The Creative Residency in Arita programme was launched with the sponsorship of Saga Prefecture in 2016. Internationally active artists and designers were selected by committee members following an opencall application and review of past work and suitability for the residency. With ceramic production as the focal point, the programme offers support for creators from various backgrounds and specialisms with their creative activities. At the sametime, they will be presented with the opportunity to interact with local residents and pair up with highlyskilled potters and craftsmen to collaborate artistically together.
Arita porcelain is a luxury, the material used is a pure form of clay from a mountain source free of any additional artificial ingredients. Its form, decorative painting and the sheer variety of glazing styles always applied to perfection make the finished pieces simply stunning. In truth, Arita products transcend their inherent beauty and attention to details. They are also imbued with the boundless effort, knowledge and care of the creators and craftsmen behind them.
This exhibition showcases the behind-the-scenes activities of six highly unique collaborative projects that were developed by each individual artist or designer together with craftsmen in Arita during their respective 3-month residencies in Arita, Japan across 2017 and 2018.
Since the inner world of the industrial craftsman is usually closed to the public, Arita is no different. It is a closed world and if you are privileged enough to step into it you will encounter countless surprises, not only in terms of the techniques employed but also their spirits which have been passed down through the generations and accumulated 400 years’ worth of history and tradition.
When working with Japanese craftsmen, creators not only learn their craft skills but also the intrinsic spirit of the Japanese, while the craftsmen are exposed to the unconventional perspectives that the creators bring to each interaction.
Rather than the final objects themselves, the exhibition focuses on a part of the production process during each creator’s residency period.