Yuko smiles big and bright from her home studio as I show up to discuss her upcoming Glaze Gurus class at Amaranth Stoneware. She takes me to her impressive garden to talk about her current inspiration and how she can't wait for her English porcelain to arrive to get started on creating those pieces.
Back in the studio we chat about her pottery journey surrounded by beautiful pieces and listening to Rod Stewart.
Julie: How long have you been a potter?
Yuko: I took my fist pottery class when I was 18 with a Master Potter who was an expert with coils. After that I kept potting as a hobby.
J: How long have you been teaching?
Y: I kept taking classes after I got married and had kids, then started teaching at a Canadian International School in Singapore. I moved to Canada in 2001 and became part of the Kingston Potter's Guild but I wasn't a mature enough potter to teach. The year after I joined the Potter's Guild I was approached to become a professional artist. I said yes but still didn't know how to throw! I was only doing hand building at the time with 1 wheel and a few tools I brought with me from Japan. Gradually I started to throw because I had to make mugs.
J: How long have you been teaching at Amaranth?
Y: 2 years ago. I only teach twice a year because I work from my studio in Japan during the summer with the guidance of a Master Potter.
J: It sounds like you are a life long student of potter!
Y: Yes, exactly! Especially with the philosophy. I'm still learning a lot from the Master Potter I work with in the summers.
J: I love that you have been studying pottery since you were 18 but you are still learning. I think that's important for students who want to take a pottery class but are nervous to know...you can be a teacher but always learning.
Y: Oh yes, definitely. I did my first ever solo show in Japan this summer in a gallery. My work is both in Japan and Canada but I'll be doing an art festival in London end of October.
J: How would you describe the Glaze Gurus class starting next week?
Y: Playing with colours. Playing with pottery. Hands on. No limits and no bad choices.
J: Do you consider this class an all-levels class?
Y: Absolutely. There is a lot of hand building in this class and it is meant for people to have fun.