Monday, October 6, 2008

Judith Duff: Sharing the Shino Experience

Judith Duff is a ceramic artist from Brevard North Carolina. For the past several years she has been traveling to Japan to continue research related to Japanese pottery and Traditional Shino Glazes. She recently visited Cub Creek to conduct a workshop where she shared her experiences with a group of nearly thirty participants.

Coming from as far away as Boston Massachusetts, artists interested in her work and research began coalescing here at Cub Creek on Friday night. The atmosphere was relaxed as those in attendance migrated to the house of Cub Creek Director John Jessiman to meet Judith and her husband Royal while sharing stories over a glass of wine.

Judith began her workshop on Saturday morning and the resident's studio quickly filled with inquisitive smiles punctuated by moments of intrigue. During this time Judith shared with the participants the past few years of her experiences while showing slides from her travels to Japan and studio in Brevard. Judith is preparing now for her fifth trip to Japan where she will continue her research in shino glazes. Her studio in North Carolina is home to a kiln constructed specifically for attaining the results she desires as well as for the ongoing experiments with her growing collection of traditional shinos.

Later in the day, just after lunch, Judith began demonstrating some of her favorite techniques while telling vivid tales of the Japanese landscape and culture. Her delicate but energized methods provided participants with a valuable source of inspiration and questions regarding the history, techniques and culture of Japanese potters were answered from a position of clarity and first hand experience.

The evening was filled with discussion and laughter as all who attended took part in a feast at the Jessiman's home. The energy remained high throughout the night as most slowly moved towards the bonfire that carried on into the wee hours of the night.

The following day. Judith continued here demonstrations, completing the works that needed time to dry. These works now sit atop the tables of the studio awaiting their turn to be bisqued. Participants all shared their gratitude as they slowly left the facility and began their journey back home. The residents remained sharing in the last few smiles and moments of laughter while shaking a Royal hand and giving a thankful hug. Judith and her husband carefully packed the last of their things and made their way back home to the western mountains of Carolina.

Today, rested and refreshed, our residents have gotten back to their studios. We are all grateful for Judith's presence and the experience she has passed on. The Creek is quiet again and we work diligently in preparation for our next firing while thinking of the insight that we have just experienced.