 1            Welcome Dinner.                                                      Moksa
6pm: We will meet for an exquisite meal set upon anagama-fired wares at MOKSA restaurant (of director Hillary Kanes husband). It will be a relaxed evening in which participants can get to know one another and share their stories and intentions for being here.  Shozo will also offer a slide talk of his works and life as a wood-firer, sculptor, and innovator

Friday, March 2                      Studio and clay introduction.                                      GCAC
Demonstration of making large works on the wheel
A general introduction to the studio and to the available (and most suitable) clays for the anagama process; thinking about surfaces and colours.
Discussion of overall volume of works required for a successful firing.
Shozo will demonstrate the making of large forms on the wheel and participants will begin making their own work to allow the maximum time available for drying . The day will be spent trialing new techniques and learning how the clay bodies will respond.  
Lunch: family style in the GCAC mezzanine

Saturday, March 3            A making focus: sculpture, teapots and bowls.              GCAC
Shozo will share techniques in making tea bowls (raku and shino style) and ikebana vase construction. He will also work with participants on their projects on an ‘as needed’ basis.
Lunch: family style in the GCAC mezzanine

Sunday, March 4               Sculpture                                                                 GCAC
The whole day will be dedicated to continuation of making and Shozo will assist individuals throughout.
Lunch: family style in the GCAC mezzanine

Monday, March 5              Demonstrations – large scale work                                GCAC
Shozo will also demonstrate his technique for throwing big sculptures – these will be for demonstration purposes only – not intended for the firing.
Otherwise, participants will continue working.
Lunch: family style in the GCAC mezzanine
Tuesday, March 6             Final Making                                                                      GCAC
A full day of making, with a focus on tea bowls and small ikebana vases. The afternoon will be spent trimming.
Participants will finish their last touches to the surface and works are then left to further dry.
Candling all day in gas kiln(s) to further enhance drying.
Lunch: family style in the GCAC mezzanine
Wednesday, March 7                   Last moments…                                                        GCAC
There will be a close discussion of the loading and firing process introducing zones of the kiln, understanding terminology (firebox and back stoke grate and fire face vs. sheltered areas). Loading preparation and discussion about all aspects of the process including making and using wadding, sembe, sea shells, rice straw, etc. as well as an introduction to the metal firing tools used in the fire box. 
Candling all day in gas kiln(s) to further dry works.
Lunch: family style in the GCAC mezzanine
Afternoon: FREE
Thursday, March 8            Loading the dragon                                                 GCAC
We begin the slow and particular process of loading the Gayagama. Everyone will have an opportunity to assist in preparing various types wadding, placing works, judging flame flow, and engaging in kiln yoga!
Lunch: family style in the GCAC mezzanine

Friday, March 9                Continue and conclude loading                                         GCAC
Working together (directed by Shozo) complete kiln loading on shelves and adjacent to firebox.  Bricking door and making final preparations for firing. Shifts organized as directed by Shozo for firing schedule..
Lighting ceremony - candling begins along with first all-night firing shift.
Lunch: family style in the GCAC mezzanine

Saturday, March 10           Firing                                                                         GCAC
Low-mid range temperatures. Participants rotate on predetermined 6-hr. shifts through day and night. Transport and meals will be organized accordingly.

Sunday, March 11             Firing – sustaining and cooling                             GCAC
Sustained high temperatures, working back side stoke ports until final peak temperature and determined cooling approach.        
Concludes: with a pizza-making session in the residual heat pizza oven!         

Monday, March 12            Rest and recovery…..                           choose your location                                   
Tuesday, March 13            Excursion                                                       Kintamani
(*early morning departure) An early-morning visit and morning tea in Kintimani to view the massive caldera lake and the active Mt. Batur.  If skies are clear, views of Mt. Abang and Mt. Agung may be available.  A drive down into the caldera to luxuriate in natural hot spring spa there will wash away all the strain from firing, returning to Ubud via an alternative route by early afternoon.       

Wednesday, March 14                    Unloading & post-fire discussion                          GCAC
A slow and considered unload (this is when we have everything to learn!)  followed by discussion and implementation of a variety of post-firing clean-up and finishing techniques.

Lunch: family style in the GCAC mezzanine

Thursday, March 15          Conclusion and tea.                                                 GCAC
A selection of works displayed in our in-studio gallery for the concluding discussion/critique/commentary of the overall experience.

A special tea ceremony - led by Shozo.

Packing works to go (bubble wrap, newspaper, and cardboard boxes provided).
Lunch: family style in the GCAC mezzanine


***In order to encourage thoughtful making in the allotted studio time, there is a suggestion that participants bring a handful of bisqued pots to add to the overall anagama loading.

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