Day 211: Frank Tomizuka

It is hard for me to think of myself as an artist. I have no formal training and have stumbled and groped my way through the process of learning to make pottery and finding a voice through which to express my aesthetic. While I struggle with having a coherent language to describe what I am doing I do have a strong feeling that I am making exactly what feels right to me.

Probably the main thematic elements in my work are naturalness, spontaneity, usefulness, restraint and emptiness. I am strongly affected by asian ceramics of the “folkcraft” traditions, in particular, Japanese tea ware. Because I have a limited depth of experience with traditional Japanese pottery production (or with tea ceremony) I have more of an outsider-looking-in perspective. Being half Japanese, raised in America by a Japanese immigrant father and an American midwestern mother, I feel this uneasy tension between longing for tradition and freedom-of-expression idealism is a main creative driving force.

I am a functional potter. I make items I expect people to find useful and pleasing in their everyday lives. Brilliant colors and perfect reproduction are so pervasive in our culture that it becomes numbing, enervating. Pots I make are mostly undecorated, glazed with just one or two glazes and maybe sprinkled with a little wood ash. Natural materials I use tend to be irregular, difficult to control, unpredictable. If I am careful, attentive and a little bit lucky sometimes a quality emerges which I feel expresses the heart of nature. We can all benefit from and be nourished by experiences which are simple, uncomplicated and pleasurable. I hope you can identify these qualities in the things I make.






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