MEET THE MAKER

Kohai Ceramics

How did you get started with ceramics?

When I found myself without a job 2 years ago I decided to go back to school to explore some options and I decided to take a ceramics class just for pleasure, I fell in love instantly and after a few months decided I wanted to spend all my time working with clay. 

Your work spans many styles and methods from resist, mishima to slip trail work. Both organic and geometric shapes abound and sculptural as well! Where do your ideas come from?

I am still in that experimental phase of my process and am constantly pushing myself to explore new techniques and styles.  I never considered myself creative in any way and still struggle to define myself as an artistic person.

There’s various expressions of intentionality in your work. From a single stroke that completes the piece, to meticulously masked and painted pieces, then the organic lines of your nature carvings. How do you approach the subject of completion in your work — Do you know going into each piece how it’ll be defined?

There are two distinct approaches to the pieces I make. Some are planned down to the last detail and are all about clean lines and precision and others are completely organic and spontaneous.  I’m trying to find a balance between the two but still haven’t quite managed to bridge that gap.  I tend to let my emotions of the moment dictate what a piece will ultimately become.

What qualities do you look to create in your work?

Creating something that will bring pleasure and functionality and hopefully a piece that will stand the test of time.

What does your daily studio routine look like?

I start every morning with a coffee ritual where I plan my day and make a list of what I need to accomplish that day.  I’m fortunate to be in a studio where there are other potters so I usually check in and bounce ideas off my neighbors.  I primarily wheel throw my pieces but have been venturing into more hand built projects and am exploring a new line of jewelry pieces and wall hangings so there is still a lot of trial and error to my daily practice.

Top three tools you cannot live without? Tell us your secret tools of the trade!

Definitely my mudtool ribs.  I lost one last week and felt completely lost without it. Beyond that I would say my fettling knife and a cheap plastic circle drafting template.  I use them constantly.

Who are some other Portland artists whose work you fancy?

Portland has so many wonderful creative artists.  The only ceramic piece I own is a piece from Clay Factor but I love the work of Sandbox  Ceramics, Sissy Moon and Mary Carroll ceramics.

Picture of your perfect day?

Pretty simple. I grew up in California and I still long for the beach.  Coffee with friends, walk on the beach, trying out a new restaurant and then catching a concert, movie or getting lost in a bookstore.

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