A Celebration of Jomon

Studio Arts Boulder is hosting master potters from Japan - Ifurai, Genya Murakami, and Ryujiro Oyabu - for a month-long Celebration of Jomon. "Jomon" means "cord mark" and comes from the style of decoration on pottery made during this ancient era. This special month-long visit in Boulder includes a two-day, hands-on workshop taught by Ifurai & Genya at the Boulder Pottery Lab, followed by a traditional Noyaki open-firing of workshop pieces. In addition, Studio Arts Boulder is organizing community events to provide information about Jomon history, tradition, and demonstrations of this unique ceramics method.

Artist Talk & Demonstration at BMoCA - Thursday, March 7th

Family Event at the Main Branch of the Boulder Library - Monday, March 11th

Lecture & Demonstration at CU Boulder
Tuesday, March 19th, 6:30-7:30pm
Auditorium Room 1B 20 in Dept. of Art & Art History
Sponsored by the CU Center for Asian Studies
FREE and open to the public

Lecture & Workshop at Simpson United Methodist Church
Saturday, March 23rd, 10am - 4pm
FREE Lecture, sponsored by the Nisei Veterans Heritage Foundation
$25 Hands-On Workshop (ages 12+); 10% discount for families
Register HERE for the SUMC workshop



About the Jomon Artists


I have been creating Jomon art for over 40 years. Starting from restoring ancient Jomon techniques that had been discontinued for 2,800 years, and then creating new modern Jomon art through the Jomon spirit and technique I acquired. Currently, I curate the "IFURAI Museum" which is the only contemporary Jomon Art Museum in Japan. We are active both at home and abroad to spread new arts born from Jomon spirit.

Selected Biography
1947 - Born in Hiroshima, Japan.
1968 - Graduated from Musashino Art University Junior College of Art and Design.
1976 - Picked up pieces of Jomon pottery in the mountain and was inspired. I aimed for restoration of Jomon pottery.
1978 - Acted in Jomon pottery club, Kasori Kaizuka Museum, Chiba.
1986 - Moved to Hokkaido. Trained for 20 years while living in Jomon.
1991 - Built a Jomon style pit dwelling "Fu-Fu-An", as residential and atelier.
2001 - Visited in Hatun Pamba, a open firing pottery village in Ecuador, South America.
2002 - Acted in Beltall, Spain.
2005 - Moved to Okayama. Open the IFURAI Museum.

Selected Exhibitions
1984 - [Contemporary Jomon Dogu] exhibition. (Maruki Gallery for The Hiroshima Panels, Japan) - Japan's first contemporary Jomon Art exhibition by Jomon Noyaki
2002 - [Deliri a Belltall] exhibition. (Belltall, Spain) -- Belltall Honorary Award
2007 - Demonstrating Jomon Noyaki (Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire, France)
2010 - [Unearthed exhibition] special lecture. (Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, United Kingdom)
2014 - [Experimental archeology study on lacquer painting of Chuku Dogu and red lacquer of Jomon] publish a thesis.
2015 - [ARTs of JOMON in TOKYO] exhibition. (Spiral Garden, Japan)
2015 - [ARTs of JOMON in DENVER] exhibition. (Denver International Airport, America)



Genya Murakami
My Jomon Art is created through Jomon spirit and technique I acquired making reproductions of Jomon Doki and Dogu artifacts. My original work is rooted in the essential processes of the ancient Jomon approach -- materials and methods, inevitability of statics, internal processes of mind, etc. In addition to making new work, I also continuously conduct dissemination activities to spread information about Jomon traditions, including local pottery classes, Jomon experiences, guidance and demonstration of Jomon Noyaki (open firing).

Selected Biography
1987 Born in Hokkaido, Japan.
2008 Graduated from Sapporo School of The Arts Dept. Industrial Design.
2010 Moved to Okayama. Studied under IFURAI and begin training Jomon Art.

Selected Exhibitions
2011 - [Jomon Doki - Hello, JOMON!] exhibition. (IFURAI Museum, Japan)
2012 - Demonstrating Jomon Noyaki (Najomon, Japan)
2012 - [Jomon Dogu - A Loving DOGU] exhibition. (IFURAI Museum, Japan)
2014 - [New Jomon Art - Inner Beating of JOMON] exhibition. (IFURAI Museum, Japan)
2015 - [ARTs of JOMON in TOKYO] exhibition. (Spiral Garden, Japan)
2015 - [ARTs of JOMON in DENVER] exhibition. (Denver International Airport, America)
2016 - [JOMON Spiral Nova] exhibition. (Najomon, Japan)
2017 - [ARTs of JOMON -Hyper Subculture-] exhibition. (ISETAN Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)


Ryujiro making.jpg

Ryujiro Oyabu
Fascinated with digging for fossils since childhood, Ryujiro Oyabu became more and more interested in things like stratum, rocks, tree rings, horns — things that one can visibly see the passage of time through. Learning about Jomon pottery in elementary school, he became mesmerized with the material called clay and developed aspirations of becoming a potter. In 1993 he became assistant to wildlife photographer Keishin Kubo, and spent 2 months working in Alaska. While staying in Fairbanks, he met photographer Michio Hoshino. The experiences he had with Hoshino, who told him that "there is a photograph that can only be taken at the utmost limits of world, when you're in total harmony with nature", would have a profound impact on his later artistic endeavors.

