In 2009 D.B. Long interviewed the ceramic artist Toshiko Takaezu. The film was screened at the Sculpture, Objects and Functional Art and Design expo in Chicago as part of the Watershed Special Exhibition and it will be part of the Smithsonian Archives for American Art.
The video was shot the day before Takaezu’s 87th birthday, after the artist had been an influential force in the world of clay for about six decades. She talks about her work, including bells and sculptures in which she wrote things inside which cannot be seen unless one were to break the work. Of her education Takaezu stressed the importance of individuality. She said one of the most valuable things she learned as an artist was to have her own identity, a difficult task.
She died at the age of 88 in March 2011, according to the New York Times. Journalist Wililam Grimes says of her work:
“Strongly influenced by her study of Zen Buddhism, she regarded her ceramic work as an outgrowth of nature and seamlessly interconnected with the rest of her life. ‘I see no difference between making pots, cooking and growing vegetables,’ she was fond of saying. Indeed, she often used her kilns to bake chicken in clay, and dry mushrooms, apples and zucchinis.”
Above image: Screenshot from the video showing Takaezu.
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