Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Randy Johnston workshop

I’ve been trying to find a way to describe the Randy Johnston workshop this past weekend in Houston. I enjoyed it so much and was so impressed with Randy himself that I’d really like to share some of it with others.
Randy started both sessions with a slide show: Saturday morning he gave a broad overview of the history of ceramics in Japan and the pottery lineage from Leach/Hamada/Yanagi to current potters in the US by way of England. Randy studied under Warren MacKenzie in the 1960s and worked in the Japanese pottery of Tatsuzo Shimaoka in the 1970s. He had interesting stories to share of his work there and his acquaintance with Hamada whose pottery was next door to Shimaoka’s. Sunday morning he showed of some of his work and some of his wife’s work (Jan McKeachie Johnston) with references to the inspiration for his work and what he learned from it. Randy gives great attention to detail and keeps detailed notes that serve as reference for development of new work. He wood fires his pieces and is very attentive to variations he gets based on placement of the pieces in the kiln.
Following the slide shows Randy demonstrated techniques for making several of his best known works. These sessions were 5 and 4 hours long—which amazes me, now that I calculate the time, as we never became tired, lost attention or wished for a break. Perhaps because he was so relaxed and comfortable with what he was doing. He stressed the importance to him of drawing in preparation for new works. He demonstrated how he transformed his 2D drawing into a 3D piece, quite literally, by constructing patters, from the drawing, for a handbuilt coffee pot using geometric principles!
Here are the pieces cut from the patterns. (Sorry about the dark picture.)

And here is the coffeepot, without lid, made from the pattern pieces.

1 comment:

Judy Shreve said...

First of all - yippee on Kenny!! He must be doing very well to get to come home so soon.

And what a great description of Randy Johnston. Thank you. At the Warren MacKenzie workshop, someone asked him about his students & he said he thought Randy was one of his best.