Selected Biography
1998 Graduated BA from Tokyo University of the Arts
2000 Completed Graduate MA, Ceramics Research at Tokyo University of the Arts
2000~2004 Adjunct Teaching Associate at Tokyo University of the Arts, Ceramics Faculty
2006~2008 Artistic endeavors in London, UK
2008~2011 Adjunct Lecturer at Tokyo University of the Arts, Ceramics Faculty
Currently a member of the board of directors, NPO Jomonism (http://jomonism.org) and a member of the board of directors, JOMON World Network Association (https://jomonworld.wixsite.com/mysite)

Selected Exhibitions
2000 - Solo exhibition “Tsuyu No Tsunagari Ten” Psygoyama Gallery, Tokyo
2002 - International Ceramics Exchange Anadoul University, Eskisehir, Turkey
2004 - Group Exhibition, Gallery Torindo, Tokyo
2006 - Ceramics in the City, Geffrye Museum, London
2009 - Contemporary Ceramics Art Exhibition of Three Nations, Guangzhou, China
2013 - Solo exhibition “The Return to Source” Himeji, Hyogo
2015 - Arts of Jomon exhibition in Denver, Colorado


To learn more information about the Jomon Culture and Pottery, visit HERE and HERE.



Works in Progress: Hands-On Workshop with Kim Dickey

Dickey led participants through a hands-on exploration of their own creativity, guiding beyond self-imposed barriers. She helped expand participants’ hand-building “vocabulary” and challenged them to invert their own expectations. “If the piece is sculptural, how could you make it functional? If it’s functional, how could you make it sculptural? If it’s an object, what kind of world could it hold? Or what kind of world holds it? If it’s a figure, how could it become an animal? If it’s a plant, where would it grow?”  Using found objects, unresolved pieces, and gestures created by other workshop participants, students developed creative responses by extending these existing forms and contributing new ideas to the work.

About Kim Dickey:
Artist and Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, Kim Dickey has exhibited her work in Australia, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, the UK, and in the United States at MASS MoCA, Everson Museum of Art, the American Craft Museum (now MAD), and MCA Denver, among other venues.


Two-day, hands-on workshop with Thea Tenenbaum, Lele Malferrari, and John Minkler

Local artists Thea, Lele, and John gave a wonderful workshop on the art of throwing and intricately decorating their pots.
Enormous thanks to the three artists for spending the weekend with us at Studio Arts Boulder!

See some of the highlights from the workshop below.

Learn more about Thea & Lele: Thea & Lele's website
Learn more about John Minkler: John's website


Functional Ware with Kazu Oba

Local artist Kazu Oba led a hands-on workshop where students could experience throwing delicate yet casual functional ware off-the-hump. "I like to make a dish that has a reason to be," said Oba during his artist talk. "The more I touch the clay the more of me is in it. Pottery is like calligraphy - the less time you spend the better. Fewer gestures is better. Then it is just what it is. It's less about me and more about the piece."

Learn more about his work at www.kazuoba.com.

Special thanks to BMoCA for hosting Kazu's Artist Talk and Demonstration prior to the workshop.


Production Casting with Martin Kastner

Martin Kastner gave an impressive overview of his custom-designed production process during the workshop last weekend. He collaborates with elite hospitality and food industry icons to create custom functional ware from ceramics, wood, metal, glass, and other materials. Each client project offers a unique problem, which Martin helps solve using traditional techniques coupled with modern technologies. He showed workshop participants his process from beginning to end. Starting with how to define the problem, to prototypes, CAD drawings, and pattern making. Then, how to perfectly mix plaster every time. Followed by mold-making and various casting methods, including his $50 work-around for a $180,000 manufacturing process. Students made molds using found objects and left with a whole new perspective on the art of functional ware.

Read about Martin and his work: Martin Kastner's Bio

And thank you to The Studio Boulder for hosting Martin's Artist Talk!


 Your Voice in Clay with Jim Lorio

Huge thanks to Jim Lorio for his hands-on workshop on July 15 & 16, 2017. Jim Lorio, local master potter, shared some fascinating insights into his pottery and the way we can build connections to our work. Check out some photographs from the weekend below. Images from Bob Crifasi.



Tea Vessels with Kouta Shimazaki

Thank you to Kouta Shimazaki for leading a wonderful workshop, April 22 & 23, 2017!
For more information on Kouta Shimazaki and his work in San Diego,
visit San Diego Ceramic Connection.



 Classical Sculpture with Marcello Giorgi

We want to give enormous thanks to Marcello Giorgi for leading the Artist Talk & Demonstration and the Two-Day Classical Sculpture Workshop in January, 2017.

And thank you to The Studio Boulder for hosting the Talk & Demonstration!