Archaeology and Art: Tsuchigama Project Symposium Aug. 8


Archaeology and Art: Tsuchigama Project
A one-day symposium on the ancient art of the Japanese dirt kiln
Saturday, August 8, 2015, 9am – 5pm
free and open to the public
schedule of events detailed below
Tsuchigama or “dirt kiln” is recognized by scholars as Japan’s earliest high-fire kiln type. It fell out of use over 700 years ago when the Anagama kiln became popular and has not been in ceramic practice since. Japanese sculptor Tadashi Hirakawa and a team of archaeologists have uncovered and excavated sites of ancient tsuchigamas and have been collaborating for several years to recreate the ancient kiln type. The team has successfully made and used two tsuchigamas in Bizen, Japan and is working hard to revive the techniques and styles associated with the tsuchigama, such as Bizen-ware, as a contemporary art practice.
This summer, Tadashi Hirakawa travelled to the US and teamed up Chris Powell (TCU Associate Professor of Art) to create a tsuchigama in Sevier County, Arkansas. With the help of two students from Japan, Yukiko Akai and Tomoko Sakamoto, and a TCU ceramic student, Sydney Williams, the tsuchigama was built in the hillsides of Southwest Arkansas where natural resources were pulled from the land. Photographs documenting the building and firing of the kiln can be found on the Tsuchigama Project Facebook page.
To celebrate this collaborative project and to draw attention to this ancient ceramic practice, a one-day symposium is being held to discuss old and new style Bizen-ware and the longer term potential of reviving the tsuchigama. Alongside the symposium, Fort Worth Contemporary Arts will also host an exhibition of old style Bizen-ware and new works made in the Arkansas kiln by Yukiko Akai, Tadahsi Hirakawa, Chris Powell, Tomoko Sakamoto and Sydney Williams.
On August 13th, an exhibition of works fired in the Arkansas tsuchigama will be held at Gallery 76102 in Fort Worth, TX. The exhibition, TSUCHIGAMA/EARTHEN KILN will remain on view through September 30.
Symposium presentation schedule, August 8th (subject to change)
9:00am    Introductions and breakfast welcome for speakers and audience, with refreshments
10:00am    Masakage Murano, An Introduction to Ancient Potteries in the New World and its interpretation in Contemporary Art
10:45am     Akira Ito, History of Bizen-ware
11:30am     Kei Ishii, Changes in the structure of the Kiln of Bizen
12:15pm    break for lunch
2:15pm     Henry Moy, Contemporary Native American Ceramics
2:45pm     Chris Powell, Tsuchigama, why here, why now?
3:15pm     Tadashi Hirakawa, The Mystery and Possibilities of the Tsuchigama
4:00pm    refreshment break
4:15pm     Atsushi Nakai and Yukiko Akai, to lead a discussion between presenters with audience participation encouraged.
5:00pm     Celebratory finish to the day with a Taiko Drum performance by the Fort Worth Japanese Society
Presenters and featured participants:
Yukiko Akai, Tsuchigama Project Committee
Tadashi Hirakawa, Chair of Bizenware Board and Tsuchigama Project Committee
Hiroko Kubo, TCU MFA Graduate and Tsuchigama Project Committee
Kei Ishii, Bizen City Board of Education Lifelong Learning Division
Akira Ito, Medium-Early Modern Bizen Research Chairman and Bizen History Forum Executive Committee
Masakage Murano, Curator of Archaeology at the Museum of Kyoto
Henry Moy, (BA, MAT) The Quintus H. Herron Director
Atushi Nakai, Professor at Graduate School of Regional Resourse Management, University of Hyogo
Chris Powell, TCU Associate Professor of Art
Sydney Williams, TCU BFA Studio Art – Ceramics
2900 W. Berry Street, Fort Worth, TX 76109

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