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Ai Yamamoto, Ai Yamamoto Ceramics
East Lansing, MI
I’ve been strongly attracted to the traditional Japanese patterns since I was a child. Within a small space there are many intricate flowing lines and icons and it creates an enchanting small world.
My studio is built in my attached garage, installed 4 large windows across from forests. I am happy to have a gas heater on ceiling and hot water sink installed, must have in Michigan with long and cold winter.
What type of clay do you use?
Porcelain or white stoneware
What temperature do you fire to?
What is your primary forming method?
Throwing and slab making
What is your favorite surface treatment?
Do you make any of your own tools?
What one word would you use to describe your work?
What is your favorite thing about your studio?
What is the one thing in your studio you can’t live without?
What are your top three studio wishes?
1, Bright light
2, Clean air
3, Insulating garage door
What’s on your current reading list?
Japanese historical novel by Miyuki Miyabe
How do you save money on materials and supplies?
I use one body of clay, and one base of clear glaze
How do you recharge creatively?
Away from my studio more than once a week and rest my stiff arms and shoulders. Also I always tern on radio at work.
Do you have any DIY tips for studio efficiency?
I threw away all kind of dry materials and many different glaze body. I decided to use only one clear glaze and add color stain.
What challenges have you given yourself to overcome?
When I have too many tasks, just keep working. Only way to reduce stress is to finish the stressful task. Also I ask double length for commission work
What did you first piece look like?
It was heavy with thick clay wall.
What ceramic superpower would you have and why?
Using handmade pottery make your dinner table special and the cook feels rewarded!
Who is your ceramic art mentor and why?
Professor James Makins at U of Arts, Philadelphia. He throw pottey with no compromise.
What is your studio playlist?
Why do you create art?
My hands want to move and make something without my brain’s order.
What is your best studio tip?
Clean the clay, tools, and equipment in the studio each time after your work done the day. The next day, I feel refreshed and start in a good mode.
If you could change one property of clay, what would it be?
After recycling the clay, I hope it won’t leave much lump.